hand carved stamps

My latest crush is on hand carving stamps. With my family’s birthday season in full swing, I was feeling inspired to make some helium balloons. With my vintage Speedball carver in hand I made 2 stamps. Check out that price… $2.55 and it’s made of WOOD!

vintage Speedball linoleum carving tool

I really love to take something like this and simply stamp them onto paper with plenty of space around each stamp. It’s fun to see how different each stamp turns out with a variety of textures.

hand carved balloon stamps

Then I scan at high resolution and use Photoshop to clean up. Now I have 10 balloons that look unique. For me, that’s the way life is and my art should reflect that. For something like this, I don’t like each thing to look the same. They ended up like this.


stamped balloons

These balloons are available in my ETSY store HERE

My FIRST hand carved stamp was made using that very Speedball carver. It was for my high school art class. That actual linoleum was ridiculously hard and impossible to do any fine detail. Born to Run was just released and this Springsteen fan bought the album. Miss Bernarden was not thrilled with my topic choice, but I actually sold a few prints to friends. This was WAY before ETSY!

vintage linoleum block cut

Lilla Rogers: Bootcamp | Jell-O assignment

I must admit I wasn’t feelin the March assignment for Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells: Assignment Bootcamp. Jell-o was the inspiration. Bolt fabric was the assignment. My color inspiration started out with this image from an old Terrain email that I pinned HERE.


The pattern was designed with Adobe Illustrator CC’s pattern maker. The pattern maker still has the annoying issue of a 1 pixel white line grid that appears when copying the pattern into Photoshop! I must be the only one who does this and is not bothered by it! I kept brightening the colors from my original palette as I worked on the design. Lilla suggested a pale nugget color palette, but that just made me sad, so I stayed with the happy colors.

This is my final submission.


All of this snow and cold weather has me in a funk and I’m cranky. Not quite sure what I can do to get out of it?!?! There are dozens of excuses I could make, but that won’t really help. It is what it is and I need to move on.

Tomorrow will be a better day!

Lilla Rogers: Bootcamp | cuckoo assignment

Consider me a soldier in Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells: Assignment Bootcamp. Lilla’s book  I Just Like to Make Things: Learn the Secrets to Making Money while Staying Passionate about your Art and Craft has lots of very helpful and inspiring info. Her e-course MATS Make Art That Sells looks AMAZING, but I could not justify the cost. Not sure I if I would be able commit to it, while stressing over the cost. Bootcamp seemed perfect for me! It is spread over 6 months, so I can wait till the last minute if I need to, or I can diligently be working on it throughout the month. And it’s affordable for me.

For February, Cuckoo clocks were the inspiration. iPhone case, was the assignment. On the first day BOOTCAMP went live, I read about the inspiration. All month long I would think about it, but I was SO busy creating things for photoDUDS, there was no time to do any cuckoo creating.

The facebook group page scared me, because this was my first time doing something like this. I wanted to stay true to myself and not “do what everybody else was doing”. Self doubt was not going to stop me.

On Saturday, I blocked out some time and finally read about the assignment. Doesn’t it figure! The assignment was DUE in a few hours. Even though I’m not much of a sketcher, but I forced myself. My mind is ALWAYS thinking and seeing designs ALL of the time. It won’t stop! I pencil sketched various thoughts I had throughout the month.

dinnys garden cuckoo sketch

dinnys garden cuckoo sketch

Ink drawings and watercolors, that’s what I’ll do! However, I had too much DUDS stuff on my table to move, so off to the computer…

Color schemes are where I typically start. The inspiration image came from one of Lilla’s bootcamp posts. When creating a color scheme, I use Photoshop’s COLOR PICKER to select colors from my image,  and dump the colors into lots of  boxes. NOTE: Do this on a layer ABOVE the inspiration image, so it’s easier to adjust the colors to my liking. Even after doing this, the colors will get tweaked while working on a project.


In Adobe Illustrator, I started to draw the basic shapes, starting with the roof. While drawing in Illustrator, I have learned to save everything in bits, because you will always want to go back and change things later. My Illustrator desktop tends to look like this.

Illustrator desktop | cuckoo

Illustrator desktop | cuckoo

I’m an old school Illustrator user, since it was first developed in 1988 – they used to name the software by year back then. There are probably ways to do this better or more efficiently, but it’s what I’m used to and that works for me. The dot pattern to the clock body bothered my how the dots lined up or rather didn’t line up nicely, so it was edited out. Patterned papers were designed, but they didn’t thrill me.

The illustration was intended for use on an iPhone. Since the image would end up around 2″ wide, I didn’t want the details to get lost, so it remained simple.

Here’s my submission:



It made me smile and my daughter like it. I’m not sure my style is fitting in with the other artist type of work, but I need to be true to myself. After submitting, I wish I had made some changes {of course}! These designs may get worked into a few more options, but not sure. That all depends on what the next assignment is.