Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bird Stamps, Bicycle Chains and Watercolor Paintings

What do postage stamps with birds, bicycle chains and watercolor paintings have in common?  Nothing.  Unless you have some Amazing Mold Putty and Clear Cast resin!

Check out my Amazing Mold Putty Design Team Post to learn how I embedded stamps, saved a damaged watercolor painting and created a shadowbox ensemble!

Saturday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #tutorials #giveaways

Artful Readers Club (starts with short book review, then goes into very nice art journal tutorial)

StencilGirl Blog Hop stop 1 (giving away a Houses stencil)
Design Memory Craft blog-chande to win 2 packs of Gelatos ($9.95), a Blue Art GRIP Aquarelle ($11.95), a Mini Journal Board
($4.95), a Gelatos Tool Kit ($11.95), a pack of Essential PITT Artist Pens ($11.95)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #tutorials #giveaways

No Mess Stenciling 101-comment on post for a chance to win blog candy
Graphic 45-chance to win a Mother Goose and Typography 8x8 paper pad, Stickers, Chipboard Die-Cuts, Mother Goose Banners, Typography Tags & Pockets, Large Tag Album Staples and Metal Brad Staples

incite 2: color passions Competition-Create Mixed Media is looking for entriesin a variety of categories from fiber arts to encaustic, painting to art journaling, 

Bees Singing in Lavender-Viva Las VegaStamps! Design Team Post

This summer I visited a lavender farm and was inspired to create this oil pastel painting. Check out my design team post for more details...

For more of my work with Viva Las VegaStamps!, Amazing Mold Putty, zentangle-inspired art, and daily links to tangles, tutorials, and giveaways please visit my "Life Imitates Doodles" blog.   ~ Sandra Strait

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review of the Daycraft Signature Inspiro Notebook

Daycraft Signature Inspiro Notebook

I received one of the Signature Inspiro Notebooks from Daycraft  for review.  It's one of the Signature series, noted for the two-tone look, a cover in one color and pages edged with a contrasting color. The Inspiro comes in three different versions, each with a different saying on the front.

This is my favorite saying, and something I need to do!

Size: A5 (5.83 x 8.27 inches)
No. of pages: 176 pages (88 sheets)
Cover: Fine Italian PU, caramel color
Extras: Duo-tone Caramel cover/Purple-Edged Pages, Purple ribbon page-marker 
6.5 mm (0.26 inches) lined cream color paper
Other Sayings: Great Ideas Have to Start Somewhere (cover color-Applesauce);  Today is My Day (cover color-Ash Grey)

Look & Feel

All of the Signature notebook/sketchbooks are snazzy lookers, and the Inspiro is no exception, with its caramel cover and purple-edged pages.  The front and end pages are a matching purple. The marker ribbon is a lighter purple.  Overall, it's a notebook that will catch people's attention without being flashy.

At the moment, it only appears to come in the Lined format.  I find it hard to identify the line color--it seems to change a bit according to the light, sometimes seeming a navy, sometimes a dark gray-green or a purple-gray.  Even though the color is dark, it's low-key, so I don't find it obtrusive, even when I'm drawing on the page. It's a good color contrast for the cream-colored paper.

The paper is smooth and of medium thickness, which makes it a little heavy for its size.  I wouldn't hesitate to carry it around though.  The cream color is restful on the eyes, toning down the color of the inks somewhat.  Not too much though, as you'll see below in my drawings.

The lines are a narrow-rule (.26 inches), and might be a bit narrow for those with large writing.  Perfect for those who write small.  There is a white-space border around the page, with slightly more space at the top for titles.

The cover is soft Italian PU, which has a similar look and feel to leather.  It's quite flexible--you can fold back almost flat--but it's sturdy enough to give support while you are writing or drawing.

The notebook lies flat, but it has enough pages that there is a slope toward's the middle. It never gets in the way of your writing though.

The binding is sewn, very even, sturdy and unobtrusive.

There is no feathering, even with 'wet' inks such as the J. Herbin Vert Empire.   Show-through is light, better than most notebooks I've used in this quality range, and bleed-through is about average.

Of all the inks I used for writing, the Bleu Nuit is the only pen with bleed-through.  The Vert Empire is actually a wetter ink, so in this case, I believe the Flex pen contributes to the bleed-through.  

For my first drawing I used Tim Holtz Water-soluble Distress Markers.  I used them dry without adding any water.  These markers are fairly wet, even without the addition of extra water, and they tend to 'pill' a bit (as do most water-soluble fabric-tipped pens). With the Inspiro, it was only the fabric of the pen.  The paper itself didn't pill.

There was a slight curl at the corners, but no dimpling or buckling.

I used Pigma Micron pens for the line-work and the lines were clean and crisp.  White Pentel pen was used to add highlights and lighten color in a few areas.

