Monday, 31 May 2010

Hero Arts Poppies & Copic Markers

Wow! After spending a week colouring, I have to say that Copic markers are a lot of fun!!! I was recently away on a business trip for a week and reluctant to face a week's withdrawal pains from stamping, I brought some stamped images and my Copic markers with me. My early efforts in the week were quite .... bad. Really bad. I could blame it on the limited colours, but really, it was just limited skill. Still, any new tool takes some getting used to and in my down-time from my meetings, I would colour away in my little hotel room, happily absorbed in choosing colours and learning to blend. I also learned that the very best paper for Copics is Heather's 130 lb paper. I also used paper from another source, but was disappointed. It may work well for the experienced Copic-wielder, but for the novice, it didn't work. Copic novices, use Heather's paper and you will be much, much happier with the results. No matter how much I soaked it, it refused to bleed, and marker lines were quite easy to remove. I thought it would be a great chance to practice, practice, practice my Copics since that was the take-home message from my certification course. Also, it was easy to pack a SU stampbox full of my Copic collection and a few pages of stamped images. I did bring a few stamps with me (my Nuggitz cubes - perfect for travelling - 4 stamps, 1 block) and my black Memento dew drop for some on-the-spot stamping because sometimes I just don't feel like colouring what's there. (This happened a few times on the trip, so it was nice to have some options.) Are you ready call 1-800-LOCKR-UP yet? I do realize this sounds a bit nutty, and I will admit to being somewhat crazy when it comes to stamping (and knowing obscure words/facts/and other useless tidbits), but since I was allowed through airport security, twice, I can safely claim that I am not ready for immediate committal.

The card posted here was one of my later-in-the-week efforts, probably day 4 or 5. (It was hard to scan in the exact colours, the card base is Pacific Point and the pink cardstock is Cameo Coral, if that helps.) I felt a bit of trepidation turning it into a card (I always feel like that about images that really turned out well). However, I wanted to send a thank you card to the meeting organizers and it seemed fitting to send one I made when I was there. Not that they would know or anything like that, but it's sort of like I want to think about it a wider way to soften the blow of releasing one of my special cards to the mercy of international mail and the non-stamping world, it helps me with the separation anxiety to put some sort of meaning to the card-recipient.

About the making of this card: stamped fabulous Hero Arts poppy image in Tuxedo Black Memento Ink on Heather's 130 lb cardstock. Travelled to new city (not essential to card). Coloured with Copics and accented with stickles (Cinnamon and black in the middles, burgundy going out a bit from the middle.) I used several shades of red and pink and brown, probably 4-5 reds/pinks and 2 browns; I remember the blues, B00, B04, B24 - only blues I have right now - will have to expand repertoire as am getting tired of bright turquoise backgrounds as only non-brown option. Just to let you know, I will start as I mean to go on and not post photos of the ends of my markers. One, because I have some Ciaos and the numbers are on the barrels. Two, because it will mean I will never (a) take the picture or (b) get around to uploading it. If I think of jotting down my colours, I will pass them on, otherwise, just figure I used various shades of light and dark of whatever colour you see. If you want better instructions, come take a class at Heather's ;-)

I matted this on black, then cameo coral (SU) and then on a pacific point (SU) card base (5.25" square). I stamped a pretty dotted flourish (Impress Rubber Stamps) on the card base using New Canvas Palette Ink (PTI). I love that stamp - so useful for something pretty and whimsical but still kind of fresh and not too flourishy-bohemian. (I didn't realize I had such definite ideas about my flourish stamps! I guess I do!) I think this poppy stamp would be great done with fiery oranges (sorry Mum!) as I'm seeing lots of lovely poppies around right now in those colours. Also some beautiful pink ones are blooming in the church garden at the moment. I love poppies!

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you find a way to travel with your stamps too.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Dance for yourself

I'm back! Sorry about the blog-post drought. I was on a business trip and in the week or so leading up to it, I had meant to do up a bunch of stamping and blog posts, but my family kept wanting to eat and wear clean clothes, and I had to shop (dearth of summer wardrobe) and pack for my trip. And DD2 also wanted a birthday party. Now I have semi-presentable summer clothes, I'm back from my trip, have six blisters from new shoes (and walking approx 5000 km with insane bionic android-type travelling companions), and the birthday party was a huge hit (won't dwell on fact that small children are very easy to please and they probably liked the cheesies the best out of all the entertainments and diversions I offered).

