Saturday, 3 December 2011

Sir Tims Tags

Tim Holtz 12 tags of Christmas started a couple of days ago.. wooohooo. Time for me to make do, bodge, get inky and burn myself time ;o)

This is my version of the Sir Tims first tag and I've taken more than a few liberties lol. I dont have his noel, banner & foliage dies so I've had to make my own noel in scal, use punches and hand cut the banner from brown wrapping paper then use the SU music wheel to add some pattern, not that you can really see anything of the banner lol.

Tim used silver glitter over his noel but I wanted to do something with a bit less bling so double cut the word, distressed one with walnut stain and covered the other with tombow mono and some gold leaf from indigo-blu before offsetting them to get a slight drop shadow.

Tag was cut from green textured card which was then embossed, partially heat embossed as per Tims instructions. I don't have those pretty pearls or the ribbons so I used 2 different sorts of ribbons and attacked em with a heat gun to get them to crinkle.

I did use the tattered pinecones die (and burnt my fingers on the hot glue gun) but I had to use Cansons Mi-Tientes art paper and distress it up a bit with walnut stain. There are some bits rescued from the year befores' crackers, couple of hat pins and various punched & diecut leaves.

It might be a real bodge job but I really like my tag.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

New card on test.

Going back a couple of weeks I was asked to test some cardstock which Joanna Sheen was considering stocking. Now a lot of folk know I like to test things to see if it "does what it says on the tin" so I jumped at the chance to have a play. Oops, adding in it's called Elegance Satin and it's available in 300gsm and 160gsm.

One massive ink & paint testing day later I'm making a start of a review. I'm writing this over a few days and a good week or so before posting to the blog so if you notice any time jumps it's because I'll add in as I go rather than edit to make it look like I sat and typed all in one go.

If you're not particularly finniky about your colouring and are happy with your current card which you buy because it's cheap you might just as well skip the next couple of paragraphs where I'm having my normal rant about card ;o)

From the outset I have to make my feelings clear about paper & card quality. For me the quality of the paper is paramount, if I'm going to spend my time making a card I want it to be as good as I can possibly make it. When hubby first started painting many moons ago I really couldnt see the point in him buying artist quality mediums or quality watercolour paper because in all honesty he wasn't very good at painting. Roll on a fair few years when I've finally taught myself to like rubber stamping and I have a need to "paint"... I finally see the point.
Best quality mediums and papers actually make it easier to blend and give a better result. If I don't get a good result I know it's not the paper or pen that's at fault, it's me needing to improve! Yes the mediums & paper are slightly more expensive but I see no point in saving a few pennies on a sheet of card if it's noticeably cheaper or I don't get as good a result. You will get a better result with best paper & cheaper mediums than you will expensive mediums and cheaper/unsuitable paper.

Back to the review, it's a long one so I hope you're sitting comfortably.

I'm going to take this in a few sections focusing mainly on alchohol markers but I'll also test them with: 2. watercolour techniques (pencils, crayons, inkpads & markers) 3 polycrhomo & pastel pencils, 4 timholtz type techniques, 5 a few other oddsies.

1) alchie markers, I tried copics, promarkers, flexmarkers and spectrum noir pens on an image stamped with memento.

I switched to neenah from staples text and graphics a while back because I wasn't happy with how e0000 & e000 were turning a weird orangey colour but while the neenah is ok for keeping a true colour I found it prone to bleed across the lines. Using Joannas 300gsm card and the copics, wow just doesn't do the card any favours. I prefer a very blended look rather than a quick light dark quick blend method so I really scrubbed in a lot of layers in very small areas and allowed no drying time in between. Where I would have expected to get a huge bloom because I'd saturated the card there was none, nada, zip, not even a sniff of bleed. I had to have another go just to make sure it wasnt a fluke but my memento was hiding out of sight in amongst the chaos... so I tried a walnut stain distress ink and coloured in with a 000 pen literally straight away... a few people are going to be reading this and thinking smudgy mucky mess... nope, no smudge at all, the walnut ink stayed in perfect position. I was Impressed with a capital I about that one! Taking more care colouring the images I found I didnt need to blend quite as much as I normally do and looking back on the images a couple of days later I can't see where I changed pens. Not often that's happened before as I can nearly always see an echo of the blending area. I have to be honest I did then try the 160gsm and I had the tiniest of bleed along a hairband on an image, it could have been me going over the lines but until I've done a few more images I'm not going to swear to it being one or the other.

I'm not as comfortable with promarkers & flexmarkers as I am copics but I quite surprised myself and found they blended easier than normal. As with the copics not the slightest sign of bleed and I used a pink lavender flexxie straight over walnut distress ink, again no smudging. I do have my suspicion that the lighter flexmarkers were bleaching out the darker colours more than I'm used to on neenah but it could have been my imagination so this weekend the playday girls are going to be inadvertent testers lol Ok, consensus is in from several of the playday ladies and it's a huge thumbs up with questions on where can they buy and how much. Like me Tracy managed a little bleed but just like me she thinks it might have been her fault rather than the cards. No one reported colours being bleached out so it must just have been me having a rather long day.

Finally I tried the few spectrum noir pens I have with it. If you've read my review of spectrums you'll know I'm not a fan, I don't like how they blend and I don't like the nib marks they can leave behind. Sorry Joanna, the card hasnt made me like the speccies but they did react better to the card than they did on neenah. Nuff said about spectrums otherwise I'll be having more hate mail for not liking them.

