Thursday, April 20, 2017

Impression Obsession DT Challenge: You Take the Cake

The Impression Obsession team's challenge today is to create a project that features cake or another dessert.

This is a card I made when I was playing with the new inks last week - I wanted to try using one of the pale inks for a no-line effect. I stamped the image with the Periwinkle ink, giving it several impressions with my MISTI for full coverage.

I colored it in with Copics, and added a few extra shadows with Polychromos pencils. This actually is a sneak peek of a stamp set by Alesa Baker that will be released very soon - it's a lot of fun! Lots of mix and match pieces to build your own cakes, with sentiments for different occasions. I actually stamped the cake twice here to fill the card.

Here's a closer look at the colored area - and again, these hybrid inks are very Copic friendly - no bleeding at all! (Click HERE for my review if you missed it last week.)

Stamps I used: WP758 Sweet Celebration clear set, Happy Birthday

Be sure to check out these other designers' blogs for inspiration -

Vicki @ Summerthyme Studio

Remember you can enter these challenges too, using your Impression Obsession stamps! See the I.O. blog for all the details - you might even win a $25 gift certificate!! We'd love to have you join us.
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Splitcoast Tutorial: Ice Cream Sandwich Box

This week's tutorial over on Splitcoast is a fun and easy treat box shaped like an Ice Cream Sandwich! It is such a cute project, and a perfect gift idea - the divider inside fits 4 Hershey Nuggets and a gift card. Here's mine -

Instead of taking the time for piercing the holes in the cookie pieces, I used this Dot Background embossing folder from Darice. Much quicker and a great substitute. The folder is 5"x7" so the pieces fit perfectly. I went with strawberry ice cream, just because. :)

The box holds closed with a belly band - I used a variety of die cuts for mine, along with a sundae stamp from Impression Obsession and a sentiment designed by Marcella Hawley that was such a perfect fit. Here's a peek inside - the divider is scored to create 2 mountain folds that divide the inside up just perfectly.

Super cute - hope you'll give it a try!
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Whimsy Stamps!

Whimsy Stamps sent me some of their adorable stamps to play with - I have had so much fun with these! If you're unfamiliar with Whimsy Stamps, they are a family owned rubber stamp company based in Florida - they produce adorable licensed stamps from a variety of artists, in clear sets and red rubber. They have expanded to include dies in their line, as well as digital stamps, papers, and card kits. Their stamps are made in the USA and shipped worldwide.

This little otter set stole my heart - isn't he adorable? I used QoR watercolors and Polychromos pencils to color him in and create a little warm backdrop for him - I really wanted a primary color combo on this card, with some warm neutrals. And eyelets!

The set is full of mix-and-match sentiments that are so cute, and can be used together or separately... like "You otter know... I love you!"

This squirrel caught my attention too - he looks so relaxed. :) Again, coloring is done with QoR watercolors and Polychromos pencil, and the color combination came together with scraps that were already out on my desk.

The sentiment is from the otter set above - such a cute font and great size, and I was glad to have a few sentiments that could go with other single stamps.

Oh, that tail!

One more cute critter - this little hedgehog is by artist Lee Holland and her collection is adorable!

More QoR watercolors and Polychromos pencil here, and a 3-1/2" x 5-1/2" card - such a fun size, and what's left from a 5" square cut.

I enjoyed working with these stamps so much - I hope you enjoyed the results! Cards are in my Etsy store. :) Keep an eye out for a couple more posts with Whimsy in the future!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Impression Obsession hybrid inks

I'm so excited to have some of the new Impression Obsession inks to play with! I wanted to bring you a review of what these inks can do - they are a lot of fun, and a really great all-purpose ink! These 48 raised felt pads are a hybrid ink... and hybrid ink is a huge victory for those of us who like to use a variety of different mediums but don't want to have a different ink for each one. The IO site describes the hybrid ink this way: "Featuring the best of both worlds, it dries quickly like a dye pad but has the coverage and opacity of a pigment pad."

