Thursday, July 27, 2017

Revisiting Inchies

After staring at pins like this, this, and this, I felt inspired to make this:

Here's a closer look at that inchie, which is actually 1.25", but who's measuring? (Well, I am.)

The background was stamped using one of Hero Arts' spectrum pads, and the two tiny stars were punched from a scrap stamped with the same background image (from Papertrey's Ombre Builders) and ink. The larger punched star is accented with a bling star colored with a Copic to match the darker blue on the stamped stitch border and sentiment.

Dreamy stars!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey stitch set, Ombre Builders; StampinUp sentiment
ink: Hero Arts ombre pad, Archival cobalt
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, star punches, star bling, Copic for coloring the bling

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Riviera Looks Nice This Time of Year

I just know you've had this happen to you. I was innocently rummaging around in Marco's Paper last week, and an inkpad leaped into my basket. All. By. Itself.

That Kaleidacolor Riviera ink pad chose me...not the other way around. So it's not my fault. Not at all. Surely you understand this sort of thing.

But I'm not so sure my husband would.

Anywho, I played around with the inkpad and came up with three fun cards. Isn't the Riviera just lovely?

The first card uses a single image that covers the whole pad. (The layout came from this pin, by the way.) The touch of purple on the sentiment helped bring the raised panel and feather together, but the raised panel still looked too plain (even for me), so I dragged the edges over the purple part of the Kaleidacolor pad. That worked fine.

Next, I wanted to let the Riviera spectrum move from one image to the next, so Clearly Besotted's Everything Changes butterflies filled the need nicely. So girly and feminine, don't you think?

Finally, I wanted to let my minimalist freak flag fly with maximum white space and a single layer. I adore the movement in this one, and the bling! EEEP!

Which is your favorite and why?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Waltzingmouse Fine Feathers, Clearly Besotted Everything Changes, sentiments from Papertrey
ink: Kaleidacolor Riviera, Memento black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones, Copics and Sharpies to color them

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Peace Like a Snowflake

Today's card is both incredibly clean and messy. Not that it looks messy in completed form, but still.

Card size: 6.25" x 3.5"

To make the raised panels, I took a scrap of cardstock and embossed the word peace and two different snowflakes on it with white embossing powder. Using Tim Holtz chipped sapphire and seedless preserves distress ink and mini inking tools, I inked the daylights out of that scrap of cardstock.

Does anyone else get ink all over even using those handy inking tools? Seriously. My fingers were blue the rest of the day.

A 3/4" square punch turned the mess into three very precise squares. A 1" square punch gave the three squares each very precise mats, and a quilting ruler allowed me to place each square precisely in a row in the exact center of the card precisely 1/4" apart.

As you might imagine, all that precision made my heart go pitter patter.

Note the variations in the color. That was on purpose. With so little to look at amidst so much white space, it was important for there to be some variation. Peace is off-center, while the snowflakes are centered. The middle square is much darker than the other two. The snowflakes are different because, as we all know, no two snowflakes are alike.

May peace fall on you like a snowflake caught on your tongue...quite, calm, soft. May it dissolve into you like that snowflake and become a part of you, if only for a moment.

We need those moments of peace in the middle of the mess, don't we?

Mercy, grace, peace, and love...but especially peace,

stamps: various (translation: I can't remember)
ink: Tim Holtz seedless preserves and chipped sapphire, clear embossing ink
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: dimensionals, inking tools, white embossing powder, 3/4" and 1" square punches

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Modern Twist

So after I made my card for the Inspiration Challenge, the inks were still sitting out, and three colors called to me: Memento espresso truffle and Impress island and Tuscan olive. This card popped into my head and--by some miracle of miracles--turned out exactly as I envisioned it! Yippee!

Super colors, fun movement, outstandingly retro shapes. Eeeep!

I love it when a plan comes together.

(And yes, we are watching The A-Team movie tonight.)

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Amuse small oval, Papertrey Good Times (starbursts), Clearly Besotted A Little Sentimental
ink: Memento espresso truffle; Impress Fresh Ink Tuscan olive, island
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue

Saturday, July 22, 2017

IC607 Olive Hello

This week's Inspiration Challenge at Splitcoast is a fun one! The source of inspiration is the Cuadros board on Pinterest, which is full of great colors. I chose THIS PIN for my inspiration, pulling its many colors together into this:

Note that my blue has more green in it than the inspiration pin's blue, but that was as close as I could get with my pigment inks. I loved the olive table cloth in the center of the original art, so I kept that color for my sentiment at the center of my design.

What a fun challenge!

I hope you're all enjoying a lovely weekend. It's stupid humid here in southwest Ohio, but thanks to whoever invented air conditioning, I've had a very pleasant day of stamping. Hope you can say the same!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts Spring Hello by Lia
ink: VersaMagic Concord grape and sage; Memento pistachio, olive grove, and espresso truffle; Impress Fresh Ink island and Tuscan olive
paper: Papertrey white, StampinUp old olive
accessories: none

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Why Copics?

