With everything going on right now it doesn’t seem very pragmatic to be adding classes to my to-do list, but I figure I should take in a few before the baby arrives as I may not have as much time as I previously did pre-baby and also that whole shrinking brain thing has me motivated.  I didn’t sign-up for anything too challenging like advanced Calculus so maybe I didn’t prevent anything from shrinking but I am happy that I did sign-up for these classes:

CJ Nicolai’s ‘Fall in love with film’ through Clickin’ Moms.  Oh, how I cringe when I say or write that name as I feel like it turns people off, you don’t need to be a mom to participate (you could be a dad or an aunt or nothing associated with mom’s at all).  I have belonged to their forum for many years and think it’s a great resource for any photography enthusiast.  My quick review on this class, I love CJ’s work, I was thrilled to see that she has six videos on developing film at home (worth the price of the class).  I was disappointed on some of the basics like metering for film (there wasn’t a demo, or even a suggestion for a meter in this class), the concept of pushing & pulling is also still very vague to me. You do have the forum to turn to for questions though (and I did get meter suggestions). I wouldn’t recommend this class if this was your first exposure to wanting to shoot with film, BUT if you did have an interest in developing your own film someday CJ makes it seem very do able and as mentioned I think that’s worth the small price of this class.  CM has so many other classes that are affordable and not a huge time commitment (and others that look great but are more spendy), it’s a site worth bookmarking. If you are interested in film photography there’s plenty of resources in The Directory, but I recommend this book and this one and Jen Huang’s Workshop in a box.

I am having a tough time not knowing how to take more control of my blog functionality (I am on WordPress) it pains me to always have to annoy my coder whenever I need something tiny done.  I signed up for this WordPress Basics class, it’s not exactly what I was looking for but still enlightening for a WordPress newbie. For those new to Skillshare the link will get you $10 off and for those that aren’t new to Skillshare Aaron Platt the teacher is offering a 50% discount for October by using the promo code PUMPKIN. Unlike a lot of Skillshare classes that are open enrollment Aaron is very dedicated and involved and will answer your questions.  I would definitely sign-up again for any other WP class he would offer in the future.

Has anyone signed up for Mary Kate McDevitt’s class-First Steps of Hand Lettering?  It is SO good!  I love that it is a lettering class and not just a calligraphy class (where you would need special tools like nib & ink, so no excuses). All you need is a pencil, paper and some imagination.  It’s worth every penny if you are even remotely interested in lettering.

I have been wanting to take an InDesign class for a while, I was planning on signing up for this one at Nicole’s Classes but I actually hate that I can’t just sign-up anytime and I have to wait for a new session to begin. On the flip side, Alma Loveland the instructor is a great teacher and if you can wait I am sure it would be a great class! I saw that Anne Ditmeyer was teaching Learn InDesign so I signed-up!  I am an Anne fan so it seemed like a win-win.  I haven’t started yet, but I am eager too. I haven’t played around much with InDesign, but I know it is a robust program for putting together projects like books and magazines and why not add that to my skill set?

Some classes I wish I was taking/attending…

Food Photography at The Pantry with Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille. It’s sold out of course, but I am sure it would have been fabulous!

I want to take all the classes at this shop, but this shirt dress series looks especially intriguing.

What about you?  Are you signed up for any classes right now?


stamping on cotton bags besotted blog

Technically you could use my technique to stamp on most fabrics, but for the purpose of this tutorial I will focus on the cotton drawstring bags since this is the fabric I most stamp on in my day-to-day fabric stamping adventures.  Also, with the holidays upon us I think the fabric bags make a great alternative to packaging that will be thrown by the wayside.  These bags tend to be thin and wrinkle quite easily so I always iron prior to stamping as you want to have as flat a surface as possible.  Stamping is not as forgiving as other printing techniques and you do want your substrate (what you are stamping on) as smooth as possible so start with ironed fabric without a lot of texture (so nothing nubby, ribbed, raised, furry, etc.)  My most secret of tools for ironing these tiny bags quickly and without dragging out my ironing board and iron is an old hair straightener, yes a hair straightener.  You don’t need a fancy one, just a cheapy that heats up to a nice temp (mine goes as high as 450 f) that will actually iron out your wrinkles;  I just clamp down on one end and pull it through the iron and it is perfect every time!  The iron is now dedicated for crafting, which I would suggest for yours as well.  Once you have a nice ironed bag you will want to put a piece of thick + stiff cardstock in it.  This serves two purposes 1) it makes for a nice stiff surface to stamp on and 2) it will prevent the ink from bleeding to the other side. I just cut down a piece of scrap cardstock to size and use it over and over (if there’s no ink that has seeped through). [Read more…]


how-to clean your rubberstamps besotted blog

I have tried many different methods of cleaning my red rubberstamps and the one above is the easiest, fastest and the least amount of mess.  My secret? I use an unscented baby wipe! It must be unscented as fragrance will deteriorate your stamp and it must be a baby wipe, as anti-bacterial type wipes or other cleaning wipes have solvents that again break down your red rubber which is a natural substance. The baby wipes have glycerin in them which not only cleans the stamp but conditions it as well. The baby wipes work really well to clean multiple types of ink but I mainly stick to pigment inks since it has such a large range of what you can stamp on. The trick here is to dab at your stamp rather than rubbing your wipe side-to-side, you want to avoid leaving any fibers on the stamp surface which could effect your future stamping endeavors. If you want to keep your stamps like new (which will result in a better stamped impression) clean them after every use, with the wipes this makes this once cumbersome task pretty effortless!

