Monday, April 24, 2017

Upside Down Dream Maker: Doodling Challenge! by Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

I like to give myself creative challenges. For example, I’ll change my perspective by turning something upside down, forcing me to look at it in a new way. It’s a lot of fun.

Imagine what a tree looks like with the roots at the top and the leaves at the bottom (a woodland creature wearing a green skirt, an off-beat ostrich, a pitcher carved by Shrek). Things can turn totally abstract or head in a more whimsical direction.

This time, I turned the Dream Maker stamp from RubberMoon upside down, started doodling, and before I knew it, a mix of people, animals, birds and a little green bug had appeared.

Care to join me?

Here’s how it works:

1. Turn the Dream Maker stamp so that the lip line is at the top. Repeatedly stamp it on a sheet of inexpensive paper. Experiment on this sheet until you like the way the faces are turning out. Use a pencil with an eraser if you want to be able to change your mind, or use a marker if you want to commit to the marks you make.

2. It is probably easiest to start with the eyes. The line now at the top (formerly the lip line) can be used in many ways - BETWEEN the eyes, ON TOP OF the eyes, or BELOW the eyes.

3. The pair of lines now at the bottom (formerly the eye lines) can be used as part of a beak, as part of a mouth, as part of a group of whiskers, as part of a moustache or whatever else YOU see when you look at the lines.

4. The line in the middle can remain part of the nose, get incorporated into a pair of glasses, among other options.

5. Once you’re pleased with your preliminary sketches (faces only), repeat with additional sheets of paper and add the bodies!

6. Now you’re ready to stamp, doodle, draw and color on cardstock. Artist Trading Cards (2.5” x 3.5”) are a good place to start – they’re the perfect scale for the Dream Maker Stamp, no need to fuss with much of a background. Your art journal or sketchbook, envelopes, bookmarks, tags, and card fronts are also fun alternatives.

7. Keep going beyond the samples shown. Add more: Stamp or hand-letter words, dates, additional images. Stamp a flock of birds, overlapping their bodies, but not their heads. Stamp a group of friends on the front of a birthday card. The more you invent, the more your imagination will soar!

8. Gather a group of friends or get the kids in on the act. Bake a pineapple upside down cake, wear a sock on your head, turn the clock upside down, and let the fun begin!!!

  • Dream Maker stamp (RubberMoon)
  • Fine nib black pen
  • Black ink
  • Markers, colored pencils

Monday, April 17, 2017

Dog, Star, Moon, Cake Envelopes By Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

I had such a good time spending some of my Garage Sale store credit at The Queen’s Ink the other day. I took home four stamps and immediately whipped up a big batch of envelopes! I plan on using them for birthday cards, of course, but having a stamp that says ‘I hope this year is a piece of cake’ makes them equally appropriate for anniversary cards, UN-birthday cards, and sending good wishes to someone with a new job.

Stamping and coloring a batch of envelopes is fast, easy and fun, relaxing and yet engaging enough to feel creative, and affordable (envelopes cost only pennies and are meant to be tossed!).

Design Strategies:

Start with a dark color ink (I went for Espresso), stamp the images in a variety of combinations (variety is the spice of life, after all), and then get out your favorite markers, pens, colored pencils and color as much or as little as you choose. I don’t recommend watercolors for envelopes because the paper is so thin, but there are no rules – use whatever you like best!

Fill in the background, or not. Choose a frame-style stamp of some kind for the address block, leave the area free and clear, or add hand-drawn lines. Doodle a little or a lot. If you like a sketchy look, don’t worry about coloring inside the lines – let juicy marker inks spread and mix. (You’ll see a lot of that on my samples!) If you want to stay firmly planted inside the lines, then colored pencils may be the best bet.

Your Turn:

1. Order the stamps I used from The Queen’s Ink, or choose any four that you think will work well together. For the address block, include one that is a frame of some kind.

2. Practice the compositions on inexpensive copy paper or head straight for the envelopes. Stamp at LEAST a dozen. (The more you stamp the more ideas will pop into your head…) Do a little masking here and there if you want elements to overlap, for example, the New Moon can peek up inside the Stardust Frame.

3. Color. Color some more.

4. USE the envelopes. Fill them with newspaper clippings, cards, letters, dried flowers or whatever you feel like sending to friends and family. Get them out there… Kids LOVE getting mail. College students love getting mail, too (though you might have to send them a text message to remind them to go look in their mailbox or your missive might languish for quite a while).


