This morning as I hung a wash on the clothesline, I saw a scattering of hail on the ground. I had been thinking of doing some fair weather fun outdoors activity during the day, but seeing that hail sent me back indoors! I know, I know. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, but really, if I am honest, I have to say I was looking for an excuse to stay in and play.
Whenever I have a day off from my "working to pay bills” job, I usually feel guilty if I don’t do something conducive to keeping the house running smoothly. If it seems I am spending the majority of my time doing things I want to do, I generally panic at some point and either cook something or rush around tidying up. Today I managed to keep all those guilt feelings at bay and other than one load of wash, I seem to have spent the day doing my “stuff”! My stuff included some quilting ( I bought more finger cots and finally found the bag with my quilting needles! YES!) and some stamp carving.
I love carving stamps, but tend to be frugal with the carving boards because they are fairly costly. I try to remind myself to balance the cost of a large sheet against the number of stamps I can make from it, but it still takes me forever it seems to commit to a design. Today I had fiddleheads and waves on my mind and the process seemed to go a bit faster than normal. So I cleaned up some quick sketches from my moleskin and put knife to block.
Carving a clean design takes me a few steps. After I lay out my design on the block, I make my initial cuts with a small speedball blade (#2), then go back with a larger blade to make deeper cuts (#3). I prefer to leave some background lines, but each time I pull a print, I go back and clean up a bit more until I have the clean edges I want. The real trick is to not take too much - you can always take more away, but you can’t get it back if you have removed too much.