Rubber stamped cards

Here are some cards I recently rubber stamped, but I am not so good at photographing objects. Hopefully, you get the general idea, despite shadows on some.  I share these partly for my own future reference, for ideas when I stamp in the future. I am a simpler stamper, and not interested in more advanced technique or more involved steps.

Valentine’s Day cards…

I utilized my rubber stamps, stickers, and other paper craft supplies to make Valentine’s Day cards that I dropped off today at a local nursing home. As these COVID-19 times continue, try to think of folks that might feel particularly isolated and reach out in some way.  Here are 2 photos of the cards – about 60 of them.

Are you avoiding a hobby that you supposedly enjoy? Re-sparking creativity and fun

I know not all pen pals are involved with rubber stamping, but some of these thoughts can apply to other related hobbies. I’ve rubber stamped for – wow, thinking about it – about 27 years. My level of involvement has varied over the years, times where I have done more, less, or almost no stamping. But in the last 5 years or so, I have done more stamping than ever before, I enjoy it much more, and I think I make better quality items than in the past. Why? Several different reasons.

For one, since rubber stamping is not as popular as it was years ago, I frequently find wood block rubber stamps at thrift stores very inexpensively. I am frugal, and it has been quite exciting for me (haha) to add so many stamps to my collection so cheaply. More stamps to work with, of course, provides a bigger variety of options for card making and that spurs my interest.

But also, in the last few years, my approach to stamping changed in several ways. Often, years ago, I now realize, I was trying to imitate other’s stamping, and many did involved and complex stamping projects. I would try such things and was always disappointed when my results fell short. (Perfectionist tendencies come into play here too.) I’m also a practical person that likes things to be simpler, and the complex stamp projects were more frustrating than fun for me. In addition, I was sometimes focused on trying to make some money stamping. (Many stamp companies had/have “angel policies” where you can sell items you make with your stamps as long as you are selling handmade originals, not mass producing them.)

So, combining these things, I was stamping with the wrong approach and for wrong reasons. Instead of imitating others, I needed to find MY stamping style and niche – stamping in my own way, in a way that I enjoy, that fits my preference for simpler projects. Of course, we can learn techniques from others, but can adapt the techniques to better fit our own style.

Also, the why behind what we do is important. This quote is about writing, but can apply to other things: “Write because you love the art and the discipline, not because you are looking to sell something.” Ann Patchett

When your primary motivation is to monetize a hobby, that affects you, even if you don’t realize it. Of course, one can both enjoy something and want to make money too, but when the primary motivator is money that can stifle creativity and throw off your focus.

Perfectionist tendencies can have a similar affect, leaving you frustrated and disappointed, and those feelings are not conducive to you enjoying and developing your hobby!

Whatever the hobby is:

Be yourself. Enjoy yourself. Find your niche. Find your own style.

Sure, get ideas from others, but why feel pressured to do it just like them, especially if certain techniques are actually stressful to you, rather than fun?

And who cares if what you make isn’t “perfect”! Who defines perfect anyways? Relax. In the end, you may have better results, than if you were striving for so-called perfection.


Easy Way to Make DIY Cute Envelope — Otterspace Studio

I had a post about how to make envelopes. I have different templates that I utilize. However, I think the method this blogger uses is simpler and easier than my method! Check it out!

If you didn’t already know, Andit and I (owners of Otterspace Studio) currently live in different countries. We send letters to each other quite often. Yes, we definitely still contact each other via messenger, but we both love receiving snail mail, it’s like receiving an unexpected gift 😀 Someday, when I finished writing a letter, […]

Easy Way to Make DIY Cute Envelope — Otterspace Studio

Card making/paper crafting, free antique nature images

Thinking of this, I recently came across the Biodiversity Heritage Library where antique images of flora, fauna, nature, birds, insects, seashells, etc. are available for free!

I learned about this from a Smithsonian article: You Can Now Download 150,000 Free Illustrations of the Natural World. “Botanical illustrations offer mesmerizingly detailed and vividly colored glimpses of the natural world. Now, reports Hakim Bishara for Hyperallergic, more than 150,000 such artworks are freely available for download via the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), an open-access digital archive that preserves images and documents related to botany, wildlife and biodiversity.”

Remember that years ago, before cameras, or when cameras were not as high tech, artists would draw images of nature.

