Sunday, July 29, 2012

Playing with Water

In this warm July, we were playing with watercolours!  I've been wanting to try this technique since I saw it demonstrated two years ago at the Scrapfest Show.  The demonstration was slightly different that what we did, but it drove home the versatility of Crayola Washable markers.  Since the markers are washable, they react with water.  Maybe not as fine a reaction as artistic water-based markers (like, Stampin' Up!, Tombow, Pro-Marker Aqua Painters or Tim Holtz Distress Markers), but they still work like watercolours.  They are incredibly affordable so that you can "test the waters" with watercolouring to determine if you like it before investing is some higher grade markers.  The best part is that your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews can play with them too!

Here's an example of one way to water colour.  I stamped the image (from the sale bins at Michaels Craft Store) on watercolour paper and heat embossed with black powder.

The marker set I got has sixteen markers with generally two of each colour.  I did not have a light beige, only a light brown and a dark brown.  So, I used only the light brown here.  (Sentiment stamp is from Little Paper Shop).  I coloured only the areas I wanted to have the darkest shadows.  Then, I painted it with a wet, used paint brush that is past its time.

I was so pleased with the ease of this that I went out and invested in a Ranger Tim Holtz water brush.  (That brush is really nice but I say "invested" because it was ridiculously expensive at Michaels.  I would have waited to use a coupon, but I needed it right away for my class.)

Here's a comparison with my Copic markers.  For the Copics, I used a lighter beige which is closer to a "gauze" colour.  I coloured the paper with the colourless blender first, and then added the beige and then went back again with the colourless blender.  I was surprised that the Copics dragged some of the black out of the power or the ink below it.  It made smudge marks.

Here is the comparison.  I put the marker colours with their respective images.

Apart from the colour not being quite "gauzy", the technique of the watercolouring came out gorgeously.  One of these cards is going in the Halloween Drive for Kards for Kids.  Here they are on finished cards:

Here's how we applied watercolouring to our card workshop.  The leaf card uses two colours per leaf on a direct-to-stamp technique.  The butterfly card uses the painting technique with the waterbrush.

I have loved that butterfly stamp since the day I spied it in the store.  I bought it immediately on impulse and then it sat in my collection for about a year and a half.  Finally, I have used it and found a way to do it justice.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Friends - High Hopes Kards for Kids HSC

Hooray!  The Kards for Kids program to create cards for the children at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children hit a NEW RECORD for its latest drive: July All Occasion Cards!  Personally, I created only a small handful of cards but also a few notebooks for the parents to keep track of important information and a handful of card kits to put in the treasure chest for the children to have a reward after their treatments.  The rest of the Smiley Team created an avalanche of cards!

The new record is..... 713 CARDS!  I'm not even the 13 of that 713, lol!  Way to go Smiley Team!

I did, however, win a couple of stamps.  I won a very fun mermaid stamp for participating in one of the colour challenges and a boy stamp for participating in the card kit challenge.  I can't wait to play with these new images when they arrive!

To celebrate, I made another card for the kids.  I combined two challenges for this one: the High Hopes Stamps Summer Fun Challenge and the Pals Paper Arts sketch challenge #139.

Here is the sketch:

I turned it on it's side and reversed the corners in which the embellishments are added.

For the Kards for Kids, we cannot add dimensional things like buttons to our cards, so I added a paper die cut button made out of cardstock.  The stamp image is from High Hopes Stamps and it is called Froggy Gift.  I coloured it with Copic Markers and gave the boy darker skin.

I used some very bright, summer citris colours and embossed them.  One is embossed with a pebbles/cobblestone design and one is with circles.

This card is going in the pile for Kards for Kids.  The current challenge they have running is Christmas in July.  July is almost over!  I'm really not big on Christmas in July.  It's very hard to think about Christmas when it is so hot outside!  I'll probably just jump to the next challenge, which is Halloween (but not too spooky Halloween).  I love Halloween!  I should be able to whip up something to bring smiles to the kids at HSC!  Anyone can participate.  Visit the Kards for Kids Blog to see how.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Request Catalyst

I have said before that getting special requests for cards scares me.  I have a whole closet full of papers but I keep thinking I won't find just the right colour to go with just the right sticker or embellishment or I won't have a stamp in quite the right size.  A myriad of things rushes through my head whenever a custom request comes in.  I never want to say no but I'm always afraid I'll lack the materials, skill or time to say yes.

Well, I said yes (again!) and I'm happy with the results (again!).  A request came in for masculine birthday cards and sympathy cards.  I do make masculine birthday cards, but they are so hard to come up with that I use all the ideas I get for myself and lack the materials to make duplicates for the shop.  This time, it's the other way around.  I made a sample for my customer and I'm going to use it for myself later.  So... you will get to see that one later.

For the sympathy card, I've had an idea brewing for a while.  I saw a way to do this online but I don't have the same markers.  So, I figured I would try it two different ways with what I do have.  Once I had that figured out (months ago) the lack of "the right" silhouette images was holding me back.  I've considered using my die cuts in all black, but I just haven't had time to create a single layer one out of my existing designs.

When this request came in, I dug deep into my stamp bin and found this nice flower.  It's from a Stampin' Up! set.  So, here are my results!

For this first card, I coloured my Copic markers directly on to the card front while masking off the "tunnel".  Unfortunately, that bled all under the tape and through the card and looked awful from the inside.  So, I coloured on a separate strip and attached it to the front.  The sentiment is just hand-written and kept simple.

On the second one, I used my dye-based Memento ink pads and inked up a piece of acetate.  I then spritzed the acetate with water in a mini-mister and then smooshed it on to a small piece of cardstock.  (Sure, "smooshing" is an artistic term!) Then I trimmed around the transferred gradient and added that to my card and stamped the flower on it.  It's kind of spotty, but much softer looking than the copics.  I might try adding more water next time for more ink flow during the smooshing part.

On both, the sentiment is popped up on foam tape.  I hope the customer likes at least one of them!

An update on my mini album in progress... All the pages and done and the covers are on.  I just have to decorate the front cover and then I can show it!  I dont' know how I'm going to decorate it yet, so it might be a little while longer.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lovely Quilled Hearts

I struggled for a bit with this Etsy Paper Twirlies team photo inspiration challenge.  We are showcasing photos from other Etsy Sellers and deriving inspiration for a new item from them.  In this challenge, we are casing crochetgal's slipper tutorial.  Here is her image:

At first, I was thinking about lounging and footwear and I was thinking maybe spa flip flops.  But then, I really like the brown booties best, so I thought about moccassins tromping on snow (the white background).  I let it sit in my head for a while and this song kept popping up in my mind:

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts.
There they are all standing in a row.
Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head!

So, I decided I had to do a row of similar items in different shapes and sizes.  Here's what I came up with:

This is my lovely bunch of quilled hearts.  I embossed the white background and I paper pierced the oval.  I hand wrote the little message.  I'm giving this card to a co-worker.  I had to work this long weekend to keep up with deadlines and one support staff volunteered to come in and assist me.  I was very grateful.

Purple is her favourite colour.  I like how this card turned out.  It was difficult for me to make such teeny hearts.  I'll have to make more for my shops - when I find the time.