Make a Paw-print Rubber Stamp! #PenPalooza

I’m fairly certain that most of us are aware that 2020 lasted about a decade. A long, lonely decade. I haven’t hugged my mom in over a year. It doesn’t look like restrictions will be (or even SHOULD be) lifted for several months, but in my opinion, it’s more important than ever to make connections to actual humans, even if I can’t do it in person. Enter PenPalooza, a network of over 10,000 humans who are dusting off the lost art of letter-writing.

I have a few pen pals now, and sending mail is great fun. Receiving it is even better. I’m a bit basic, so I haven’t invested a ton of money into it. I get the best note cards and writing paper the dollar store has to offer. But just because my stationary isn’t expensive doesn’t mean it lacks flare. I like putting my own mark on the stuff I send, or in this case, my paw print.

I thought I could show how simple it is to make a rubber stamp of a pet’s paw-print using really inexpensive materials and the cooperation of a pet.

Step 1: Collect the stuff you will need.

  • Liquid Nails
  • Corn Starch
  • Rubber gloves
  • A disposable container
  • Food coloring (optional)

Here’s all you need.

Step 2: Dump some of the corn starch into the disposable container and squeeze the silicone onto it. Mix with a stir or with a gloved hand. It will be sticky, which is why you are wearing gloves. Squish it, fold it, mash it so that it takes up the corn starch. If you opted for food coloring, add it in this step. I don’t use it because I don’t have any.

You will add more silicone as you go

Step 3: Treat the mixture like bread dough. If it is too sticky (which it will be to start), add corn starch. If it is too dry and the mixture cracks, add a bit more silicone. When the blob no longer sticks to your glove, it is about ready. It takes about five minutes of mixing, sometimes a little more, to get the mixture just right.  

Step 4: Roll the blob into a ball, flatten it a little in the container, place the container on a hard surface, and press your pet’s paw into it. It helps if you roll the paw from left to right to get the print, like you would if you were taking prints at the police station. If you don’t like the result, squish the blob back up and try step 4 again. Once you are satisfied with the print, set it aside and dust it with a little corn starchWhat you have now is a negative of your pet’s print. You can stop here if you like, it’s hard to get a good stamp from  a negative. I prefer to create a positive. To do this, repeat steps 1-3. 

The negative paw print. It’s hard to see the toe beans at this stage

Step 5: Take your new blob of mixture and press it gently into the mold that you made. You dusted it with corn starch, right? That’s to keep the two parts from sticking together. Peel them apart immediately. 

Press the fresh blob gently onto the negative. Be sure to dust with corn starch first!

Step 6: Set your new stamp aside and let it air-dry for a couple of hours. Then it’s ready to use!

TA-DA! TOE BEANS! Gently press the edges of the stamp down flatter than the toe beans

Before you use the stamp, rinse it with cold water to get off any extra corn starch. You can use your favorite ink to stamp, or you can use it on warm wax. You can even use it with tempera paint. Wipe your stamp down after each use.

Don’t throw your negative away. If you write enough letters, you may wear out your first stamp and have to make another one! 

What cool things do you like to add to hand-written letters? If you’d like to join PenPalooza, check out the hashtag on Twitter!

The DIY Tip That Home Depot Didn’t Tell You

A garden hose is one of the tools I use daily. I have a tip you may not have heard from Lowe’s or The Home Depot.

A hose will work better and have greater water pressure if there is not a 523lb giant tortoise standing on it.

 

He looks pleased with himself, doesn't he? It took 15 minutes of scratching his neck to get him to finally move. Every week, Al? Really?

He looks pleased with himself, doesn’t he? It took 15 minutes of scratching his neck to get him to finally move. Every week, Al? Really?

You heard it here first.

 

Love tortoise and turtles and want to aid in their conservation? Enjoy a glass of wine? Shop here! Each bottle sold raises money for the Turtle Survival Alliance, an organization committed to zero turtle and tortoise extinctions in the 21st century.

The One Where I Tell You a Secret

I have the weirdest dreams. When I was a kid, I used to dream that I could fly. I still remember that *whee* feeling in the pit of my stomach this one time when I dreamed I was flying on my magic carpet. Okay, so it wasn’t a magic carpet. It was a suitcase. I told you my dreams were weird.

The other night, I dreamed I was a zookeeper. Like, instead of volunteering in the reptile department once a week, they actually paid me to show up. And I had animals of my own that I was assigned to take care of. I didn’t get to fly, but I did get to touch cool things. It was the happiest dream I think I’ve ever had. Then I dreamed that I bought a box of salted caramel MoonPies. When I woke up, I had the biggest smile on my face. Don’t you love dreams like that?

Here’s where things get really weird. I opened my secret hiding place in the closet cabinet, and look what I found!

 

Oh, my gosh! Salted Caramel MoonPies are a THING!

Oh, my gosh! Salted Caramel MoonPies are a THING!

 

But wait. If the MoonPies were real… Does that mean…? Yes, it does! As of this week, I have a new full-time job! I am the newest keeper in the Herpetology department. This is my dream job. I have thoughts and plans for studies on reptile cognition, and I want to do some operant conditioning with our giant tortoises. I am so excited I could cry. And I may have once or twice already.

Can you imagine having a job where you get to continue learning and learning and learning about things you love? Because that’s what this job will be for me. I’ll eventually be in charge of some species of snakes that I have limited or no experience with, so I will be reading and scouring the internet for information to learn as much as I can. About biology and the natural world. What could be better?

My first day is Saturday, and I’ll let you know all about it. My new life is about to begin. First full-time job since Squish was born. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. Wish me luck!

 

***

In case you didn’t know, I contribute writing in other places. This week, I entered my drug screen post in a competition over at Yeah, Write. If you enjoyed it, click here to go vote for me. You can vote for your five favorite blog posts that you see there.

 I also added a post over at our local City Moms Blog. It’s a silly little poem about how parenthood changes us.  Because it does. Want a free sample, no extra charge? Okay, then!

Motherhood is pretty great.

I know that statement’s true,

But I’d be lying if I said

Kids haven’t changed my view.

.

At restaurants fine, I used to dine

On lobster or capon.

Today, I only choose the place

That offers free crayons…

Click here to read the whole post, and feel free to leave a comment to let me know you were there. I like it when my friends visit me.