witticisms by Jess Witty

April 12, 2011


Hello, all!

This month's Papertrey Ink countdown is under way and today brings you a special group post featuring a new love... Alpha-blocks.

Solid little blocks. With open text. Total win-win.

I've had a sneaky little stamp experiment in mind for a while... just waiting on the perfect stamps to try it out on... and when I saw these beauties I knew it was time.

Combine that with a desperate need for birthday presents in this house {2 kids, 1 birth date this week, zero gifts purchased due to extended leave of absence this month... yikes!} as well as a goal of *finally* making some decorating progress on Elle's room this summer and what do you get?

A sweet home decor project, obviously.
 First up... a frame with an 8x10" opening.
Second... the stamps.

And the most important part?
Don't touch 'em!
The stamps that is.

The key to this quick and easy project?
For the love of all that is crafty, leave the stamps on the backing sheet they come on.
Do not pass go, do not collect $100, and do not remove the stamps and place them in that brand new storage case.

Back away from the case.
Because, look at all those letters...
lined up so nice and neat.

They just make me so happy :)

So, first things first. Clean the glass. I go old school with glass and mirrors and use a vinegar/water solution :)

Then rub a static resist bag over the glass to help the excess embossing powder slide off. {You can still see some of the powder residue on the edges of the frame.}

Next, line up your stamps within the frame. I placed both sheets down, then used a strip of cardstock to mark where to stamp the top sheet down. Ink up the stamps with Versamark ink, then gently lay the sheet down on the glass. I slid my thumb down each letter just to make sure the image was fully transferred. Gently pull the sheet up and voila... you just stamped 18 letters at once. Whew.

At this point I gently removed the glass from the frame. I found it easiest to place the letters on the glass within the frame first, then take the glass out when it was time to add the embossing powder. Gently shake off the excess powder. I wiped the edges of the glass down just to remove any leftover powder. I then went over the glass again with the anti-static bag.
{Slightly OCD? Yes.}
Once the powder is covering the first section of letters it's super easy to line up the second sheet and get it stamped down. {Note that I removed the "0" at the end. I originally planned to sign it there, then changed my mind and signed below.}

Then you just need to heat it up.
A few things to note on that part.
Overheating the glass = bad.

Word to the wise... wear goggles.
Abandon your pride and do it.

Because overheating the glass can cause problems...

My original plan was to just heat up one line at a time then to back off and let the glass cool off completely before tackling the next line.

And that is a genius plan.

Unfortunately, I was the one following it.

Of course, I got a bit cocky and thought "This is going swimingly, so obviously, it's time to abandon my well-founded plan and see what happens!"

That didn't really work out for me :)

So, my advice?
Don't pull a Jess.
One line at a time, people.
And wear the goggles.
Then behold your beautiful project in all it's embossed glory...
Since this month at Papertrey Ink is all about the boys, I thought I'd show you that this project would be perfect for the little man in your life, too.

Because the embossing sits on top of the glass, there are endless possibilities for what to put behind it. I had lots of fun trying out just about every patterned paper in my stash to see what it would look like. I thought this oversized woodgrain would be very manly in a little boy bedroom.

Because I'll probably go with some sort of modern meets antique theme in Noelle's room, I wanted to keep things simple.

I cut a piece of linen to fit inside, then focused on embellishing the front. A few rows of buttons for color and a paint-pen signature {I used a white Sharpie poster paint pen} finishes everything off.

I've always been pretty intentional about handmade gifts from me to the kiddos, but after saying goodbye to my grandmother and being in the house that my grandfather detailed nearly every part of with his own two hands... I'm finding myself even more sentimental than usual. That may have had something to do with including my own handwriting. {You should know that the Sharpie pen is very forgiving... if you don't like your first attempt, just wipe it off and give it another go.}
I hope she likes it. In a few years, at least, since I don't know that it will mean much to her at 2 :)

But I know that it means something to me to make it for her.

I can't wait to see all the other Alpha-blocks projects the Papertrey Ink design team has come up with! Check 'em all out...

Nichole Heady
Betsy Veldman
Erin Lincoln
Maile Belles
Lisa Johnson
Dawn McVey
Heather Nichols
Melissa Phillilps
Michelle Wooderson
Danielle Flanders

Back tomorrow with more PTI peeks...


{Alphabet} Wall Hanging
Stamps - Alpha-blocks {to be released 4/15}
Ink - Versamark
Embossing Powder - Filigree Detail White
Other - Vintage Buttons, frame


Laura said...

Genius... you are a total genius for the idea to leave the stamps perfectly spaced on the backing sheet. Totally awesome project.

Glenda J said...

This is brilliant and I love it. I couldn't do it because I'm not OCD and I would muck it up.

Tassie said...

Oh My!!! What a special mama your children have. I know that someday they will appreciate all the things that you do for them. I love reading your "crafting process". Thanks for sharing all your boo-boos, too. You make me laugh everytime I read your blog.

Joy said...

