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CHA Winter 2013: Innovations Showcase Products (Part 1)

Each show, CHA holds its Innovations Showcase, which serves as a combination media event and buyer preview. The top 20 entrants in the Innovations Showcase (as pre-determined by  a panel of celebrity media judges) take part in a speed round of presentations to the audience, and then attendees get a few minutes to visit each entrant’s booth around the outer edge of the room to talk to the various manufacturers about their products. (At CHA Winter 2013, Craft Critique’s own editor Nancy Nally was one of the celebrity media judges!)

CHA Winter 2013

Needless to say, we arrived with our cameras and notebooks in hand to get the most information possible in the short amount of time allowed for our readers. Our first stop was to see Julianna C. Hudgins demonstrating her new jewel loom from Beadalon.

Beadalon Jewel Loom by Juliana Hudgins

Beadalon Jewel Loom by Juliana Hudgins

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CHA Summer 2011 | Innovation Showcase Favorites

Today was the start of the Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show Conference and we got a peek at some new products at the Innovation Showcase. Celebrity judges Terri O (PBS-TV’s Super Simple With Terri O), Ana Araujo (WhenCreativityKnocks.com), Maria Nerius (FaveCrafts.com) and Torrie Nelson (Creative Retailer Magazine) judged the CHA’s 20 Hot Products; a great start for this year’s show. Each show, the Innovation Showcase features some of the most unique products about to hit the craft aisles.

Here are just a few of the products that caught our eye and we can’t wait to put to the Craft Critique test…

Little Pink Ladybug has come out with the Brilliant Bowmaker Ultimate Kit. With 19 templates, 3 instruction booklets, and a stapler, this kit has everything you will need to make almost any kind of bow. This system is designed to achieve bow making simply and quickly, allowing crafters to mix and match templates creating a distinct bow style.

With the popularity of die cutting systems, it is no surprise that we selected this next product as one of our favorites. Paper Layerz from Worldwin Papers is crafting paper that makes coordinating die-cut shapes and layers from any die-cutting machine faster, cheaper and easier. This paper is lightweight enough for your machines but strong enough to layer and use dimensionally.

The C Thru Ruler Company’s Let’s Face It stencils are not just for illustrators or artists, these are going to make drawing faces for art journals, mixed media project, and more a breeze.

When you say the name Tim Holtz, people’s ears perk up. Well, here’s his new Picket Fence Distress Stain by Ranger Ink. This stain will turn fluid water-based dyes for papers and other porous surfaces, into unique opaque colors.

Here is a little video demonstration of just what this product can do…

Organizing your craft stash has always been a challenge; here’s a new product with a great solution for all those ribbons you’ve been collecting. The Ribbon Carousel by Cropper Hopper will organize and dispense up to 54 spools of ribbon. And the coolest part is that each layer spins independently to assist you with finding the perfect one for your project.

We know how the kids love their Silly Bandz, but we think these Twistz Bandz are definitely gonna give them a run for their money. This cool kit creates rubber band links in a variety of styles and designs. This will be a hit with kids and adults alike.

Faber-Castell has some new Mixed Media sets, as well as colored pencils and artist pens that are going to catch the eye of all kinds of crafters. Whether you are an illustrator, mixed media artist, scrapbooker, or cardmaker, these new tools with their wide array of colors are going to get those creative juices flowing.

Epiphany Crafts has added charms to its already wildly popular Shape Studio. With handmade jewelry being all the rage, this easy-to-use product makes it simple for anyone to make rings, charm bracelets, and necklaces.
And finally the product we were most excited to hear about is the perfect marriage of tech and craft. STKR.it Stickers allow crafters to use QR codes on their projects so that they can attach digital memories to all their projects. Whether you have a great video of the event, audio, or just more photos that won’t fit on that scrapbook layout, this little sticker will allow you to include them all. With your smartphone, media tablet, or computer, people can access this additional data allowing you to include every part of that special memory.

And here’s STKR.it to explain how it all works…

So, that’s a few new products to get us started with our CHA coverage. Remember to check back daily for all of our articles; we will be bringing you the best of the show! And we can’t wait to test out these products firsthand and let you know what we think.

So what do you think? Which of these products are you most excited about? Which would you like to see us test drive for you?

