I started crafting with stamps almost 8 years ago when I stumbled upon a generous lady in our church who wanted to host a baby shower for me when I was pregnant with our second son. My best friend knew her well and spoke of her often but I had yet to spend a lot of time in her company. That right there should tell you she is special. Not many people are willing to give of themselves to those they do not know. After she threw me a gorgeous baby shower I found that we had so much in common. She was crafty, resourceful and one of the most tender-hearted individuals I have ever met. She invited me over to stamp Christmas cards that year. I sat at her kitchen table as she brought up tray after tray of brand new wood-mounted stamps. Here to find out, she owned a stamp shop in the previous decade. That day I went home with a bag of stamps. I remember thinking I would never start crafting with stamps because I knew that it would be a collection that would be expensive and addicting. You can see how well that turned out! I am not sure if it was the stamps that drew me in, but I have a feeling it was the tea, fellowship and mutual interest that created my love for stamps. Whenever I think about my sweet friend, I remember the laughs and many happy hours we had together stamping and going to stamp shows.
It saddens my heart that we are in different states. We don’t talk often due to the constant nursing care she provides for her dear friend, but she is never far from my thoughts. She came into my life when I needed her the most. And even though God has seen fit to keep us at a distance for now, I still feel blessed to call her friend.
I have wanted to try my hand at carving since I have seen so many beautiful hand-carved stamps online. I am very inspired by block stamps. And my favorite collection of eye candy is by Gwen LaFleur. So, after stalking her photos I decided to quit lurking and give it a try. I checked this book out of the library, raided my little boys stash of erasers and grabbed my
Speedball Speedy-Carve Rubber Stamp Making Kit .
I started with a inspiration picture in the back of the book and then sketched it directly onto my eraser back.
I carved around the outside before starting in on the details. I found this to be a lot more difficult then one would think. I also forgot that the image gets flipped when you stamp it. As you can see, my mushroom would have looked better if flipped.
That same night, I tried cutting out a lotus design that I saw on a necklace from Etsy. My lighting was poor and I was tired so I might have cut off some of the lotus leaves. I need a lot more practice, especially before I can tackle a large detailed image. I have certainly grown a appreciation for all those amazing block stamps made in India. The detail is stunning and can you believe those are all done with wood and a chisel. I can see now why they are so expensive.
My sweet hubby gifted me this book and carving block for my birthday. I am so excited to give it another go. You know what they say, Practice Makes Perfect! Hopefully soon I will have some more hand carved stamps to show you.
If you have hand-carved your own stamps and would like to share them, I would love to see them. Please leave a link in the comments.