Category Archives: Crafts

The History of Rubber Stamps

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Recently, I purchased several hundred rubber stamps at an estate sale.  As I was sorting through all of these beautiful rubber art designs, I began wondering about their history.

Rubber was first discovered in 1736 by Charles Marie de la Condamine during an exploration to South America.  However, in 1770 a man named Joseph Priestly stated that he found a substance that was suited to rubbing out lead pencil marks.  In 1839 Charles Goodyear invented the process of vulcanization, the stabilizing of rubber.  He went on to patent this process in 1844.  About twenty years later, the first rubber stamps began to appear.

According to the United States Patent Office, Fred R. Tannery of New York filed a patent for the rubber stamp on August 18, 1959.  This was a hand held invention with the structure of a rubber stamp that had changeable characters.

Rubber art stamps are extremely popular in the United States.  With their intricate design rubber stamps are used for many different types of paper and ink applications, such as handmade greeting cards and scrapbooks.  They may also be used with other techniques to decorate textiles, jewelry and pottery.

Over the years, many rubber stamp companies have come and gone and many of the stamps have now become collector’s items.  One such company is Personal Stamp Exchange (PSX), which was founded in 1980. Wood mounted stamps manufactured by PSX are known for their high-quality craftsmanship featuring very detailed illustrations.  PSX closed down in the early 2000’s with the licensed images being sold to Inkadinkado.  The scrapbooking company, EK Success then bought Inkadinkado and was in turn purchased by Wilton Industries in 2007.

 

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Floral Heart Wreath Stamp by PSX Rubber Stamps

 

 

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Rooster Stamp by Inkadinkado

 

 

Azadi Earles stamps are known for their whimsical nature.  Azadi Earles Stamp Company was bought out by Uptown Rubber Stamps.

 

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Christmas Gift Tag Stamp by Azadi Earles

 

 

One of the original art stamp companies is Uptown Rubber Stamps which was founded 35 years ago.  This company is still in existence today now operating under the name of Uptown Design Company.

 

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Believe Star Stamp by Uptown Rubber Stamps

 

 

 

A truly unique line of rubber stamps is this stamp set of male faces from Alexstamping.  This company was in operation from 1984 -2013.

 

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Male Faces Stamp Set by Alextamping

 

 

I would be totally remiss not to include one of my favorite stamp companies, Stampin’ Up.  Beginning in 1998, this home-based company began with two sisters that shared a love for rubber stamps.  In 1997, the company published its first catalog featuring artwork exclusive toStampin’ Up.  The company started with just a few demonstrators and has now grown with thousands of demonstrators selling Stampin’ Up rubber stamps.  Many of their retired stamp sets are highly valued by collectors.

 

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Furnished With Love Stamp Set by Stampin’ Up

 

 

Now comes the difficult decision – which of these wonderful rubber stamps do I keep for myself and which go into my Etsy Shop?  To see our complete offering of over 180 rubber stamps visit us at DesignsByCnC.

 

 

 

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My Favorite Apps For Managing My Etsy Shop

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my favorite apps

When I first opened my Etsy Shop, DesignsByCnC, five years ago, I did not fully comprehend how many different aspects were involved in running an online store.  After all, how hard can it be?  You just create the product and list it right?

Many different aspects must come into play to have a successful Etsy Shop.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Great Pictures
  • Good Grammar
  • Social Media
  • Host A Sale Event

In my opinion, the most important thing that you can do for your shop is to learn all you can about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  SEO is the process of getting traffic from search results. Before you can sell your products, customers must be able to find your store.  My favorite SEO app is Marmalead.  Not only is this app great for SEO but it is also a great Etsy research tool.  I am able to pull up search results, keywords and pricing.  Not only has it cut my research time in half but also helped to increase my sales.

Now that your prospective customer has found your store how do you get them to buy your product?  With great pictures!  In an online store, the customer is unable to hold the product in their hands.  Therefore, your photos must be clear, bright and appealing so that your customer will want to purchase  your item.  You have 5 spaces available to show off your product.  Start with your best photo first.  Include some close up shots, angles that show the texture of the item, how the product is used.   For my shop, I use the FotoFuze app.  This a free app that enhances photos and provides a professional background.

