Making An Impression

As you probably know if you come here often, I do love a workshop and learning something new so I signed up for a metal stamping class.

It was only ‘down the road’ and not too expensive and it was promised you’d go home with three small projects.

The class was small – just five of us excluding the teacher – and it was held in a rather lovely café in the nearby town which doesn’t open to the public on a Saturday so we had it all to ourselves.

Before I start on the class, I have to give a shout out to this wallpaper in the café’s loo.

These were the tools provided for our class of complete beginners – all laid out on lovely tablecloths.

The thin square of aluminium was to practise our first faltering steps into metal stamping.  The blue box contained all the letters of the alphabet and the white box a sturdy metal block to absorb the hammer blows.

First we practised with the ‘I’ and the ‘Q’ and then our name.

It was at this point I realised I’d forgotten my reading glasses 🙄

Still, although I did briefly consider running across to the grocery shop to see if they had any ‘off the peg’ cheapo specs, I tried to manage without.

Using the masking tape helps to keep the letters in a straight line.  Or at least that’s the theory.

Our first project was a small heart.  My mind went blank – it doesn’t take long – and the only thing I could think of to stamp was the first three letters of Miss Tialys the Elder’s name.  I would say I didn’t hammer hard enough on the ‘M’ but I think I had a deformed punch as it came out weird each time I used it.

Still, Laura, our lovely teacher, gave us a jump ring, a chain and a little organza bag to put the heart in and I will be putting it inside the home made Christmas cracker destined to be pulled by Miss T. the Elder on Christmas day.

Next up, a Christmas tree bauble.  I chose a snowflake shape and decided on a family ‘in joke’ for the words.  Every year we watch ‘The Muppets’ Christmas Carol’ – it’s become a family tradition and we are all word perfect with both script and songs.  One of the songs sung by the (Muppet) Ghost of Christmas Present is called ‘It Feels Like Christmas’ and one of the little muppet mice sings the lines

‘It’s in the giving of a gift to another
A pair of mittens that were made by your mother’

so, for Miss Tialys the Younger’s Christmas tree…

You can emphasise the stamped letters by using a Sharpie over the letters then rubbing off the excess with a cloth moistened with a little nail polish remover.

The third project was to be a bookmark and, by this time, we’d had a lovely lunch and a chat and all felt more relaxed and confident so were hammering away with gay abandon on the long strip of metal provided.

That’s my favourite one and, although the odd letter is a bit skewiff, I don’t think it really matters in this font.

To get the slightly different finish seen here, you use one of those double sided, spongy nail files to gently sand the surface and then buff it up a bit with the smooth side.

Although I’m definitely not going to get into jewellery making, Mr. Tialys reminded me that we do have a set of letter punches lurking in the garage somewhere so, now I vaguely know what I’m doing, there might be the odd occasion when I might wield the chunky little hammer again.  Aluminium plant tags come to mind for instance.

Anyway, a really enjoyable day with a nice bunch of people, a patient teacher and a lovely lunch.  Plus three passable little gifts to take away at the end.  Who could ask for more?

 

 

And if you’ve never watched the Muppets’ Christmas Carol I highly recommend it and here’s a taster to get you in the festive mood.

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  1. #1 by Born To Organize on December 5, 2021 - 18:41

    Lynn, I love your enthusiasm for trying new things. It keeps life interesting, and as you say, even if you never metal stamp again, its nice to have learned a new skill and to have a few take-away gifts. There are some fun parallels for me in your post. I also took a class from a local shop many years ago, and she offered a sample of projects like yours. I gave the small treasures as gifts that year as well. The tablecloth pictured in your photo looks like one that I just removed from the Lifted Spirits break room (where I volunteer). Someone donated the cloth, and I used it on the table throughout the month. It’s a bit surreal seeing one picture here. It’s been years since I’ve seen the Muppet movie. Since its one of your family-favorites, you may enjoy some of these interesting details about the making of the movie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Muppet_Christmas_Carol

    Is this your first Christmas back in England?