2) watercolour techniques.
Umm, odd one this one as I wasnt expecting the results I got. If you're used to watercolouring over the back of linen/hammered cardstock or whatever you happen to dap your hands on first you'll be fine. If you're used to best quality hot pressed watercolour paper you wont be impressed. Using pencils, inks & markers with a damp brush I found I needed more wet than I'm used to which makes it harder to control the shading. I also found the pigment didnt really want to move around which made graduated blends very difficult. Oddly though I found a much better result with my SU watercolour crayons and they felt nice when applying to the card as they glided rather than stuttered over the surface iykwim. I would still prefer to use my langton watercolour paper.

3) polychromos & prismas. If I'm using my polys as a colouring pencil I prefer a paper with a bit of key to it so I can use the lighter pencil to pull the dark colour through. No chance with this card, it's far too smooth and I can't lay down enough layers. Colouring all over then softening & evening it all out with stumps and sansador worked really well. I'm not a big poly user tho and sent some paper off to one of the ladies I class as an expert prisma colourer iner and as soon as she gets back to me I'll add in her response.

4) Timholtzy type techniques. For those who haven't got on with cutndry and blending over the edges of card.. best try this and think again!! We've been told good alchie pen card isnt good with dye inks but this card is fab! It's silky smooth and the cutndry (I was using the tool) just glided over the surface and even deliberate edge lines blended away really easily. I covered a whole a5 sheet with no problems taking the tool into the centre and the ink reacted beautifully when I sprinkled it with water. From there I tried the wrinkly free technique.. wiping a few pads across the craft mat, misting with water and dunking a piece of card in to pick up the colour. First one not so great as I was penny pinching and used the back of an image I'd tried to watercolour... the versafine was pulled through the card and over the top of the distress inks. New card, same test... great result, I'd have to say the best I've had as there was no muddying of the colours except the edges but that was down to me leaving it to airdry because I was too impatient to get to the next test lol. Next I tried stamping with distress ink and pulling the colour out with a damp paint brush.. the ink didnt move in the slightest.. tried again.. new stamped image and a soaking wet brush.. still the same and not a smidge of colour movement. I'm stumped at this.. the ink reacted so well to raindrops that I was fully expecting it the colour to drag out and leave a soft line, weird!

5) oddsies, bet everyone is wondering about this lol. Will keep it short and sweet as it's just a collection of little tryme's.

Folding, the 300gsm is so heavily pressed it feels more like 250gsm so I wouldn't use it for a postage box but for a hand delivered box it's ideal. It scored and folded beautifully without any cracking, creasing, puckering or scuffing along the fold line. Very neat, precise and professional fold. I found it also embossed in a folder well and again with no tiny rips in the embossed areas, makes a nice surface to then ink over. While the bigshot was out I tried the 300gsm with my very intricate snowflake edge memory box die that's as finnicky as I am about card. It cut beautifully, popped straight out of the die and I had next to no bother seperating the diecut from the waste.

Brayering, now I'm not a Barbara but I get by as a rule. Even if I say it myself I had a good result with a brayer, a kaleidacolour inkpad and the 300gsm card. Very even tones, with no stripes (I'm prone to stripes if I haven't brayered for a while and I haven't had the brayer out for months). The card isn't glossy so I didn't get that polished look but it was nice to have a soft sheen rather than a gloss. I'll certainly be using this card with brayers again.

Paint Fusion/Onestroke. For those who've tried paint fusion you'll know what I mean by sticky dry brush... for those who don't it's when you're halfway along with a brush stroke and the brush feels as though there's no paint left or that it's sticking to the paper. This is one of the worst feelings as you need the brush to move smoothly as you twist & wiggle and as soon as it gets sticky you don't get quite as good a result, well I dont. Normally if I'm doing a long variagated leaf I get to the end of the stroke and the brush is sticky and I can't get a nice lift & slide to finish the leaf. I've often been tempted (and have occasionally) added an artists flow medium to the paint to try and avoid sticky brush. On a stroke of genius I tried with Joannas card and the brush just slid so smoothly not only did I get to the end of the stroke but I turned the card and managed the otherside AND I got the lift that I rarely manage. Woohoo, I might just be brave and onestroke all of my christmas cards this year.. In reality I won't tho as I have the attention span of a gnat and will be hankering after rubber and copics and distress inks before they're all done.

Now if you've skim read because it's such a long review in short,

A maazing
for alchie pens, not great for watercolour painting, fantastic with distressing inks & techniques, great for brayers, good for folding but not postage boxes, works well in diecut machines & embossing folders, good for sansador & pencils, must have for paintfusion/onestroke cards. My personal opinion is that this is a fantastic card which more than deserves a home in any playroom.

Friday, 28 October 2011

more dodgy photos lol

Well at least this one is around the right way even if the colours are as murky as the local "stream"

This is a late edition to Sundays playday projects but fits in nicely with the handkerchief card.

I found the project in this months Papercraft Inspiration but Kay found a rather nice project on a blog. Jackies is much nicer than mine though.

Not much to it really, first edition papers, crumb cake 12" card, crumb cake & pretty in pink taffeta ribbon, spray of flowers, retired su sentiment and lots of frayed burlap ink. In real life it's much paler than the pic and the burlap isnt as grungy.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

3rd card in 2 days

I've got no idea why this one is posting sideways. It was taken the right way up, is the right way up on my pc then I upload it! Perhaps it's taken offence at the way the camera flash has affected the colours lol.

This is the 3rd card made in just over 24 hours and if anyone is wondering who lit a fire underneath my rather large rear... Kay did when she reminded me we have 3 birthdays this month! lol

This one is using a Miss Anya stamp, first edition papers, SU card (pool party and calypso coral), a marianne flourish die, memory box flourish die, leone em punch & flowers.

