Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lasting Hearts Card Drive

It's a miserable rainy day. I don't want to leave the house so the package heading to Long Beach, California full of cards I made for the Lasting Hearts Card Drive will have to wait until I go to work tomorrow.

I learned about this card drive on Jennifer McGuire's blog and felt the need to join in. Lasting Hearts helps comfort mothers who have lost a child, whether in pregnancy or older. Losing a child is one of the hardest pains a parent can endure. I have lost a parent, and the grief was horrible. I can't imagine losing a child.

I used a stamp set illustrated by Phyllis Harris,  from Unity Stamp Co  called "Too Beautiful for Earth." I first saw Phyllis's work in Highlights for Children Magazines when my son was little. I am a big fan.

Each card has shimmery wings, a white dress, green grass and orange butterflies. Flowers are different colors. Hair and skin color are different, and card base colors are different. I don't mind mass producing a stamped image but making everything the same color is a bit dull.

I pray for all those moms, and dads, who have lost a child. I also pray for all those preemies out there struggling to fatten up, fill out and grow strong enough to go home. Each press of the stamp, each flick of the marker was a prayer.  Grow strong little ones. I pray especially for my niece who was born last Monday weighing only 2lb 1oz.

Happy Crafting,

Monday, February 1, 2016

Use Every Stamp Challenge

Hello. My name is Katie, and I am a stampaholic. I love buying cute stamps and sometimes I don't use them before buying new stamps. It is especially true during the holidays. You know all those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

I have a non-crafty friend who doesn't understand my need for new stamps. She issued a challenge that I use "Every single stamp in your collection" before you buy a new set. I have already failed. I just received "Map Love" and "Tree Hugs" from Concord & 9th, and I am looking forward to playing with these new stamps.

But my friend has a point. I have A LOT of stamps. I should make use of them, or let them go to someone who will. So in the words of Barney Stinson, "Challenge accepted!"

Use Every Stamp Challenge Katemade Designs ©2016

Each week I will feature one stamp company, or illustrator, or theme. I will post all cards on Instagram tagged with #UseEveryStampChallenge and the feature of the week, along with any other tags that seem appropriate.

As I go through the stamp sets, I will find sets that no longer fit my style or needs. I will list these stamps for sale in my Etsy shop. I know I also have a few oops stamps. You know, those items you accidently hit two instead of 1 when purchasing. These will be given away as prizes when I feature the stamp manufacturer.

I know using every stamp will be different for each of you — So want to play?  You can do this challenge along with “The Daily Marker 30 Day Coloring Challenge”. The 30-day coloring challenge encourages you to color at least 5 minutes a day from February 1 - March 1. I am going to accept that challenge plus I am going to Use Every Stamp I can during that time. I will need to stamp a lot longer than 30 days. Like I said before — I have a lot of sets to go through.

In honor of the Coloring Challenge, this weeks theme is #coloring.

You Color My World Card - Katemade Designs ©2016
Lawn Fawn, Washi Tape, Copic Markers

Happy Crafting,

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Save the Wood! What to Make with Stamp Blocks!

In my last post, I showed you how I unmounted my rubber stamps. After that big project, I needed to "deal" with 35 lbs of wood. I HATE throwing things away. I donate stuff to charity shops all the time, but sticky wood blocks with foam and ink stains didn't seem like something anyone would be able to use.

They use nice, smooth, hard maple to make stamps.  It's beautiful wood and as my father's daughter, I couldn't just throw it away. What could I make with it?

I Googled "what to do with wooden stamp blocks." Search results returned one YouTube video (on the Pinterest board linked at the bottom of this post) and although I like some of her ideas I kept thinking there has to be more.

There was a discussion on Splitcoast Stampers about the subject. Firewood and kids toys were the most popular ideas there. I don't have small children nor do I have a fireplace/pit. There had to be more. I decided I would clean a few of the blocks and see if inspiration would strike during mindless work.

How to Remove the Cushion and Adhesive

Initially, this was not going to be a mindless task. All wood mounted stamps have a foam cushion between the wood and the rubber. Adhesive strength varies depending on the manufacturer, but the are all a bit of a bear to remove from the wood. I tried a variety of things to remove the adhesive so you wouldn't have to.

  • Rubber cement pickup -  not very efficient, too time-consuming, a bit messy

  • Mineral Oil - MESSY and ineffective

  • Un-Do - great on some surfaces, not so much on wood

  • Nail polish remover (non-acetone and acetone) - FAIL! The wood gets dry and raises the grain, and the stickiness is still there.
  • WD-40 - WINNER. Works great. Spray some in a shallow dish (I used a microwave dinner tray I washed) dip the sticky side in the WD-40 and let sit for a few minutes. Scrap off with a putty knife, and then wipe with a paper towel.  Drawbacks: there is an odd smell at first, but it subsides. The blocks are a bit oily, but oil absorbs into the wood over time.

  • Goo Gone - WINNER. This method works the same as the WD-40, but the scent is a lot more pleasant. I wasted a lot of Q-tips and cotton balls putting this citrus solvent on blocks. Once I started dipping the blocks into a shallow dish containing Goo Gone the job went much quicker.
After removing the stickiness from all sides of the blocks, I wiped them down well with a paper towel then sanded them to remove ink stains.

What to Make

A couple of unmounted stamp blocks become a photo holder - Katemade Designs ©2016
I only had to remove the adhesive from the foam side of some stamps. Different companies display the image a rubber stamp will make in various ways. Most use a sticker. Some have the print the image directly on the block itself — these blocks are like gold to me. After cleaning up the blocks, I sat at my desk and happily colored those printed blocks of wood with my Copic markers.

