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More Seeds of Inspiration Before the SALE Runs Out!

I did it! I finally got my behind outside today while the sun was bright and the temperature was a scorching 62 degrees and took pictures of the newest round of Seeds! I can’t believe they finally go up for sale this Wednesday. I’ve had plenty of pre-orders which is really exciting for me, but I want to make sure that everyone who wants 20% off during my Pre-Release Sale can still get it!

There are pictures of all the Seeds of Inspiration over at the Tiny Octopus Designs Facebook page which is also where you can message me if you’d like to place a pre-order.

And in case you’re coming to this blog post for the first time, the Seeds of Inspiration are handmade in polymer clay to serve as muses during National Novel Writing Month and beyond! Really, they can be a muse for whatever your creative needs may be. A friend of mine bought two for her mom who had been suffering from a creativity block and another woman keeps hers on her desk at work to keep her cheerful throughout the day. They’re just lovely little totems to turn to when you need a smile, a boost, or a surge of inspiration.

Note: Normally I put each image into the post individually, but I’m a little short on time and a little overloaded with images because I’m indecisive, so they’re in “gallery” format. If you click on them they’ll enlarge and you can just flip through the pictures. Hope it’s not annoying! 🙂

Only three days to go until they’re up in my Etsy shop and the 20% off sale has expired, so call dibs now!

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Photobucket and the Seeds of Inspiration

Sooooooooooo…. I’ve started using photobucket.com for all of my image storage/usage needs and I think I’m hooked. I hadn’t used the website since I was in high school and I was more than pleased to discover some of its fun new features! I use a Google Chromebook as my primary laptop and it is an entirely web-based system. That means NO programs whatsoever aside from Google Chrome and very little storage. However, it weighs nothing, runs crazy fast, and never bugs out because there are no programs to crash! It’s just been an adventure learning how to do everything I need to do through free online applications.

The only holdout was my inability to do simple edits to my photos before uploading them to places like here and facebook. But now it turns out that photobucket has quite a lovely array of photo editing options! Needless to say, I’m going overboard like a teenager who has just discovered the “posterize” filter in photoshop and thinks it’s exactly the makeover their myspace pictures need.

Please enjoy the fruits of my fun!

In case you’re coming to this blog for the first time, the items pictured below are Seeds of Inspiration: little muses handmade out of polymer clay to keep you inspired during National Novel Writing Month and beyond!

If you’re interested in pre-ordering a Seed of Inspiration before their release on the 26th, you can receive 20% off of your order! Just contact me with a dibs request.

And they’ll be up in my Etsy shop in less than a week!

I’m Making a Turtle

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I was browsing around the internet yesterday when I came across an incredible site for making paper mache sculptures called Ultimate Paper Mache. They have great tutorials for gorgeous finished products. I’m definitely hooked. Anyway, I was supposed to be cleaning the kitchen because we’re leaving tomorrow morning for spring break and instead got way sidetracked with this site. I found all of the materials required to make a paper mache sculpture except for masking tape which apparently a huge element. Frustrated, I grabbed the only thing in the house which could fulfill my need to crumple something up and make art out of it: tin foil.

Over Christmas break I had begun making tiny exaggerated sea turtle sculptures out of the foil wrappers my candy from the advent calendar fairy (read: my mom) came in. They had big long legs and big long necks and big long tails and were a ton of fun to make, but never held up long enough to really enjoy. So when I created the same thing, but in XL, I decided it would be fun to cover in Sculpey and actually spend some time on. I added the Sculpey last night and detailed the face a little, but my darling fiance was seasoning his cast iron pots and pans in the oven and I had to wait until today after class to cook it!

He has a very simple, basic body right now and I plan on adding an extravagant amount of detail especially to his shell later on. Because I’m antsy though, I wanted to get pictures of my darling Teddy in his early stages up in a blog post so you can see his progress from a foil monster to a full blown crazy turtle!  Keep in mind that he currently has no shell and no body detailing and all of that will come soon.

 

Keep an eye out for future posts with updates on Teddy’s progress!

