Saturday, October 8, 2011

First Frost, a New Tool, and Our Extended Family

The first frost here in central New York State effectively put the gardens to sleep until next year. As a matter of fact, it was closer to a freeze than a frost. Everything was crunchy. It was expected. It always comes this time of year. The leaves left on the trees will now start falling like this summer's rain- not gently, but in buckets. And on my calender, Christmas is tomorrow. At least it feels that way. Apples are landing like bombs on the porch roof, creating a growing puddle beneath their trees. I found out that now is not the time to try to pick them unless you want to do the whirly-legged dance like a cartoon character! The fallen ones are round, and they roll if you step on them, and you can't help but step on them if you come near a tree. But, at least it smells great outside. The last hurrah before the 's' word starts.

After much reading, thinking, experimenting, and frustration, I have finally figured out how to make my own stamps. There are times when I need a certain something for backgrounding, and many times a little stamping would work to fill in backgrounds, or embellish a border. You get the idea. Now that the stamp problem was solved, I needed a tool to apply the paint to the stamp. Brayers are commonly used, but I didn't want to buy one, and really didn't feel it would suit my purposes. So, I decided to make my tool.
Tools, for me, are fairly easy to make. I've made them for many years. I even trim my brushes for certain paint applications (tedious). Thinking about the different types of foam I have collected, I decided to use a dollar store foam kneeling pad. Here is how the assembly starts:

This type of foam is fabulous for rounding its own edges when it's cut with a pair of scissors. No trimming at all. The foam does not suck up paint, so clean up is easy and fast. You are able to apply the exact amount of paint you need on the stamp. If you need to use a different color, you can wipe off the applicator and go on without muddying up the next color.
Next, trim your foam, making sure you leave it long enough to insert your handle and insure stability. Use your craft knife to make a slit in the foam, just wide enough to hold the handle snugly.

Put the nozzle of your glue bottle down into the slit and gently squeeze in some glue.

Then insert your handle. Be careful not to push too far- just far enough for stability, but not so far the bottom and edges of the foam are distorted. That area should stay flat for proper paint application.

Let the glue dry and you're done!
The wonder of this foam is that you can cut it into any shape to fit any occasion. Size is up to you. They are so quick and easy, you can have a few done in about five minutes. And they can be used in other ways- not just for stamping. For example, I have a handful of them in different sizes for dotting tools, placed on the ends of dowels. I've also used them for shaping clay. They're cheap to make, easy to use and clean, and most of all- you make them!! How awesome is that? Go ahead. I'll wait while you make some...

Our extended family came close enough to the house to get some pretty good pictures. I thought you might enjoy seeing them.
This is 'Momma'. She had twins this year. Her grown daughter had a baby and then adopted an orphan (Orf), so at any given time I've got 4 kids running around the yard!
 She's sniffing the new bird feeder! It seemed to fascinate her.
Momma was right outside the kitchen window.
Here's one of the twins in the front yard, very close to the front porch.
And here are the twins at the porch, wading through the pool of apples!

Aren't they cute? They've gotten so big and have lost their spots. I hope they stay in the area and come back with their own babies. Here, we humans are IN the zoo! I swear they like to watch us through the windows. With a parting camera shot, I must say TOODLES for now.

Eat lots of apples!

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