    • #2 by tialys on December 6, 2021 - 10:28

      It will be our second Christmas here Alys – we arrived back in England on 18th November last year but we immediately had to quarantine for two weeks and there were lots more restrictions around at that time so, as long as things don’t continue to escalate, the girls will be with us for a few days over Christmas which is the most important thing.
      When the Muppets Christmas Carol first came out I was amazed that Michael Caine was to be in it – it seemed like such a departure from his usual roles but now I can’t imagine anybody else being Scrooge – or at least not a Scrooge surrounded with muppets. Interesting to read on the article you linked to how he approached the role. A great film all round and very useful for introducing young people to Charles Dickens as it is fairly faithful to the book, even with almost all the characters being muppets.

      • #3 by Born To Organize on December 16, 2021 - 17:43

        I can hardly believe its been over a year! Wow, Lynn. So with Omicron lurking around every corner, will you still be able to host your daughters? At least you’re all in the same country now, so I imagine that helps. My youngest son coudln’t come home last Christmas, the first time ever. Zooming on Christmas day was a low point but we made it work. I’m so glad he’ll be with us this year.

      • #4 by tialys on December 17, 2021 - 08:49

        Yes, we’re all double vaccinated and all except Miss T. the Elder have had a booster – and she does tests on herself all the time courtesy of the free tests provided both by the government/NHS and by her company. If we’d have still been in France it might not have been possible as, from tomorrow, the French have banned ‘non essential’ entry from the U.K. so another reason I’m glad we’re all back in England.
        Have a great time with your whole family this year. xx

      • #5 by Born To Organize on December 26, 2021 - 17:24

        What strange and difficult times we’re in. I’m so glad you’re in the UK together and three cheers for the ease of covid testing. They say robust testing is key to reducing the spread, though it’s really the unvaccinated that are dragging things out for so long. I now have two fully-vaccinated friends with covid, both through travel outside their area, one among states in the US and another from Spain to England. It’s a good time to be close to home.

  2. #6 by magpiesue on December 5, 2021 - 19:07

    Love that wallpaper! and I think your stamped efforts are charming. That’s a great quote for the bookmark, I don’t think I’ve come across it before. What a wonderful day you had!

    • #7 by tialys on December 6, 2021 - 10:18

      I have to confess that, when we all saw the blank bookmark produced, we got our phones out to Google ‘bookish quotes’ and I liked that one partly because it wasn’t too long.

  3. #8 by kathyreeves on December 5, 2021 - 20:13

    I was quite relieved when you said the wall paper came from the cafe’s bathroom! 🤣 Those were perfect beginner projects I think. Your instructor really thought things through. What a very enjoyable day you had, with lovely little gifts to bring home.

    • #9 by tialys on December 6, 2021 - 10:17

      It was definitely one of the better workshops I’ve every done. Very relaxed and friendly and with a tasty lunch thrown in too.
      I hope all is well with you – I haven’t seen many posts from you lately but then I’m one to talk. I expect you’re just busy.

      • #10 by kathyreeves on December 6, 2021 - 22:15

        It’s crazy season here at the moment, recitals, concerts, competition recordings. Everything is due next Monday!

  4. #11 by katechiconi on December 5, 2021 - 21:33

    I think you did rather well considering you didn’t have the proper specs with you. I’ve seen some lovely gifts with stamping on them, specifically a rather decorative set of tags for culinary herbs which I lusted after. My personal favourite from the day is the snowflake, though, I’m a sucker for a cute Christmas decoration. Both the wallpaper and the tablecloth grabbed my attention, and I’d give both of them house room!

    • #12 by tialys on December 6, 2021 - 10:15

      Yes! Tags of any sort would be good wouldn’t they. I’m thinking of plant tags/markers and even some little ones with my name on to attach to products at craft sales. I must have a look to see what sort of blanks are available and the cost – can’t possibly spend or store much more.

      • #13 by katechiconi on December 6, 2021 - 13:17

        It would be fun to have custom-stamped tags on your collars, if you’re still making them?

      • #14 by tialys on December 6, 2021 - 14:15

        Ooh, yes, another idea.

      • #15 by katechiconi on December 7, 2021 - 00:50

        So, all in all, rather a useful little course?

  5. #16 by claire93 on December 5, 2021 - 22:15

    we can always rely on you to try new things and then to report back! A very successful workshop, I’d say. But what I want to know is . . . what happened to the knickers-making workshop??? did that get cancelled?