Third card also coloured with copics! I can't say who but someone else is to blame for that as she asked me to try a new card that she's thinking of stocking. Well what could I do but give it a good testing. I'll post in a few weeks with a review and let on who it was but I will let on that the card was enough to reignite my interest in copics and cause me to go spend a fair few pennies on the new ciao shades.... and a few more sketch. Kay spent ages at playday sorting all my pens into numerical order and marking the charts as to which of the storage cases they were in... oops Sorry Kay... not only have I had about 60 of them out without putting them back yet.. when the new ones arrive the system will need doing again ;o)

Anya bday card

Taking photos mid evening in winter is never a good idea but the weather has been foul here today and if I wait for decent light this one would never have seen a camera. In real life it's a very pale mint blue with mink & soft pink papers and I've used a sketch from sketchnstash

Very neglected miss anya stamp with new papers from firstedition. Pool party cardstock, crumb cake taffeta ribbon and a sentiment from SU.

Coloured with copics, predominently g000, 00, 02, R00, 02, 20 & e40s.

ott or what lol

It's one of my bestest mates birthdays next month and I'm always pulling her leg that she puts too much stuff on a card. So in honour of her 80s disco dancing days I had to go ott (for me) with the flowers and glitter lol.

Layout from Sketch Saturday.

Tickled pink image coloured with loads of copics, mainly 0xx ones, (g000, b00, bo2, rv02, rv04 etc).

Papers are retired SU ones, with retired barely banana embossed in a folder and a weeny amount of stickles added to each dot. Tempting turquoise card & the curly cute sentiment are from the current catty. Bling & loads of flowers to finish. She'll prolly say it needs something down the left side and she'll prolly be right lol.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

No stamping

This one is sort of a mix of an idea I had when I saw this snowflake border die and one of Sue Wilsons samples cards on c&c today. Surprisingly it doesnt have a single stamped image! Now that's a phrase I thought I'd never say.. it took me best part of 14 years to teach myself to like stamping, now I have I can't remember not using a stamp of some sort even if it is just a sentiment!!

Photo doesnt show it but I've used a pale cream pearlescent card stock with some gold pearl card. Swiss dots embossing folder on the base layer then top & bottom is diecut with a memory box snowflake border die. The die is truly beautiful, unlike some dies the card pops out as easy as anything and soo delicate (it's a bit of a pain to stick 3d) but, and it's a big but, it was an absolute nightmare to seperate the ends of the flourishy/snowflakey pattern from the waste and the end of the die left a shadow crease which I've hidden with the ribbon. The die preferred to run longways down my bigshot plate and right up against the side. It cut white 300gsm card ok but it didnt go near to cutting some thick (and tough) white double side pearl even with a couple of shims and rolling it back and forwards a few times. Not so sure many people are special enough to warrant me using this die for their card and if they are can I face it again? lol.

The (2) bauble dies are also memory box and they went throught the bigshot beautifully and I'm really chuffed with how they've came out.

Ribbon is one I picked up years ago from one of the ribbon stands at a show.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

yeovil playday

This is a sneaky peek of my project for the playday we're holding in Yeovil on Oct 30th. Pics arent great thanks to dodgy weather in bristol yesterday so my daylight bulb is glaring on the image.

Card, ink, floral punched strip & script stamp all from SU. whiff of joy image watercoloured, marta stewart patp around the edges.

I do still need to stamp and distress another 4 triangles for the inside but the ink's put away for now and I'll finish off before playday.. prolly the night before lol.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

flexmarkers 2nd impression

Havent had chance for much more than a small play blending a few of the colours and I have to admit to being sort of impressed. The brush tip is really soft and flexible and was lovely to brush over the paper.

I didnt find they blended quite as quick or as easily as they did on tv but using light dark light method I managed to get aniseed & chartreuse to blend in together very quickly and easily. The blending seems to take a few seconds after the colour has been applied rather than as you're going. Admittedly it wasnt the super smooth transition you get with 4 or 5 different copics, it was a sort of bleed in together more akin to 2 watercolour paint meeting together than a soft gradient, but for quite a light yellowy green and a more bright leaf green it was impressive.

Greens arent a colour I have a lot of in promarkers but the flexmarkers worked well with the grass promarker. It wasnt soo happy with a dark bg96 or g99 copic and I did need to work a bit harder to blend the 2 brands together. I'm more likely to use one or the other brand rather than try to blend the 2 together again but at a pinch it wouldnt bother me if I needed a colour in one that I didnt have in the other and I'd happily use the 2 different brands on the same image.

If I had to make a conclusion on such a short play I would say that diehard expert copic users might find the blending a bit clumsy. For those who arent looking for artist quality colouring or are just starting out you'll love them as they are definitely easier to pick up and start colouring.

What wasnt so impressive was the bleed across the lines but I was using staples 160gsm colour laser printer paper rather than a posh alchi pen specific paper. Up until this new batch of staples paper I had been pleased with it but I have noticed that the very pale skin tone copics are developing an orangey glow. Not good so I've gone over to neenah which I wasnt impressed with before compared to my old favourite mondi brand laser paper. Oh well, will try the flexmarkers on neenah and bristol board tomorrow and report back.

Being honest even though I love alchie pens I think I'll always find watercolouring, either from pencils, crayons, inkpads or my SU markers, a lot quicker and easier. It's not going to stop me buying more copics and flexmarkers. Perhaps if I win the lottery I'll try some shinhans as well lol.

New Flexmarkers have arrived

Ok I'll admit I'm a colour junkie, I'm totally addicted to inkpads, inks, pencils, paints & markers. The newest addition has just arrived, 4 sets of flexmarkers. Now I'm not a huge fan of promarkers, love the colours but not the nibs, but the new pens have got a brush marker tip so I couldn't resist.