Again, there was surprisingly little show-through, and about the amount of bleed-through I would expect. Where I layered fresh color over color that hadn't dried, the paper was saturated enough that it bled to the back of the page.  If you took care and waited for each layer of color to dry, there would be little to no bleed-through.

Even with the bleed-through, I wouldn't hesitate to draw on the back of the page. I'd just incorporate the color.  However, some would not want to use the back of the page.

For my second drawing, I decided to use a wetter medium, and used my J. Herbin inks in a roller ball pen and fountain pens.  The color of paper (and probably the sizing) turn the colors a bit more somber than I've found them to be on other papers.  It wasn't enough to keep me getting sharp definition and a good color range though.  

Almost no show-through occurred, but the bleed-through--well, there is a lot of it.  Because of the sombering effect, I layered color a lot, and I deliberately did not wait for layers to dry.  In some cases, the paper pilled a little but never tore.  After drying, the paper has a rough texture to the touch, but it doesn't show.

I like to take my tests to the edge and see just what the paper will do.  I could have prevented the pilling and some of the bleed-through simply by waiting a bit between layers.  That isn't my style, though, and now I know the worst-case scenario.

You can see how much bleed-through there is, but even with the saturation, the paper did very little dimpling, and very little curling.  You can feel more than you can see.

I started to do a color pencil work, but my arthritis is bothering me, and the pressure needed to build up color made it painful, so I stopped.  What I found was typical for color pencil on smooth paper.  If you apply pressure you can get reasonably bright colors.  After two or three layers it becomes difficult to add more color.

The Inspiro is a typical Signature series notebook, with snazzy looks and quality paper.  Fountain pen users may only want to use one side of the page, depending on the ink and pen in question.  Colors are a bit toned down from what they might be on other papers.

I find the show-through to be less than similar books in this price range and quality.  Bleed-through is about average, especially when you saturate the paper with 'wet' ink.

I wouldn't recommend the book for using colored pencil or watercolor, but small amounts of either would be okay.

This notebook has good quality paper that stands up well to the abuse I've given it.

Of Note
By default on the site, prices are listed in Hong Kong Dollars.  At the top of the screen, you can change to the prices to U.S. dollars by hitting the HKS arrow in the upper right and selecting USD$.

For other countries, you may need to google for a converter that will show the amount in your currency.

I want to thank Daycraft for sending me this notebook to review!

Sunday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #tutorials #giveaways

No Zendala Dare this week

Three giveaways: Fire-Paper, Pencil, Ink and more

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Raining...Cat and Dog

I have a lot of catch-paint pages in my journals.  You know, those pages where you add the leftover blobs of paint, ink, scraps or whatever you have left over from another project.

Frankly, those pages can get pret-ty ugly.  You just keep layering on stuff hoping that if you collage over and repaint, you'll figure out a good way to save the page.

I had one like that in my Dyan Reaveley Creative journal and I thought it was time to try out a save.  I'm pretty good at picking out figures from among the blobs, and I found a dog and a cat.

To get this, I took a Montana Marker (big clear tubes filled with acrylic paint and with huge chisel shaped tips) with light blue ink, and colored, leaving only the negative shapes of the cat and dog.  The paint in the marker is transparent enough that it allowed the colors and textures below to show through.

I liked what was happening-it made me think of seeing figures through a haze of heavy rain.  I felt drawing or adding more color would disturb that.  Suddenly, I remembered some leftover shapes from an Amazing Clear Cast resin pour I did with a touch of fluorescent orange. Perfect.  The resin added a touch of color, and a 'wet' glisteny look to the page.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good scan or photo that shows how the resin actually looks on the page. Either it almost disappeared or the light caught it and made it seem horribly shiny.

It came out somewhere between this and what you see on the photo above.

The real moral of this story though, is to go with your gut instinct.

You see my husband felt the animals needed their eyes defined and some white to bring them out more.  Against my better judgement, I did it. Ack. The animals are definitely more distinct but I think it ruined the whole rainy ambiance.  He likes them better though, and making him happy isn't a bad thing.

What do you think?

Tuesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #tutorials #giveaways

crossed ell tangle

Tangle Patterns: How to draw PIPPIN

Art Journaling 101

Stamping into texture paste

Colour mixing practice time

Colouring A Badger Tutorial

"Snapshots" Mini Book and Video by Cheri Piles using Family Stories

Faux Burnt Wood combined with Real Burnt Details

Fabulous Backgrounds & Butterflies Tutorial


May Arts Ribbon Grand Re-Opening giveaway-over $1000 of product being given away!

