Happy Holidays!

I apologize for being MIA over the past week or so. It seems I got busy making holiday gifts and CHA samples, and neglected my blog!

One of the things I have been working on are special ornaments using products from Globecraft & Piccolo. I have had a few “issues” and so none of them are finished quite yet, but I thought I could share some that are already done and hanging on the tree.

by Candy Spiegel

I have been making these ornaments for several months now, but this is the first time I have them hanging on the tree. I put these up randomly, but look at how beautiful they are with the light shining behind them!

by Denise Tretheway

This one was made by a friend and given to me the other day. When I noticed how it glowed with the light behind it, I had to photograph it. It is just beautiful!

 

I also have a sneak peek of a new product Globecraft & Piccolo is bringing to CHA in January …

candyspiegel9

If I don’t get back here before Christmas, have a happy holiday!

Autumn Beauty

Perhaps it is the cool, fall-like weather we have had for the past week or the fact that Halloween and Christmas papers have been arriving at the scrapbook store, but whatever it is, I have been in the mood to scrapbook autumn.

Fortunately Bo Bunny’s new Apple Cider line arrived just in time …

These are some “rejects” taken a few years ago when we were taking my daughter’s senior photos. Even though they weren’t senior photo worthy, they are still beautiful photos that capture so much of Korie’s personality. They definitely deserve a place in a scrapbook, so this is what I created: (click on the image for a closer view)

I only had one of each paper in this collection, so I cut two of the papers in half and used them on each side to make it coordinate. I added a strip of another paper over each seam and then a larger stripe across both sheets to serve as photo mats.

I used Rusty Hinge and Walnut Stain Distress Inks on the edges of the papers and the die cuts (Tim Holtz Tattered Leaves).

For the letters, I used Word Play by Tim Holtz. I cut them out of Grungeboard, then painted them with Claudine Hellmuth’s Studio Paint, stamped them with a background stamp by Studio 490 and then coated it with Glastique for a shiny, epoxy finish.

I also cut out a bit of the pattern on the paper I used for the mat and slipped the photo under it:

On the right side, I included a couple of cropped photos:

 

Then I created a little grouping using dies, pins, burlap, twine and pieces cut from some of the papers in the collection. Here’s a closer look:

 

 

 

 

Technique Thursday: Perfect Pearls Mist

Today’s technique uses homemade sparkly mists, or Perfect Pearls Mist.

They are easy to create and practically free, since they use the Perfect Pearls and Distress Re-Inkers you probably already have at home. Ranger does make a line that you can purchase, but making your own gives you hundreds of color choices.

Since Tim Holtz has a video of this and there is no way I could do it any better, I thought I would just show you how he makes them …

Perfect Pearls Mist

Pretty cool, eh?!

I did this very simple card front using the new Summer Distress Inks …

After applying the ink, I spritzed it with mist made with the Picked Raspberry ink and Biscotti powder. Since Distress Ink reacts with water, the spritz helped to mix the colors and created a little pattern. However, because of the Perfect Pearls, it also sparkles. After it dried (with a heat tool because I am very impatient), I added some Tissue Tape and a stamp. Very cool. Very easy. Very cheap. But very beautiful.

Once you create your ink, what can you do with it?

— color white or cream paper flowers (like those from Prima or KaiserCraft)

— create amazing backgrounds

— use with masks

— use with Crafter’s Workshop templates

— add a bit of sparkle

— and so much more …

Stop by Capture A Memory today from 2-6 p.m., bring an empty Mini Mister (or buy one at the store), and I will help you make a bottle of your very own — free!

I can’t wait to see you!

Technique Thursday: Crackle Paint

It’s Thursday (or nearly Thursday, depending on when you are reading this) and that means it is time to learn a new technique. This week, we are focusing on Distress Crackle Paint.

This is a great product, with the brush attached to the lid and a quick, one-step painting process. And, since all I know I about crackle paint came from the master, Tim Holtz, I thought I would start by sharing a video he made.