Yesterday's post on Copics provoked this most excellent question from reader bluejeannes:

"What makes Copics so great, so much superior to others? They are very expensive, so I've never bought any."

Well, bluejeannes, I can't answer that question as an expert, but here's what I know from experience.

1. Alcohol markers come in a variety of price points. Sharpies and Bics are the cheapest, but the color range is limited to mostly very bright, strong colors. They also don't blend quite as well as Copics. Copics are, to my knowledge, the most expensive alcohol markers, and they work like dream. There's a middle-ground price-point alcohol marker called Spectrum Noir. I have never tried these, but a lady at Marco's told me she uses those instead of Copics and loves them.

Random strangers at craft stores might not be entirely reliable sources, but it's all I've got to offer.

2. There are LOTS of coloring options that are just as lovely as Copics...for a lot less money. Watercolors and colored pencils, for instance, are not nearly as pricey, and can produce incredible results. They won't look like the Copics, but if an image gets colored, who really cares what medium was used? Will your card recipient even know there were options? Probably not.

3. We should be careful how we spend our precious crafting dollars. Copics are VERY expensive, and even though I've purchased most of mine with coupons and on sale, it's still a sizeable investment. To be honest, if I'd known about the Spectrum Noir pens before I started collecting Copics, I'd probably have chosen them over Copics. Coloring isn't a passion for me, but I do enjoy all the pretty colors.

That said, Copics truly are high-quality markers. They blend beautifully, especially on the Gina K 120# white card stock. They are refillable, and you can replace worn nibs. Even my oldest Copics are still juicy, and the tips are in excellent shape. They last.

For those who are not expert colorers, it's possible to fake results that are good enough for government work, as the saying goes.

For those who commit to mastering them, the results are pure art. Check out Sandy Alnock's videos on YouTube to see an expert at work.

For those who choose to avoid alcohol markers altogether, good on you! After all, I've avoided die cut machines and the money pit of needing every die I see. Good on me! Let's celebrate by buying a set of stamps!

If you're a total noob at alcohol markers, I strongly recommend getting a few Sharpies or Bics first to try your hand at color blending (off-the-shelf Sharpies in a yellow, light orange, and dark orange would work). If it seems like fun, pick out a few shades of your favorite color in Spectrum Noir or Copics and experiment. Decide how fully you want to commit. If you decide to proceed, build your collection as slowly as your budget requires. I've been working on my collection for about five years or so, and it finally feels finished.

So there you have it. For what it's worth. Which might not be much.

Here's another card (somewhat similar to yesterday's layout) using more shades of Copics. Love these cool, bright colors!

I think I got a little carried away with bling, but still. It's a perfect card for a beautiful friend of mine. She's going to love it, overly blinged and all!

Now, this is already a long post, but I want to share something that happened to me today. My guardian angel was working overtime.

A tree came down across the road right in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes, but couldn't tell if the tree hit the front of my car or if the car hit the was that close. Fortunately, a landscaping company truck and trailer stopped behind me. The guys got out, checked for damage, and told me the tree was lodged under the hadn't damaged the car at all. They needed a chainsaw to get it out from under the car and off the road. Those three men were a GODSEND! They had the road cleared and everything moving in about two minutes. Thank the Lord for Good Samaritans armed with chainsaws!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,

stamps: Concord & 9th Wild Flowers, Hero Arts sentiment
ink: Memento black
paper: Gina K 120# white
accessories: Copics, rhinestones

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Copic Refresh

Full disclosure. I am NOT a Copic expert. In fact, my coloring skills barely qualify as amateur. Furthermore, I'm not even interested in spending hours watching videos on YouTube or taking any's not that motivating for me. So why do I have as many Copics as I do?

Because of all the pretty colors. Duh.

I recently filled in some gaps in my collection. Here's my updated chart, for any of you interested in building a "basic" Copic collection. (*snort*)

Obviously, you don't need ALL 75 markers for a basic set...but hopefully you can pick and choose from my chart to make the going a bit easier. If you magnify the photo, you should be able to read the numbers. Focus on your favorite colors, the ones you use the most.

Anyway, since I'm showing off the chart, I might as well show a card colored with Copics. For newbies to Copics, I use Gina K Heavy Base Weight Card Stock (120lb). It's very smooth and coated so the Copic ink moves around easily and won't soak through to the other side (a critical feature for one-layer cards). Memento tuxedo black ink won't bleed with Copics and leaves a good, solid impression on the Gina K card stock.

Here are the colors I used. They do make a nice Christmas card, don't they?

As you can see, I got a little out of the lines, but I'm using this post to work on my perfectionist issues. See, internet! I can still be proud of something that's got visible flaws. Ha!

It's progress, of a sort.

The gold centers of the poinsettias came courtesy of a humble gold gel pen. Its opaque ink covered the black nicely.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento black, Hero Arts red royal
paper: Gina K
accessories: Copics, dimensionals, gold gel pen