Penny Black/Faber-Castell giveaway


Simon Says Stamp Card Kit GIVEAWAY

Chance to win a free Monteverde Artista Fountain Pen (Facebook)


Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #tutorials #giveaways

Weekly Challenge #132

Tangle pattern Ameeba

Inkpad, Re-inkers and Compressed Air

Touchdrawing Tutorial videos  part 1,   part 2

Molding Frozen Charlotte Fairies

Using Spray Mists with Stamps-video

Original art giveaway

ePure Trolley Bag

Let your Imagination Fall into a Fairy Fantasy for Anything But a Card Challenges No. 26

New Free Craft Ezine-Inspiration Monthly

Press Release Kit for The Beauty of Zentangle #Zentangle #BeautyOfZentangle

The contributors the are included in the upcoming 'The Beauty of Zentangle' (including me! Huzzah!) were sent a digital press release kit! How cool is that?

Curious about the book? Yeah.  Me too! Here's a chance to leaf through a few pages.

We were informed that there will be a special liimited edition of the book as well.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review of the ePure Trolley Bag

I am the luckiest person in the world when it comes to art and craft giveaways.  Recently, I won an ePure Trolley Bag from a giveaway (now closed) on Rhodia Drive, and waited eagerly for its arrival.  I had high expectations and I..was...not...disappointed!

It looks gray in the photo, but it is actually a black felt with black leather accents.

It has a handle that extends for pulling the bag on its wheels.  When not using it, the handle can be shortened to fit in a little zippered pocket.

The bag opens wide like a hippos mouth, jaws gaping to grab all your journals and paraphenalia! No teeth--just two sections in a beautiful orange nylon fabric.  This section is wide and roomy, with a zippered pocket on one side, and on the other side a pocket that is secured by a flap.  There are also two smaller mesh pockets.

The second inside section has two more zippered pockets.  One zips lengthwise and opens where the handle is stored.  You could carry more there if you aren't going to use the handle.  

There are two buckles for securing laptops or other items that might need to be stabalized.

The outside section has two zippered pockets, one mesh, and both about half the size of the entire section.
There is one expandable pocket, two pen holders and three slots for cards (which I've filled with pens, lol), plus enough width for expansion or carrying something in the open area.

The stitching is even and snug, the zippers slide as though greased, and the handle extends and closes with ease, once the button is pushed, while remaining locked sturdily in place until then.  I put my considerable weight on the handle and it didn't budge.  I also tried extending and closing it several times rapidly and it worked perfectly until I quit working!

The orange stitching on black is distinctive, and will make this an easy bag to spot on a roundabout in the airport.  The zippers are all marked with the Rhodia emblem as is a small embellishment on the bottom corner of the back.

At 17 x 13 x 7 inches (43 x 33 x 18 cm) the ePure Trolley bag is small enough to be a carry-on bag (for some airlines anyway) and large enough to carry your most important belongings. It's expandable enough, though, that I think you could stuff it so that it is too wide for carry-on.

For it's size and sturdiness, it is relatively light, which is good.  I know I'll be filling it up with so much, that I'll really be glad for those wheels and handle!

The ePure Trolley bag is not currently available in the U.S., which is sad.  I'm so happy that I was fortunate enough to win one.  Thank you, Exaclair!

Disclosure:  I won this bag in a giveaway and no one from Exaclair or any associated company asked me to write this review.  I wrote it because I'm impressed with the bag, and I wanted to share it with you.

Sunday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #tutorials #giveaways

TanglePatterns String 066

Zendala Dare #70

Tangle Pattern Cuba Leafra

Sponge-worthy Techniques

Grid Drawing from Doodle Draw Journal

JetPens "Rainbow" pen pack(Facebook)

Zeta Sketchbook Giveaway


Friday, August 16, 2013

Lucky Buffalo Nickel--Inspiration for Amazing Mold Putty

I decided to make some good luck to take with me where-ever I go!

Check out my Amazing Mold Putty Design Team Post to see how created this Lucky Buffalo Nickel keychain.

And have you seen the new products from Amazing Crafting Products?  New Fluorescent dyes and Amazing Mold Rubber!

Friday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #tutorials #giveaways

Beginner Tangle Patterns

Encaustic Dots on a Black Canvas

How to make a pendulum painting from the new book Paint Lab by Deborah Forman

Using a map for your sketchbook journey

DIY Twine Bowl

Anatomically Speaking from Collage Crafts Gone Wild

Thick and Thin Gelli Printing and Giveaway 

Viva Las VegaStamps/Scor-Pal® Blog Hop

PIN IT to WIN IT contest-Amazing Mold Putty

Club SEI Preview + Giveaway

RANDOM WEDNESDAY at Retro Café Art Gallery(facebook)

FUN GIVEAWAY! Derwent Battery Operated Sharpener

Graphic 45 Pin it to Win it (Pinterest)

Inkcyclopedia: Private Reserve Shoreline Gold (You Can Win This!)