First thoughts are that I like how the colours have been selected as they seem to each have a natural shading match. I'm also quite impressed with the plastic packaging.. normally it's grab the scissors and fight to get in to the goodies but these are in a clamshell packaging which just popped open and can be closed again. Pens are held in their own nicely fitting chanel so the pens don't *need* their own special storage. Please note I said *need*, that's different to want and chances are if I like them I'll be storing them in a wallet similar to the ones I keep my copics in. For the moment my purse has to remain closed tho.. sneaky peak SU order has more or less wiped me out but it was sooo worth it lol.

Anyways enough about storage & packaging and let's get to the good stuff.. the pens! Unlike normal promarkers these have got a wee coloured circle on both lids so seeing which is which is going to be dead easy no matter which storage is used. On the downside though the lids are the same both end so there's no quick easy way to tell which end is which. Going to be a little bit of an annoyance but hey ho copics get on my nerves when I get them round the wrong way but it hasnt stopped my buying or using them lol.

Crikey these lids are bloomin hard to pull off, can see this being a problem for those who havent a lot of strength in their hands. Ah first problem, colour on the brush end of tea rose is decidedly different to the chunky end and is coming out as more solvent and little pigment. Water melon is ok though, so going to try the rest. Back, tea rose has dried to the same shade but lemon chiffon, honey dew and aquamarine havent. I have read about this problem and the solution seems to be to keep using them and it will sort itself out. I have found another problem (I've read about it happening to other people as well) and that's a duplication of soft mauve and I'm missing a pink lavender. Oh well, will email Joanna Sheen and let her know it's not just the c&c packs that have duplication problems. Will ring letraset in the morning as apparently they're sending out single pens, unfortunately the 2nd soft mauve has a cracked barrel so it's not even worth hoping they'll let me keep it lol.

My palms are now hurting from taking 48 caps off! So I'm going to give it a break while I have a cuppa then I'll have a go at colouring with them and see if I can get the lemon chiffon, aquamarine & honey dew to play nicely.

BTW I've already made a colour chart for them, it's split into 4 boxes just a tad under 15 * 10 cms ready to fit a tag in my flipflop album and has all the set 1 - 4 colours as well as the flexmarker shades that arent available in promarkers. If anyone wants the pdf just email me and I'll send one over. Please don't leave your email addy in the comment section as although I'm sure I only get nice visitors you never know. bbl

Monday, 15 August 2011

Next months project

For those who didnt see it this is the project for Septembers playday, an advent calender. It's roughly 6" cubed and when finished will have an easel card on the top.

Takes a whopping amount of card to make, at least 20 a4 sheets of base card and some scraps to decorate. I've used the waste from last years xmas cards (marina mist card stock, see it pays to save the bits lol).

Images are from the delightful decorations and contempo xmas stamp sets and stamped with marina mist on to whisper white before using the coordinating bauble punch. Numbers are from a retired spellbinders die and before anyone asks no I'm not bloomin diecutting any more... you can all do your own :op There were times when I was cutting all the 1s that I thought I was loosing the will to live!! For one time only peeloffs will be permitted at playday ;o)

Friday, 12 August 2011

I was right lol

I knew I'd end up cannabalising the card I wasnt happy with a few days ago and I was right to do so, well I think so.

I very carefully took the card apart and cut the castle & pots away using a sharp scalpel. The mermaid thankfully came away without any damage. The base is a stair card which I cut with scal from lilac and white card. The white was distressed with bundled sage and tumbled glass ink before stamping the lavinia fronds randomly around the edges. LOTV sentiment punched out with a SU circle punch and matted with the scalloped circle punch. The lil fish charm has had a thread sewn with some crystal beads before being attached to a sparkly ribbon bow. The card is for our youngest (and best behaved) member at the monthly playday who celebrates her birthday later this month.

Fun in the sun

The theme this week on Kenny K's Krafty Girlz challenge in fun in the sun and this was just the nudge I needed into using this fabby icecream girl image.

I've used copics to colour her and she's matted on to one of my shapes cut with scal. Background papers are from dcwv, either dressed up or rockstar. The pic doesnt show it but there's loads of silver & glitter in the paper. The narrow trellis band is a deep lattice punch from martha stewart which has had the scallops sliced off. Sentiment & matching scallop square punch from SU. Wild orchid flowers, 2 crystal hat pins from creative expressions although I have pinflair glue gelled some beads to the bottom of the pins to hide the point.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

One of those cards

After having one of those cards that just comes together sooo well I should have known the next one would be a total disaster.

I bought some new stamps from chocolate baroque and decided I wanted to make an aperature and back it with some caught in crystal acetate. Acetate made, check looked good. Stamped and aperature cut, add a watercolour wash.. check. So far so good and everything was working well... so stuck it all down and in a moments madness decided I wanted to darken the wash. Just one of those moments that you wish you'd stuck to the knowing it was enough, wash was too dark for the caught in crystal so off comes the acetate, grrrrrrrrrr. Next bright idea... stick some of the black pearl underneath instead but add a wavy embossed pattern. Looked ok so I stuck it down well with tombow. Then realised the oval is too big to carry a dark inner and the wash is looking a bit plain. Add in some starfish and shells... still needs something.. I know weeds hanging down.. now where did I put those stamps?? Havent got the foggiest where the weed stamps went to so I was left having to use Lavinia hanging vines.. too late to stamp directly on the card so I had to stamp them on seperate watercolour paper and cut them with a scalpel! Add in some peeloff borders and it's STILL missing something lol. Hopefully someone at playday will have some tiny fish stamps ;o) I'm not happy with it so don't be surprised if it gets butchered and appears as something else lol.

