I am often asked what color inks a person needs to begin stamping. My answer is always the same. The first inkpad you should purchase is a black archival inkpad. That is the most versatile inkpad. You’ll do most of your rubber stamping with that inkpad.

Next, you want blue, red, green, and yellow inkpads. You can blend these colors to create other colors. Also, I like having a brown inkpad so I can age my papers. All of these inks are archival. After all, you want your ink colors to last.

Add quick-drying pigments such as gold, white, or silver over time. You can use these without embossing powders and they work great with dark colored papers.

Inkpad storage differs from person to person. I like to store my inkpads in 8 ½ by 11-inch drawers that I found at Wal-Mart. The storage containers have three drawers per container.

My inkpads are stored in freezer bags and then placed in the plastic containers. The dye inkpads are stored upside down, so the ink stays on top of the pad. My pigment inks are stored right-side up.

When purchasing my inkpads, I also like to purchase the re-inkers. This way, I can re-ink the pads when they start to loose their punch. Re-inkers also cost a lot less than buying a new inkpad. If your local store doesn’t carry the re-inkers, visit the ink vendor online. They may help you find out where you can purchase the re-inkers.

Trading Cards

Do you have tiny pieces of scrapbook papers that are too small for greeting cards? Why not use them on ATC’s? Many of my projects in Trading Card Treasures use left-over papers or other elements from my scrapbooking projects.

The rubber stamp used on the card is from The Stampsmith

Birthday Cakes

Yes, I’m a mixed-media artist. But, I’ve always wanted to work with cakes; so, this year I decided to make my own birthday cake. Inspired by the show, Ace of Cakes, I knew crystals were just the thing to capture the lights from the candles.

This was my first time working with fondant and it was fun. I started with white fondant and dyed it pink for the scalloped top. Because I really didn’t have days to pipe the icing and create an elaborate design, I kept it simple. The cake was placed on a white cake stand.

Next time, I am thinking about doing an ‘all white cake’ with real white flowers around the base, something that screams summer white.

Black and White Photos

Even though my camera gives me the option of taking my photographs in color, sepia, and black and white, I always shoot in color. Then, I alter my photographs with Paint Shop Pro. Photographs that look wonderful in color take on a whole new look when changed to black and white.

To me, black and white photography is very artistic and even the simplest photo can be enhanced greatly when changed to black and white. If framed, I choose a white or black mat with a black or silver frame. That way, your eye will focus on the photograph.

In my new book, Trading Card Treasures, I was creating an ATC invitation for a ‘make believe’ brunch. I needed a black and white photograph for the design. So, I went to my cupboard. I used one of my coffee cups and spoons to place on our kitchen table. I was blessed to be given two chairs by my grandfather. These chairs are from the 1940s or earlier. That is the chair that you see in the photograph.

I took the original photograph in color and then used Paint Shop Pro to turn it into a black and white photograph. Then, I added “noise” to the photograph to soften the image.
While the photograph was created for the Brunch Invitation in Trading Card Treasures, I decided to create a greeting card with Scrapbook Factory Deluxe for this blog. The card was created for no reason other than to explore the relationship between black and white. The texture from the doily and the belted ribbon adds interest to the card. SFD is very user friendly and I enjoy working with it. I used it to create my digital scrapbook article for Scrap and Stamp Arts.

When photographing images that you will turn into black and white, remember the adage, “less is more.” Tighten your shot by filling your viewfinder with your subject. The less background “noise,” the better your photograph. Digital cameras make the job easier because you can take as many photographs as you need to take so you can get that “right” shot.