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Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY – Creativity for Kids Kits

Reported by Christina Hammond

Summer is officially upon us, and that means bored kids.  Lots of bored kids.  Even though my own Chaos Twins are still little, preschool is over and I have already heard “Moooommmmmy!  I’m soooooooooooooo bored!:  The first time I heard this, I panicked and knew then and there why my parents hated summer vacation.
 

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Images from Creativityforkids.com

Enter the solution:  Faber-Castell’s Creativity for Kids kits.  Everything you need to keep the kids entertained, all in one box!  

We were given two kits to try out and we had a blast with them.  The Sparkling 3D Paint Activity Kit (MSRP $21.99) and The Complete Tie Dye Kit (MSRP $24.99) kept us busy for hours.  Granted, these kits are for kids a bit older than mine, but they loved helping Mommy “get crafty.”

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These kits are two of the larger ones you can get, and have plenty to keep the kids entertained.  The Sparkly Paint kit can be used to make window clings, sun catchers, little 3D sculptures and jewelry.  We made window clings, sun catchers and a fun little pennant banner for the bedroom mirror. 
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To begin, you need to snip the ends of each bottle of paint and open them to remove a little paper plug.  Some of the plugs in our bottles had folded onto themselves and were floating down in the paint.  A toothpick remedied the situation.  After you’ve chosen your design and put it in the clear sleeve, you need to paint the outline in, with either the black or silver outliner.  After you do this you have to wait until it’s dry.  The kids kind of lost interest after this because waiting is hard for toddlers, but older kids will understand.IMG_0276IMG_0274
Here we ran into a couple of problems with the paint.  About half of the bottles of paint had an issue of some kind.  A couple of the bottles had splits in them and the darker colors (for some reason I couldn’t remedy) would not squeeze out of the bottles through the tip, but rather through the screw lid.  While I was able to deal with this, kids might get a bit frustrated.IMG_0282
Allow your design to dry and watch as the colors become clear and sparkly!  Peel off of the sheet protector carefully.  If you didn’t make sure your color was touching the outline while painting, your design will fall apart.  IMG_0283
Stick them to the window, and enjoy the sparkles!IMG_0284
We did a little freehand work next.  I drew out the sun catchers on the provided acetate pieces.  We like these the best because the colors seem much more vibrant for some reason.  IMG_0475
After a particularly grumpy day from my daughter, I made up a little banner to stick to her mirror that says “SMILE” on it.  A gentle reminder to start the day on a good foot. IMG_0474
We really like this kit and have plans to really use it up.  Even given the issues with the bottles, it was so fun!

Another fun “rainy day” project was The Complete Tie Dye kit.  This kit contains everything you need to make a tie dyed XL TShirt that you can cut up and turn into so many different things.  The awesome part of this kit is that everything is premeasured, no soda-ash soaking (dangerous for kids) and everything you need to keep the work clean (smock, table cloth,  gloves).  YAY!

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The gloves are good and stretchy.  The table cloth could have been a bit bigger, but I was glad for it.  The little smock/apron was nice to have on hand as well.

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Here you can see the shirt already soaked and little dishes where I used the primary colors provided to mix up some custom colors (orange, green and purple).  I was trying to get as many colors in this as possible, knowing we’d be cutting up the shirt to make other things.


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After soaking in the dye out in the sun for a few hours, the shirt was vibrant and ummm… ugly.
IMG_0540But that was my fault, and I’m cutting it up, remember?  I let it dry out in the sun after rinsing and then threw it in the dryer on high heat to really try to set the dye.  We have tie-dyed clothes before and always have trouble getting the dye stay on the shirt and not our other laundry.   I decided to make a little necklace and bracelet set for my little girl, and then used the rest of the shirt to make a little skirt for her.  Instructions are included for all of these projects (and many more!) and the best part is that if there is any sewing involved at all, it’s minimal and can be done by hand.  YAY!  I can just imagine all the fun accessories an older girl could come up with.

I think my favorite par of this project is the little lettuce edge I was able to give the skirt by just running my fingernail around the edge.  The little lady heartily approves of it as well, and won’t let me take it off of her for better shots!
IMG_0543We had alot of (MESSY) fun with this kit.  Be sure to keep the gloves on at all times, even when rinsing the shirt.  I came out with a nice pair of green hands after rinsing!


