Card making, rubber stamping techniques and project videos for papercrafters

The One-Armed Lady Stamper

Barb Tobias

Yes, you are reading the title correctly – I only have one arm and I’m a stamping, card-making addict! In 2005, at the age of 60, I lost my left arm and shoulder due to cancer. I had two choices: I could sit around and feel sorry for myself, or become determined to discover what I can do.

For more than 30 years, I had been involved with the hobby ceramic industry. My goal at that time had been to help others learn to create objects of beauty within the fired arts.  Now it was time to make a change. Today, part of my philosophy is to create beautiful cards that hopefully  put a smile on someone’s face.

This new passion presented a few challenges. First was understanding the process of just getting my cards to size. Folding a letter sized page to meet the standard sized A2 card was exciting. That was when a friend told my husband what some woodcarvers used as a workstation. So my husband made a rough copy that became my work area. Recently he improved his design which was again inspired by one of my artistic friends. It is designed somewhat like the old desk blotters but with shallow “gutters” on three sides. The gutters are great for holding some of the supplies – for me it holds my weights, pencil like items and such. The corners are used to keep my projects from moving everywhere while folding or assembling.


By having front edge designed in a downward position, the board will not move forward giving a more sturdy, secure work space.

I mentioned weights. Well with just one hand, it was difficult to do most anything, even to use a paper cutter. While at our local Steele Company , my husband noticed they had scrape pieces of brass rods. He brought several lengths home, cut them to again to different sizes and added felt pieces to one end. Hardware stores carry the felt pieces for the bottom of chair legs and that works great. The walnut piece was made and filled with lead weights. That is actually rather heavy but is a great way to build muscle while creating! I use it often when cutting or scoring a project.


Have you ever had a problem opening your ink pads? They have such a tight suction that I use to have to find help. Well, we attended a tool show several years ago and found a unique “pin vice.” The pins have a rubber shield so as not to dent the items placed between them. I use that vice not just for my ink pads but for so many other things.


Years ago, I purchased a BigKickTM  and trying to figure how to hold it in place to run my embossing projects, well it was fun. You can not imagine the awkward positions I found myself in (I won’t go there). Recently I started getting interested in die cuts (easier than scissors). Yet again, I had a hard time with the process until a light bulb final went off. My husband has a fantastic woodworking shop and lots of “C” clamps!  Just tighten it down and it does not move! Even if you have two hands, this works!

And speaking of die cuts, have you ever dropped a die, especially a small piece, and tried to pick it up?  I had a small circle get wedged half under a cabinet. I could not budge it. By luck, I had a wonderful  magnet with an extending wand. Just pulled the wand and saved the die!

Thanks to my wonderful husband and some dear friends, I now enjoy card-making almost to the fullest. I do hope that maybe, some of my solutions to my creativity situations will be of help to you or someone you know.

My moto:

I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be, but most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see.                –Douglas Pagels










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Hi Barbara, Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds like you have adapted very well and I'm sure your story will be an encouragement to others. It's great that your husband and friends are so helpful and supportive too. I look forward to seeing your cards in the gallery.

What a wonderful story of encouragement to others. Good for you girl that you found a way to enjoy your craft even with your impairment. So nice to hear that your husband is right there to help out with the carpentry parts for you. Bless you both.

Barbara, you are an inspiration to all of us! Many of us have limitations, but hearing of yours makes mine seem very minor! Will also look for your cards in the gallery. Thank you for sharing!

Barbara, you are an amazing woman!! And an inspiration!! Looking forward to seeing your beautiful creations in the gallery. Thank you for sharing your story.

Wow what an inspiration you are. And despite your challenges it sounds like you are still a lucky lady to have such a wonderful husband. You two really know what it means to work together and get things done! I am in awe of you both. 


I so enjoyed your story what an inspiration you are. You are a testament to not giving up.

How proud your family must be of you and your inventive ways of getting the job done.

Kudos to you don't give up.. Keep making the amazing cards and putting smiles on peoples


Barbara, You're amazing and an inspiration to all. I'm looking forward to seeing all of your great creations. Thanks for sharing your story.

Thanks for sharing!

What an amazing story, I was trying to imagine doing my card making with one hand and it seemed impossible but  as you have told us it's not,    with strong determination ( and a wonderful Hubby) you have made it work , good on you. 

First, welcome to StampTV!  And thank you for sharing your story with us...I personally love to hear ones life stories, makes you feel like you 'know' the person behind those typed words!  :D

I am moving this to General Stamping forum.  The Ask Us forum is for questions to be asked to the DT and Gina.  When hitting the 'add' button, it will automatically put your post in the Ask Us forum...sooo, no biggy though!  LOL

Hi Barbara,  So nice to meet you!  Your story is totally inspiring!  I can't even imagine being in your shoes.  The way that you have lifted yourself up and made the best with what you have is awesome!  How wonderful that you have such a caring and supporting husband!  I also will be looking for your creations in the gallery.  Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life.  :)

Barbara, your story is so inspiring. You are a great example how to overcome adversities in a very positive way. Your husband sounds like a great helpmeet. You are very blessed. I cannot wait to see your cards posted. Thank you for sharing your story. It surely gives food for thought.

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