Wash, background, shells & starfish painted with distress & su inks. Mermaid painted with cosmic shimmer drawing ink although used tattered rose distress ink for skin. Hints of daler & rowney shimmery blueacrylic artists ink (interference rather than solid colour) with bubbles made with crystal effects.

Friday, 29 July 2011

playing with browns

Bit of a hodgepodge of reasons for this one.. hubby had a clear out a few days ago and there were 3 fabby cream brocade buttons that just had to be snipped off before the waistcoat went to the recycling. Those ribbons got me thinking.. I've never done an image card in nothing but my favourite brown tones so there was 2 things I wanted to do with it. Then on KennyKs challenge blog the theme is pocket cards and I havent really done one of those either. Next came a thread on one of the forums about feeling guilty about buying stash.. well I'd just sorted out my markers and had a pang of guilt of having a full set of polychromos that have been used so rarely I've not even needed to sharpen the flesh tones. So here we have it.

Kenny K image coloured with just about every brown, yellow ochres and orange polychromo there is. My own nested shape cut with scal, vanilla grosgrain ribbon and ornament stamp & retired papers from SU. MS & SU punches, and flowers from wild orchid.

I'm entering this one in to

Kenny K Crafty Girlz
- pocket card
Truly Scrumptious - buttons and bows
Totally Gorjuss - punches or dies
DYSU Challenge - yellow, orange and brown
PixiedustChallenge - monochromatic card in favourite colour.
paperpretties - no markers

pinkink 2

I thought I was cutting it dead fine or a tad too late with this one for the pinkink sketch challenge. Then I looked again and they're a fortnightly challenge so I could have spent a few minutes longer getting it just right (d'oh lol)

Rockstar papers, su & ms punches, su sentiment and music note wheel, perfect pearls, wild orchid flowers and the tilda I started to colour on my copics versus spectrum noir pens post.

She's coloured with copics, with bg & yg shades.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

spectrum noir versus copics

I decided in the fairness of testing the spectrum noirs against the copics I'd weight things in favour of the spectrum noirs just in case my dislike of crafters companion was influencing me. To weight things I restricted myself to bg01, bg05 and bg09, all in the same blending family but the 3 most extreme to blend together. I already know that bg01 is going to be a lot darker than the spectrum noir 171 or 178 and I'll get less of a highlight. In normal usage (and if I had them all lol) I'd have used a bg000, bg02, bg05, bg07 & bg09 to get maximum shading.

This time I'm using stampinups whisper white paper and because I coloured side by side it allowed the ink to totally dry between shades. Not a single bit of bloom so I'm a lot happier with the results.

Technique wise I went with more of a flick motion and along the lines of the flick hair video on colour me copic blog.

On the left is the spectrum noir in 178 and the right is the copic bg01

The pic hasnt shown it very well but I added some 171 to get a more graduated effect before adding some 68 midtones then some 65 for the darkest shadow. I've used bg05 for the copic midtone and bg09 for the darkest. I havent attempted any blending, just laying down the colour.

I've used the midtones to blend the darker shades, both images show just how large a difference there is between the mid & lighter colours.

This time I've gone back over with the lighter colours to blend mid to light.

In real life there is still more blending to do and it needs more dark on both images.

The spectrum image has been gone over twice more with dark, medium & light and I had to use a lot more ink/blending strokes whereas the copic only needed a few more light touches.

It could be my imagination but the lighter spectrum colours seem to bleach out the darker colours more than copics do.

I'd probably use either image if I'd paid more attention to proper highlight placements.

Will I buy more spectrum noirs? Nope, not unless I've had a chance to play with other colours and find the colours blend more naturally.

Spectrum noir 2nd impressions

First testing finished. I did try using light medium, light, dark, medium, light method but that was sooo bad I have up and went to dark medium light blending.

Photo is better than the real life image where the difference between the light and medium shade is extremely harsh, specially on the arm and hat. I wouldnt use this image even if the ink hadnt have bloomed.

Using 65

Adding in 65 and blending over about 1/3rd of the darker shade.

Added in 171 , again blending over about 1/3rd before adding some more 65 and blending that in to the 68 again. You can really see the harsh lines between the 171 & 65.

I've gone back over again and tried harder to blend the 3 shades together. The ink seems a lot juicier than my copics and promarkers and even on neenah and leaving a minute or 2 between colours you can see where the colour is blooming across the edges.

2nd impression... not impressed. These pens are being marketed as easier to blend as they've been put in to blending families but if I had to make a recommendation I would say to add a shade in between 171 and 65 as there's just far too big a difference between light and medium. It's probably the same as using a bg11 copic with a bg15. With a lot of practise they're probably going to be ok but these arent pens for those with the attention span of a gnat (me sometimes lol) and those that expect to pick up a pen and turn instantly into a virtuoso artist.

Will practise some more... back later lol.

spectrum noir first impressions

First thought was ooh these are chunkier than I thought they'd be. They're even chunkier than the promarkers and feel quite uncomfortable in my small but really pudgy hand, not just because they're larger but being square they dont sit as well. Pen thickness is a personal thing though so I'm not going to mark them down for that.

Nice to have a pen that doesnt roll off the desk though. Nib wise the nibs are not far different in size to the promarkers.

The colours on the pen lids don't appear to go together. I did a first test swatch and it could be my eyes but I would say there are 2 distinct colour tones, one being more of a greeny sea turquoise the other a petrol blue turquoise.

There are light, mid and dark tones in each trio although at first glance it's hard to see which light shade goes with which colour way, looks very much as though you could get away with both as 178 is decidely lighter than 171.

I've got no gripes or whinges about the coverage and once the ink is down I don't think anyone would ever know which brand of pen had been used.

