Saturday, July 22, 2017

Experimenting with metallics on black

I used black cardstock from Core'dinations, Floral Bliss stamp from Simon Says Stamp, FineTec Pearl Colors and Pentel Slicci pens.

I heat embossed the image on black with white powder. I've had the powder forever and it wasn't expensive. Everything doesn't need to be expensive but I don't think the quality is present in this powder but it works for experimenting.
 The FineTec colors aren't easy to detect in that tray and it isn't the photograph that misleads. I made swatches on scraps of black so that I could tell the blue from silver, etc. I used water and a brush to color this image.
It isn't bad, but it isn't striking. The glow of these colors isn't noticeable until you look at the paper on an angle.
Hard to tell this is the same colored image but it is. The above photo is on an angle and closer to sunlight. 

Next, I used the Pentel pens. Despite not being able to blend them the way watercolors will blend, I like this look on the black paper more than the above examples. 
The Pentel pens were sold in a pack of 8 colors. I don't know if more colors are available that would have created better blends and shading, but these were fun to work with.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Triangle Turnabout Success!

Recently I wrote about stamp woes when an image wasn't coming out well. Part of the problem was a flaw in the stamp and part of it was me. First off, Concord & 9th, the maker of the Triangle Turnabout stamp, could not have been better to deal with unless they hand delivered the stamp and brought dinner with them!  Mistakes will happen from time to time. How a person or company remedies the mistake is what is important and Concord & 9th is an example of doing things the right way. Within days of my email to them, I had a replacement stamp in my hand.

By itself and without having seen the finished image this produces, this is one odd looking stamp, right?

The first step to using this stamp is to make a template so that things will line up properly. There isn't anything difficult about this, but I will come back to this statement in a minute. The cardboard behind the stamp is 6 inches square with lines drawn from corner to corner.

This close-up of the center shows how you line up the triangles. 

After placing this in a stamp positioning tool such as the MISTI shown above, you close the cover to adhere the stamp and add your paper to the cardboard template. 

Your paper doesn't have to be 6" square. Your cardboard template will get stained by the inked image that is beyond the paper, but that won't harm the template for future use.

This piece is 5.75 x 4.75 inches. 

In the above sample, I used Stampin' Up ink pads in Daffodil Delight, Delightful Dijon, Hello Honey and Peekaboo Peach.  The result is much better than what I had previously but was a bit off. I cut a new template out of thinner cardboard. It turns out my first template wasn't exactly 6" square. Did I say creating the template wasn't difficult? It still isn't if you pay attention to what you are doing.  

My next sample is 5" x 4" and uses Stampin' Up Denim Dandy, Lost Lagoon, Pacific Point and Tempting Turquoise ink pads. 

First I tried the new template with the black cushion in the MISTI. That didn't work. I didn't think it would but decided to check. Much better below with the black mat back in place. 

This turned out much better! 

My last sample is 5" x 4.5". I used Tim Holtz Distress Inks in Salty Ocean, Seedless Preserves, Twisted Citron and Worn Lipstick. 

Here they are, side by side, waiting to become the background of a card or perhaps die cut into some sort of embellishment. 

The things we don't think about....

There was a massive fire last night at an automotive dealership. No lives were lost and it appears that the fire was accidentally started by a spark when a cleaning crew was buffing a floor. The new car showroom was not directly affected although there may be smoke damage and must have an unpleasant smell this morning. The entire repair facility burned though, requiring firefighters from 12 stations to extinguish the flames. No people were injured but between 20-30 customer owned vehicles were lost.

Why am I writing about this? The business that my husband had was near this dealership and we interacted with them routinely. This alone would make it feel like a family member has suffered. More than that, despite being a business owner for many years with a large desk in his office, my husband was always a mechanic at heart. I've been a mechanic's wife since I said "I do" all those years ago. 

I am sorry for the loss and inconvenience that the vehicle owners are experiencing but I believe insurance and good business practices (this dealership has a good reputation) will take care of them. As a mechanic's wife, my heart goes out to the mechanics who have lost the tools of their trade. Hopefully, insurance will take care of them too, but replacements won't appear overnight. 

The things we don't think about...

If you aren't a mechanic or related to one, do you have any idea how much they have invested to those huge tool chests?  Here is the Snap-On Tool site if you'd like to get an idea. Mechanics are paid hourly. No place to work means no income, and depending on how long it takes for insurance to investigate and issue checks to recover the cost of replacements, they have no tools to work anywhere at the moment.

The things we don't think about...

I've experienced snobbery by people who have never had grease under the fingernails. Some think that "grease monkeys" really are more monkey than human. Some of these people don't know which part of a paintbrush is held to apply paint to a wall so their limited opinion means nothing to me. Every single profession is necessary. Those who look down on trades annoy the hell out of me. If we are lucky and remain healthy, we may never need a surgeon. Many people never consult a lawyer in their lifetime. I'm not implying that doctors and lawyers are guilty of snobbery, but some people who make assumptions will think only the letters that they recognize after a surname (B.A., J.D., M.D.) are people of value. How shallow and wrong they are! Everyone is going to need a plumber sometime in their life and wants a mechanic that they can trust. Every person has value. Your education, your home address, and your religious beliefs can all be worthwhile to you, but they don't intrinsically make you better than another human being.

The things we don't think about...

Getting back to the loss of tools, I'm wondering how many of us have up to date inventories of the tools we use in our livelihoods. Or how about inventories of valuables that would be necessary if a fire occurred in our homes? We always think we can do the paperwork tomorrow, but sometimes tomorrow comes with a blaze that isn't just bright sunshine. 