Let me know if you have any questions or if you have another way that you think might be better.  Oh, and I don’t know how this would work on clear stamps, they are made of polymer so I think it would be a trial and error situation, possibly more error. Next week I will go over how to stamp on cloth, some tricks I have learned along the way!

P.S. Looking for a little Inspiration Rx? It will be up later today!

P.P.S. Special thanks again to my model Michelle for her patience and pro skills!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups, they are expecting a baby girl in December (possibly November). Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.


embossing tutorial 2 besotted blog

The embossing adventure continues!  These steps will work on all cardstocks but white ink on kraft/chipboard is my most requested so I thought I would oblige. The above image is what a typical white ink would look like stamped on a kraft or chipboard stock (the sample shown is industrial chipboard) it’s not horrible, it’s more rustic, not the result that I want (and I assume from the emails I get neither do you). The problem lies in the surface, the chipboard is porous and fibrous and has a tendency to ‘eat’ the ink it also is not a smooth surface which is not optimal for stamping on (again, I recommend Paper Bag from Paper Source for a nice kraft look carstock + smooth surface).  To begin embossing I highly recommend investing in an embossing buddy type tool (you can refer to the full embossing supplies list here), this tool removes static from your surface and will ensure that your embossing powder will only stick to the actual image you stamped instead of leaving globs of powder all over your surface.

embossing tutorial 1 besotted blog

[Read more…]


Embossing Supplies Besotted Blog

I had originally created this tutorial for another blog that I admire, so much so that I didn’t think it was good enough for them, but I do hope you still like and garner some good info from it!  Recently I have had an onslaught of emails on using white ink with kraft paper (a wonderful combo!) and how the results people were getting were not as great as they had anticipated.  Firstly, I would like to preface this by saying stamping, even though it formerly has been relegated to the craft realm it is actually a legit printing technique and takes some practice. You wouldn’t expect to have no experience with letterpress printing and belly up to the machine and have a perfect go at it would you?  Of course not!  So, give yourself a break and assume your first trial runs will be less than what you desire. Practice makes perfect–pinky promise.

Although, I wholeheartedly believe you can get great results using this white ink, you can get even better (and more professional ones) by going the embossing route. Embossing is simply having the image you have stamped create a slight raised impression. Again, it is another technique that takes some practice but once you have it down you will be an ol’ pro at it in no time. Now let’s break down supplies!

Fig. 01-The Embossing heat tool.  I own both the Martha Stewart version shown above and the Zap.  I hate to say this, but I think the Zap is better, but it’s pretty darn ugly and Martha’s tool isn’t too shabby.  (Note-A lot of the major craft stores such as Michael’s and A.C. Moore have weekly half off coupons that you can use to purchase your supplies at deep discounts.  Unfortunately, the coupons are for in-store use only). These are the two heat embossing tools I recommend, I have tried others but these both surpass anything else I have tried, unlike the embossing powder not all embossing heat tools are created equal.

Fig. 02-This is optional but I highly suggest a small, fine paintbrush to have on hand to brush off excess embossing powder from your surface, I bought mine for $1.00, you may even have one laying around. Fine one that is a little stiff as too soft will be hard to maneuver.

Fig. 03Embossing Buddy, I have this as optional and it is but gosh it so good, lasts forever and I doubt my finished embossing image would look as perfect without it. What this tool does is get rid of the static from your substrate (your cardstock) which will come in handy once we get to the actual embossing of this tutorial!

Fig. 04-Ink! Since I am discussing white with kraft, I think it’s safe to say get yourself some white ink, but you can emboss with any ink color your hear desires.  I prefer pigment inks when I am embossing they will stay wet longer than other inks.

Fig.05-Embossing powder-I really like this brand and my back-up choice would be this one. I have not noticed such a dramatic difference in embossing powders, so if you can’t find either of those, pick up what is available to you.  I chose white embossing ink for the tutorial but if you can only buy one powder get clear so you can use it with any color ink!

Fig. 06-Paper/Cardstock-I should mention a few things, what you stamp on makes a huge difference in your outcome, if you are using Kraft paper or chipboard find the smoothest one without too many fibers or something that is not too porous. I really like this kraft stock (it’s called Paper Bag) for it’s authentic look and extra smooth surface. I find a lot of kraft cardstock to be too fiber-filled to get a nice impression, but some chipboard works, it just takes a little experimenting.

Fig. 07-Rubberstamp-Not all stamps are good for this technique to create the most impressive results. I find a lot of my stamps work very well because they have nice thin lines and the embossing looks almost like thermography or better yet engraving when done right.  Stamps with more areas to cover like this one, are not as good of a choice because the embossing area will bubble and pop thus becoming bumpy, some people don’t mind that look, but I think it looks too ‘crafty’ and I never want my finished products to look ‘crafty’, I want people to pick them up and be wildly impressed that I made it and they will be don’t you worry, I promise to teach you how!

Tomorrow I will get to part II and later on this afternoon Michelle P. will be serving up a little Inspiration Rx for you!

P.P.S. We are in need of a videographer that needs to get their name out located in the Seattle area, if you have any leads or friends or even if you think YOU can do it, please email  me at besottedblog [at] gmail [dot] com a.s.a.p.!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups, they are expecting a baby girl in December (possibly November). Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

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