For those used to copics way of numbering (letter denotes colour family, first number the tone and the next numbers the strength of colour with 0 being the lightest) the numbering system on the spectrum noirs is going to drive you loopy. There seens to be no obvious pattern to the numbering. Like copic sketch the number being onthe lid will be handy when hunting in a case but not so great for those who want to keep them in a drawer.

Off now to do a real test with a couple of stamped images.. now which stamp shall I chose lol.

crafters companion spectrum noir pens

There's been a slight buzz in a couple of uk forums about the launch of new alchie pens from crafters companion. Same sort of pens as copics and promarkers but a lot cheaper and they will be refillable although at the time of writing this there's no idea about how much or when the refills will be available. As we speak I've got a set of turquoise pens winging their way to me. As soon as they're in my grubby mitts I'll do a side by side test.

Now I'll admit to being dubious about them, not because I'm a copic girl at heart but because everything I've ever bought with crafters companion logos has been poor quality or badly thought out. Just a few bad buys have been

ultimate embossing gizmo, flimsy cheap construction that's had issues with hinges and the ruler. The cutter is worse than an old rusty stanley knife. The embossing channels are too chunky which leaves misaligned gatefolds and leading edges.

Sticknspray, marketed for coating the back of ums and claims made that it could be enough to hold the stamp up to 60 times... I was lucky if it held a 2nd. Claims were also made that it would hold posters.. nope doesnt do that for me either.

watercolour paper.. claims on tv about how good is was for blending watercolours. Came last when I tested it against other watercolour papers. Even the cheapest of the cheap from whsmiths was better.

cds, first flower fairy cd was horrendous, pictures printed pixellated and the fairys all looked as though they needed a razor up and down their legs. Later cds have had misaligned images and missing files. As we speak several months on and a patch for the fairyopolis cd still hasnt been sent to people waiting.

There have also been complaints about their trimmer not being very accurate or easy to use but I havent tried it myself.

Anyways I'm off to stalk the postbox.. hopefully the postie will be here soon and I'll post back what I think of them.

Friday, 22 July 2011

blue green xmas

Not sure about this one, I've combined paper salon papers with SU baja breeze card stock stamped with a snowflake and embossed in white.

Baja breeze seam binding, sentiment from perfect punches set and wild orchid flowers mixed with branches from the SU bird punch and some stickles. All of the papers have been distressed along edges and matted on some deep brown pearl card which again has been distressed.

The sugar nellie (after getting Clint the Cowboy as a whimsy stamp last week when in fact he's a kraftin kimmie leads me to believe my memory isn't what it was lol) which I've had for yonks is stamped on neenah and coloured with bv0's & bg10's with touches of e30's and e0's.

Layout is from sketchnstash challenge blog
and the theme is winter blues from Sweetstamps Blog

Friday, 15 July 2011

New challenge blog

Not sure how I found it but Pink(ink) Sketch Challenges started off this week and I had to have a play with their first ever challenge.

Sadly the card is a bit too blingy to get a decent photo but in real life it's quite subtle even though there's lots of metallic silver and glitter.

Image is from CC designs and it's her first inking. I've used wow silver tinsel ep and watercoloured her with pretty in pink, bashful blue and so saffron markers from SU with a medium flesh watercolour pencil. There is a hint of perfect pearls painted on to the showflake skirt.

Backing papers are a mixture, the snowflake rows is from a dcwv pad but the other 2 are using stamps, powders, bashful blue & pretty in pink ink & cutndry pads on white card.

Diecut snowflakes from glitter card, some pastel glitter mizhuhiki cords, sentiment & punch from SU. Everything is backed with elegant eggplant card stock.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Is my mojo back?

Not sure if my mojo is back for good but while it's visiting I'm making full advantage of it lol. Good timing tho as I have a list of cards I need to make this week.

This one is a thankyou card for one of hubbies friends. Not your typical thankyou image but Trevor hosted a cowboy & indians camping weekend party for about 150 people. It coiincided with the Newbury show... beer or stamps?? bit of a no brainer for me stamps won hands down lol. Shame though as everyone had a fantastic time.

Back to the card, I've used a new whimsy stamp on neenah card and coloured with copics. b93,95,97 b39 c3, 5, 7 e000, 00, 02, 43, 47, 49yg11, 63, r46, bv29 & y17 Layout is from Truly Scrumptious although I've taken liberties with it.

Papers are predominently from SU Elegant Soiree (my most favourite papers of all time) with a strip from dcwv rockstar. Very vanilla & soft suede cardstock, su lattice embossing folder, nesties and a sentiment from SU.

New card

Monday is my sons girlfriends birthday and she's pretty much a rockchick so another new Kenny K stamp was just perfect for the occasion.

I've used sketch 147 from cupcake challenge blog with what else but rockstar papers which have been grunged up a bit with weathered wood distress ink. The nestie is my own cut with scal and again grunged with weathered wood and a hint of bundled sage. Sentiment from SU and cut with one of their punches. Black pearls to create a flourish and a bow tied from some material I had in the cupboard.

The image is coloured with copics and cased from the header of Kenny K challenge blog which was coloured there by Cheryl Valader. She's cut out by hand and I've tipped the edges with bv29 before lifting her with some 3d tabs.

Must admit I'm chuffed to bits and over the moon with the image as it's my first non binned attempt using deep reds and greys. Huge long list of colours, sorry. r32, 35, 37, 46, 59. C0, 1, 3, 5, 7. B00, 02, 05, 63. yg11, 91, 95. Skin is e000 & e00. Hair, e08, 29, 31, 33, 35, 37

Monday, 11 July 2011

Anniversary card

It was our wedding anniversary on Sat, gulp 23 years..