If I could make three wishes for the world at large, they would be:

Respect one another.
Be kind.
Take care of your own business, both work and personal business.

If we all spent more time tending to our own thoughts and actions, we'd have less time to judge others. Can you imagine how different things could be

Monday, July 10, 2017

Birthday Card Spinner

A good friend will be receiving this birthday card today.  The print paper is from the Birthday Memories collection from Stampin' Up, as are the punches and sentiment used on the label on the front of the card. The inside greeting is from Technique Tuesday's Sassy Birthday stamp set. The oval dies are from Die-Namics (My Favorite Things die line).

This photo taken before the Happy Birthday label was added

I like the retro feel of this little girl. The above image was cut from designer paper, the reverse side of the red print. The back of the girl shown below is from the stamp set Birthday Delivery and cut with the coordinating die from the Birthday Friends set. The stamped image is not a true back side of the girl on the print paper. The stamp has her arms behind her back. Since I didn't want her to have four arms, I used markers to color the stamp rather than an ink pad, avoiding the arms. I colored this image with Prismacolor pencils because they were a better match to the print image, even though not as dark in color. I could have colored this darker but liked how this turned out and was afraid of messing up a good thing if I went over it again.

The inside of the front needed paper over it to conceal the string used to make the girl spin. I didn't get the cover piece on straight and hookey-booed (a term from my mechanic hubby) a fix by adding Washi tape as a frame.

The sentiments in the Sassy Birthday set amuse me. 

The front of the card still needed something and I hadn't said Happy Birthday yet, so I added the message below using the Classic Label and Word Window punches. The sentiment is from Teeny Tiny Wishes.

To set this card up to spin when my friend takes it out of the envelope, the suspended oval just needs to be wound up and held until the card goes into the mailer.

Home alone when taking photos, I couldn't hold the card in place and operate the camera well, but here is a clip of the girl spinning:

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Stamp woes

I really wanted to love the Triangle Turnabout stamp by Concord & 9th but so far, that isn't the case. The 6" stamp looks life the first view in the graphic below. Once you've stamped your paper with the first color, you rotate it and stamp again.

Update at the end of this post!

My first attempt was truly my mistake. I thought I could skip making a jig to line up the stamp on my Misti. I cannot imagine attempting to use this stamp without a Misti but even with that tool, you need to line up the stamp just so, hence the recommendation of the jig. 

Oh boy....those aren't lined up at all! 

I made the jig, lined up the stamp for placement and attempted this again with another 6x6 inch piece of paper.

The stamp is stained from the red dye used in the first attempt.

I began with blue and then used yellow. It wasn't looking too bad until you look at the upper left corner in the bottom photo below. I didn't think I had stretched the polymer stamp but that corner of the stamp wasn't completely squared up. It doesn't show in the first stamping, but successive stampings make this more evident. 

I stopped after the third color. It wasn't going to get better and something else was bothering me. See the blotch here and the line in a triangle below? That isn't user error, those are flaws in the stamp. The line is the more obvious of the two as seen in the images that follow.

On my third attempt, I taped a smaller piece of paper to the cardboard jig and turned that rather than just the cardstock. The result is better but certainly not perfect as shown in the demo videos.

My attempts certainly don't look like the examples from Concord & 9th:

I haven't given up as I do see improvement, but the flaws in the stamp really bother me and I will be contacting the company.

Lessons learned by this:
  • Don't expect perfection on the first attempt
  • Look for videos whenever a technique is new
  • Don't use Pampers Baby Wipes to clean the stamps.  I didn't mention that above but I did try to use them because they were nearby. I've used baby wipes before, just not Pampers. They made a mess. They tend to shred and leave lint. That had nothing to do with the blotch shown the stamp flaws photos. I used Lawn Fawn's Stamp Shammy after seeing the mess Pampers left. 
Update on July 12th!

I contacted Concord & 9th on July 9, explained my experience and included photos. I heard from them this morning (July 12th). They agreed it was a manufacturing problem, not user related. They asked for my address (I did not buy directly from them) and have received notification that the replacement was shipped this morning.

Mistakes will happen. How a person or company rectifies them is what is important. I am happy that I will be able to play with a new stamp in a few days and hope to improve my technique enough to share something beautiful soon. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Die-ing to have fun

Yes, that pun is pretty bad but for those who know me well, a bad pun is to be expected. 

My city's firework display was scheduled to happen last night but bad weather intervened. With a 24-hour delay, what was I to do?  Knit and make cards!  The current knitting project is still a work in progress and doesn't look like much in a photo yet but the cards are done.

I began with these two dies with the intention of making two anniversary cards.

After cutting out the heart from Stampin' Up's Blushing Bride cardstock, I saved the pieces and used the cut out as a template on a plain white card.

I lightly traced the openings and used Tombow liquid glue to adhere the pink pieces on the white card. That is glue that you see in the photo below.

I used Stampin' Up designer paper from the Falling In Love collection under the pink heart. The pink cardstock is elevated by thick dimensionals and I added three crystals for a little pizzazz. 

The white card still needed something but I didn't think crystals were the answer here.

Wink of Stella to the rescue! I added clear Wink of Stella to each of the pink petals and dots and also three circles of it to the other card. Wink of Stella is subtle and hard to capture in a photo but it does look very nice when seen in person.

The inside greeting is the same in both cards. I used double sided tape on the designer paper for the first card and on pink for the second. I ran in through my Big Shot a few times before working with the greeting.

Remember to turn the paper over and use the die on the correct side of the paper unless you like reading your greeting backward. 

The greeting on the left is done with the designer paper, the right is plain pink.

I enjoyed making these cards. Working with the leftover pieces to create a negative image is fun and easy to achieve with liquid glue.