I think that this would make a perfect gift for a little babies room...how super adorable and I really love the added touches of buttons that you added. Hugs!

Sara said...

This is absolutey adorable and SO creative! I would have never guessed to emboss on glass. I see some new projects in my future. Thanks for the tip about wearing goggles and not over-heating! :)

Noreen said...

It would have been impossible to do that project if you had removed the letters first. I like the wood grain on the boys project, and the color the buttons add to the other.

Rebecca Deeprose said...

What a great idea! Thanks also for the practical information.

Penny said...

So cool - I love it!!


Helen L said...

What a fantastic project: it looks great (and I love your little editorial comments about what does and doesn't work:-)

btsoi. said...

So pretty! Love the linen with buttons one.

Wendy ten Hove said...

Jess, this is gorgeous! Love how you did this and embossing on the glass! Wow, would really not have thought of that, but it looks awesome! These frames are perfect to put in a child's room, wonderful gifts!!! Love them!!
Hugs, Wendy

Gabby said...

Fantastic project. I have actually stamped alphas as they come but NEVER on glass! How cool is that? Very nice and thanks for the "goggle-warning!" :)

Eveline said...

What a fun project and it turned out wonderful. I didn't know you can emboss on glass. Thanks for all the tips on how to do that;)

Emma said...

Wow Jess such a beautiful project. I would love one for my own bedroom!!

Anonymous said...

What a great project - thanks for sharing :)

Kelly S. said...

Oh how did you think that "stamping-on-glass-not on paper for the inside-without taking the stamps off the acetate" thing up?!!! And then embossing (with goggles)! TOO cool, Jess...I am just afraid that I would need 40 pieces of glass to get it all done as perfectly as you (with only TWO) which may not be so economical in the end. So until I get up the nerve, I'll just come to your blog and stare at your projects, soooo FABULOUS!

Unknown said...

What a super sweet idea! I'm so glad you posted your "failure" as well. Not just for cautioning us but it also lets me know you're human and prone to error! Sometimes we can think DT members are without fault-hahaha-:)

Unknown said...

WOW! Love, love, love this idea! How clever!

Carol said...

Wonderful idea - and thanks for all the tips!

see mary stamp said...

"Back away from the case." Too funny. What a wonderful project. Love the look of it.

Traci Nachtrab said...

Love this home decor project! And thanks for the great instructions.

Amy Rohl said...

Oh.my.word...girl, you are amazing!!!

Luc and Sonia said...

Beautiful, beautiful!
Great gift idea :)
I've missed your posts, Jess, and send you love and condolences.
All the best to you :)

Unknown said...

like it, love it, want more of it:)

Dianne said...

I have to tell you how much I appreciate your sharing your "oopsies" with us. Sometimes it's hard to do when you're a perfectionist (like myself) and have to admit things didn't work out PERFECTLY - but it reminds us that we are ALL human! Especially the "oopsie" on the Easter stamping on your dress! I had the occasion just last night to help a friend out with a mis-stamped sentiment! Thanks for all the inspiration and encouragement!

Jessica said...

this is so fabulous! such a fun, creative gift, and so precious that you made it!! Handmade gifts are always the best! :)

Cristina said...

This is amazing! Stamping directly on glass? Seriously? Stroke of genius. I know I haven't commented yet since you got this gig, but sooooo happy you're on the PTI team!

Susan T said...


Tigriswillreign said...

This is pure genius! So stunning! I am TOTALLY going to do this! Love that linen in the back, too, and all those buttons!
Thanks for the tips!

Erica said...

Awesome project!

Amber said...

This is the most adorable thing I've seen! You are such a smarty pants crafty girl. Love it!

huntla1 said...

This is such a beautiful gift to your daughter. I love the idea and the tip to keep the alphabet together, brilliant. I have always thought that no matter how you try, you can't get letters as straight as they are when they arrive. I am certain that the day will come that this will be a true treasure to your daughter.

Lori Craig said...

big heavy sigh... i wanna be you when i grow up. love it, jess! HUGS!

Tiffany Heilman said...

This is so cool! I love the embossing on top of the glass. Great projects.

Lisa Petrella said...

Super creative project!!! LOVE IT!

Lorus! said...

tears in my eyes...
Feeling a little bit too sentimental I guess - my oldest just turned 16, ~sigh~
I too love creating things for my children and this would be such a fun project for my little boys, before they grow up on me!

Atticelf said...

Practice makes perfect. ;) Great project!

Sharon Harnist said...

Fabulous project, Jess -- can't believe that sweet baby of yours is 2 already (I need to see her again SOON)! :)

Vera Yates (Ling) said...

Wow, Jess, this is so cool! Thanks so much fo rthe inspiration!

Kay D said...

This is unbelievably COOL!!!
I've bookmarked this to try it myself, and thanks SO much for the tip on letting the glass cool (yikes!)

Teri said...

Serious love for this, Jess!


Tiff said...

This is beyond amazing!!!! I see so many possibilities with this set!