This is the card I made for hubby.

Quite aptly the papers are from a pad called Love Letters and I teamed it with a wonderful stamp from Mo Manning. She's coloured predominently with rose carmine watercolour pencil with naples ochre for her hair, stickles to her skirt & scarlet & juniper wc pencil for the flowers. White card ran through a papermania embossing folder and coloured with blushing bride ink. The sentiment is one that came with the stamp and is mounted on bravo burgundy card & cut with a punch from SU. Wild orchid roses and sections from a marianne die to finish. I was quite pleased with how it came out, specially her hair because when I first met hubby I had bleached blonde hair which was in a very wild 80s curly bob.

Kenny K bday card

I love having new stamps and my good friend Noreens birthday gave me a good excuse to ink up 2 of my newest purchases. Couldnt have been timed better as as KennyK challenge blog is having an anything goes challenge and celebrating it's 1yr bday with a blog hop.

The girl is one of Kenny Ks fab images and she's coloured with watercolour pencils. The blue background is a new 6*6 backing stamp from impression obsession which resist embossed on white card then grunged up with several blue distress inks, predominently faded jeans.

Wild orchid roses and SU seam binding tinted with faded jeans ink, 2 whimsy stamps to make the sentiment, scrap of basic grey paper, label 4(?) nestie and a guitar charm to finish.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Daughters bday card

My mojo is still on walkabouts but with the help of a layout from truly scrumptious I did manage to come up with this one for my daughters birthday.

Shape is my own design & cut with scal. Distress inks bundled sage, tumbled glass and dusty concord. Elusive Images flower heat embossed with silver wow sparkle ep & coloured with wild wasabi & elegant eggplant markers. Some very old paper adventure papers with silk card embossed in a bug folder. Border of baja breeze card punched with the SU decorative border punch, misc sentiment stamp and numerous pearls all mounted on some elegant eggplant cs.

Monday, 6 June 2011

July Playday

Get me being all organised lol.

Next Bristol playday will be July 10th and everyone is welcome to join in. Just email me for details.

In honour of that great crafters tradition of Christmas in July guess what the projects are going to be all about at next months playday??

Yep.. xmas lol.

In the main we're going to be focusing on building scenes using inks, sponges and scrap paper masks. If anyone is brave and wants to risk a brayer they're more than welcome to, personally I prefer my daubers and blusher brushes.

These are 2 samples I made using Lovely As A Tree and Welcome Christmas. I brushed perfect plum and pacific point ink across the top of some a4 white card which I'd masked with some torn paper. The trees were all stamped over the edge of the mask.

Mounted on basic black then white ran through a dot embossing folder. Very simple and quick card.

I didnt actually intend to make 2 cards but once I'd stamped the children & sleigh from welcome christmas on the last card I realised I had a good 3 inches that were too good to waste. I added another sleigh image and got my trusty knife and ruler out to hack it into 4 squares.

Mounted on perfect plum card with white card ran through an inked snowflake embossing folder. Strip of whisper white satin ribbon and a dangly sentiment made with the word window punch and a few jump rings.

All of the other samples I took with me can be found on my SU blog but I will add a few here over then next couple of weeks.

If it werent for 2 craft shows coming up I'd be wishing it was the 10th already ;o)

Playday yesterday

Hopefully everyone had a fun time at playday yesterday. The main project of the day was milk cartons from a5 card and a holder to fit 4 of them. Got to say there were some beauties made by the end of the day, with Sandra being the first to finish. Must admit to being gobsmaked at Sandra finishing first as she normally lags at the back with Kay. Could it be that Kay sitting on a different table had something to do with that???? lol.

This is my original sample and used gold pearl card very lightly embossed in the SU lattice folder with cream & soft suede cardstock. I've used a border punch to decorate the carton & holder with a SU wheel & crumbcake ink. Crumb cake taffeta ribbon (I'm hoping we get it back in the catty in Oct) and a triple embossed "button" from the new button embosslit folder. Nesties for the handle and 4 baby wooden pegs to finish.

This rather bashed about sample was made using the same measurements but with increasingly longer pieces of card. Stamped with a few colours with one of the hostess sets and windows from the label punch. I didnt really go to town with the decoration on this one as it was just to show you can make them any height using the same template. It's now destined for the bin but I'm going to be rescuing the lil SU paperclips first. They're one of those embellies that I find too nice to use lol.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Paint fusion sweet peas

This is one I made just over a week ago for a friends birthday. Nothing more than Sheenas paint fusion sweet pea stamps with the rose leaves. Painted with system 3 & go green acrylic paints. Card has been brushed with distress inks and mounted on marina mist card with a sentiment from SU. Must admit I was chuffed with this one.

Monday, 16 May 2011

I'm still about

I think the fallout from hubbies accident took a bit longer to arrive than he did... I tend to go a bit quiet when I'm stressed and my mojo goes flying out the window.

Still he's back at work now and hopefully we'll be back to normal footings soon and hopefully my mojo will return as well.

In the last 2 months apart from playday projects I've barely looked at my stash let alone made anything much. This was made a few weeks ago for my buddy Angies birthday. My favourite stamp set Just Believe with very vintage wheel on cream & soft suede cardstock. Huge amounts of tearing and inking with softsuede ink, some splodges from the spritzer tool, crumb cake ribbon and get me... a quilled rose!! Not often I do distressed but Angie loves distress techniques.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

April Playday

What a fab time we all had at the first of the big Bristol playdays on Sunday. Huge thanks for coming ladies, you've got no idea how chuffed I am that you all came and that everyone enjoyed themselves. Be great if everyone that wants to could email me a pic of the bookcard they made & I can add them all on here to see what a bunch of talented crafters we all became that day.