I started by indexing the inks - you can see how vibrant and saturated these colors are. They are also grouped into 16 color trios (light, medium, dark) for color matching and layering. I actually made 2 sets of index cards - one to add into my existing index, and another to group the trios together with a sample of what they look like layered. (These little 2" square cards tuck neatly into coin binder pages, which I keep in a binder next to my desk.) You'll notice the contrast here is pretty great between the layers on my stamped samples - that's because each layer got two impressions with the MISTI - when I layer images, I don't usually double up like that.

Here's a swatch of each color trio and what they look like together - there's a warm and cool trio for each color family - these are picked directly from my scanned swatches and not edited, so there may be some color variance, as there always is with scans. (You can click on the picture to see it larger.)

I used a solid stamp to ink up a little strip of label paper for each pad so they're color coded on the front. (I use this label paper - it's a great value!).

I started by stamping a detailed image to see how the ink performed with fine lines - you can see that the image is crisp and clean.

I did a couple of samples using Copic markers, and the ink was perfect - no bleeding at all (summer sneak peek there!).

The ink dries very quickly on paper too - in fact I noticed how clean my fingers were when I was indexing. So impressive!

Next I moved to watercolor, and you can see in the photo how much water I used for the background coloring - the ink is permanent on paper, even when wet.

I did a card using the inks with layering stamps, and they worked very well - on these ones, I used the lightest ink for the first 2 layers (one impression on the first layer stamp, and 2 impressions on the second layer stamp). 

The 3rd stamp was done with the medium color (2 impressions), and the final layer with the darkest color.

I did some layering for a background, brushing all 3 inks together on the background, then stamping the darkest ink with a Cover-a-Card stamp and some other design elements (summer sneak peek again!).

The inks can be used on fabric and canvas (they're permanent when heat set) so I tried out a background on this mini canvas - I rubbed the pads directly on the canvas then blended lightly with my finger. 

After that I was able to stamp directly onto the canvas with the inks to make this little scene, and blend with a SU blender pen. A tip for canvas panels like this - you can set them in your stamp positioner without the foam pad and stamp with clear stamps - the height is just right!

Here's an image colored with pencils and blended with OMS - no smearing.

So what can these inks not do? Well, their quick dry time means they're not good for heat embossing. They're also not good for watercoloring, as I like to do with a drop or swatch of ink on a palette. 

If you made it this far, you know that I'm impressed with these new inks, and I'm looking forward to playing with them more! I've read that they can be used on glass, wood, and other nonporous surfaces that can be heated, so there's more playing to be done!

Their high points for me:

--vibrant, opaque colors, great coverage
--matching trios
--versatility with different mediums - waterproof and non-solvent
--possibilities on canvas and other surfaces
--refills available

One thing to note, in case you're like me and don't clean your stamps... there is something in the formula of this ink that pulls up old dried ink from stamps, so if you're using a lighter color on a stamp that's been used with a darker color, you may not end up with the color you thought you were stamping. 

That's all I know! Hope this information is helpful to you - if I discover more, I'll be sure to share!
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Splitcoast Tutorial: Impressions of Tarnished Foil

This week's tutorial over on Splitcoast is called Impressions of Tarnished Foil - it combines layers of ink, dry embossing and heat embossing to create a gorgeous tarnished metal effect.

The tutorial recommends using black StazOn ink, but I used Timber Brown on mine and I liked the results better. My base is a silver label sheet from Silhouette - these are adhesive on the back, which was really handy. I embossed the sheet with a folder from Darice, then added gold and verdigris embossing powders. After the heat embossing, the final step is to rub ink over the raised areas to make them look tarnished. Lots of steps, but such a great effect!

When I had the background finished, I looked up and saw this mini print of one of my paintings sitting on my desk and it happened to match, so that was that! The flourish die is from Impression Obsession.

