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      Thursday, May 28, 2015

02:25 PM - 05/28/2015

The topic: “Paperwork be damned”


Is what will be on my headstone...

So, instead of doing the paperwork with the stampmaking machine being the reward, I started with the stampmaking machine. I justified it like this "if I don't test it out, I won't be able to concentrate on the paperwork". And I did one stamp from start to finish. I did the artwork for all of the stamps Brian wants, had him proof read what I'd done, then printed them out. Then I cut one out and realized that there was going to be a problem. I kinda sorta used the A7 sizing, but it wasn't quite right. The problem would be that there would be clear space around the artwork and the lighting. And the mats that came with the kit weren't quite right for blocking the light. 

I got a piece of black cardstock (with a black core) and cut it to size. I cut out the center area so that it would work around the text on the negative (I'm going to make more of these with different size opening; I'm sure there will be a need for them). I placed the negative, the mat, the gel in the clamp, did the timer (six seconds with the clamp one way, then flipped it over and used the timer for a hundred seconds the other way). 

I then took the gel pack over to the kitchen trash, cut around the outside, peeled the one layer off, wiped a lot of the excess gel off with papertowels, then started the cleaning. I spent a good amount of time with this because I wanted to make sure all of the excess gel was removed. Then I put it in the tray for hardening, and instead of two minutes, went for about five and a half minutes. I really don't like how sticky my sample stamp turned out last night. Once hardened, I cut around the design and tested my very first custom stamp. (Clicking on a picture will take you to a bigger photo in my online album; clicking on that picture will open a larger photo.)

This is pink because when I made the test stamp, I used the first color I grabbed out of my ink box. Wild Orchid by Ranger. 

The back of the stamp.

Look at the definition on the lettering. I was really surprised at how nicely it turned out.

The cling vinyl, ready for application.

The acrylic block. This was in the Silhouette Stampmaking kit, the one that gave me fits. No complaint about the blocks that came with it.

Stamp assembled.


And the result.

Like I said, I'm really happy with this. After all the research I did and all of the instructions and disaster stories I read beforehand, I was thrilled it worked on the first try. This just doesn't happen for me. I always make some mistake along the way. 

Brian said he'll go to San Diego to a local plastics place and check out their remnants so we can make our own acrylic blocks. He figures that will be the cheapest way to go, since he's not going to want to assemble these things each time he needs one.

And now that I know it will work and work nicely...

Eyes the stack of paperwork....


06:28 AM - 05/28/2015

The topic: I made stamps last night!


From the sample negative. There's a "happy birthday", the numbers 1,2 and 3, "handmade by", a little Christmas ornament and a heart with the words "home sweet home" in the center. So, I used the negative and one of the gel packs, followed the directions and made all of those stamps! 

I cut them apart and used some cling vinyl and printed out a little Home Sweet Home" sentiment. It was adorable! And the cling vinyl is washable; as I said yesterday, these gel packs don't make stamps that are sticky on the front so you either have to glue them to the acrylic or use some sort of binder. The cling vinyl worked nicely for me and it's washable which makes it reusable.

The only downside of this is the smell of the gel. After the stamp is made, you have to cut the pack apart and get rid of all of the gel that didn't harden and do a thorough wash of the stamp itself to remove all of the excess gel (if you don't do this, during the final step, the hardening, this remaining gel will affect the finished stamp). It's awful! Brian mentioned it when he walked into the kitchen as I was rinsing off the gel. The finished stamps have a residual odor to them, which I sure hope goes away with airing out. 


So, now that I have something I really, really want to do, that will be my carrot. (Looks over at the growing pile of paperwork.) Next on the list is to make my own negatives so then I can make truly custom stamps.

      Wednesday, May 27, 2015

06:50 AM - 05/27/2015

The topic: I’m getting a new crafting tool today


And I'm really excited about it. 

Brian uses rubber stamps in his business. He has these tags he stamps directions on that he attaches to what he sends out, so the customers know what goes where. The first stamps I got were about twenty or thirty dollars each. As the business evolved, he's changed what the stamps need to say. We never got more stamps, though, he's been hand writing on the tags. 

Then I started doing this craft stuff.  At the end of last year was when I realized how much fun stamping can be. (I used stamps on my Christmas cards). I had stamps from ages ago, before we were married, but never did anything with them. And the acrylic stamps interested me. And I started buying them, because I really do want to sell stuff I make and my handwriting is awful. I have enough stamps now to fill probably any occasion.

Well, earlier this month I'd ordered some Disney acrylic stamps, just to have on hand. And I didn't get the Disney stamps, I got some other stamps for babies. I contacted the manufacturer and she was surprised to see what I'd gotten. They hadn't even been released yet. But she told me she designed her own stamps and had a company make them and you can buy her brand through Amazon, Walmart and eBay. Well, this got me to thinking. Maybe I could have someone make my acrylic stamps.

I found a place to make them and ordered some. The baby lisa graphic, "created by lisaviolet", "lisaviolet designs", "lvdesigns.com" and one other one. The cost was about seventy dollars for all of them. And I did more research.

Now, earlier this year I'd purchased Silhouette's branded stampmaking kit and was nothing but frustrated with it. I got it to make new stamps for Brian. What a mistake. And, doing some after purchase research, I read that the Silhouette media was particular in the inks used. And so it sat in the box in the storage cabinet since. So, I wasn't really sure about finding anything workable for stampmaking. But I did. And this thing has got great reviews.