  • Stardust Frame DB4923J (RubberMoon)
  • New Moon KP5009F (RubberMoon)
  • Hope This Year is a Piece of Cake EG5561E (RubberMoon)
  • Laurel Burch Dog Tail Run (Stampendous)

  • Ink in dark color of choice
  • Markers (Shown: Winsor & Newton ProMarkers)
  • Pens (Sakura Pigma Micron 01 in black, Gelly Roll Medium in white)
  • Envelopes (Shown: A2 size)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Hand-Carved Stamps Meet Stampstracts from RubberMoon By Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

 Here’s a recipe for some creative fun…

1. Gather supplies on the list below.
  • Cardstock in ivory, white, pre-folded notecards with raised border
  • A few hand-carved stamps (I carved these over 20 years ago!)
  • A large spatter pattern background stamp or spatter pattern roller or a spatter brush plus ink (I used a vintage Fiskars roller)
  • Rubber stamps, the same scale as the hand-carved stamps (I chose Stampstracts from RubberMoon)
  • Two or three stamping inks (something other than black)
  • An artist’s sponge for smooshing on color
  • Markers, colored pencils, pens (I used Winsor & Newton ProMarkers, Prismacolor pencils, Sakura Pigma Micron and Gelly Roll White)
  • Cookie fortunes, collage papers, feathers, a stapler
  • Glue stick

2. Stamp some scenes and backgrounds using my samples for inspiration. Use a mix of hand-carved and purchased stamps.

3. Color, doodle, and cut up some of the pieces. Combine, layer, add collage; create cards and postcards.

Other options:
*Work directly in an art journal or on a Stampbord or canvas. (Choose inks or paints appropriate to the substrate.)
*Decorate envelopes or Artist Trading Cards.
*Instead of small scenes, stamp whole sheets of cardstock or lightweight paper to cut or tear for collage.

Care to join me?
If you haven’t carved stamps before, not to worry! I’d love to teach a class called Carve and Stamp. It takes very little time to carve small blocks like these, and a couple of hours to stamp projects like these.

Please leave a comment here or call the store if you’d enjoy a class based on this blog post. If there is enough interest, the class will be added to the calendar for late spring or early summer. (I’ve been carving stamps since childhood and my BFA is in printmaking. Or as I like to put it: Have bench hook and baren, will teach!)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Easter Eggs - Embossed Shimmer Sheetz By Judi Kauffman for The Queen’s Ink

I’m crazy about the Kaisercraft ‘Tiles’ embossing folder I picked up a couple of weeks ago at The Queen’s Ink and knew right away that it would be perfect for my annual Easter egg-making marathon! I get out the Shimmer Sheetz, emboss up a storm, and then cut out egg shapes to use on my cards and share as ornaments. I’m in Year Five, I think!

I no longer use messy dyes and real eggs. These are fast and fabulous.

 This year I made a few diorama cards, several small square cards with matching pocket-style envelopes, hanging ornaments, and flat-front cards, too. They’re meant as inspiration because no two people have the same supplies on hand.

I used patterned papers from my collection (calling it a collection instead of a stash gives it more panache, don’t you think?), as well as a vintage tulip-pattern embossing folder for the rows of flowers.

You can easily substitute stamped, stenciled, hand-drawn, hand-painted, or fussy-cut flowers. Instead of patterned papers for the backgrounds and small pocket envelopes, do some gel printing on paper and cardstock and you’ll be ready to roll! As to the embellishments, anything goes: Crocheted flowers, a resin bird, washi tape…

Or stick to solid color cardstock. Simple, fast, and…Easy Isn’t Cheating!

For ornaments, simply emboss the Shimmer Sheetz, cut out the eggs, pierce or punch a hole at the top and add cord or ribbon. Shimmer Sheetz is colorfast and waterproof. As long as you use colorfast cord or ribbon the eggs can go outdoors. I like to hang a few on our neighbor’s tree! And they make great decorations for indoor parties, too.

Another option: Tuck a couple of these flat, lightweight, easy-to-mail ornaments into an envelope with a handwritten note or long letter. (Letter writing isn’t a lost art; it’s just been misplaced lately.)

Draw your own egg-shaped pattern template and hand-cut the eggs or use a commercial die if you prefer.

  • Shimmer Sheetz in colors of choice (Shown: Pink, Light Pink, White, Orange, and Yellow Iridescent)
  • Kaisercraft ‘Tiles’ embossing folder or folders of choice
  • Assorted papers, cardstock and embellishments
  • Additional embossing folders of choice
  • Cord or ribbon (for egg-shaped ornaments)
  • Templates or dies for envelopes and cards
  • Foam tape or squares, adhesives of choice