General consensus seems to be that playday should be a regular event so I've booked the community centre again for next month and as long as it's popular it's going to be the 2nd Sunday of every month.

So next playday is April 10th, 10am til 4pm at the Filwood Community Centre, Knowle Bristol. Cost will be £3 to help cover the cost of hiring the room and you'll need to bring a basic cardmaking kit, cutting mat, scissors, sticky stuff and card/pretty papers. I'll make a more precise list but please don't be worried if you havent all the tools needed as between us there's always plenty to share.

There are tea & coffee facilities in the room and lunch wise if everyone can bring a plate of something for a pot luck buffet. This time tho.. not quite as much ladies.. there were only 19 of us but I bet we could have fed 60 lol.

All are welcome, you don't need to be a stamper and you don't need to have any experience of card making or scrap booking. The ladies are very friendly and of mixed experience so there's always someone willing to lend a hand and help newcomers.

This is the main project we'll be making. It might look difficult but it's quite quick & easy to make. The most difficult part is deciding what colours and embellies to use lol.

Also on the menu is a technique "class" making and using paper masks (not the facial variety lol) and hopefully we'll all be going home with a stamped scene card.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Baby Book Card

Here's another sample of one of the projects for Sundays Bristol Playday.

Quite timely as hubbies niece is holding her babys Christening party in the same building and I'll be able to pop in with the card afterwards.

Image is from LOTV and has been water coloured with SU markers.

Papers are all from Nanas Nursery paperstack and I was dead chuffed to finally find a use for the giraffe. I've cut away along the pattern and used it to make a flap for a tag which has a lovely poem.

Cardstock is retired SU colours and I've used a couple of MS border punches and crushed velvet distress ink.

Big thanks to Tracy for having the patience to make the booties.. they're only an inch long.

These flowers are the vintage beaded roses from Joanna Sheen and I've used scal to cut some flourishes which I drew in inkscape.

I'm entering this into the challenges at

Dream Valley Challenges
- New Beginnings
Everbody Art Challenge - Baby
Oldie But A Goodie - For A Baby
IncyWincy Designs - Pastel Colours

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Blog Candy

I've just realised that the wedding card I posted last night is the 300th project in my gallery at the docraft forum so to celebrate I'm offering some blog candy

On offer is a two step stampin set from StampinUp, Good Neighbours. A pad of 6*6 designer series paper 3 and a bottle of my all time favourite glue, Tombow multiuse.

If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning the candy you need to do a few things...

Post a link to this post on your blog, become a follower and leave a comment.
Afraid this is only open to peeps in Great Britain.

The draw is now closed. Thanks to everyone that's entered, left comments or became a follower.

Blog candy winner

Thanks to all who entered

hubby has just stuck his hand in the pot and picked out a winner...

Congratulations Mad Moose.

If you'd like to get in touch I can arrange getting the goodies to you.

Friday, 4 March 2011

that will teach me

Ooops, hubbys birthday today and I'd forgot all about it until late last night. That's teach me for crowing yesterday about how I was sooo organised having Dads fathers day card ready lol.

Quick card for hubby thanks to a very timely sketch on Truly Scrumptious.

Current SU papers & card. Image from flippin men range watercoloured with SU markers. Foam on beer created with WOW white high puff embossing powder and a double stamped sentiment from papermania.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Get me... all organised lol

How's this then.. Fathers Day isnt for a few months and Dads card is all ready to go. Normally I struggle like the dickens to come up with something for him but this image just reminds me so much of when my sister & I were small.

Layout is from this weeks Friday Sketchers blog.

Coloured with a mixture of watercolour pencils & SU markers. The lolly sticks have been painted with some antique linen distress crackle paint (thanks Teresa) and I've used some shells and coral (my last bit from Grand Caymen, sob.. hubby take me back there please). Papers are retired SU and I've added some crumb cake ribbon. Computer sentiment and everything has been distressed with my SU gadget and inked with antique linen & frayed burlap.

I would say I hope Dad likes it but.. he'll either have the wrong glasses on and wont see a thing or if he does have the right ones he won't see the point of the distressed look. Either way he'll say it's nice then dap it to one side.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Mothersday Book card

We're making bookcards at the Bristol March Playday so I thought I'd better make a few otherwise I might look like a twit if things go horribly wrong on the day.

Thought I'd make one for Mothers Day using an old elusive images plate that I bought years ago as it's Mums favourite flower but have yet to really do anything with.

Everything came together quite nicely for the front cover, I had a single sheet left of an old (Brenda Walton or dcwv?) pad in just the right pastel shades to not detract from the daff. Stamped with versafine and watercoloured with quite fittingly daffodil yellow, pumkin pie, peach parfait, real red, cherry cobbler, certainly celery, pear pizazz and wild wasabi markers from SU. I've used daffodil yellow, peach parfait & certainly celery cardstock throughout.

Got the book page in the hit a brick wall about how I was going to decorate the inside cover.

I decided to make a tag/bookmark so folded some retired su papers and edged with a MS punch. Couple of nesties and I stamped the daffs from one of the other stamps on the EI plate and cut & curled them. Then spent ages online looking for a mothering sunday poem that wasnt slushy or sentimental. Couldnt find a thing so was totally stumped as I didnt want to colour in any more daffs.

It wasnt until I really looked at the front stamp I realised the writing wasnt the normal writing like scribble that we often see on stamps, it was the full version of William Wordsworths I wandered Lonely as a Cloud poem. Brainwave time lol.

I went online and found the poem, changed to bradley hand script and printed on to whisper white. Edged with daffodil delight and overstamped the sentiment with peach parfait.