The Guiding Lights stamp set from Papertrey ink has some absolutely lovely images, and I was excited to try it out when it came in my latest PTI haul! My sister came over for a crafty play date, and we did our darndest to enjoy our first go with this set. Let's just say that our experience was one part fun and two parts frustration.
I have never, ever had a bad experience with PTI, and I wouldn't say I did this time, but I will warn you that this set isn't for the faint of heart. I'm a fairly experienced stamper, but try as we might, getting the multiple layers of this set to line up reasonably well was nigh impossible. After stamping these lighthouses more than 10 times each, I finally got a reasonably passable combination for this Melissa Phillips inspired birthday card:
Because PTI's dies are not framelits (as in you can't see your image through the center of the die), you must cut first and stamp second. Lining up a series of tiny images atop an equally tiny cut shape was absolutely maddening.
Of course, with great frustration comes great ingenuity, so I had a moment of sheer joy when I realized I could create a die cutting "mask" on a clear window sheet and then use that to place my die in the proper position for stamping before cutting. This will eliminate half the difficulty, even if you still have to fiddle with lining up all those tiny pieces correctly as you stamp them.
Practice makes perfect, so I practiced some more with another card and some Scene It elements from PTI's Petite Places line:
The second go was a little easier. It only took me four tries to get a lighthouse I could live with. My stamp positioner worked much better when I could stamp onto paper first and use my die cutting mask to line up my dies.
The moral of the story is practice makes perfect in crafting, as in life!