The Photocentric Imagepac Stampmaker (this link is to the cheapest place I've found for the kit). Right now, that site has a sale, as well as free shipping, on orders over $99.00.  So, I ordered extra consumables (I read that there is a learning curve with this machine, so I want to be prepared) and it's supposed to be here today! Yay! Brian has given me a list of ten stamps he wants. And since I will be making my own negatives and the film used to make the negs is bigger than each stamp, I need to come up with enough different stamps to fill a page. I haven't gotten much sleep, I'm so excited about this.

I've tested out my printer (when they're printed, the black needs to be solid black, no light should get through) and it's good to go.  How this works is this kit comes with gel packs. The negative is placed over the gel pack and put into a light machine that hardens the gel under the clear areas of the negative. It doesn't do squat to the gel under the black part of the negative and this gets washed off with brushing and dish soap and water. Then it gets put in the light machine again where it hardens all the way.

This gel isn't the kind that comes out sticky on the back, you know, to put it on acrylic blocks for use, so I ordered some Graphix cling paper over on Amazon. Hopefully, that will allow the stamp to stick to a block.

And the blocks...I really don't want to spend a lot on acrylic blocks, since the purpose of this is making my own stamps as cheaply as possible, after the initial outlay. I've done research and I think I'll contact some local plastics places to see if I can get a good deal on acrylic sheets. Brian can cut them to size and I'll glue pieces together to get the thickness I want. As for handles, I ordered some empty wooden thread spools over on eBay. I can paint them and make them pretty and glue them to the acrylic.

If you want to research this, this machine is the same one that is sold under the Teresa Collins brand. Check out the YouTube videos. 

Yeah, I've put a lot of thought into this. I'm really stoked about it.


And then there's all that paperwork I need to do.....


      Tuesday, May 26, 2015

mrs. crankypants
01:22 PM - 05/26/2015

The topic: I’m not loving this weather


The marine layer (the cloud layer above the ocean) has been really thick the past couple of weeks. So thick at times that we get drizzle out of it. I don't mind it when it drizzles, but I don't like the constant grey of the clouds. No sun, no blue sky, just grey skies as far as the eye can see.

I want to clean the house, which includes windows and floors, but nothing dries. 

It's getting depressing. This weather blows.


08:30 AM - 05/26/2015

The topic: Well, don’t that blow your dress up?


(A guy I used to work with said that all the time.)

Yesterday, Katie was crying for food. Instead of mixing the A/D or Fancy Feast with water and using the hand held blender to blend it, I just opened a can of A/D and let her eat. Right out of the can. All I did was stir it with a fork.

Within an hour, she'd eaten three quarters of the can. I was amazed. She ate more last night (we were gone for a few hours). 

She slept on the bed last night and was asking for food first thing this morning. The past couple of weeks she's been sleeping until nine in the morning, but this morning, she was up when we were, wanting to be fed.

Okay. Here's your brand new can of A/D. Oh, here's a little bit of chicken baby food on a spoon, would you like that? (That's where her pain meds hide.) She ate it.

I can live with this routine.



      Saturday, May 23, 2015

02:55 PM - 05/23/2015

The topic: So Katie says


"It's not that I'm not hungry, mom, I just don't like what you gave me. It was pretty yummy yesterday, but not so great today. So, thank you for the jar of chicken baby food that you warmed up. That was tasty. Now, I'll try to do a little grooming, then go back to  my napping."

10:20 AM - 05/23/2015

The topic: Katie woke up


Wanting to eat. I got her food ready, she lapped a small amount off of a spoon. Fortunately, the spoon had the metacam in it, so she got her pain meds.

The thing is, she didn't eat very much at all. The enlarging tumor is making it harder and harder for her to eat. Maybe it's the pain, but the size doesn't help. I'll feed her again in an hour or so, hoping she eats more. 

It's very hard to do this, because she's in good spirits when she's awake, she loves being petted. She's alert and interested in what's going on around her. But she can't eat. Brian said something about syringe feeding, but that would mean putting something in her mouth. Even if she was the kind of cat who would allow something like that, I think it would be pretty painful.

It's looking like her time is getting near. The tumor doesn't bleed hardly at all, but one of these days she won't be able to swallow. And that would be horrific. 

I hate this. I hate death watch.


mrs. crankypants
08:50 AM - 05/23/2015

The topic: Remember my problems with the post office?


Earlier this month? Well, what I've found out so far from talking with my mailman is that it was delivered to a different street with the same address numbers. 

The relief driver told the regular driver that the people admitted having gotten it. The problem? The people who live there have been evicted.

So, we know it was delivered. We know who got it. We DON'T know where they are and what they've done with my package. I sent an email to the local post office on Monday, asking about the status of this and I also sent a copy of the invoice for the blades ($33.98).  So far, I've not heard back (this was the same supervisor who told our mailman not to deliver a box to us that was priority mail because there was other mail that was more important that needed delivery - this was a huge fight with Brian and the post office; he went down there to pick up the package, there was stuff in there he had promised a customer that we'd have it out in the mail that day).

I'll give her until June 1 to respond. If she hasn't, I'll send another mail to the file a claim contact form on USPS and explain the whole thing. I want my blades or I want my money. This wasn't a seller error, this wasn't my error, it was a post office error (and it's been admitted it was a post office error) and I want it rectified.

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lisaviolet is sixty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

In her spare time, she makes pretty things to sell in her store.

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