Saturday, February 06, 2016

Mix-Ability challenge: Fashion inspired

This week's Mix-Ability challenge is to be inspired by fashion in some way. I have been thoroughly fascinated by the latest men's release from Gucci - if you have seen it you will understand my fascination and confusion... anyway, when I saw the challenge theme, I knew I wanted to dig into that collection for my inspiration. Here's my card:


...and the outfit that inspired me. Words sort of fail.

photo source
The image I colored for my card is from a brand new coloring book from Katy Sue Designs - I just read that it will be released Feb. 10. It's beautiful! I started my coloring by filling in the image with my lightest shades using Touch markers.


To add shading, I used Prismacolor Pencils, layering colors and blending with light shades to pull the colors together. 


I started sponging the edges and realized I must have some grains of Brusho in my sponge... decided I liked that effect, and added some streaks to the background as well. I stamped some textured into the background to add to the vintage effect, too.


Hope you'll join us for the challenge - there are so many options!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Impression Obsession DT Challenge: Friends Forever

The Impression Obsession team's challenge today is to create a project celebrating friendship.


I used stamps from my Together Silhouettes clear set - my MISTI was so helpful for getting multiple impressions for great coverage as well as a 'kissed' layer of grey ink for texture (I inked a grid stamp and stamped it onto the stamp, then overstamped the image on my card).


I wanted to try a curved version of yesterday's Pleated Skirt Fold tutorial over on Splitcoast, so I used one of the dies from the Hill Landscape Layers set to cut the edge.


I wanted to use this grey cardstock for the pleats, so I stamped and sponged on the back side for a little contrast.


Be sure to check out these other designers' blogs for inspiration -

Anna @ Sassy & Sweet Notes
Daniela @ For the First Time
Dina @ Mama Dini's Stamperia ---- you're here
Jeanne @ Inky Paws
Jenny @ One Krafty Kat
Karen @ Paper Lilies and Ink
Kittie @ Kittie Kraft
Laura @ Laura's Stamp Art Journal
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, February 03, 2016

Splitcoast Tutorial: Pleated Skirt Fold

This week's tutorial over on Splitcoast is a sweet and simple one - it's a Pleated Skirt Fold, and it's a cute and easy way to add a girly touch to a card front.


Because the folded strip is 3" wide, it was easy to cut a 12" piece of paper into multiple strips to make several cards at once - I made 4 identical cards in a really short amount of time.



I used one of my stamps, Brush Border, for a quick cross panel, then added some from a palette using a Distress marker and whatever was left on the palette from the last project. ;) The sentiment is from one of my clear sets, Warm Fuzzies Sentiments.


I used my fingers to fluff up the pleats a bit for an upgraded version - I can hand-deliver this one. The bow was tied with my Bow-Easy.


Hope you're having a great week!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 01, 2016

Watercolor brushes

Since the stamping world is abuzz with watercolor info, I thought I'd jump in with a post about my favorite brushes, and some information that might be helpful as you pick out brushes of your own. While we were overseas, the selection of brushes was limited to poor quality sets from China, and these brushes were just not working for me any more........... eek.


What I actually found the most helpful in choosing new brushes is a rating scale in the Jerry's Artarama catalog that notes the stiffness of the filaments of each brush, and how well they perform with different types of paint (watercolor, acrylic, and oil). These ratings appear on their website as well, if you don't have a print catalog.


By the scale shown here, my preference for brushes is a stiffness of 3, and this seems to be a good all-purpose stiffness for all types of paint. I like the snap of synthetic brushes (snap refers to the way the brush returns to a straight position and a nice point when it is lifted from the paper). There are other options as far as filaments - different types of synthetic fibers, blends of hair and fiber, and different types of hair (softer brushes may use squirrel hair; mongoose hair is also used).

I purchased my brushes from Blick, so I'll share their links - these are affiliate links that kick a little commission my way if you buy at no extra cost to you, so thanks in advance if you do just that! This isn't a comprehensive list, and I haven't tried a brush from every brand, because brushes can get expensive! These are just the brands I've purchased that work for me.

Robert Simmons Sienna brushes
My favorite brushes have been the Robert Simmons Sienna brushes from Daler Rowney - these come with a lifetime guarantee, which is a great testimony to the quality of the product (actually, all the Robert Simmons brushes are guaranteed for life! Love that.). The shape of the handles is comfortable to hold, and the handles are nicely weighted. The brushes (a blend of synthetic filaments) have a great snap and a stiffness of 3 on the Jerry's scale. They come in sets and open stock, and the line includes a wide variety of brush shapes. Price for a #6 round brush (the size I usually grab first) - $6.75.