The larger blocks became photo holders. With a hand-colored image in the front and wooden clothespin glued to the back of the block to hold photos or notes. To increase the stability of these larger blocks of wood medium size blocks are used as bases. I used Sugru (great stuff Sugru, but I digress) to keep them together. I tried hot glue, but it just didn't have the staying power I wanted.

Unmounted stamp blocks become Phone/note holders - Katemade Designs ©2016
Some medium size blocks and acrylic frames became Post-it note/phone holders. The indented sides of stamps are perfect for holding a pen or stylus. The angle of the frame is just right for writing notes or reading/playing games on your phone.

Unmounted stamp blocks become Cute Magnets - Katemade Designs ©2016

Small blocks became magnets that are decorating refrigerators and lockers. Hot glue was the perfect adhesive for this project.

A bit of Mod Podge will transform background stamps into photo blocks and photo holders. I also have ideas for votive holders, but that involves a bit of drilling, and it's too cold outside to get the power tools going. (No garage or basement here.)

I read an article on The BoardSmith International, and one of those background stamps may become a cutting board for out next camping trip.

I also have plans to do some wood burning and possibly even some carving on a few of the blocks in my collection. Have you converted your wood mounted stamps to cling? If so what did you do with your wood blocks? Leave a comment and let me know.

Happy Crafting,

Katie's Signature with Katemade Designs Logo

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Converting Wood Mounted Stamps to Cling Stamps

How I lost over 35 lbs pounds without dieting or exercise

I didn't go on a crash diet or run a marathon. I sat at my craft table and converted wood mounted stamps into cling mounted stamps.

What you will need

  • EZ Mount Static Cling Mounting Foam
  • Hot Knife (I use the Creative Versa-Tool from Walnut Hollow)
  • Craft knife (I use an Olfa knife because it doesn't roll)
  • A heat safe surface - I use a tile trivet. Glass is also a good choice.
  • In the nice be not necessary department (NBNN) - an embossing buddy or some powder to remove the stickiness.

How to do it

  1. Peel rubber stamp off the wood block and foam.
  2. Turn on the hot knife, it should be really hot when it comes time to use it.
  3. Remove all foam and stickiness from the back side of the rubber stamp, it should be as smooth as possible.
  4. Peel the EZ Release printed liner completely off the cling side of the EZ-Mount foam.
  5. Turn the EZ-Mount over and find a good position for the stamp.
  6. Use the craft knife to cut a piece of foam to mount the stamp on. Close is good when trying to save money/materials but not critical as you will use the hot knife to get very close.
  7. Peel off the liner paper and place your stamp face up on the sticky surface.       (Quick Trick: After you peel a corner of the EZ Release printed liner up, tear a little bit of it off so you can use it to hold the adhesive EZ-Mount foam down while peeling the rest back. This saves a lot of headaches in trying to keep your hands and work surface from getting sticky.)
  8. Before using the hot knife, you can dab the sticky foam with an embossing buddy or some powder to remove the stickiness.

  9. Use the hot knife to cut the mounting foam of the edge of the stamp.
    (Quick Trick: If you place it on the heat safe surface, tilt the knife away from the stamp so that you have foam under the entire stamp.)

Quick Trick: Don't get your hair too close to a hot knife or you will hear a hiss and be assaulted by the smell of your burning hair. Trust me on this.

Come back soon to see what you can do with 35 pounds of wood.

Happy Crafting,

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why I SUCK as a Scrapbooker


To be a good scrapbooker you need to make time for the hobby. I can't seem to start a project like a scrapbook page and then come back to it later and it takes a good 45 minutes to an hour for me to put together a page (this number comes from research done at crops). I take my time and agonize over decisions, after all these are for posterity, my grandchildren's grandchildren may be looking at these things.

Instead I spend my time making cards and playing with my dog, hanging out with my kid, dinking around with Pinterest, reading crafty blogs, and if I am honest (head hung in shame) spending too much time playing King games like Candy Crush.


I am not a great photographer. I don't take a lot of pictures. I don't document each day. When there is an event I may take a photograph or two but I am often too busy enjoying the event to document it. I even got through two of my son's birthday parties without taking even one picture. The scrapper's shame.

I didn't grow up with a camera in my face. My ancestors didn't grow up with cameras in their faces either. The images of my dad and his family are precious because they are rare.

What is worth documenting

Three years ago today my father died. Today is his Angel Day. For the past three years life has not been something I generally wanted to document. My son and I have both had our battles with depression and loneliness. Grief takes time. Sometimes a lot of time.  I get up every morning and walk the dog and get outside and have some time to pray and be grateful for today. I encourage gratitude in my son but a grieving 12 year old often has trouble with the concept.

The period between May 28th, my father's birthday, and June 23rd his death date are always hard. Father's Day is particularly difficult on my son as his father is not in the picture. PawPaw was his male role model, his everything.

Scrapbooking, like journalism, is the first draft of history. It is also incredibly biased as it is a history generally told from one perspective. It is not neutral, it is often not just factual like journalism, there is a lot of emotion on the page. Most scrapbook pages I see in magazines and on blogs show happy, smiling people who clearly care for one another.

Scrapping a moody, grieving tween is not easy. Even though the sun is shining and the world is whirling around us sometimes we only see the gray gloominess of our own thoughts. We see what is missing and not what is here. How do you scrapbook that?

The blog plan

When I rebooted the blog the last time I was overly ambitious. I didn't take into account the needs of a dog that shadows me everywhere. I didn't anticipate side work that would help pay the bills. I didn't write far enough ahead to make this the blog I wanted for you (and me).

I will try to put down the candy crush and pick up the camera more. I have a lot of cards I could share with you but they end up on instagram more often then this blog. To see cute cardness you can follow me there.

Tips, tricks and ideas will return here, it due time. But for today it's time to grieve with my boy.

Happy Crafting,