Distress Crackle Paint

A few highlights: It should be the consistency of mayo or peanut butter … if you want it thinner, just add water.

Always shake before using.

Apply an even, medium coat of paint and let air dry. Once it starts to crack, you can speed up the process with a heat gun.

One thing I like to use Crackle Paint on is a die cut.

I cut this fence (from QuicKutz) from textured dark brown cardstock and then painted it with Picket Fence Distress Crackle Paint. I love the different looks I get by applying the paint thinner in some areas and how some of the brown shows through. (click on the image for a better view)

Another technique, like Tim does in the video, is to use the Crackle Paint as a resist. Since Distress Ink will not stick to it, you can stamp with Distress Ink on the dried Crackle Paint and then wipe it off of the paint portion.

When I tried this technique, I did not have a finished idea in mind. I just started grabbing scraps off of my table, added some paint and then went to work at the scrapbook store. When I came home several hours later, I pulled out my newest Tim Holtz stamp and decided the gas pump would be great to hide behind the paint. As I was inking with Black Soot Distress Ink, I realized the service attendant was also going to be on Crackle Paint. I didn’t think he would appreciate being headless, so I inked his half of the stamp with Ranger Archival Ink and the other half with the Distress Ink. Then, I stamped it and wiped off the pump portion and watched the pump move “behind” the paint, like magic!

Finally, I wanted to share a project I made some time ago in a class with my friend Linda Neff.


It started as a bright red frame from IKEA. I then painted it with Crackle Paint and then sanded some of it off. It created a beautiful patina on the frame. Here’s a closer look:

To see these samples in person and to try the paint out for yourself, stop by Capture A Memory in Flint Township. I’ll be there from 2-6 p.m. Thursday helping you try this new technique. See you there!

Technique Thursday: Embossing

There are so many amazing rubber stamps on the market these days, I cannot imagine not stamping. I use stamps all of the time in many of my projects and I love them.

A few weeks ago, one of the customers at Capture A Memory in Flint Township asked me about embossing. So, in her honor, we are going to emboss this week for Technique Thursday.

You can use any type of stamp to emboss with. You can also use a variety of inks — an embossing pad, Distress Ink Embossing Pad, Versamark or any pigment ink pad. As long as the ink stays wet long enough to sprinkle powder and heat it, you can use it.

First, you need a heat-resistant surface to work on. You can use your Ranger Non-Stick Craft Sheet or you can make a surface by covering a clipboard with aluminum foil. This works well because you can clip the corner of your art to the board and protect your fingers from the heat.

Step 1: (optional) Wipe the paper you intend to work on with a dryer sheet or anti-static pad. This helps prevent stray embossing powder from clinging to the paper around your image.

Step 2: Tap the stamp lightly onto the ink pad until the entire image is covered and then press straight down onto your paper. Apply a bit of pressure and then lift straight up. I used Ranger’s embossing pad, which is nice because it is tinted so you can see the image. Notice the light teal image stamped on the right side of the paper below. (click on the image for a larger view)

Step 3: Sprinkle the image with embossing powder. I like to use a tiny metal spoon (it cuts down on the static). I also put the image on top of a coffee filter to collect the excess so I can dump it back into my container. Coffee filters do not hold on to static, so they are great with glitter and embossing powder. Once the image is covered, gently tap off the excess. Do not flick the paper like you do with glitter or you will take too much off.

Step 4: If you have embossing powder outside of where you want it, like I do in the image below, use a small paintbrush to get rid of the excess.

Step 5: Now you are ready to heat it. Place it on a heat-resistant surface and heat it with a heat gun (Ranger’s is my favorite. It’s quiet, it doesn’t blow much and it is hot.) DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS WITH A HAIR DRYER. It will just blow your powder all over. Hold the heat gun in one place until you see the powder change. In most cases, it will become shiny. Notice the chicks on the right of this sample … they are finished. The ones on the left are still waiting to be heated.