Come give this technique a try!
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Product Review: Chalkola Markers

I recently was offered the opportunity to review some markers from Chalkola! These are water-based chalk markers meant for non-porous surfaces, such as glass, black and white boards, and plastic. They're not art markers, but I did have a little fun with a canvas project while I was playing. Here's what I know!

The markers came to me in 3 different formats: Platinum Series (wide markers), Premium Markers (medium bullet), and Metallic Markers.


These large format Platinum Series chalk markers come in a set of 8 colors, and have a large 15mm flat chisel nib, which allows for 3 different line widths (wide side, narrow side, and edge). The colors are very vibrant. On the packaging, the markers are described as child-safe, water-based, non-toxic, low-odor, acid-free, xylene-free, quick-dry, and long-lasting. These are also marketed as "window markers".

The ink is vibrant and opaque - you'll see in the video how well the colors show up on a dark surface, which is great.  The markers need to be shaken and the tip depressed several times to activate the ink flow, typical of a paint marker. With this size marker, I had a hard time getting a consistent ink flow - my results tended to be a little streaky when working on a vertical surface, while my son experienced drippage and leaking. I activated one marker and set it upside-down to allow the ink to fill the nib completely for just a minute or 2, and there was some leakage in the cap when I opened it.

Despite the claim of the markers being "quick-dry", I found the chalk ink stayed wet for quite a long time... not a big issue, but good to know. If you're working on a compatible surface, a heat gun can be used to speed up the drying process (this worked fine on glass and black/white boards, but I wouldn't try it on plastic).


The Premium markers come in a pack of 10, with a bonus pack of 6 metallic markers (shown below).

The ink is the same as the Platinum markers, but flows from a 5.5mm bullet tip. Like the wider markers above, the markers need to be shaken and the tip depressed several times to activate the ink flow.

These markers were much easier to control, with consistent flow and beautiful, vibrant colors. The ink does require some time to dry.


These Metallic Series markers come in a pack of 6, which tucks neatly inside the box above. These markers are ready to go - no activation required. The nib is a 4.5mm bullet tip. The ink in these markers has a different formula than the others - it dried quickly and was less flowy and more durable than the ink from the other markers and flatter when dry. It was also very resistant to rubbing away. These markers aren't available for sale on their own - since they're so different, that might be a good move! 

Here's a quick video where you can see the markers in action!

Here's a clearer look at my mini canvases - the one I did in the video and one I did beforehand for practice (no stencil). these were fun to do, and this was a cool way to get a watercolor effect on a prepared canvas. (These finished canvases are in my store if you'd like to have one of your own!)


I'm used to another brand of wet-erase marker, so you'll notice I used one in the test for comparison. My understanding of the term 'wet erase' is that water needs to be introduced to the equation for the ink to be wiped away, otherwise it stays put. I didn't find that to be true for the chalk ink - it actually rubbed off with very little effort. If you have a board or project that won't be brushed or bumped, that won't be a problem, but on a menu board in a high traffic area, or on an item that will be handled often, these might not be ideal.

I also found that the chalk markers weren't difficult to clean up, but compared to my usual brand took a longer time to clean up because of the chalky residue that seemed to just spread around with a wet cloth.

I didn't notice any staining with the Chalkola markers, which was nice (you'll see some staining from the other marker in the video). Drips are said to wash out of clothing easily as well.


--I had trouble with consistent ink flow in the larger markers - it was hard to achieve the sweet spot between streaky and drippy.
--The chalk ink seems to rub away very easily, even when dry.


--I loved the opaqueness of the inks. They are very vibrant on light and dark surfaces.
--The metallic markers dry quickly and stand up well to being handled, brushed or rubbed.
--no staining!


If you're interested in trying these markers for yourself, I have a code to share!

You can use code 15OFFSTR for 15% your purchase of Chalkola products

Direct (affiliate) links to the products I used: 
Platinum/Window Markers
Premium & Metallic Markers (10+6)

Chalkola has done a wonderful job of getting their products into the hands of a wide variety of bloggers - if you'd like more information, try a google search for more reviews - there are so many out there. 