In the following example, I used one of my handcrafted birthday cards.  The photo on left shows the card before I edited it using Fotofuze.  Even though I used a white background, it appears to have a gray background and is rather dull.  The photo on the right is how it looks after being edited in Fotofuze.  The photo is now crisp and bright with a brilliant white background that makes the colors pop.

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Left: without FotoFuze                                                         Right:  with Fotofuze

One aspect of managing an Etsy Shop that is often overlooked is the importance of good grammar and spelling.  Often times, while I am shopping on Etsy I look at a product that has a poorly written description  with misspelled words and it makes me wonder about the quality of the product.  I came across a handy website Instant Etsy Shop Spell Checker.  All you do is enter the name of your shop and it searches through all your listings for misspelled words.

Promoting your shop on social media is a wonderful way to get the word out about your amazing products.  In my case, I branched out way too far on social media. At one time,  I was actually on ten different sites!  This took up so much of my time that I had no time left to work in my card studio.  I cut my social media sites down to three and begin using the Around.io app.  This app allows me to schedule my social media posts a week in advance.  I now spend about 2 hours a week setting up all of my social media posts and it has also increased my social media reach.

In my shop, I conduct a sale several times a year.  A great app that I just have begun using is Etsy On Sale.  This app allows you to manage automated sales events, schedule listing renewals, and edit tags with just a few simple clicks.  I found this to be very convenient and another great time saver.

In conclusion,  I would like to point out that there are many apps available that will help you manage your Etsy Shop.  You just need to find the ones that work the best for you and your product.  To find additional apps, check out the Etsy Seller Apps.

You can find me on social media:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/designsbycnc/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/DesignsByCnC/

 

 

Black Daisy Birthday Card and Gift Card Holder

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My latest project is a  birthday card that also doubles as a gift card holder.  I created this unique design in honor of my daughter’s birthday.

Instructions:

  • For the base, cut a piece of black cardstock 5.5 x 8.5 inches, score at 4.25 inches.
  • For the base mat, cut a piece of black cardstock 4 x 5.25 inches and emboss with polka dots.
  • For decorative panel, cut a piece of black and white polka dot designer paper 1.5 x 5.5 inches and cut inverted notch in each end.
  • For floral panel, cut a piece of black daisy designer paper 2.75 x 4 inches.
  • Attach black satin ribbon along left edge of floral panel.
  • For the Happy Birthday banner cut a piece of white cardstock 4 x 1 inches and stamp the greeting in black ink.
  • Embellish with a black daisy pillow sticker and two white rhinestones.

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Inside Instructions:

  • Using white cardstock, cut two medallions at 5.25 inches with a Cricut machine.
  • Score the medallions in half and use a circle punch to create a cut out on one medallion.
  • Glue the top side edges of the medallions together leaving room for the gift card to slide in.
  • Glue the bottom halves of the medallions to the greeting card base.
  • For the inside liner cut a piece of white cardstock 4 x 5.25 inches.
  • The inside message and flower are stamped in black ink.

This greeting card and gift card combo is a very versatile design that can be adapted for many other occasions such as weddings, graduation and Christmas.

Free Printable Adult Coloring Pages

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FREE (3)Need a creative way to unwind and spend time with your children away from the distraction of electronic devices?  Then colorful adult coloring pages are just the thing.

During the summer I often hear my daughter complaining about boredom. I came across some great coloring pages to share with your children (or keep to yourself).  So I printed out a few and we spent a lovely summer evening out on the patio coloring away enjoying some girl talk and creating a great memory.

 

 

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Mandala Coloring Page from Kidscolouringpages

 

 

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Coloring Page Assortment from Faber-Castell

 

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Abstract Coloring Page from Art is Fun

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Coloring Page Binder from Balancing Home

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Stained Glass Window Coloring Page  from Dover Publications

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Hello Lovely Coloring Page from Dawn Nicole Designs

You’re Invited To The Etsy Craft Party!

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Every year Etsy holds their annual craft party where we all come together for a day of crafting fun.

This year, I am honored to be one of the co-hosts along with AliciasFindings and DeeDeeDeesigns as the Christmas In July Team participates in this awesome event.  We will be celebrating at the CIJ blog!  Come and have some fun with us on June 17th, 2016!

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There will be craft tutorials, swag bags and door prizes!  Stop by our Eventbrite registration page and reserve your free tickets:  http://tinyurl.com/j3xrg3p