Free ebook-Art Studio Organization: Ideas and Projects for Storage, Design, and Decorating Your Art Studios

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #tutorials #giveaways

Tangle Patterns Waxy and Jesty

Creating Fur and Feather Textures with Copic Markers

Coloring Embossed texture with Crafter Crayons and Gelatos

“Hills and Valleys” Mixed Media Video Tutorial from Contadina K

Wedding Favor Box 

Copic marker Video: Coloring a Realistic Baby Giraffe

Viva Las VegaStamps/Scor-Pal® Blog Hop-Day 3

Amazing Mold Putty Announcement Party and giveaway

Review & Giveaway: Nuuna Notebooks

Zebra Pen Z-week Quiz

Penny Black, Inc is giving away one stockingful of stamps valued at $100 (retail)

Win a year's worth of Pentel ‪#‎backtoschool‬ supplies

Halloween Candy Box--Viva Las VegaStamps/Scor-Pal® Blog Hop

I know! It's still summer so what's with Halloween stuff already?  Well, Viva Las VegaStamps has this fantastic new plate full of cool Halloween images, and I've been dying to use them. When I learned I'd be doing a blog hop/Inspiration week with VLVS! and Scor-Pal®, I decided a create a Halloween Candy Box.  I couldn't help myself!

VLVS! Stamps used: 
Sakura of America Gelly Roll®: Stardust® Glitter Pens-Green, Purple,Sky Blue, Gold, Red; Metallic - Gold; Standard-White
Faber-Castell Gelatos-Mango, Tangerine, Buttercream
Silk Tissue Paper
Golden Soft Gel Medium
StazOn Inkpad-Jet Black, Saddle Brown, Sunflower
Wax Paper
Burlap fabric
300lb watercolor paper
Kraft Iron

I colored two 7x7 pieces of heacy watercolor paper with my gelatos, using lots of water.  Placing the punchinella (you could use any stencil) at random, I rubbed at the paint with a baby wipe to remove some paint, leaving mottled patterns of lighter color.

Some ages ago, I made a wax sandwich using a couple pieces of Kromecote:
  1. Color two sheets of Kromecote with a light color of StazOn ink.  I used Sunflower.
  2. Crumple up a piece of wax paper and then smooth it out.  
  3. Place it between the sheets of Kromecote with the glossy sides of both touching the wax paper..  
  4. Lay a piece of parchment paper over this 'sandwich' and iron it on low heat for  a few minutes.  
  5. Remove the wax paper, and rub a darker color of StazOn over the Kromecote.  I used Saddle Brown.  The wax will work as a resist where it melted onto the sheets, creating a lovely mottled effect.

I took one of the sheets from the sandwich and stamped the Kids with the Halloween pumpkin, using jet black. I colored the image using the Gellyroll pens to get a lovely sparkly color.  Then I cut the image out.

Using my Scor-Pal®, I scored one piece of watercolor paper at 2 inches and 5 1/8 inches.
Where the lines met at each corner, I cut around the lid in a spiral (spotted lines in picture below).
I folded the paper at the score lines. Where I had cut, I folded the paper in to create a flap that fit beneath the folded side next to it.  Before taping the flaps down, I used the lid as a template to cut a piece of burlap to the same size with the same flaps.  

I taped these flaps underneath each side with miracle tape, creating a a 3x3 1/8 lid with the watercolor paper, and then with the burlap..

Soft gel medium was used to glue the burlap to the watercolor paper, and then the stamped image to the burlap.

For the box itself,  I scored the other piece of watercolor paper at 2 inches and 5 inches, making it just a bit smaller than the lid. I followed the same procedure for cutting and folding as I did for the lid, to make a 3x3 box. 

The images were stamped onto silk tissue paper, colored with the Gellyrolls and glued down with gel medium.  I used the stardust pens to add a few swirls and lines and I was done!

Except for filling the box with candy, of course!

Check out the VLVS! blog and the Scor-Pal® blog to see the other inspirational posts.  Be sure to comment for a chance to win a LB of rubber from VLVS! or a Scor-Pal board!

The schedule for the week is:
Mon 12  DeeDee
Tue 13  Susan Brown and Amy Lassiter
Wed 14  Sandra (you are here!) and Lea Cioci
Thur 15  Glenda Tkalac and Karen Knight
Fri 16  Hermine Koster and Natasha Serova

Don't forget that Viva Las VegaStamps! has a storewide sale going on until Aug. 15! 20% off when you add the code "aug20" into your cart.

Ginger Horse #ZentangleInspiredArt #FountainPen #PenAndInk

You know how sometimes a work just fights you while you're trying to draw it?  I had an idea tickling my brain, a desire to combine styl...