Friday, January 11, 2019

It's Not Failure If You Learn Something

Every now and then, stamps free-fall in your lap, and you get a chance to experiment and play around  once again with styles you tried years ago and failed to make work for you. A stamper friend at church gave me three boxes of wood-mounted stamps to choose from and pass along. Most were not my style and have already been passed to another stamper at church, but I pulled some out to play with, including these two large Greek architecture stamps.

These two stamps appeal to the historian in me, but they present challenges to my style. First, they are LARGE, which makes it hard to leave much white space around them. Second, they have a Victorian schoolbook vibe that is at odds with my crisp, modern, stylized sensibilities. Third, they beg for coloring and/or mixed media treatment. While I might own most of the coloring options open to we stampers these days, you'd never call me an expert in any one of them. And we've already seen what a mess I make of mixed media.

I decided to try to crop the images, do a little tearing and inking. I truly DISLIKE the results.

The coffee ink was a nod to the vintage feel and the blue was reminiscent of the Greek sky and architectural blueprints. But they just don't work, do they? Perhaps if I'd switched them...but no. Just no. It looks messy and lazy and weird to my eye...a big swing and miss.

So why share them on the blog? Well, my hope is that you'll see that failure isn't fatal. It's always an option, though, and happens pretty often in my crafty room. I'll play around with these stamps some more, but it's highly likely they will join the other rejects and end up in another stamper's collection where they might be more valuable and constructive.

The important thing is to keep trying to grow and stretch yourself as a crafter or artist. Push, play, fail, succeed, grow. It's only paper, and it's all good.

Even if it ends up in the circular file.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,


  1. You may feel they are a failure because they go against your natural style, but I actually like them both. I also love that you created matching envelopes.

  2. I really like these! And thank you for your wise words on 'failure' - I've been discontented recently with my creations never turning out how I imagined them, but you have encouraged me to keep going! Thank you!

    love Mags B x

  3. So good to see a post from you. Happy New Year! While these cards do not appeal to YOU and aren't YOUR style, maybe they do appeal to the recipient. I know I'm not a glitz & glitter, all the embellishments kinda card maker, but lots of people I'm making a card for are those kinda folks.
    Not all the cards I make are representative of ME. I want the recipient to know THAT card they received was made with them, specifically, in mind.

  4. I feel your pain! I too have a couple of stamps that very much appeal to me but alas my attempts to use them have been dismal. I think if I strip them off the wood mounts and apply a cling foam so that I can use them with my Misti I HOPE to achieve more satisfactory results. Maybe I'm kidding myself Thank you for sharing this "failure" it reminded me that I should try again.

  5. Although these cards are not your style, they are well done. They deserve to be enjoyed by someone. I have stamps which I look at and think why did I buy them? Then I remember they were gifted to me. You have inspired me to make a card or two with them. I'm thinking "shabby chic" would work. Thank you for the post.

  6. I like the cards!
    With this type of stamp I usually go with ivory cardstock and a vintage brown ink or even a more sandy color ink. And I edge in sepia or vintage paper ink. That might work for you.
    Anyway, the person who receives these cards will love them because YOU made them.
    Peace & Blessings

  7. I actually like what you did with the stamps. I love blue and brown together. Your tearing the stamps into a smaller piece works. I also love how you did the matching envis. Good job!!!

  8. Not my style either & wouldn't even have tried using them! BUT reading some of the comments, obviously others there you go. Watched Tim Holtz live yesterday & he had some truly bizarre (to me) new dies, ie a voltage meter. But again, others were commenting they loved it...really? Tis lovely we all have different tastes!

    1. I saw that too! Different strokes I guess...

  9. Cheers to you for trying something out of your comfort zone! Sometimes we find a new 'love' and sometimes not. My inclination would be to try using kraft cardstock with medium brown ink, both for the stamp and inking around the torn edges. That against your white card base might just be appealing. That being said, I have given away several stamps because I just couldn't find a way to make them work to please me. It happens.
    Lu C

  10. Very interesting! It can be fun when I try something "not me" - sometimes it works, often it doesn't, but I do always learn something from it.

  11. Yeah....didn't work for me either....BUT they sure would look pretty on a dark brown background! LOL

  12. Nice article as well as whole site.Thanks for sharing.
    clipping path

  13. Kudos for giving these stamps a "go." I like both of the cards and their matching envelopes, and I'm sure the recipients will, too -- perhaps a classics teacher or an avid traveler would appreciate them. Thanks for sharing what you think is a failure but others beg to differ.

  14. My sister gave me these stamps some time ago and I have not used them. Thank you for the inspiration to get them out and play. I like how you used them and anyone would love to receive them. I think we all need to get some of our old wood stamps out and give them some love! I have a box of images from a company called Outlines Rubber Stamps that I need to use or sell but they are so beautiful.

  15. I really like what you did with these Susan! Love the colors and I do think that they work. Send them to someone in the building industry. A realtor or contractor. They will like them!

  16. Have you considered masking parts of the stamps? I think you've almost done that by tearing your card stock, but it looks like you could separate several of the images and have a nice result.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!