Apr 302010

It’s been a busy week here since we shared our first Stamp of the Week post. Repeat’s Rock Stars really outdid themselves didn’t they? Such fantastic cards every one of them! But before we bid goodbye to our first SOTW we have one more card to share with you. This Rebecca may have arrived a little late for the party, but she is every bit as lovely as the rest of them. The fabulous card shown below was created for us by Rock Star, Makiko Jones.

"Rebecca" card by Makiko Jones

Visit Makiko’s blog

If you missed my previous post and need to get a Rebecca stamp of your own it’s still not too late. This 50% Off SOTW special offer ends this Sunday, May 2. Click here 708-K, Rebecca for a direct link to this stamp (you will need to scroll down the page a bit). Then simply type the code SOTW426 into the Special Instructions section of the online order form. The discount WILL NOT appear when you place your order. Once your order is ready to be shipped WE WILL apply the discount and process your credit card at that time.

And if you thought this week was inspirational… wait til you see what we have coming up next week! On Monday we’ll be showcasing a new SOTW and on Wednesday we’ll reveal our first Sketch Challenge. I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. :-) But good things come to those who wait, don’t ya know!

Until then… have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!


Apr 262010

It’s a momentous day here at The House That Stamps Built. Today we’re introducing our first Stamp of the Week feature and bringing you lots of inspiration thanks to our new design team, Repeat’s Rock Stars! Yay!! Each week we’ll select one stamp to showcase, share some ideas of what you can create with it and offer the featured stamp to our blog readers at 50% Off!

This week’s featured stamp is #708-K, Rebecca. Rock Stars providing inspiration are: Ayana, Dana, Lynette, Joy, Julie, Michele, Darsie, Harriet and Robin. Some of these talented ladies submitted more than one card and let me tell you that it was really difficult to choose which one to post! So be sure to visit their blogs to see more wonderful Rebecca samples as well as all the other great things they’ve been working on.

"Rebecca" card created by Ayana Posadas

Visit Ayana’s blog

"Rebecca" card created by Dana Joy

Visit Dana’s blog

"Rebecca" card created by Lynette Neus

Visit Lynette’s blog

"Rebecca" card created by Joy Hadden

Visit Joy’s blog

"Rebecca" card created by Julie Smith

Visit Julie’s blog

"Rebecca" card by Michele Greenwood

Visit Michele’s blog

"Rebecca" card created by Darsie Bruno

Visit Darsie’s blog

"Rebecca" card created by Harriet Skelly

Visit Harriet’s blog

"Rebecca" card created by Robin Kirkpatrick

Visit Robin’s blog

Ready to create your own Rebecca card? If you don’t own this stamp already, please visit this page of the Repeat Impressions website to place your order. This 50% Off exclusive offer is available April 26 thru May 2, 2010 only. The Special Offer Code is SOTW426.

This special will not appear on our website. Just enter the Special Offer Code in the Special Instructions section of the online order form and we’ll do the rest. Although it will not be reflected in the shopping cart, we will adjust the price down accordingly prior to billing your credit card. Your card is not actually charged until your order is complete and ready to be shipped.

I hope you enjoyed our first Stamp of the Week post. Please be sure to visit us again next Monday for another featured stamp. You may want to subscribe to our blog or bookmark us so that you don’t miss out. And check in with us next Wednesday too when we’ll be bringing you our first Sketch Challenge!

Thanks so much for stopping by :-)

Apr 212010

Most mornings around here it’s time to wake up and smell the rubber. Fortunately for me, running the vulcanizer is my husband’s job. I’m really not too fond of the odor of cooking rubber. But then I remind myself that the stinky smell just means we’re one step closer to making a mortgage payment and putting food on the table. :-)

Since making stamps is part of our daily routine we don’t find it too remarkable, but many of our customers have asked us how it’s done. We’ve even hosted some “field trips” here over the years for a privileged few. But for those of you who haven’t seen it, this post is for you.