That’s it! It is really rather simple, once you know how to do it.

Now, for a few more tips …

If you do not want to buy lots of colors of embossing powder, buy clear and use the ink colors you already have. It will give you the same effect.

You can also use your embossing powders to change the colors of brads, frames or even shrink plastic. Just cover the area you want to emboss in embossing ink, sprinkle on some powder and heat.

Not all embossing powders give you a shiny smooth finish. Some are more transparent. Some have glitter. Some have more of a matte finish. I love these by JudiKins because they are a mix of colors. I used Granite on the flamingos.

Some embossing powders retain their bumpy feel even after heating.

This jar was embossed with Ranger’s Antiquities embossing powder in cement. It stays rough even after heating.

Now it is time for you to try your hand at embossing. Stop by Capture A Memory in Flint Township from 2-6 p.m. today and give it a try. I’ll see you there!

 

Stamping Shrink Plastic

It is Thursday (or will be in the morning) and time for another technique.

This week, we are returning to shrink plastic to learn a few additional ways to decorate it — namely with rubber stamps and Copic Sketch markers. (If you would like to learn how shrink plastic works, click here to read the last Technique Thursday post.)

Many recommend lightly sanding the plastic so it accepts ink. Personally, I never have good luck with this method. I’m not sure if I sand too much or not enough, but I always end up with scratches on my plastic that are visible after shrinking and through my ink.

Instead, I like to work with products that easily adhere to the plastic. StazOn is perfect for these techniques, but Ranger Archival Ink in black will also work if it is heat set. The trick is to heat the ink enough to make it permanent, but not enough to shrink the plastic. Usually, if you hold the heat gun farther from the plastic, you can accomplish this. Of course, if you don’t plan to color the image, you can set it and shrink it at the same time!

The ability to use rubber stamps on shrink plastic opens up a whole new world of options to add to your cards, scrapbook pages and jewelry. You may wish to practice stamping on a piece of packaging plastic or similar smooth surface before stamping on shrink plastic. The surface is slippery and your stamp will want to dance along the plastic, which will create a blurry image. So, I brace my elbows on the table and very carefully place the stamp on the plastic and then just as carefully lift it back off without allowing it to move sideways. You do not have to push on the stamp the way you do when stamping on paper.

For this card, I used a background stamp by Wendy Vecchi of Studio 490 to decorate the tag I cut out of shrink plastic with a Tim Holtz/Sizzix die. The image remains clear while shrinking and can add the perfect embellishment to a card. Here’s a closer look at the tag:

I used a similar technique here, using a butterfly die cut from Sizzix and a background stamp from Studio 490. I love how tiny the pattern gets when it shrinks.

You can also stamp an image and then color it with Copic Sketch markers, although there are a few “rules” to keep in mind for this technique. First, the plastic will not allow you to blend your colors like you can on paper. Simply choose a color and use long strokes, preferably from one side of the image to the other without stopping. If you want more color, let it dry for a few minutes and then go over it again. Otherwise, you will continually smear, puddle and remove your ink.

Second, keep in mind that StazOn and Copic inks do not like each other and using them together could ruin your Copic markers. However, if you use clear shrink plastic, you can stamp on one side and color on the other. That way, your inks never touch, but you get beautiful charms like this:

This is an image from Flower Soft. If you click on the image so you can see it larger, you will see some streaks in color. That happens and you just have to accept it as part of the charm of this technique.

Here’s another I did using a Riley stamp. With the addition of a swivel clasp by Tim Holtz, this will make an adorable zipper pull for my nephew.

But, there is more than one way to color with Copics. One of my favorite techniques is to use the Copic Airbrush System to spray on the color.

On this card, I used Tim Holtz/Sizzix dies to cut out the images, airbrushed them and then shrank them. But, since Copic inks are transparent, you could also stamp an image in black and it will be visible after airbrushing it.

