Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Did you hear that?

Did you hear something? Like a popping noise? If you did, it was something popping in my know, that little thing that allows you to STAMP STRAIGHT! Sigh ...

The Gaithersburg Farmers Markets start this weekend, and I have a table there where I sell my cards. [Shameless Plug: The Main Street Pavillion in the Kentlands. Saturday's 10-2, May-Oct.] In prior years, this is about the time I start to panic, having been a total slug all winter, so that I do not have enough stuff to sell the first weekend in May. But, I actually do this year, so instead of panic, I thought I'd be productive....imagine that.

The Kentlands is one of those upscale planned communities, and the houses are GORGEOUS. Lots of brownstones with lovely yards; lots of old-looking homes without the old-acting plumbing, etc. All new and beautiful. So last year I decided to make up packs of note cards to sell in addition to my individual regular cards. And this is what I came up with:

Classy, huh? Well, they sold like hot-cakes! And as any good crafter knows, if it works, you make more.

As you can probably tell, these are very time-consuming to make. First I print the City & State using my computer (we KNOW those are straight!). Then, using my Stamp-A-Ma-Jig, I stamp the three brownstones (images are by A Muse), one at a time, then I stamp the lamp. Then I move on to card #2, repeat. In my last session I made about 50 of them - might as well crank 'em all out at once.

Then I go back and watercolor each of the houses. First, I do all the yellow houses and the "glow" in the lamp posts (I used Stampin' Up!s So Saffron), then all the Reds (SU's Cranberry Crisp or maybe Bravo Burgundy - I forget), then the Greens (Artichoke, I think). Then I do all the stairs, top and bottom stonework and columns in Sahara Sand, then the doors in Creamy Caramel.

The ritual ends when I pack 'em up with envelopes 5 to a pack, then I take a hot bath followed by a nap.

Fast forward to this year, more specifically to today. I took 1/2 a day off from my Day Job this afternoon to meet the Exterminator (it is ant season, and I live in a basement - it's a once-a-year thing we do here), so with my gift of extra stamping time, I decided to make some of these note cards to replenish my stock for Saturday's market. It was a fine idea while it lasted, then there was that annoying pop.

To get in the mood, I started with something a little different; it's an idea I've been wanting to try. I bought this house stamp (Zum Gali Gali) because it looks like a house in an old artsy kind of town. Part of Gaithersburg, where I live, is Historic and there are a lot of houses that look like this. Sooo, I thought I'd make a few cards using this house, surrounding it with trees (stamp by Rubber Stampede):

I even stamped THIS house crooked. Sigh. I decided to call it "character" and moved on. It will look much better after I color it. Really!

To get the trees to work, I stamped the house, masked it part-way, then inked the trees with green and brown markers and stamped it over the masked house. The partial mask lets some of the tree branches slop over the house to look more natural.

(Please ignore the green muck stuck to the front of the's sticky stuff stuck on my scanner from an earlier scan.)

Then I took a deep sigh and moved on to the brownstone cards. At first I thought I was maybe just a bit rusty, but after about 10 attempts, I realized it was truly Operator Error. I could not stamp those #$(*^#$ brownstones straight to save my soul! Yes, I used the Stamp-A-Ma-Jig. After a while I even drew a LINE on the card to line up the images with the Stamp-A-Ma-Jig. HAHAHAHA! No luck, as you can see here:
To the untrained eye, it looks okay. In fact, a lot of what I consider unworthy of inclusion in a 5-pack get sold as singles, and people snatch them up. We are our own worst critics, after all, no?

Anyway, to most stampers, and maybe to most Engineers, and Carpenters, and IRS Auditors, these are really crooked. Do ya see how that one in the middle is leaning a bit downhill to the left? And I just noticed the one on the right is leaning, too. When they all follow a line uphill, I tell people the houses are on a hill. Well, they COULD be, right? But this one is just plain tilted. The lamp is, too.

Anyway, this one will be a single once I color it in. And this is about the 15th one I made tonight. Some of my early attemps tonight did not even make the Singles cut.

Then I made this one:

Can you see the line I drew to keep it straight? Can you see where I totally missed that line and stamped the light about 1/8 inch BELOW the line? Can you see that I then stamped the brownstone so far over that same line that it obliterated the name of the city? Can you? Huh?!?!?! I believe I said, "Oh, darn!" out loud. Woke up the cat.

It was at this point that my pal and enabler Marianne, via our nightly phone call, suggested that I was a much better cutter than a stamper, and maybe I'd have better luck stamping the houses on patterned paper and cutting them out, then STICKing them to the cards instead of trying to line those guys up over and over again. What a genius she is! I immediately discarded my SAMJ and dug up the patterned paper from my hoard, er ... stash. Here is my first attempt:

Yeah, I even stick 'em on crooked. But I have to tell you, this was WAY easier than that SAMJ! I think with some practice I may even get them straight enough to qualify for a 5-pack! A girl can dream!

I will have to do some cutting out for the door, etc, but I can handle that. I was thinking of trying the white gel pen for the windows. And maybe NOT cutting out the doors and using a brown gel pen for those.

So my plans for the rest of the week, after I prep for Sunday's workshops, that is, (where are my priorities?!?!), is to stamp a bunch of these and take them with me Saturday to the Farmers Market. I can cut them all out while I am not selling anything. I think I'll leave the sticking and the alignment for another day.

Right now, I could use a hot bath and a nap. ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! You have been tagged!!! List 7 things about yourself and tag 7 other bloggers!


I'd love to hear what you really think! :-)

PS: I've had to disable Anonymous comments, because the spammers were killing me. If you are unable to comment, please email me your comment and I'll get it posted for you. Sorry. (stoopid spammers)