Pros:

  • everything you need in one box!
  • entertainment for those summer “Mom!  I’M BORED!”
  • endless, open creativity.
  • great for slumber parties

Cons:

  • the 3D paint can be used to make jewelry, but instructions say it’ll stain skin and clothes.  Be aware of this
  • they are a bit pricey
  • quite a few bottles in the Sparkly Paint kit were defective in some way, easily remedied/dealt with, but younger kids might not handle it well.
  • both kits require “wait time” and that can hold kids back a little.              
GIVEAWAY
The folks over at Creativity for Kids are giving away kits to two lucky readers. To enter simply answer any of the questions below in the Comments section of this article on our website. One comment per person, please.

Have you tried any of the Creativity for Kids kits?  Which would would you like to try?  Be sure to come back and show us what you created, we’d love to see it!

Winners are chosen at random. Contest closes Sunday, June 12th at 6pm CST. Good Luck!

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!
16

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY — Creativity for Kids, Shrinky Dink Fairy Garden and Recycled Cardboard Zoo

Reported by Susan Reidy

Like most kids, the attention spans of my 8- and 5-year-old daughters varies, to put it politely. They have lots of energy and tend to flit from one activity to the next.

Recently, we tried out some crafts that kept their attention for 8+ hours and counting. Seriously. Introducing the kid-attention-keepers, otherwise known as Creativity for Kids project kits — Shrinky Dinks Fairy Garden and Recycled Cardboard Zoo.

These are two of the new, larger kits offered in Faber-Castell’s Creativity for Kids line of kits. There are tons of kits available, from small to large, for boys and girls, in themes ranging from make your own lip balm to monster trucks custom shop.

Because we’re all about fairies in this house, that’s the kit we started with.
They LOVED everything about this kit — coloring the Shrinky Dinks, helping me shrink them (they even mastered the heat tool, with my supervision of course), decorating the garden and ultimately, playing with their creations. It took us about two hours to get everything just so with the coloring/decorating, and then they played.

Quietly. Together. For hours.

I heard stories like, “We once were big, but then the evil person shrunk us (I guess that was me),” and they took pictures as they rearranged the garden and fairies. Here’s their fairy parade. Notice dinner in the background.

The kit had everything we needed to complete the garden, which made it super simple for us to make on an afternoon after school. It includes 50+ precut (yeah!) Shrinky Dinks, plastic and foam stands for the fairies and other creatures, fairy wings, the playscape, Faber-Castell colored pencils, a pencil sharpener, foam adhesive, adhesive dots, glitter glue, a fiber for hanging the swinging fairy, jump rings to attach creatures to the tree and brads. The kit has a MRSP of $19.99.
Here are all the Shrinky Dink creatures — squirrel, rabbit, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, birds, a gnome — along with flowers, leaves and a bird nest.

And here are the fairies down below. The kit actually includes six, but we had already shrunk one before I took the photo. This was one con of the kit for both me and the girls. We wanted more than six fairies. I don’t know what would be the right number, my girls suggested 10 or 12 or 20 (the number kept going up as they played). I think 10 might be right, especially if you have more than one child creating/playing with it.

This kit is plenty big enough in terms of supplies and actual play area for more than one child. My girls split up the Shrinky Dinks and took turns with the included colored pencils, although I did supplement with some Crayola colored pencils, just for more variety. There was even enough Shrinky Dinks for me to steal some for my projects.

Here they are hard at work coloring. We loved the Faber-Castell colored pencils. They went on so smoothly, and the colors were so vibrant, even before shrinking. Like all Shrinky Dinks, you color on the rough side of the image. I love that these are precut, which eliminates a tedious step that probably would have been my job.


Here’s one lovely fairy waiting to be shrunk. The images will shrink down to about one-third their original size. You can shrink these lovelies on a covered cookie sheet in the oven or toaster oven (specific directions are included on temperature/time), but I opted to use a heat gun.


I thought my girls would enjoy a more hands-on shrinking process, plus it was faster. They held onto the Shrinky Dink with a paper piercer while I manned the heat tool. I always worry with Shrinky Dinks that they are going to end up a curled mess.

I can proudly say we didn’t lose one Shrinky Dink due to poor shrinking. The key is to just keep heating, even when they curl, because eventually they will straighten out all on their own. We did put a hot plate on top briefly after heating so they would flatten out completely. We did have a few that curled and stuck, but I just took away the heat and gently pulled the stuck pieces apart, then started heating again.


