Saturday, 7 July 2012

on my travels just to test the splodeaway mat

OK I sort of fibbed a bit.... but I do go out of my way to test things for my crafting buddies.

For Christmas I bought hubby a 2 day painting class with Charlie Evans and this weekend was finally time to drive all the way from Bristol to Morpeth (about 30 mins up past Newcastle Tracy).  I'll admit if I'd known Charlies studio was well over a 5hr drive away, Or, that I'd have to drive I think I'd have bought Ade something else and bought him a class when Charlie comes south to Cheddar.

Ah well, not to worry I had to drive it... bother, damnation and lots of rude words we had the journey from HELL!  Britain was under countless severe weather warning with risks of flooding in numerous places yesterday.  We set off at 11am and although it was raining it wasnt too bad until we got to Gloucester then the heavens opened and the water was just running over the road. Traffic was horrendous and the speed had to drop :o(  In many places I was lucky to see more than a few yards in front the car and had no hope of sitting in the outside lane driving at the speedlimit.   At times I was lucky to get up to 40mph.  Birmingham was worse than hell and I've lost count of how long we were stop start bumper to bumper never getting out of 1st gear.  We even had to pull in to a service station the other side as the engine was starting to overheat.  The weather didnt dry up until we were pretty much on the A1M and at the top end of Yorkshire.  Even then the mist and fog was horrible and we saw nothing of the scenery, I did get a quick peep at the Angel of the North tho :o)

Got up to Acklington, first Inn was fully booked (had had a disagreement with Ade on the way up as I wanted to book a premier inn... beds are comfy and they've generally got a decent wifi lol), decided to go with a nice looking hotel but the rooms were pretty pokey and the wifi didnt work! OMG I was literally on the point of tears, by now it's 9.30/10pm, we're in the middle of nowhere (I'm a townie) no way on this earth can I go 48 hours with out internet access.  Ok, it's mainly facebook games but I did need to check in with a few friends at Docrafts and get an address for a craft shop I only know is "about 40 mins from Newcastle and worth visiting"  I didnt even know it's name.  Major hissy fit, and we left the hotel and ended up at a much nicer one, Warkworth House Hotel.  I felt like I could have done with a step to get in the bed, and best of all I have wifi :o)

This morning I dropped Ade off at Charlies and plumbed in the postcode, eek, another 90 min or so journey.  So not what I needed after yesterdays nearly 10 hours at the wheel and all the time I'm thinking about my 3 selfish mates who were on their way to a class with Barbara Grey at Newbury (I could have been with them if it werent for this stupid painting class!!) Off I toddled to the craft shop I'd been told was good and just by coincidence is the home of a new craft gizmo that needs some testing...

Going to paste from my post on the docrafts forum, so apologies if you''ve already read it there.

Had a lovely few hours and several cups of tea at Suzicrafts, home to the splodgeaway mat, today.  Well worth a visit if you're Stockon on Tees way, took about 90 mins from just north of Morpeth.  Nice stock, very well priced and the staff are very friendly.  Nice big table that you can sit and craft away the hours which today had huge piles of mats being packaged by hand but I still got my rather large posterior on a chair and would have been happy to spend time getting inky.
Didnt get a lot of play with the mat so this is just initial thoughts and I need a lot of testing before I tell everyone to go out and buy/avoid.
The mat is weird, totally not what I was expecting.  Feels shiny to touch but the tool doesnt glide on it when  ink free.  Fairly sturdy so doesnt ruche at edges.     I'll admit to being dubious about the claims of it saving ink but in use it does seem to only need a small smear of ink.  I'll compare 2 new sponges with a dark ink when I get chance to see if the foam stays cleaner on one before saying for definite but leaning towards the claim being genuine. The mat isnt heatproof so no sticking a hot cuppa on it, or using it underneath a heat tool.  Wet wipes null the surface so it needs to be cleaned with a few drops of water and some loo/kitchen paper. 
Needs a tiny smear of ink, far less than the demos on tv, ink gets rubbed into the mat with the blending tool before you start inking the edges of the card.  Coverage was good and a young lady by the name of Hannah (who was visiting and having a play)was inking card like a pro, not bad for someone 7years old.  IMHO if you rival Sir Tim using a normal craftmat and a blending tool you arent going to see much a benefit for just inking the edges of a card.  If you're heavy handed or prone to stripes/corner marks it could very well help.  Not a miracle tool that gets you from zero to hero in a flash, but I can see it helping a lot of people.
Dont think it's just a tool for those who want to blend ink around the edges of card, there are other inky uses for it.  I need to have a good play with some of the splatter techniques but there's a large difference to the "ink on mat add a few spots of water" on a traditional craft mat.  With traditional the card will pick up all the ink and give a lighter spotty effect where the water has been dripped, with the splodeaway you only get ink where the water has dropped, not a full coverage.  I think there's going to be some new techniques found with the mat but I need a few days away from driving the pig around to have a good play.  Not going to swear to that but..
One technique that Tom did show me was using the mat as a brayering aid.  Add tiny amount of ink to the brayer then roll the brayer over the mat in a sort of random way.  Ink coverage on the brayer became super fine and there was no need to roll the brayer over scrap paper to get rid of excess ink.  Once inked there was less of a harsh edge/stripe on plain card (not so good with coated) and what there was was instantly blended away.  The brayer was being reloaded with ink straight from the mat.  I was horrified while Tom was brayering..  card straight on top of the inky mat and he looked like he was painting a garden  wall!!  Card stayed pretty clean underneath (that sold me pretty much on it's own!)  and with no delicate flicking of the brayer but he had a better coverage than I've seen from some of the quite experienced brayer users.   Again I dont think the tool is a miracle but it might help those that struggle to load a brayer properly or end up with stripes.
All in all I was quite impressed.  I'm not saying (yet) to replace the craft mats with it but if someone hasnt got a craftmat and doesnt want to use heat with it then good place to start.  

Will post a much more indepth review when I've had chance to test it thoroughly.  I had brought inks, stamps and card with me intending to do that this afternoon but they were too chatty and before I knew it the day was over Ooops lol

1 comment:

kay said...

Pleased you managed to have a bit of a break from Ade,x