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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Such an inspiring way of life. I have MS and know how challenging the simple things can be. I have been battling this for almost 45 years. Things are difficult, but I have choices, I can give up or keep going to be the best I can be. thank you for sharing! It is wonderful that your husband is so loving and caring. God bless you. Phil. 4:13

Well it just goes to show that where there is a will, there is a way.  You are such an inspiration!  With your uplifting spirit, I'm sure you will succeed at anything you try.  So happy to have you with us here at Stamp TV.

Barbara, thank you so much for sharing your incredible rock!  You and your husband have given me inspiration in that no matter how tough life can be, we must never give up.  Life will always be full of challenges but it is how we handle it that defines who we are and in turn makes us stronger individuals.

I so look forward to seeing what you create in the gallery.

All the best to you and your husband!

Welcome Barbara - what an inspiration! We are glad you found a way to create despite living with such challenges! And hugs to your hubby who customized your work area so you can succeed! Many gentle hugs to you!!!

What a courageous story and so glad you did not give up your creative side because life dealt you a glitch. Keep up the good work and I know those cards you create are giving pleasure to others as well. I admire you for not giving  up!

YOU are amazing!!!  I'm having hand surgery and will temporarily be stamping are my inspiration!!!!


You are an inspiration to all of us!  I look forward to seeing your cards in the Gallery.  

Thank you for sharing your story.

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