Here she is one-third her original size.


The wings are separate pieces of acetate, which should not be heated because they will melt. We attached them to the rough side of each fairy with the included double-sided foam adhesive. After lots of play, some fairy wings started falling off. My girls worked this into their story line, and fortunately, when they wanted the wings back on, there was enough extra foam adhesive to replace them. Of course, I also have quite a stock of adhesives for future repairs.


The kit also includes these little plastic stands and foam stands, if you want to arrange your fairies in their garden. My girls used these for a little bit, but eventually I was sweeping these off the kitchen floor. Adhesive dots are included to make the stands stick, but my girls wanted to be able to take them on and off (eventually off entirely).

The garden playscape comes in pieces and requires some minor assembly. I took care of this while they were coloring.

A strong adhesive is already on the pieces, which include the backdrop, a pop-out of the tree and a mushroom. Here’s the assembled background, before it was decorated.


I love some of the details of this kit. Here’s the little garden gnome. I colored this guy, and stole him back later for another project, which I have below.


Here’s the sweet little swinging fairy.


Here’s our fairy garden all decked out. We added some flowers with brads, glued a few on, attached a bird and butterfly with the included jump rings and added the self-adhesive gems.


Did I mention they played for hours?

So when I saw that little gnome, I knew he would be a cute embellishment to a spring-themed layout. I also stole quite a few flowers, and have other plans for them. I loved coloring these almost as much as my girls; it was just very relaxing.


They were having so much fun with the fairy garden, it was several days before I suggested we try out the Recycled Cardboard Zoo. Here’s a photo of the kit again.

This is a larger kit and has lots and lots of pieces including a play area with zoo pens, an entrance gate and monkey tree; a playmat; 11 velvet flocked animals; color-in punchouts and stickers; background papers; Faber-Castell dual tip markers; aquarium plastic; glitter stickers; glue stick; self-adhesive google eyes; a cardboard fence and rope; foam adhesive and directions. It has a MRSP of $29.99.

After looking this kit over, I decided it would be better for me to assemble the base of the zoo after the kids were in bed. Several months ago, my middle daughter received the Recycled Cardboard Dollhouse for her birthday. I tried to assemble that one while they were hovering, and it was not a pleasant experience for anyone.

The directions scared me at first; there were just so many.

But as I got into it, I appreciated their thoroughness and particularly the illustrations.

One note: Carefully open the box as instructed. The box itself is the playmat. Yeah for making creative use of the packaging!

This zoo has a lot of pieces.


I started with the gate/ticket booth. Easy enough.


The cardboard is a nice weight — not too heavy to make bending and assembly difficult, but sturdy enough to stay together and withstand play.

Next up, I tackled the zoo pen base. This was a little more involved, but still not too tricky.

Adding the back wall was a little trickier. It’s two layers thick once it’s folded, so it’s a little harder to work the tabs into the slots. At first I looked at it and thought this is never going to work. But it did, quite well, actually. The cardboard tabs slipped in and even gave a nice click when they were in place, like what would you expect when assembling something made of plastic. Kudos to the creative minds who engineered this structure.


Stall dividers in place. You don’t want your lions mixing it up with your zebras.

The zoo also includes an aquarium with a base and a piece of blue acyrlic. The acrylic has a nice weight to it, and my girls really liked this feature. They thought it was the coolest. Here’s the zoo all assembled. I’d say it took me about 35 to 40 minutes to assemble it all. I was definitely glad I put it together without them. While it’s straightforward enough that an older child (8 and up) could do it, it can get a little tricky and I’m not sure it would hold their attention. Unless they’re into that; mine aren’t.


The kit includes colorful background papers and floors for each of the animal pens. We glued ours down so the littlest member of our family wouldn’t pull them out.


We put the animals together first — super simple, no directions required. Pop them out of the background and slip legs/ears/tails etc. on the bodies at the precut slits. I love that the animals have velvet splotches. We also added the self-adhesive googly eyes.

Next up was some coloring of the punchout, stickers and of course, playmat. Like the colored pencils in the fairy kit, my girls and I were very happy with the quality of these markers. They withstood all the coloring for the kit, and still have ink left for other projects.

Here’s Mr. Giraffe. Again, I was pleasantly surprised at the heft of the animals and that they were able to stand up without much effort. My older daughter accidently sat on the kangaroo and while the pieces came apart, they weren’t damaged.