Grumbacher Goldenedge brushes
The next brushes on my list are from the Grumbacher Goldenedge line. These are synthetic sable brushes made of golden taklon fibers. Again, the handles have a nice curve and weighted feel, and the stiffness is comparable to the Sienna brushes. These brushes come in open stock. Price for a #6 round brush - $5.92.

DaVinci Nova brushes 
The DaVinci Nova brushes are really nice too - similar in feel to the two above. The synthetic filaments of these brushes are ridged to control the flow of paint, which is a nice feature. The handles are nicely weighted. There is a set of 5 brushes available if you're trying to build your collection or try a variety of sizes or styles.  Price for a #6 round brush - $7.99.



I bought some angled brushes from a couple of different sources because I wanted a variety of widths. The clear handled brush is a synthetic sable by Princeton - only the wash brushes in their line are clear acrylic; they do have other styles as well.  The blue handled brushes here are from the Robert Simmons Sapphire line - they are beautiful and similar in feel to the Siennas, but made from a sable and synthetic filament blend. They're great brushes too, and have the Simmons lifetime guarantee. These also come in variety packs, if you're trying to build your collection. Price for a #6 round brush - $6.79.


Simply Simmons brushes
 This line of Simply Simmons brushes by Daler Rowney is a lot of fun - there are soooo many different shapes and brush types to choose from, and the price per brush (any size) is just $3.29 (cheaper if you catch a sale!). Shop around for sets at a discount - Jerry's has them and they're also on Amazon (this one HERE is a great value and nice sampler set). These are great beginner brushes, especially at the price - a great way to get some variety into your collection without breaking the bank. I did get one with a wiggly ferrule but I tightened it easily with a pair of crimping pliers. Price for a #6 round brush - $3.29.


These Silver Black Velvet brushes had been recommended by a couple of different artists, and I got them, and ended up not loving them... The filaments on these are a blend of synthetic fibers and squirrel hair, which is softer than sable (a stiffness of 2 on the scale above). They do hold a lot of paint, which is great - I just am more accustomed to a snappier brush, the tip coming back to a straightened point when I lift the brush. Here's what I mean...


That said, they are a quality brush, and obviously worth consideration since they're used by artists that I respect! Price for a #6 round brush - $9.61.



I used a few different brushes to complete this little painting, based on a drawing in my sketchbook that can be purchased as a stamp HERE. I filled a palette with Brusho powders and water just to try something new (each well has 8-9 drops of water with each powder color mixed in, plus a couple of Magenta Nuance powders to fill out 2 remaining wells). Because of Brusho's properties, I could also use bleach to remove color and add highlights, which was fun too. I started with a light wash and added some loose colors, then worked in the negative space at the top to add depth and just practice that concept. The hot pink powder was a little intense for the background so there are a few areas of dark color I'm not excited about, but it was fun to just play... I'm trying to remember to do that more!


Hopefully I've shed a little light on how brushes can differ, and what you might consider when looking for brushes yourself. If you do have questions, please leave them in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 29, 2016

MIx-Ability challenge: painting with coffee

It's my turn to host the Mix-Ability challenge this week, and I pulled out a technique I've been wanting to try for some time - painting with coffee!


You can work with regular or instant coffee - I chose instant coffee because it was easy to mix with a small amount of water, and easy to control the ratios for lighter and darker concentrations.


I filled a well of my palette about 1/2 full with the instant coffee powder, and then added water with a dropper until it was mixable. For a lighter color, I took some of the concentrated mixture and added more water in a second well.


Once the coffee is mixed, you can paint with it like you would a watercolor medium. Spritz with water to spread the color further or to create a wash for a background. Work from light to dark, and layer different shades of coffee paint to create depth. 


The painted coffee also lifts very willingly with water, so I had some fun with lifting here too - splattering in the background then rolling a paper towel roll across the piece, and lifting the steam area to lighten it up.


This was a lot of fun, and I hope you'll try it - I used the cheapest, smallest container of instant coffee I could find, and I'm happy with the results. I was working on matboard here, but watercolor paper worked well too.

