Friday, April 28, 2017

Product Review - The Flower Year

Just wanted to give you a peek into this gorgeous coloring book that arrived at my house this week - this is a second book by my favorite coloring book artist and the creator of Floribunda (a gorgeous watercoloring book). This is The Flower Year - it's a smaller format hardcover book with floral illustrations for each month of the year, and even some butterflies and birds tucked in as well! It is beautiful!

There are full page scenes and smaller vignettes...

You'll even find an 'index' in the back listing the flowers in each illustration, so you can look up reference photos for accurate coloring (if you're into that!). Some of the smaller vignettes are labelled as well.

The paper is not heavy duty but very high quality - I colored this page using watercolor and Zig markers, and it stood up to my coloring and layering and even some water application. In some coloring books the color will soak into the paper, but this paper allows for lifting and blending, and even some color misting - you can see where misted water allowed some of the ink to lift and bleed a little.

Here is the full spread (click to see it larger!) - there is soooo much detail in one illustration, even down to the tiniest greenery. Love those daffodils!

I hope you'll take a peek - for a hard cover book, the price seems really reasonable, and if you like florals and detailed images, you'll really enjoy this one.

I've enjoyed seeing our spring garden unfurl, and I'm often out in the morning with my camera capturing the newest developments. Here are a few of my favorites...

Have a wonderful weekend!
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Splitcoast Tutorial: Shadowbox Frame Card

This week's tutorial over on Splitcoast is a Shadowbox Frame Card - it's a great project for building scenes, like a little diorama! Remember those shoebox projects?

I fell down a rabbit hole a few weeks ago when someone mentioned a company I had never heard of, and I discovered they have some licensed artwork from Cicely Mary Barker. I adore her Flower Fairies and had started to collect the stamps when they were available through Crafter's Companion, but alas... the line was discontinued before I could get them all (the sentiment is from one of those sets). Anyway, now some of her artwork is available in clear sets from 49 and Market - this set is called Friends Forever, and I got it at The Scrapbook Diaries.

I stamped the image with IO Hybrid Chocolate ink, and that allowed me to do most of my coloring with Copics, but also to add some watercolor in the background with no ink issues. Love that!

Here's the opened card - the tutorial walks you through how to create the dimensional frame so you can stack all kind of 3D elements inside.

I could have done more layering, but everything in the image is so small - I just added a few extra mushrooms to the inside scene, and then added a few more to the frame on the card front.

This was a lot of fun - and it would mail perfectly in the Card Guard boxes from My Sweet Petunia!
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Distress Oxide backgrounds

I finally got my set of Distress Oxide inks this last week...! They have been fun to play with, though I haven't given them a full test yet. I probably won't do a full review post on these because there are already plenty of good reviews out there, but I do like these, and look forward to using them more. :)

I needed a stack of thank you cards, so I started with a stack of fun backgrounds - most of these were done using a Wrinkle-Free Distress technique with the Distress Oxides, and others were done using a fun stencil technique that I'll be sharing in a couple of weeks.

I did test the Oxide inks with bleach and they happen to be very reactive, even after 2 days of drying time, so that was fun and very good to know. I filled up an inexpensive waterbrush with full strength bleach, and brushed it inside the outlines of my stamped images (these are from DoCrafts) to remove the ink and create some areas to color.

I stamped a thank you stamp (Unity Stamps) in the open area of the note pad, then used watercolors to color in the pencil and add some shadows. I made 7 cards altogether, and here are 2.

I'll share this stencil technique and a couple others on May 10th - it's very easy to do!

Have a wonderful week! I'll see you Wednesday with a new Splitcoast tutorial! :)
Thanks for stopping by!

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!