Then, I got a bit carried away and came up with this …

Since I wanted a varied color, I sprayed the plastic with three different yellow/orange hues. Then, I used a template by The Crafters Workshop to airbrush the leaves and bugs in place. I didn’t do anything fancy — just held the template where I wanted it and sprayed it in green. I wasn’t worried if I had any overspray — I figured it would add to the organic nature. Then, I shrunk the plastic and added a strip of cardstock to make a mini book.

I did have a bit of an issue … when I put an acrylic block on top of the heated image to flatten it, some of the ink stuck to the block. When I did the back piece, I tried it upside down. I didn’t get any ink on my block, but I did get some on my nonstick craft sheet. You can see the little speckles where the ink was removed in the photo above, but I think it adds to the earthiness of the piece, don’t you?

Now, it is time for you to try these techniques for yourself. I will be at Capture A Memory in Flint Township from 2-6 p.m. Thursday so you can try rubber stamping, coloring or air brushing on shrink plastic for yourself. I’ll also have all of these samples, and a few more, with me, so you can get a closer look and ask any questions you may have. Hope to see you there!

Shrink Plastic & Alcohol Inks

Technique Thursday is finally here!

Technique Thursday is a joint effort between Capture A Memory in Flint Township and myself. Each Thursday, I will share a new technique with you — along with instructions, tips and ideas. Then, from 2-6 p.m. I will be at the store with all of the supplies waiting to help you try it out for yourself — for free! I hope you stop by and try out this week’s technique: Shrink Plastic and Alcohol Inks.

I love to play with shrink plastic. Like the Shrinky Dinks we had when we were kids, shrink plastic is a thin plastic that comes in clear, black and white. It can be stamped, inked, painted, punched, colored, cut and more to create adorable pieces of jewelry, charms or accents for your card, scrapbook or altered art. Since there are so many options with shrink plastic, I’m going to take all four Thursdays in April to share techniques with you.

This week, we’ll be talking about using punches and dies to create a charm or accent piece. Then, we’ll use Adirondack Alcohol Ink to color them.

To start, cut out the image you desire. Here, I used a 1″ square punch and Mini Gears dies from Tim Holtz/Sizzix. Notice how thin the shrink plastic is … If you want to turn your design into a charm, be sure to cut a hole in it at this point … you won’t be able to after it shrinks. The Crop-A-Dile works well. Use the smaller punch for jewelry and the larger punch for hanging things with jump rings, twine or floss.

At this point, you have two options. You can heat it and then color it or color it and then heat it. The butterfly on the left was colored with Alcohol Ink after heating. The butterfly on the right was colored before heating using the exact same colors of ink. Notice how much more intense the color gets when it shrinks.

To shrink, set the plastic on your Nonstick Craft Sheet (this will help protect your table from the heat) and shrink it with a heat tool. You’ll need tweezers to help keep the image in place. It will curl as is shrinks and flatten back out when it is finished. Sometimes it’s helpful to flip the image over a few times as you heat it, too. Once it is done shrinking, turn off the heat and immediately place something on top of it to flatten it out completely. (I normally use an acrylic block, but I have been known to use a stamp pad or the back of a wooden stamp, too.)

Here is another before and after to show you … The image on the left is before heating. The one on the right is after heating. As the plastic shrinks, it thickens up, making a perfect plastic accent. You can also see how much the image shrinks and how intense the color gets.

These are some jewelry pieces I made. The squares are with a 1″ square punch. The charm is from the Tim Holtz/Sizzix Tiny Tabs & Tags die. For the circles, I punched a small circle first, then punched a 1″ circle around it. Then, I used the Crop-A-Dile to punch a 1/8″ hole in each piece. I then colored them with alcohol inks and heated them. The holes are tiny … too small for a jump ring, but perfect for a piece of wire. I strung them with some beads to make this quick bracelet:

Don’t you love the translucent colors created?!