Our monkeys hanging on the tree. Along with creativity, I was able to sneak in some learning. As we worked, we talked about the animals and which habitat they belonged in and why.


Here’s our finished zoo. I would love to visit a zoo with a purple, green, blue lawn. The directions include ideas on how to add your own touches, like using a segment of an egg cartoon to make an igloo or a toothpaste cap to hold clay fish for the penguins. We didn’t get that far yet, but our zoo continues to grow and have new additions. This is definitely an ongoing project.

One con, at least from a parent’s perspective, is the size of the finished zoo. It’s rather larger at 30″ x 17.5″ x 15″ and a playmat at 17.64″ x 29.4″, so it takes up a lot of real estate. Right now, the zoo is relegated to the finished basement, alongside my craft area. I kind of wish it could fold up, but once it’s together, it’s together. Of course, for my girls, the size was hardly a con; they like it large.


In case you couldn’t tell, we had lots of fun with these kits. We spent hours creating, and the girls spent hours playing. I was pleased with the high quality of the materials. The zoo and garden are still standing, and haven’t needed any repairs, even after all the playing.

There were plenty of materials for both my girls to share. We had fun crafting together, and they even learned a thing or two. What more can you ask for?

Pros:
  • All inclusive kits so it’s easy to craft.
  • Quality materials and coloring media, including Faber-Castell colored pencils and markers.
  • Sturdy cardboard and paper that has stood up to hours of play.
  • Sparks creativity, imagination and learning — a perfect trifecta.
  • Complete, easy-to-follow directions, including how you can add your own details to the zoo.
  • Enough materials for multiple children. Adults can steal pieces for their own projects.

Cons:

  • Fairy kit could include more Shrinky Dink fairies.
  • Fairy wings kept falling off, but my girls went with it. There was enough extra adhesive for repairs.
  • Zoo is straightforward to construct, but takes some time and likely adult supervision. Or the adult can put it together ahead of decorating.
  • More expensive of the Creativity for Kids kits, but definitely worth it given the quality and all that is included.
  • Zoo is rather large, and doesn’t fold up. A con for parents, put a plus for kids.

GIVEAWAY

The folks over at Creativity for Kids are giving away kits to two lucky readers. To enter simply answer any of the questions below in the Comments section of this article on our website. One comment per person, please.



Have you tried out the Creativity for Kids kits? Which ones do you like the best?

Winners are chosen at random. Contest closes Sunday, June 12th at 6pm CST. Good Luck!

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!
26

Faber-Castell Winner

Congratulations to the winner Faber-Castell Mixed Media colors…

Kathy said…
This new product caught my eye the first time I saw the ad in Creating Keepsakes! I haven’t seen them in the stores yet, though! I am so happy that you did this review/tutorial….they look like so much fun! I will definitely want to give them a try on my scrap pages and all the naked chipboard I have, as well as for stamping!

If you are our winner, listed here, please email your name and address to info@craftcritique.com. Please put Faber-Castell Winner in the subject of your email. 
Thanks and Congrats!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!
3

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Faber-Castell Creative Journaling Kit

Reported by Erika Martin

I’ve long been a fan of watercolor pencils. I still have the set that my parents gave to me for Christmas when I was 12 years old. Some of them are worn down to a stub and others still have a bit of life in them but I refuse to use them anymore because they remind me of the Christmas when my parents could only afford to give me that set of colored pencils and a box of stationery. They were and are my favorite set. That was the set that made me fall in love with watercolor pencils. They also happen to be from Faber-Castell. I made sure that, when the opportunity to review one of Faber-Castell’s kits came up, my name was on that list to be considered.

I was thrilled to be sent the Creative Journaling kit to play with. Yes, yes, I know I’m supposed to “review” it, but I look at reviewing as playing, it’s so much fun!

Did you know that Faber-Castell is celebrating 250 years? WHOA! Faber-Castell, founded in 1761, is the world’s oldest pencil manufacturer and started out as a small pencil workshop in Germany. Maybe that’s part of my love for their products – my German heritage (my grandparents immigrated to the US in the 1950s). It’s owned by the 8th generation of its founding family. There’s your little history lesson for the day. *wink* (I love stuff like that.)
Being the earthy-crunchy, tree-hugger hippie Vermonter that I am, I really appreciate the environmental responsibility that Faber-Castell is passionate about. According to Faber-Castell, 
“80% of our pencils are produced from pine wood grown and harvested from a sustainable 25,000 acre Forest Stewardship farm, where millions of tree seedlings are planted each year. This conservation of natural resources also guarantees the consistent wood quality we are know for….We use environmentally-friendly water-based varnish and each pencil is constructed with a patented SV-bonding of the pencil pigment to the barrel to ensure longer lasting pencils.”  

