I got myself "Printing by Hand" by Lena Corwin for Christmas, and I totally recommend it. It really is very useful and informative, as well as inspiring. It also includes some patterns for printing should you want to get started without coming up with your own. For me, part of the fun has been keeping a sketch book and drawing when I feel inspired. This owl was one of those creations.
I was careful about the next part of my investment. A friend told me about Craft Pudding. This woman is one seriously talented lady in the craft of carving stamps. She shares in this post different folks (with links) that she's learned from. It's fantastic for a beginner like me. I learned much from this guy, Kirbert's site which is on her page. He gives very practical and helpful advice about what to purchase and I also followed his direction by using this company, Stampeaz for my materials. I was very pleased. This owl I carved out of their with PZ Kut, grade B medium. Good stuff. I went ahead and purchased the sampler pack so that I can experiment with the different materials to see which one I like best. This was also one of Kirbert's recommendations. Now, I'm contemplating fabric paints, and have been considering Dharma Trading Company and Pebeo fabric paints. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions?
Now, if only I could carve as well as this! If nothing else, check out the talented lady at Craft Pudding. Her stuff is seriously cute.