There's a fun contest over on Tim Holtz' blog where he's giving away some Distress Ink holders.
He's asked people to make a project with Distress Inks, and here's what I've done with my evening! {ooooh! Just got confirmation from Tim Holtz himself! I'm sure it's a generic one but still. His name is in my Inbox. ooooh!}

I've used a number of techniques, including Versamark resist (you can sort of see the music background - it's a subtle effect, but I like the fact that there's a bit of music "playing" in the background). I experimented a bit with "motion stamping" the people, but it wound up looking like they were some sort of crazy time travelling dancers trapped at a rave party so I had to settle for ordinary stamping instead. (I should mention these stamps are all from one Stampers' Anonymous set, Purely Random, which is one of my favourite sets. It has so many fabulous and useful elements in it, as well as these four dancing-related stamps. Actually, come to think of it, the music stamp is from one of the Christmas sets, but really every stamper should have at least one sheet music stamp, right? Right. A sheet music stamp was one of the stamps I got on my first trip to Western Educational (RIP, o stamping Mecca). Happy sigh of recalling love affair with stamps in first flush....)

Anyway, back to the card. After stamping the dancers (Pine Needles) and the footsteps (Stormy Sky), I made the tag. There was a nice scrap of soft yellow paper just sitting near my left hand, so I added some distress ink and turned it into a tag. I just blended on some shades of yellow to bring it into matching tones with the background and to stop it looking so flat. I also stamped the same sentiment on it in Scattered Straw. A handy tip: heat set with your iron so you can emboss right away. Another handy tip: don't forget to turn off the steam or the words will disappear in a puff of vapour and you will have to restamp them. Or at least I presume this is what would happen .... I also used my edge distresser (finally found it! yay! it was in my basket of stamping tools... grrr...who put it there???) I added an eyelet and some cord and presto, tag! I also used my tag corner punch for the corners since I am too impatient to measure, mark and cut corners like that. I'd rather cut corners with a punch! (Ha! Did you miss my bad puns?) I also spritzed the background with a bit of gold Smooch. (I'm liking this more and more. The first time I tried it, I used way too much. Now I give it two squirts and it's done. It is lasting a lot longer this way. It also fits in my little mini-mister stadium stand. Yay!) On the green panel is some Gala Glitz glitter in green, stuck to some Sook Wang tape (I hope, anyway - I had previously stuck down some microbeads but they looked terrible so I took them off but didn't change the tape). I don't think I'll be sending this off to anyone. I think I might give it to myself to remind me not to worry about conforming to the crazy world around me and if I feel like dancing, I should just go right ahead and do it.

I'm looking at this card and I feel like it needs something else. The layout isn't quite right. I think I need to get over my problem of covering up a background I just spent an hour making (longer if you count the one I had to throw out due to rave-dancing lunatics). Any tips on the layout problem? I have my visual triangle, I have my three yellow things, three green things, something stringy/ribbony, something sparkly, something metal. Maybe I should go read Tim's message again for inspiration....

Thanks for stopping by! It's great to be back, happily ensconced amongst my teetery piles and friendly stamps, listening to Vinney White and Studio 93, getting my fingers into the most dreadful inky mess. I had brought my Copics with me and some stamped images and logged in lots of happy colouring hours, but it's not the same as making a project from start to finish. That being said, I've made great strides with my Copics and am getting very comfortable with them, other than with blending very light colours into white. That still defeats me. Still, one needs a challenge and a reason to get out of bed in the morning!
Happy stamping :-)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Seashells in Monochrome

Here's another card I made using a sheet from my Ecoline stash. (I had made a bunch of background papers one day in different colours - this one used blue and pickling salt.)
The main image is one I got at my LSS (impression obsession) with the coordinating sand dollar image. I stamped the main image in black (versafine I think) and accented it with white gel pen and glitter pen. I distressed the edges a bit and let it sit for a couple of days while I figured out what to do with it. The backdrop, which could probably be a bit bigger, is kraft and sahara sand, with a Pacific Point piece at the bottom. All the background card base is stamped with the sand dollar in Pumice Stone (Distress Ink) and the blue part is sprayed with Riptide Glimmer Mist. The vellum bit is stamped with a Tim Holtz (Stampers Anonymous) scroll stamp, "inked" up with Snow Cap paint dauber. I thought the paint would be a nice quick-dry choice for the vellum, and it did work well. The sand dollar accent is stamped on kraft and highlighed with pencil crayon and stickles. Once everything was glued down, etc., I accented the card with Icicle stickles and little pearls (Hero Arts). This will be the perfect card for a destination wedding, don't you think? Too bad I don't move in destination wedding circles. I'm sure the perfect occasion for this card will present itself (e.g., "Congratulations Pearl Diving College Graduate" or "To my wife, for our first stamping cruise together" - hey, a girl's gotta dream!).
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Sympathy Vase