One more tip: Alcohol inks will fade in the sun. To make sure these pieces last, you will want to spray them with a non-alcohol-based UV sealer before making your bracelet.

I also created this little card with a Studio 490 background stamp and word stamp and the Tattered Flowers die by Tim Holtz/Sizzix. These were white and I used Sunshine Yellow alcohol ink to color them. After shrinking, I adhered them to the card (Art Glitter’s Designer Dries Clear Adhesive and Glue Dots both work well for this) and then added some Stickles for an extra punch.

And this is what I did with the little gears, Tim Holtz paper and a KaiserCraft stamp.

So, are you ready to try shrink plastic? Stop by the store today from 2-6 p.m. to create your own little charm or accent.

Check back next Thursday for some more shrinking fun — we’ll use stamps and Copic Sketch markers to color and airbrush some designs. Just wait until you see how cute those stamped images are when they are shrunk!

Art Glitter Design Team 2012 Audition

I am excited over two things today …

The first is that I am applying for a position on Art Glitter’s design team. You probably know how much I love Art Glitter and Designer Dries Clear Adhesive and that I have served as a guest designer for them twice. Now I am applying for a DT position that will last an entire year. How exciting is that!

Secondly, I am excited to share this project, which I have been creating for a few weeks and I love how it turned out. It’s one of those things that you have in your head and then you jump in with both feet and try it and then it works and, well, you know the satisfaction and excitement I am feeling right now.

First, a little background … I have been wanting to make something to hang in the window that would reflect sunlight and make little rainbows in my house (just like in the movie, “Pollyanna.”) I think the cats will enjoy it. While I was milling that over in my mind, my husband brought home some pieces of acrylic that he planned to use for windows in the chicken coop he was building. Well, as soon as I saw them, I knew they would make a great piece of window art so I started asking questions — if he could cut it, if he could drill holes in it (it’s very thick) and if he really needed four windows in the coop. He agreed three would be plenty, cut down one of the pieces, added holes at the top for a hanger and holes at the bottom for hangings and presented it to me.

With the base obtained, I discovered a bit more inspiration in the Little Yellow Bicycle Saturdays collection. With that piece of paper in hand, I sat down to work and created this: (click on the photo for a larger view)

I hung it on a white wall to photograph it, but it will soon be hanging in a window.

I used a lot of products from a lot of different companies on this piece. That’s one thing I love about art like this — you can mix and match and use up little leftover parts. I also used quite a few techniques. So, if there is something I don’t explain here, please let me know and I’ll give you the directions. Otherwise, I am afraid this may be the world’s longest blog post ever!

First, I used a Crafter’s Workshop stencil and Alcohol Ink to create the background. Alcohol Ink will fade in the sunlight unless you spray it with a UV protector. But, I want to see the process, so I left mine uncoated.

Then, I added papers by Little Yellow Bicycle and BBP, each aged a bit with Distress Ink.

I used ColorWash to color the large blue flower (Prima) and the ribbon (Tim Holtz) and used Designer Dries Clear Adhesive to attach everything. Notice how it dries so clear you can use it to attach clear buttons (BBP).

I used a stamp set from Darcie’s to stamp the saying and the little birds. Then, I went back with Designer Dries Clear Adhesive and added Vintage Glass Glitter to the branch the birds were sitting on.

The candelabra is a wood cut from KaiserCraft. I painted it and then decided it needed a bit more something, so I covered it in three different colors of Microfine Glitter. (You will definitely want to use the fine metal tip for this) I left a couple of spots that weren’t covered completely with glitter just to add a bit of interest.

I added some transparent glitter to the edges of the flower for additional interest and some Vintage Glass Shards to the ribbon and around the clock face (Tim Holtz) to spice things up a bit. As a side point, the Vintage Glass Shards will change color in the sunlight as well … can’t wait to see that result!