And don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for updates on new products and upcoming sales!

Re-purposed Champagne Cork Stamps- Recycle and DIY!

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For my first ever tutorial, I want to teach you how to reuse old champagne corks to make elegant, unique handles for home-made stamps.

Materials You’ll Need:

Stamp rubber for carving

A set of stamp chisels

Champagne cork

Sharp knife

Mod Podge

Pencil

Paintbrush

Paper towel

Rubber band

Ink

(I realize I left a few things out of my picture. Better luck next time.)

Use a sharp knife to slice off the top end of the cork. Cork cuts like nobody’s business, but it helps to use a gentle sawing motion to get a quick, clean cut.

Carefully cut your new surface until it is angled correctly and is relatively flat. You’ll want the stamp to lay flush against it later for gluing!

Place the cork over your stamp rubber and trace around its perimeter.

Select the straight blade tip or, if you don’t have one, the knife from earlier will work alright.

Cut in only a few centimeters along the line you’ve traced. And it doesn’t matter if the cut is sloppy. Any imperfections can be shaved off later!

Now gently peel the circle away from the rest of the rubber. This will create a curved edge which creates a smaller circle on the bottom of the stamp. I love the effect that this has because it gives it a rough, rustic look so you don’t have to spend all of your time trying to make it smooth and even. 😉

Here’s what it should look like when you’ve got it all punched out!

You’ll probably have some seriously messed up looking edges at this point so take that blade tool and carefully shave this problem areas down. Remember to continue the angle that you created with the torn rubber into the areas you’re carving.

Here is an idea of what the bottom of your stamp should look like after pruning the edges.

And here’s that the profile should look like! Not the combination of slice marks and torn patches intermingling to make a cool, rough look. The edges are also slightly curved though this picture doesn’t seem to show it as much as I remember.

Time to doodle! Sketch your stamp design onto the rubber with a pencil. If you mess up, just erase it and start again! If you’re planning to use text on your stamp PLEASE keep in mind that you’ll have to write it backwards so that it will stamp the correct direction later on. I learned that one the hard way.

Swap out your straight blade for a fine chisel for the detail cutting.

Do a quick trace of your design with this chisel hugging close to your lines without cutting into them.

Here’s my outline finished. You’ll notice as you carve, especially with the tiny chisel, a lot of rubber dust will collect in the grooves. That’s where the paintbrush comes in handy! I like to brush out my stamp every now and then while I’m working to make sure I’m seeing everything clearly and I haven’t missed something important.

Now it’s time for the big guns. Choose a chisel with a broad semi-flat blade for carving out the body of the stamp.

Slice away! Be careful of your design as you’re carving around it and make sure you carve deep enough to allow the design to stand out on its own when stamping. I personally like the look of grooves as opposed to a perfectly smooth stamp body, but you can play with this design element as you like.

Dip the cork into Mod Podge and smooth the glue over the entire surface. I find that it’s easiest to shake the Mod Podge and then stamp the cork directly into the glue in the lid.

Now slap on that stamp! You’ll notice that it’s probably not a perfect fit, but never you fear; we’ll be fixing that after the glue dries. Also make sure to remove any excess Mod Podge with a paper towel to keep your stamp looking neat.

Wrap a rubber band securely around the cork and stamp and align them to your happiness. You want to make sure that the rubber band is holding them tightly together because this will result in a sturdier bond with the Mod Podge.

Once the glue has dried (I left mine overnight just to be careful) remove the rubber band and pop that flat blade back into your chisel handle. This is my favorite part. Carefully cut back and stamp material that hangs over the line of the cork. This is your chance to fix any lumps or mistakes and give your stamp a smooth, seamless look.

And that’s it! You’re done! Now take that pad of ink and get stamping! You may find that there are some parts of the stamp that show up even though you’ve carved them back, so be prepared to add some finishing touches to your stamp once you’ve applied the ink.

I hope you enjoyed my first ever tutorial and that it wasn’t too wordy or picture heavy! I had a lot of fun working on it so expect to see more in the future!

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