Sadly, I needed a couple of sympathy cards, so I turned to my go-to stamp for the occasion. It's a beautiful stamp by Impress Rubber Stamps, with a branch on one side and a flower on the end. I use it with my small vase punch and Japanese paper. I liked this patterned paper for its muted shades of navy, brown and purple, and picked those out in the card base (tsumugi in Heather) and mat (chocolate- PTI). The image itself is stamped on shimmer white (Stampin' Up) in Rich Cocoa (Memento), Lavender (Color Box) and Night Sky (Versamagic). I added a small shadow with gray pencil crayon. The sentiment is also in cocoa (Fancy Flexible Phrases, Stampin' Up). The paper was too nice to leave off, so I added an accent strip to the background. The nice thing about the bough-flower stamp is that it embellishes the envelope nicely as well. This is such a quick and easy card to make, which is nice when you need a card in a hurry. You could make a more cheerful version of this, certainly, in lovely fresh greens and pinks or blues and yellows, etc.

Well that's it for now. I have to go check and see if my fairy wands are glued together. The wood glue said to clamp for an hour. My binder clips weren't holding the stars to the sticks, so I found a long thin box and laid it over the wands, and piled some paint cans on top. If I balanced them just so, the box wouldn't collapse or tip over. They are on the freezer right now and if DH discovers this contraption, he will be very cross indeed. (He's never a fan of my teetery piles, whereas I somewhat enjoy seeing how I can pile things on an unstable base. What's that they say about the triumph of optimism over experience????)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 10 May 2010

More Ecoline Birds

Here's another bird card, with the focal panel cased from Godelieve Tijskens. I had these backgrounds in my orphaned papers basket, waiting for a good home. The pink and pinky blue ones are Ecoline backgrounds, and the green I whipped up to go with it using distress inks and a blending tool. I stamped the bird block (Crafty Individual) once or twice on each colour using Versafine Onyx Black (but now I see that Godelieve embossed hers and I like that better. Coulda shoulda woulda!). I cut the pieces apart and glued them to a black mat. After a lengthy hemming and hawing process, I matted again onto Sahara Sand, which I stamped with a ship's record stamp (Heather's Stamping Haven, from her own genealogy!) and treated to a buffing in shades of pink and blue distress ink. The avocado card base (PTI) got spritzed with olive vine and riptide glimmer mist. I thought it would be fun to add some thread to the main panel, so I poked some holes and added waxed thread (black first, didn't like it, so now it's blue), that I got from Quietfire Designs. The card base also has a rectangular Tim Holtz (Stampers Anonymous) tickety stamp in the background around the border. It doesn't show up in the scan.
My mother was visiting and helped me solve my Paint Shop Pro woes so there was one day there when I didn't hate it. Now that she's gone, PSP is back to devilling me with grayed out options and her trick of clicking the green "apply" arrow doesn't work since PSP keeps it grayed out. It's hard when you only have 10 minutes to blog to spend 9.5 minutes trying to ungray the menu in PSP.
Thanks for stopping by!
PS Nimmy - thank you so much for your lovely comment on the purple bird card! It totally made my day :-) In fact, thank you for all your comments! They are much appreciated.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Is Less More?

I fell in love with this stamp when I saw it on Godelieve's blog here. I was inspired by her use of Ecoline backgrounds to try this out, so I reached for an Ecoline background I had made one day a few weeks ago in purple and yellow. I had actually stamped this up when I was waiting for the iron to heat up so I could iron a blouse for work the next day. I was in a bad state, not having stamped for several days, and had that itch in my veins. There was no time for proper stamping, but I did have a minute to get a small stamping fix, so I plopped these birds down on the Ecoline background. I had some time for proper stamping this evening and set about turning the image into a card. I went through two eggplant card bases with various backgrounds stamped on them before I came to the conclusion that the only suitable background stamp was one I didn't have. (Note to self: Add nice scripty background to shopping list, right between carrots and plastic wrap) So, I made a square card instead, on a dark purple Bazzill base, and used my Scor-it to make the 'mitre' lines. I applied some distress ink (dusty concord and black soot) to the outside using my blending tool, as I felt it needed some depth. I also accented the birds with some pencil crayons in white, yellow and purple. I also gave it a couple of mists of gold smooch. The black mat is also edged in gold pen for a bit of a gleam. I thought about adding a sentiment, embellishments, ribbon and decided that less is more on this card. Here's a card I can use for any occasion, as needed, and will be easy to mail.
I can see so many possibilities with this stamp and am looking forward to playing with it a bit more. I love how Godelieve combined several panels of this image stamped in different colours (see link above). I am going to try that next.
Thanks for stopping by!
Supplies; Stamp- Crafty Individuals (Magenta), Ecoline, gold Smooch, Tuxedo Black memento ink, purple, black and yellow paper from my Smaug-like hoard.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Look out Copics, here I come!