Happy weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Splitcoast Tutorial: Four Way Card

I'll keep my blog post short today - my eyes are dilated and I'm having a hard time focusing on my screen! I wanted to make sure to share a link to today's tutorial over on Splitcoast though - this is a tutorial that has been requested several times - it's a Four Way Card. It can stand like I've displayed it here, but it also folds flat for mailing. The center 'ornament' also has 4 panels, and can be made dimensional for display as well.


Things to remember:

--Held prints are in stock, and Crafty Bird prints are available for pre-order

--Today is the 3rd day of the Inchie Arts/StencilGirl hop - scroll down to yesterday's post for today's links. Remember to comment for a chance to win stencils and Art Squares!

Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Inchie Arts hop with Stencil Girl!


So excited to be joining the Inchie Arts girls in a hop with the StencilGirl crew! What a fun combination of products in the hands of amazing artists. :)  Wait till you see the full hop list! And check this info out:

We'll be picking one lucky winner to receive a $25 StencilGirl Products Gift Certificate and 1 package each of White 4", 3", ATC (2.5" X 3.5") and Swatch (2" X 4") size Art Squares!

All comments left on the hop list participants’ posts will be entered. Winner will be announced on StencilGirl Product’s Facebook Page on January 31stOne comment per blog. Comments close on January 30th @ 11:59PM Central.



I wanted to share a technique, so I played around with both products in my new Big Shot Plus - that was a birthday present that I've been having fun with - I'll share more about it later, if you'd like! My regular size Big Shot was getting loose, so it's nice to have a new machine in addition to the benefits of the larger size. Anyway! Kristen Powers of RubberMoon sent me some of her gorgeous stamps to play with, so I'm featuring those today (you'll see her artwork on the hop tomorrow!). Stamps I used: ML201 Beautiful Mistakes, KP5021 Make Art



My card base is a 4" black Art Square. I embossed the panel with the stencil, layering the Big Shot base with a cutting pad, matboard, stencil, cutting pad and 3-4 cereal box shims. Here's what that looked like when I worked with the white square.


Here's the finished square - it's not a deep impression, but it's enough for brayering or sponging, or scraping acrylics, which I did on both cards here.


My second card was so much fun to make - I scraped the light blue paint across the Art Square with an old gift card, then used my MISTI to position the girl stamp (RubberMoon - ML202 Dreamer Girl). I heat set the ink, painted over it with acrylic paints, then restamped the image to redefine the lines.


As happens often, I sort of lost the texture under the layers... You can see, though, in the corners, how the texture picks up in the areas where I rubbed ink in.


The 'speed 5 mph' is a rub-on from 7gypsies... I've been dragging a bit the last few weeks so it seemed appropriate! I love this girl's sweet face.


The StencilGirl products I used on my projects are L352 Deconstructed Floral Bouquet and S217 Rose Window Stencil. They're beautiful!

Please visit these other artists who have projects to share for the hop:


January 27 




And please visit our sponsors so you can check out their amazing products:


Thank you for stopping by! xoxo



Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Crafty Birds!

I added a few new pieces to my art collection this weekend - these were so much fun to do! I have a pile of in-progress canvases on my desk that each get a new layer of color every time I have some extra paint from another project... It's a great way to build up backgrounds, and to have a canvas ready to go when I need it.


You know that I love painting scenes that move me... because of that, I have a hard time just painting for fun. That was my purpose in working out these 2 pieces... they are 5"x7" canvas panels that I just painted for the joy of painting, based on some bird sketches I did last week and things that make me smile... stamping and painting!


I have added these to my list of prints that can be ordered from my blog - I will be placing an order for all prints on Monday, Feb. 1 - please go ahead and pre-order before that time so I'm sure to get the ones you want! I added a button to my left sidebar so you can find the page easily... I think I'll be placing orders once a month - we'll try that anyway, and see how it works. :)

I'm participating in the StencilGirl/Inchie Arts blog hop, so I'll be back with a post tomorrow - you can view the first day's posts today HERE.

Have a great week!
 Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Winner winner!

Eek! I forgot to pick a winner yesterday! So let's do  2.

Stampinlouie and Rachel B.!!!

Ladies, email me with your mailing addresses and I will send something fun your way!

++++++++++++++++

Janelle's Mix-ability challenge this week is such a fun one with so many possibilities... I went to my file folder of gel prints and put together an inlaid  die cut scene using border dies from Impression Obsession.


 You can find the tutorial HERE... for the piecing, I worked from the top down. With the repeated colors, there's almost a reflective look.


And it was unintentional but it ended up looking cool on the back, too!


I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Thanks for stopping by!