Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sneak Peek #3: Friendship Blooms: Free with Three!

When I first saw this set, I was (still am!) completely mesmerized by this unique mosaic(cut glass?) vase (and that tallest flower!) in the Free with Three set of the month by Gina K(check her blog for links to other fabulous samples from our Design team)! Isn't it stunning?! It lends itself to some fun coloring and fabulous techniques, and I actually had to get out a pen and make a list of what all I wanted to try with it so I wouldn't forget and let a great opportunity to show off this set slip away! Of course, being myself, I had to make my first vase RED! ;)
I colored the images with my Copics and held my breath as I attempted to make my shadow in the shape of my vase and flower arrangement with my Pale Aqua Copic. I find taller, thinner objects easier to recreate a realistic cast shadow, the more irregular and large the object is I have a more difficult time figuring out what that would like, and I chicken out just make a standard oval shadow(which works, too!) I added a tiny knot of yellow ribbon on the vase for some pop, I love these colors together! (I tried to keep my layout simple and free of other embellishment to focus on the image and that busy background!) BTW, that background can be made from the scraps of this FREE set (plus a couple others) LOOK!
I'd seen other people use their rubber scraps before to make their own mosaic background stamp, but had never been inspired quite enough to take the time to do it, until now, I just had to have something to bring more attention to all those tiny pieces in the vase(as well as a quote in the set you will LOVE)! So after my package of my stamps arrived, I put my trimmed rubber in a pile and started puzzling it together (I actually like puzzles very much) The rubber from a few sets will do it, and you'll have 4 sitting there waiting for you to get busy when you earn this set with a purchase of three, how convenient! (and the Gina K m&ms that come in every order should procide the stamina to get you through it heh heh!) Instead of getting a new piece of wood, you can recycle a background stamp block you are no longer using or let one you ARE using work double duty and have this on the back.*

What I was not looking forward to was adhering them all to my block, because you need to lay pieces down first to make sure they are a nice fit, but guess what? The EZ cling foam clings to the wood block! I didn't adhere any of these! Can you believe it? If you flip it upside down they don't fall off, but taking no chances, I laid it face up on my desk, carefully inked it by pressing my pad onto it, and then pressed my CS on top of that. (I will eventually adhere them when I have time because some DO want to pop off when you go to clean it, I wiped mine down very carefully and a few tiny pieces came out, but I just pressed them back in.) A few tips for working this "puzzle":

  • Start at one end and work up (or down) rather than outlining and filling in toward the middle. After getting a few rows done I did pick out my straight edge scrap and and made a line up either side to fill in, but waited til near the end to add the top.
  • Use the straight scraps from the edge of your rubber sheet around or the outside of the background stamp, they are already straight!
  • It's easiest to trim your pieces into triangle and trapezoids at first, keep the sizes pretty uniform(although you will need to add a few smaller pieces when you're almost done) Grab a piece and look for a spot that looks like a good fit!
  • Try to avoid having your pieces create straight lines/rows, you want a crazy mosaic, not a grid)
  • It's okay if they are not perfect shapes, an irregular edge adds to the beauty, makes it look "shattered"
  • Keep them approximately the same distance apart for your "grout". These are about 1/8" apart, to match the size I normally pick for my mats. It's not necessary, though, to have every area filled perfectly.
  • If you need to trim a piece to make it fit with your others, just take off a little at a time and test it so you don't end up too small a piece.
  • One thing I did notice was that a couple pieces of the rubber were just a hair thinner than the majority of my pieces so they were lower on the block and I had trouble getting them inked uniformly and stamping them properly(see the pic above for areas that I missed on the CS) I would advise checking your scraps and if a few look like they don't be level with the rest, try replacing it with a "taller one"inking them (I don't know which set it was after the fact)

I didn't look at the clock before starting to tell you how long this took, but it was worth it in the end(an hour maybe?). Like many things, the first 90% went pretty quickly, the last 10% was the most time consuming, where more trimming was needed to make a fit in my last couple rows. It was so worth it, though, if it starts to feel tedious just remember you'll have a terrific one of a kind stamp in the end! (and I will be back to share about a bajillion plans I have for it!) :)

Okay, so we're almost to the 20th, release day, and we've seen hide nor hair of my new set!! Are you ready for a peek? Check back tonight, it'll be up at midnight! :) See you at the party tomorrow at 7PM CST, where I'll be announcing who was randomly drawn from the upload challenge entires you still have until 1PM CST Friday afternoon to upload a project, details here! Oh! I'll be back later today with my guest designer announcement, look for it! ;)

*I chose a terrible background I purchased from Oriental Trading Company on impulse when ordering some party supplies for my son last year, do not ever, ever buy their stamps(that's why I'm not linking it!), the poorest quality ever! It seemed like such a great deal at 3 bucks, but it wasn't worth 2 cents, I would never put it on a card!! Glad I found a way to finally make the wood side worth something! ;)


  1. This is spectacular! I love the mosaic! I will have to give this a try! your shaowing is perfect! Great card, Melanie.

  2. Great mosaic stamp! I've thought about doing it too and just never got around to it, lol!

    And dude - you drew a shadow. You rock.

  3. Oh, this is FAB-o!!! I am in love with this particular image-that vase is absoulutely divine and your dramatic mosiac bg is nothing short of supreme! Another *must case* idea! Oh, it's amazingly beautiful, Melanie! Gorgeous card!

    And I can't wait for your new set debut tomorrow night--Eeeeek!

  4. Lovin' the background and wow, amazing job on the shadow! Love the coloring on the image and just the card over all - TFS! Looking forward to seeing a sneak peek of your new set tomorrow...

  5. What an amazing idea. I always thought it was such a was to throw away all that rubber. Now i had a use for it. t hanks so much for sharing.

  6. WOW!!! That background stamp was pure genius!

  7. This is lovely Melanie! Love your color choice and your shadow is perfect!


  8. Very beautiful!! Love the shadow!

  9. I made one of those a couple years ago, but haven't used it lately. Isn't it great to use left over rubber scraps? Love this free with 3 stamp set.

  10. I am so doing this. I have been saving these scraps for some unknown reason. Now I know the reason.

    Cool card.

  11. Cool backgroung Melanie! (what a work!)
    I have ordered scrapbooking stuff from Oriental Trading. I have one stamp set and it's ok (but the rubber is harder than more expensive sets!). Some things are nice and some things don't look nice like in the catalog when they come in! Paper sets and ribbons are good and they have a lot of alterable at great prices.

  12. Thanks for the awesome idea of creating our mosaic background stamp. Your example is just awesome especially the shadow. Don't think I will try that, but it rocks when you do it! darlene l

  13. Ok... I have a question for you. Does your brain actually smoke with all those creative ideas swirling around in it? Seriously, I come here - see the amazing things you've dreamed up and scratch my head. Speechless girl - truly speechless!!!

  14. What a great way to use all those extra scrap pieces. Love your card

  15. What a fantastic way to use your scraps!! This is awesome!!!

  16. This is so beautiful, Melanie!! I love your coloring, and background...but I especially love your shadow!! Awesome girl!!

  17. Just happened to stumble upon this awesome idea. I purchased 13 stamp sets from Gina K just got my first 7 and I was wondering what to do with all the excess rubber. Now I know, and since its all the same thickness it will be perfect. I plan on using an extra acrylic block and make it permanent!


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