Monday, July 24, 2017

A Modern Twist

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




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



I love it when a plan comes together.

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

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan


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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

IC607 Olive Hello

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



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

What a fun challenge!

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

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

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


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Why Copics?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,
Susan

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


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Copic Refresh


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

Because of all the pretty colors. Duh.

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


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

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




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



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

It's progress, of a sort.



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

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

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Butterfly Sympathy

I love that one of you (Lu C) said she prefers to make sympathy cards as needed because she creates better with a person in mind. How kind! She's a beautiful example of how we can all express our crafty creativity differently. Thanks for sharing that, Lu.

Today's three cards spotlight butterflies. Butterfly cards sell particularly well at Karen's Card Shop because everyone who knew Karen knew of her passion for butterflies.

First up, butterflies stamped using markers and a water spritzer. I tried several times to eliminate the blotchy effect here but finally gave in to it. I think stamping on absorbent watercolor paper requires WAY more water than stamping on ordinary card stock.


After creating such blotchy images, I used pigment ink to get VERY smooth images on the second card.




By the way, I prefer the blotchy butterflies to the smooth ones. That surprised me.

Finally, I used a bit leftover of watercolor background and a butterfly punch for this super-simple and elegant card. It's my favorite of the three.



Which is your favorite?


Supplies
stamps: Papertrey, Uniko
ink: Archival black; VersaMagic concord grape, pretty petunia
paper: watercolor paper
accessories: markers water spritzer, rhinestones, butterfly punch, watercolor

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sympathy Sell-Outs

Wow. Karen's Card Shop at our church routinely sells out of sympathy cards. Last week, the church secretary emailed me that she'd bought the last one.

Many thanks to those of you who've sent us sympathy cards! Know that they are very much appreciated.

Anyway, I sat down to crank out a bunch of sympathy cards, and in the process, I pulled all the sympathy sentiments I could find from all my stamp sets and put them into one CD case. That helped, and should serve nicely in the future when we run out of sympathy cards again. Because it's going to happen.

Anyway, I really enjoy making sympathy cards of wildflowers, so I tried out several different flower silhouette stamp sets to see what I could make. First up, a one-layer card with a cool color scheme of greens, purples, and blues.



Next, a two-layer card with a simpler color scheme of blues and gray.



Both cards use some watercolor paper I bought on sale at Marco's last week. It doesn't work well with watercolors, but it took the inks nicely on these cards, so way to repurpose, Susan! It's got a lovely, soft feel to it, as well as a bit of texture.

Sympathy cards are easier to make when I don't have to make them. What about for you?

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Life and Mega Mixed Messages; Tim Holtz Mini Bouquet; Gina K sentiment
ink: various dye inks
paper: watercolor 
accessories: craft foam, corner rounder, glue

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Friendly Layout


If I were still scrapbooking, THIS is the sort of layout I would be making. So much lovely white space!

Since I'm not scrapping, a card will have to suffice.


The only thing I would change about this card is the size of the three small hearts. They are a tad too big and draw too much attention to themselves. Perhaps I should have stamped them in the lighter pink. Oh, well. I still love the card and the layout, not least because most of the stamps used are from really old sets...yet they look fresh and fun!

The panel under the large hearts is edged with black ink...the bit of roughness of that adds to the otherwise crisp design works well to my eye.

And now, gratuitous puppy pictures for your enjoyment!



EEEEEP! Puppy breath! I can't wait!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
Susan

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Heart Prints, Hero Arts, Concord & 9th
ink: Impress Fresh sugar, pink lemonade; Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: heart punches, dimensionals