The process all starts with me straining my brain for new ideas and trying to get into my creative mode. Sometimes the drawings just flow out of me, but sometimes it’s a painful ordeal that involves artist’s block. And then, honestly… once I get into my “zone” I can sometimes be a bit difficult to live with. I tend to become so focused on my work that I don’t want to be interrupted with foolish things like fixing dinner, answering the phone or even sleep. Poor, Bill! I’ve often said that I’d love to run away to a remote cabin somewhere with just my drawing tools and computer until I can get it all out of my system.

Anyway… once my pen and ink drawings are completed I scan them into the computer. I group the images together on pages… kind of like laying out a big puzzle. Then I email my pages to our engraver. The engraver takes my pages and converts them into deeply etched magnesium engravings. Creating these metal plates is the only part of the process that we don’t do in-house as it involves etching with acid and scary stuff like that.

After the UPS man delivers our new engravings it’s time for Bill to get to work. The metal plates are sprayed with silicone and placed face down on top of matrix boards. These then go into the vulcanizer where they are squeezed and “baked” so the images on the metal plates are pressed into the matrix boards which then become the molds for the rubber.

Magnesium plate (left) and matrix board (right)

Next, Bill cuts slabs from a big roll of raw rubber and lays them on top of the matrix boards. Release paper is placed on top of the rubber so that all that hot, melting rubber doesn’t stick to the vulcanizer.

Roll of raw rubber ready for cutting.

Now comes the smelly part where everything gets slid into the vulcanizer to be cured. The vulcanizer squeezes the rubber into the molds with about 20,000 lbs. of pressure and cooks it at 330 degrees for about 5 minutes.

Vulcanizers... small manual press (left) and larger automatic (right).

When the rubber comes out of the vulcanizer it is super hot! Bill wears gloves as he removes the release paper and then peels the hot rubber out of the molds.

Removing the release paper from the cooked rubber.

Pulling hot sheets of rubber from the molds.

Once the rubber has cooled it is attached to our sticky back cushion. Bill then uses his scroll saw to skillfully cut the rubber into the individual rubber dies.

Rubber with sticky back cushion attached.

Cutting out the rubber dies with the scroll saw.

Then it is time to prepare all the wood mounts for the stamps. Most of our wood comes in 18″ long strips in a variety of widths. Bill has to measure, cut and sand each piece of wood to accommodate all the different stamps we’ll be making. After the wood has been prepared he indexes the wood by stamping the appropriate image on top of the block.

Indexing the wood mounts.

The final step in the process is peeling off the paper and attaching the rubber dies to the mounts. I actually love this part of the process and make time to put stamps together as often as I can. I find it very relaxing and a little therapeutic… probably because it’s a nice change of pace from all the time I spend on the computer working on invoicing, correspondence, marketing and other fun stuff.

Assembling the rubber stamps.

So there you have it… a day in the life of a rubber stamp manufacturer. And that’s just some of what we do when we are home and working in our shop. What we do when we take our rubber on the road is a whole different story. I’ll save that for another post!

Hope you enjoyed the virtual field trip :-)
Thanks for stopping by!


Apr 142010

Woohoo! It was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do in a long time, but I’ve finally chosen Repeat Impressions’ new Design Team!! I am so excited :-) I’m really looking forward to seeing all the wonderful things they’ll be creating and sharing with us.

In the coming weeks you can look forward to lots of stamping inspiration here. To get things rolling we’ll be featuring cards with our “Stamp of the Week” and some extra special savings just for our blog readers. We’ll also be hosting some fun card challenges and hope you will join in… you do like blog candy don’t you?!

I would also like to take just a moment to thank all of those who applied for the team. I must say there is a lot of talent out there. It was really difficult to narrow it down to just ten.

OK, enough with the chit chat… I know why you’re really reading this post 😉 So without further ado, let me introduce you to Repeat’s Rock Stars! They are:
Ayana Posadas
Dana Joy
Darsie Bruno
Harriet Skelly
Joy Hadden
Julie Smith
Lynette Neus
Makiko Jones
Michele Greenwood
Robin Kirkpatrick

Now be sure to follow the links to their blogs and show these talented ladies some love!