    • #17 by tialys on December 6, 2021 - 10:11

      It was really enjoyable Claire.
      I will still be making knickers – I think it’s planned for January. I’ve also signed up for wet felting in April which I know I’ll only do the once as I’m not keen on ‘messy’ crafts and prefer my felting exploits to be of the dry kind.

      p.s. Thank you for my Christmas Greetings from France and the lovely little tag xx

  6. #18 by Nice Piece of Work on December 6, 2021 - 06:40

    Great stuff! Always good to try your hand at something different and you clearly had a lot of fun. I’d also be the one who managed to leave my glasses at home – typical. I particularly love the bookmark, it’s brilliant.

    • #19 by tialys on December 6, 2021 - 10:09

      Thanks – I was feeling quite confident by the time we got to the bookmark.

  7. #20 by Wild Daffodil on December 6, 2021 - 07:05

    What a great day.
    Love the wallpaper, although I’m not sure I would want to live with it. Saw something similar with flamingoes – I could live with that.
    I like the slightly skewiffiness, it gives the pieces individual character.

    • #21 by tialys on December 6, 2021 - 10:08

      I think the loo is the perfect place for wallpaper like this – and I mean that in a good way.

  8. #22 by CurlsnSkirls on December 6, 2021 - 15:41

    This Muppets’ film is new to me, and I found the clip you included charming. Thank you for looking it up for us! I shall keep an eye out for the whole movie. Aside from the Poirot Christmas story I don’t have other favourites, having grown tired of the usual U.S. old traditional ones.
    Must admit when I heard about this class I couldn’t imagine what you’d be doing, but I find the results quite useful and lovely. I think your idea for the garden is great!

    • #23 by tialys on December 6, 2021 - 17:16

      The whole film is charming – I hope you get to watch it this Christmas. It’s definitely a ‘feel good’ one and we all need more of those.

  9. #25 by nanacathy2 on December 6, 2021 - 16:40

    Fabulous wallpaper. You can do things with loo wallpaper you’d not dream of doing anywhere else. Well done on a new craft. I have a vague recollection of one of my sons doing something similar. I think we were presented with a key fob, always useful.Sure your girls will be thrilled with their love tokens from Mum because that’s what they are.

    • #26 by tialys on December 6, 2021 - 17:17

      It is fabulous isn’t it – I went to the loo 3 times while I was there just to admire it.

  10. #27 by Laurie Graves on December 8, 2021 - 03:02

    Phew! Way beyond my skill set. We love Muppets’ Christmas Carol, too.

  11. #28 by DawnGillDesigns on December 10, 2021 - 18:33

    I find stamping is much harder than it looks. You have done really well.

    • #29 by tialys on December 11, 2021 - 08:59

      Thanks Dawn, that means a lot coming from you.

  12. #30 by lovelucie1 on December 12, 2021 - 09:43

    I love these, especially the non uniformity of the letters. It adds softness to the metal. Beautiful gifts. I wonder if the metal blanks are expensive?

    • #31 by tialys on December 13, 2021 - 09:52

      I don’t think they can be because the class was over 4 hours long, lunch was included, she gave us the three blanks for the projects shown above complete with muslin gift bags and, in the case of the bookmark, a gift box, and all for £45.

  13. #32 by craftycreeky on December 12, 2021 - 15:53

    I love a good workshop too, you’ve made some lovely gifts and had an enjoyable day too 🙂

    • #33 by tialys on December 13, 2021 - 09:40

      It was on my list of ‘best workshops I’ve attended’ – mainly because of the location, the company, the lunch and the teacher. Having a small variety of projects to take home was also a treat.

  14. #34 by Evie Jones on December 13, 2021 - 10:55

    One of the things I’ve missed most about the pandemic malarky is the opportunity to attend a good workshop. Hopefully that will be rectified next year!

    • #35 by Evie Jones on December 13, 2021 - 10:56

      oops….pressed ‘send’ too soon. I did want to add that I love the handmadeness of these. It’s very organic and very lovely. You did a great job!

      • #36 by tialys on December 14, 2021 - 18:33

        Thank you.

  15. #37 by Thimberlina on December 19, 2021 - 19:27

    Love these Lynn! Yes it’s me! Im just in the bath reading blogs, can’t remember when I last did (read blogs not when I had a bath😬).
    Love the wallpaper too! Im just about to start my bedroom and loo so have taken some inspo from the monkeys.
    Hope you have a lovely Christmas xx

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