Look out Copics, here I come! Not only am I your classic "Late Adopter" (marketing term for someone who is always the last to catch on to any trend), I am now a Certified Copic Instructor!
Last weekend I took an amazing class with Sally Lynn MacDonald and had a great time. Her class was fantastic, despite a few set backs like having all her markers stuck in customs! Anyway, we got the scoop on the Copics (that's a long "o" folks) and am now qualified to teach these babies. To be honest, I wasn't all that wowed at first. Us Late Adopters are deeply suspicious of new things when our old things like Twinklings and Tombows are wonderful and we love them. We don't see any need to change when things are just fine the way they are. We wonder how anything new could possibly be better. (And when it comes to monitors, this may well be true!)
Well, Copics aren't better, but they are different, and they are fun. I found the paper at the certification class a bit hard to blend on, but I've been playing at home on Heather's special 130 lb cardstock and it is practically self-blending. It is super easy to use. We got a little case of markers included in our registration and this card is made with those, supplemented with 2 greens and a yellow. This will be an upcoming class at Heather's, so I'm not going to give away the details here, other than to say this is the second card I made with Copics and I am HOOKED! They are fun, fun, fun.
ESR,JALB (eventually stamp-related, just a little bit):
Last weekend was a dream weekend. DH whisked me off to Kingston for a get-away after work on Friday. We stayed at Green Woods Inn, which I would recommend to anyone who wants a wonderful stay in an amazing B&B in the total lap of luxury. We went out for dinner at Domenicos and it was fabulous. We walked around a bit and enjoyed the sights and atmosphere. I love Kingston - so historic and interesting and you are never more than about 3 steps from a historical plaque. (I am a sucker for historical plaques and will always badger DH to stop and read them if I see any. He often resists since we are usually trying to get somewhere and he is not as captivated by the "Historical Plaque 63 km at next left" signs as I am.) Anyway, Kingston is practically paved with historical plaques, written by the most earnest date-o-phile in Ontario. I digress. The rooms at Green Woods are beautiful, full of antiques and very, very comfortable. The owners are very hospitable and professional, and even remembered where we dined the last time we stayed there (about five years ago). The breakfast was heavenly (yogurt parfait with granola, bananas and strawberries to start, Green Woods Benedict - perfectly poached eggs on Pan Chancho olive focaccia, with sauteed mushrooms and balsamic tomatoes on the side, with fresh croissants and homemade preserves, including the most flavourful pear, pineapple and carrot jam, with an interesting note that I think was cloves, but maybe nutmeg - will have to try to replicate this summer during jamming season - are you tired of this sentence yet??? - could try to extend with further ~punctuation~ of sorts....I would try but I am out of typing breath!). We had a great afternoon browsing around the shops of downtown Kingston. We poked around a couple of used book stores as I was trying to work up to buying an old dictionary for the purposes of diecutting the pages in manner of Tim Holtz. Ed sternly disapproved of these barbaric intentions and to be honest I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't face those book store owners and buy a dictionary for the purposes of wanton destruction. These bookstore owners clearly felt that all these books were somehow extensions of themselves, somehow family members stacked up and piled around for the purposes of maintaining society's knowledge of all sorts of topics, from how to make dolls from plastic canvas to important knots of the 1920s. How could anyone dream of defiling these treasures? I was able to bring myself to buy a couple of old plays and a book of French poetry for purposes of applying these mots d'art to paper projects, but couldn't quite get a dictionary. It was a wonderful get-away and so nice to spend some time with my Dear DH. He also let me go to Marchant's for an hour, a stamp store in Kingston, which was fun. They have a wonderful selection of scrapbooking supplies and I got some interesting Opaline Ink and a Hampton Arts diva stamp, and another interesting Penny Black stamp that caught my eye. I'm looking forward to trying those out. They had a fun little make-and-take with Savvy Stamps too - very cute! Lucky Kingstonians to have all that ink and rubber goodness nearby.
Well, time to hit post and then the hay! So much for an early night but if I dash, I just might make it before midnight. T minus two minutes and counting. Hey - speaking of Two Minutes to Midnight, Iron Maiden is opening Blues Fest! I talked DH into going with me to recapture my youth. Rock on Garth!!!! Blue Rodeo, Johnny Cash, and Van Morrison may be more my thing nowadays, but if Bruce, Steve, Dave and the boys can turn up and play, the least I can do is go and see them.
Stamp credits: flower - Sunshine Designs (The Stamp Barn), plaid - Cornish Heritage Farms scrapblock.