Fabulous Finds Friday — Inks!

There’s been so much buzz about Tim Holtz’ new Seasonal Distress Inks … and I was lucky enough to get my hands on some. The colors are so luscious that even though it was 100 degrees when I got them in Southern California, they made me feel all cozy and yearning for fall sweaters.

Being incredibly impatient, I had to pop them open, even though I didn’t have much time to create. But I had to look at the colors. So I pulled out a Hero Arts stamp and just randomly tap-tap-tapped on a plain white card:

‘dontcha just want to put on a scarf and run through a pile of autumn leaves? Haven’t decided yet how to finish the card — maybe some rhinestones or pearls and a simple “happy Thanksgiving” sentiment? The colors are Seedless Preserves, Ripe Persimmon and Gathered Twigs.

But there was one more thing I had to try… I had about 10 minutes left before I had to leave, so I quickly dabbed the inks directly on my craft sheet:

I spritzed with my water mister and swirled around a scrap piece of semi-glossy cardstock, reapplied the inks and then dabbed a piece of watercolor paper:

On the left is the semi-glossy card stock, which did not impress me at all. (Not the inks, just what I did with them! The inks are gettin’ the love.)

On the right is the watercolor paper, which I misted first, then dragged through the ink. I supplemented the dragged ink with some ink that I picked up with my waterbrush.

I almost threw away the first one, the semi-glossy scrap that looks lame in this photo. Luckily, I didn’t. When I came home from work and had a snack (eating always revives me!) I decided to play with that piece and make a Halloween card (which I showcased earlier this week):

…and ‘lo and behold, it’s not too bad! The diamond pattern was stamped using the Gathered Twigs; the rest were all black embossed. The white spider web that you can barely see in the background was stamped using white pigment ink.  (Stamps by Close To My Heart; edge by Spellbinders)

Thanks for hangin’ in there with me!

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Boo! Halloween’s Creeping Up!

Yowzas! Halloween is right around the corner!

I haven’t been much of a Halloween card maker, but since my friend Connie’s birthday is on Halloween, I’ve started making her spooky birthday cards each year. She gets so excited that she spurred me into re-thinking the Halloween thing! Then I met a new stamping friend, Nancy, who is REALLY into Halloween. She convinced me to buy a spooky tree stamp and a Martha Stewart punch.

So here we are…. making Halloween cards.

I’ll start with my favorite, which came about entirely by accident.

It started because I was testing those scrumptious Tim Holtz Seasonal Distress Inks from Ranger. I smooshed the three inks (gathered twigs, ripe persimmon and seedless preserves) on my craft sheet, misted and then just plopped down the first piece of scrap paper at hand, which happened to be a coated cardstock. (I am SO impatient — I had to try these immediately — practically as I was running out the door!) I wasn’t planning on using the piece. (I’ll have more about these inks in another post.) But when I came home, it looked so yummy I trimmed it and figured I may as well stamp something on it!

I stamped the diamond pattern using the gathered twigs ink, dried it with my heat tool, then stamped and black embossed the bird and the sentiment. A little trick: Before stamping and embossing, I swooshed the piece with my anti-static bag. Mine is an old one from Stampers Touch, but I believe you can find them at Sparkle ‘n Sprinkle and other sources.

All stamps are from Close To My Heart; the white border strip is from Spellbinders. The spider web is stamped in white pigment ink.

Here are the others:

The background was made using ClearSnap’s Smooch Spritz sprays (Donna Salazar color collection) over a Crafter’s Workshop stencil. The tree (Stampendous) was black embossed (thanks, Nancy, for making me buy this stamp!), the fence was punched (Martha Stewart) from gray cardstock then colored with Stephanie Barnard black dye ink (NEW from ClearSnap). (Check out Stephanie’s website here.) The bat and sentiment are from Artistic Outpost.

And another version:

The flying witch is an oldie from Hero Arts, black embossed then colored a bit with neon gel pens from Sakura.

One more, made quickly:

Images all from Close To My Heart; punch is from EK Success.

Have a fun — but safe! — Halloween, and thanks for stopping by.

Fabulous Finds Friday — Crafty News

There’s so much craft goodness around… here are some Fabulous Finds:

I don’t use a lot of stickers (hey, I’m a stamper!), but Jolee’s has two new dimensional sticker collections that I find enticing: Around the World and Steampunk.

Around the World includes borders, frames and titles highlighting European travel (especially London and Paris.)

The Steampunk designs are inspired by Victorian-era industrialism and made to look like polished brass, iron, wood and leather.

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Advantus – whose  company brands include Cropper Hopper, Tim Holtz Idea-ology and Sulyn — has acquired Cosmo Cricket, the paper/embellishment company started in 2006 by Julie and Eric Comstock. Check out their wares at www.cosmocricket.com.