I also added a hint of glitter to this little clipboard I made.

A friend gave me this little bird cage to go on my art piece. We all agreed it needed a bird, but no one had one, so I made one. I used the same stamp (the birds on the limb) and stamped them on cardstock. Then, I cut the bird out and covered both sides with glitter. Finally, I added a tiny bead from my jar of black Gala Glitz (Art Glitter) as an eye. Then I used Designer Dries Clear to adhere him to the cage and to keep the cage door open.

And, with the addition of some charms, beads, hardware pieces and ribbon, I can call it done. Naturally it’s been cloudy since I finished the piece, but I cannot wait to see how it reacts in the sun!

Remember to post any questions here and I’ll answer them shortly.

Thanks for looking!

Glue n’ Seal Technique

When working on another project, I stumbled across an interesting reaction between Ranger’s Glue n’ Seal and Distress Ink. At first I thought I had ruined my project, but then I decided the affect was really cool and I started considering other possibilities.

Basically, wherever the Glue n’ Seal is, Distress Ink is not.

I started with this by applying Glue n’ Seal to a stamp and stamping it on this tag. A word of caution: This IS glue and a waterproof sealer. I washed my stamp with soap and water immediately, but I cannot guarantee there is no permanent damage to the stamp. However, if you had an inexpensive foam stamp or a stamp designated for this purpose, it might be a better idea than using an expensive, well-loved stamp.

Then, I randomly painted Glue n’ Seal around the edges. Imagine the possibilities with this technique with creating a moon behind a house for Halloween or highlighting a certain area in a picture. The Glue n’ Seal dries completely clear, so you can put it on top of art, dictionary pages, song book pages or other designs.

My tag looked like this when I was finished:

When it is dry, it will be even more difficult to see. If it is still tacky, let it dry some more. When it is completely dry, it will feel very similar to the paper it is on and will not be sticky at all. Then, you can apply Distress Ink. I used an ink applicator with a foam pad and Faded Jeans Distress Ink. I covered the entire tag, but wherever I put the Glue n’ Seal, the ink didn’t not show up.

Cool, eh?

Decorating with Stamps

Today, I have a very special project to share.

It began with a table many years ago …

The solid-maple table was my grandmother’s and I have always loved the lines and style of it.

During those years when my house was furnished with hand-me downs and yard-sale finds, this table was the only “nice” piece of furniture I owned.

Years ago, I decided to refinish the table. Once I realized how hard it was, I stopped after doing the top and painted the rest of the table navy.

When I moved into a Victorian home, I painted over the navy with cream and added gold and mauve accents, despite the large scratch it acquired during a cross-country move.

And, when I prepared to move into this house, I took a can of white spray paint to the table to cover up that awful gold and mauve. I even purchased new knobs to spruce it up a bit. I wanted to do something a little more to it, but I wasn’t sure what, so it sat in this state … complete with the shadow of the mauve flowers I painted on it still visible.

 

Last week, a friend and I wandered around Hobby Lobby where I fell in love with a decorative pillow that, unfortunately, did not fit into my budget.

When I got home, I took one look at that table and suddenly I knew what I could do with it!

Isn’t it lovely?!

I started with white cardstock and inked it with Distress Ink. Then, using a few other colors of Distress Ink that matched my rug, I stamped a background with script, a compass and some swirls — all by Tim Holtz. I then added the birds (a stamp from Wendy Vecchi) with brighter Distress Ink and the saying with a bit of Ranger Archival Ink.

Then, I lightly spritzed it with Perfect Pearls Mists in Heirloom Gold.

My husband wants to see the table returned to its original glory and has promised to refinish it this spring, so I just adhered the paper to the table. If I had planned this to be permanent, I probably would seal it, but I just left it as is.

I love the depth, the colors and the pattern I came up with. It’s reminiscent of the pillow I saw, but was made entirely with supplies on hand and took less than 20 minutes! My kind of project.