If you have a product you'd like me to review, please email me! Have a wonderful week!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Impression Obsession DT Challenge: Coffee, Tea, or Me?

The Impression Obsession team's challenge today is to create a project featuring your favorite caffeinated (or naturally decaffeinated) beverage. :) I'm sort of fond of my own collection of coffee themed stamps, so I used a variety of them on this mixed media card.

This card ended up with so many layers... I apologize for not documenting what I did, but I didn't have a plan from the start, and it took a few unexpected turns during the process. :) I started with several stamped images in grey on a white watercolor panel, then used a stencil brush to create a gradient of brown inks that looked more pinkish... so I stenciled a design with a recent purchase from iStencil to cover that up a bit! :)

Next I think I stamped the Starburst background in Versamark and used PanPastels to highlight that, but the color was wayyy darker than I realized... I stamped the mug... masked off the top and stamped the steam in Versamark, embossed it with white powder and let the powder stick to some of the rays in the background for some contrast.

I masked a line across the bottom to create a table top, then darkened the area with a Zig marker. I used white acrylic paint to add a  highlight to the mug, then used black and white colored pencils to add more highlights and shading.

Stamps I used (some of them are in the background and hard to see): Teapot DiagramTea ToolsSteam Flourish, Perk Up, Coffee Words, Coffee Packaging, Coffee BeansCAC Starburst

Thanks for following my process! It was fun to just let the card "happen"! Be sure to check out these other designers' blogs for inspiration -

Vicki @ Summerthyme Studio

Remember you can enter these challenges too, using your Impression Obsession stamps! See the I.O. blog for all the details - you might even win a $25 gift certificate!! We'd love to have you join us.
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

My Sweet Petunia and Joy Clair Swap Hop!

I'm hanging out with the My Sweet Petunia team today - hope you'll join us for a special hop with Joy Clair Stamps! Prizes are involved... so keep reading for all the details! If you just happened on the blog hop because you're a regular reader of my blog, and you'd like to view the entire hop, keep reading, and you'll find a full list of participants at the end of my post. If you're already hopping and you arrived here from my friend Lindsay's blog you're doing just fine.

I had so much fun making this card, though this was my 4th attempt at getting it right! I used 3 clear sets from Joy Clair - Hugs and Smiles, Wonderland Letters, and Sketchy Chevron Background. I started off by stamping the flowers at the bottom of the card then masking to stamp a second impression in the remaining space. I actually cut 2 masks at once, and the MISTI made this task really easy. I lined up 2 sticky notes on my card and stamped right where I had the stamp in place already. Then I cut the 2 sheets together, and had the 2 masks I needed for the next step!

I had a little trouble with the chevron background printing in the negative spaces, so I ended up cutting away one line to use by itself, like a border stamp. I positioned it at the top of my card, and stamped twice for a good solid impression...

...then moved my card up 3/4" each time to create stripes for a full background.

The flowers were colored with a combination of Copic markers (base colors) and colored pencils (shadows and highlights).

The sentiment was built with individual stamps from the Wonderland Letters set - 

Joy Clair has some gorgeous large (6"x8") alphabet sets - I think this one will be great on some future mixed media canvases! My sentiment is backed with a black Inchie Plus square from Inchie Arts, which gives it some really classy dimension.

While I had my supplies out, I made another background - this time I used pastel chalk inks, and created some color variation by stamping one impression with my chevron border, then moving the card up 1/4" to create a darker area in the overlap.

The sentiment on this card is from the Hugs and Smiles set - it's full of all kinds of sweet mix-and-match sayings with a fun script font. I used a variety of watercolors to color in the flowers on this panel - I tried using the inks from the background but the effect was more pale - I like the more vibrant colors here, and it was fun to mix them up a little. 

Both companies are sharing prizes for this hop, so for a chance to win be sure to comment on all the blogs in the lineup below!  

Thank you for visiting me today! Happy hopping!

Thanks for stopping by!