I noticed that if you want to download an entire album of images, rather than just one image, this note comes up: “We’ll zip up these items and give you a link to download them when they are ready. These items belong to another Flickr member and they own the copyright. Be sure you respect the license on each of these items.”

Note that, from my knowledge, utilizing copyrighted images is fine for personal use. For example, you make original note cards for your own personal use. (While mass producing and/or making items to sell would be a copyright violation.) Please correct me if I am wrong, anyone. I don’t want to encourage the breaking of copyright laws!

Regardless, the nature images are just lovely. And while I don’t use an iPad or e-reader type advice, I’m sure some would enjoy downloading some of these albums and scrolling through them on their device.

I like seashells and here is one of the Biodiversity Heritage Library images from this album:

Finding calendars for envelope (and card) making…

Some pen pals make envelopes from old calendar pages. Past post here. I’ve had pen pals say they have a hard time finding old calendars. I have excess calendars on hand and no problem acquiring them free or for cheap. How?

Each year I have 2 wall calendars hanging in my house, one in my kitchen and one in my office/craft room. That gives me pages for 24 envelopes when the year is over. Usually one of these was a gift, as those close to me know that I still use wall calendars to “schedule” my life.

I know less people use wall calendars now-a-days, but I’ve asked family/friends to give me their old calendars at year’s end and I’ve acquired a few that way. In the first few months of a new year, I’ve seen wall calendars in thrift shops for cheap – say $1.

I have already received 6 wall calendars for 2020 from charity groups!! I normally don’t get this many – and it appears that one nature organization that we support has sold our name and address (grrrr….) but at least I will make use of these excess calendars! I feel no obligation to donate money to a place that sends me an unsolicited calendar.

[We do donate money to various organizations, but only to ones that we have carefully investigated and want to support – not simply because they sent a calendar or address labels! I’ve received freebies from organizations that I would most definitely not want to support due to ideological differences or evidence that they misuse funds.]

Several years ago I was in a “salvage” store, and they had a pile of calendars from the previous year for FREE! These were lovely, quality calendars featuring nature and animals. I took 7 or 8. I still have some of these.

Yes… I have calendars a plenty for envelope making!

Besides for envelope use, I utilize the back cover of calendars.The back cover often has a small photo of each month’s picture, so you know what you are getting when you purchase it. But even free calendars from charity groups can have these on the back cover. I cut these out and utilize them when I make cards with my rubber stamps. For example, the cards below I shared in a post last year, and each has a photo from the back page of calendars (featuring cats!) for the month of October.

I also have plenty of old roadmaps to make envelopes, and have no problem finding these either. For example, buy an old road atlas at a thrift shop for cheap.

My envelope making supply stash overflows!

Vintage postage stamps – link

Kimberly Ah had a really great post today with photos of her outgoing mail using vintage postage stamps. Link here: Vintage Postal Mail

I had a huge childhood stamp collection, many were postmarked stamps, but a few were new ones. In the last couple years I’ve been using the new ones when I need an odd amount of postage. However, I am always hesitant to use them – using something one of a kind. Well, I know not literally one of a kind but I’ll likely not have those same unique older stamps again. And will my recipient really appreciate the unique envelope and save it forever?  -haha

On a rambling note, I tried to “reblog” the post and accidentally did so to my wrong blog!! Oops. I have 3 blogs: on postal mail, Christianity, and genealogy.

Washi tape frustration

I only discovered washi tape about a year ago when 2 or 3 of my pen pals began using it. I buy most of my pen pal and paper craft related supplies (stationery, rubberstamps, etc) at thrift stores – therefore I may not be aware of new trends. I do go in craft stores every so often, as you can’t find everything at thrift stores!

Washi tape seems to come in multi-packs, with anywhere from several to a dozen rolls in a package. Usually there seems a theme for the pack. My frustration? I usually only like 1 or 2 rolls in the package! I don’t want to buy 5 or 10, disliking most, just to get a couple rolls I do like!

Anyone else? Maybe I am too picky. I suppose many just take what they get and use it. I guess I want to really love each tape design! I wish it was easier to buy individual rolls.

One time in a local craft store they did have a bin filled with single rolls of washi tape. They all looked partly used and were inexpensively priced. Probably they used them for a craft class, and these were ones left over. I found one roll I liked – yeah!