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C&T Publishing has a  new website, PatternSpot.com, where crafters can buy and download project  patterns for fabrics.

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Lifestyle Crafts (owners of QuicKutz dies and the letterpress machine) has some new holiday dies, including this cute feather and headband set (which of course can be used for non-holiday projects!):

feather headband

And this witch set:

witch kit

 Thanks for stopping by! I’ll have a mid-week treat (no tricks!) for you, so pop in again for some Halloween cards.

Fabulous Find — Delicata Gold Ink

What? A mid-week post??? Yes! I have so much to share over the next few days I thought I would break it up.

First….

Delicata — sigh. I love this new gold ink from Tsukineko. It’s a pigment ink, but fast drying on porous papers. It’s a thick, rich gold that won’t tarnish or dull. And although you CAN emboss it, it’s designed to look its shimmery best without embossing.

Here’s a sample of how it looks on white and on dark cardstock:

I hope you can see the shimmer. I hope to work more with the Delicata this week and post some projects. But I couldn’t wait to give you a peek.

Come back Friday for more Fabulous Finds! I’ll soon be posting some Halloween cards … and check out the December issue of Crafts ‘n things magazine — my Basics & Beyond column is all about mixed media. I’ll be sharing some extra projects here, too.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled week….

Fabulous Finds Friday — Framelits!

By now, most of you savvy stampers have heard of and seen (and probably played with!) the stamp/die combos from Hero Arts and Sizzix. Talk about doubling your fun!

Look how cute:

Antique Flowers And Butterflies picture
Although I usually don’t mind cutting out my stamped pieces, it is SO easy to do a lot of pieces at one time with these Framelits. This is especially convenient if the stamped piece is an intricate design.  What I love about these dies is the way they line up against the stamped image — it is so easy to get the right placing. (Well, unless you are me and having a lame day, as proved below. Wait for it.)
Here are my stamped pieces, ready to be cut in my die cutter:
I love that you can see exactly where the cutting edge should go — see how I taped the dies down using low-tack drafting tape? (Ha! Not that it mattered — look how wonky the butterfly is!) My tip? Make sure you leave enough room between the stamped images for the die edge. Duh.
The dies are so easy to place… and yet I managed to be really, really off on these! (Mostly because I was very impatient and wanted to cut one out NOW!!!)
Ack! That is pathetic! Ah, well, stamp and learn.
I perservered, and even made a card:
Pretty cool, eh? These sets take a lot of the work out of cutting!
There are some great video tutorials for using these sets — check out heroarts.com and sizzix.com, and look for more on the Internet.
Thanks for stopping by!

Art Heals. ‘nuf said.

In 2004, my friend and former editor, Laura Rivera, had brain surgery to remove a tumor. She is a wife and mother and after the surgery she could not walk, talk or feed herself. Before the surgery, Laura was a talented stamper, card maker and writer — she was the long time editor at The Rubberstamper Magazine, where I started writing craft articles. Art was a big part of her life, so to lose the ability to hold a pencil, let alone draw, was tough. But through months and months of therapy — including art therapy — Laura regained those skills. I asked Laura to share a little bit about the importance of art in healing. Here are her words and drawings:

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“I had kept an art journal off and on for about 10 years, but it wasn’t until my brain surgery and the six months of recovery that followed that my work in those journals started – really, really, started.

I spent about a month in the hospital immediately after my surgery, where I was overwhelmed by my new physical limitations. Let’s just say that the brain doesn’t like being messed with! Although the surgery removed all of my tumor, I couldn’t  walk, speak, or  use my hands to do ordinary things such as feed myself or hold a pencil. I certainly could not draw or hold scissors.
Creating art seemed out of the question, but that wasn’t a part of my past that I was willing to give up.

I worked with an  occupational therapist who  helped me gain back strength and coordination in my hands, and soon my journal became a tangible way to see progress.  My art journal  was something small that I could keep close, look at, and think, “I made that!” (And in the meantime, I regained my ability to walk and speak clearly.)

Soon art became important because it was one of the few things from my life “before” that I could still enjoy “after” — it was a part of me that I could hold onto. It was a way
of saying, “See, some part of the old me is still alive.” And then it became something else: a way to work through a situation that was difficult — maybe even impossible — to understand. (Why did this happen? Would I ever go back to work? Could I still be a good mom to my son?) I could paint or draw or cut and paste; and my mind would slow down while wheels in my brains
would turn, and usually wind themselves up to a better place.

I know I am not alone, and that there are others  who have used art as therapy through tough times. Some call it an escape, but as the writer and artist Lynda Barry explains in her book, “What It Is,” we don’t do make art to escape realit y— it’s our way to stay in it.”

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Thank you, Laura, for sharing your story. Readers, for more info, please visit Laura’s blog: http://mybraininpictures.wordpress.com