 I’m always seeking out companies with art products that are also environmentally conscious, so this was a big deal to me.

On to my review of Faber-Castell’s Creative Journaling Kit.
This kit contains:
  • 4 Art GRIP Aquarelle Pencils
  • 3 PITT artist pens (black extra superfine nib, sepia superfine nib, gray brush nib)
  • 1 graphite pencil
  • a sharpener and eraser
  • 15 sheets of decorative papers
  • 9 illustration boards
  • gesso
  • craft glue
  • 12-page blank journal
  • 3 book rings




For those that are unfamiliar with “creative journaling,” I like how Faber-Casetll desribes it on their website and also on the first page of the illustration boards:  

“Keeping a journal is a private dialogue with oneself in pursuit of self-discovery and an archiving of one’s daily life. When you combine the written word with doodling, painting, or pasting in memorabilia you are creating an “Art Journal.” Creative Journaling (sometimes called Art Journaling) unites our love of writing with a visual poetry of images and offers a dynamic new venue for self-expression.”


The first thing I did when I opened my kit was to put a hole in the top left corner of the illustration boards with my Crop-a-dile and run a ribbon through it to keep them together. I much preferred having all my illustration boards together rather than having them all separate and floating around on my desk.
 
The illustration cards are full of great ideas, sample photos from other art journals, tips, techniques and inspiration. I used many of them while creating my art journal. I’ve been creating journals, mini books and altered books for many years and consider myself an advanced artist when it comes to those, but these illustration boards showed me new techniques that I hadn’t tried yet and got me to think outside the box. It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie to this art form or if you’ve been doing them for a while, there is definitely something in these illustration boards for everyone to learn.

When you open the illustration board, it not only gives you a run-down of what is included in the kit, but also a list of optional tools and materials that you can use in your art journal. This is a great starting point for crafters creating their first art journal. My ‘aha moment’ came when I turned to the page in the instruction cards that gave a run down on working with Art GRIP Aquarelle Pencils. One of the techniques talks about color mixing. To be honest, as I was looking at the colored pencils in the kit, I wondered what in the world I would be able to do with just three colors. Well, let me tell you that I found quite a few things to do with just three colors. The color mixing experiment opened up a whole new world for me. By including the three primary colors in the kit, you have all you need to “create an incredible array of colors,” as the instruction board says.
I scribbled color in the shapes of triangles within a circle, as shown on the instruction card, and then used my wet paintbrush to blend the colors together in the blank spaces. Total eye opener for me!


So, I got to work on starting the front cover of my art journal using the blending technique that I had just learned with the Aquarelle Pencils. I used the black PITT artist pen to draw a scene onto one of the white blank journal boards.

I added some color with the Aquarelle Pencils.

Next, I used the paintbrush from the kit to blend my colors together.


When I needed brown paint for the soil in my scene, I took out a piece of watercolor paper to use as a palette. Knowing that green and red make brown, I scribbled yellow, blue and red onto the watercolor paper.
I used my paintbrush and a little bit of water to blend the colors together to get the brown that I needed.
I pulled the color off of the make-shift palette that I made to paint it directly onto my journal page.

I filled in the rest of my board and blended colors as I went and was so excited at the final result. I can totally see myself carrying a small journal around and just three colored pencils from here on out. Such a small amount of things to tote around, but the results are amazing and addictive. I’m looking forward to trying this color blending technique out on a big sheet of watercolor paper soon.


My next page was a combination of collaging, doodling and color blending. I started out by blending colors on a piece of watercolor paper and then painting it on my journal board as a background. I chose some collage papers from the kit to work with.
One of the instruction cards suggested building on a theme to tie your journal together. I used inspiration from my journal cover to decide to use a spring theme.
I cut some grass from a piece of collage paper and then used the craft glue included in the kit to adhere it to my journal page.
I did some doodling on the page with the black PITT artist pen to add some detail.

I cut some butterflies from the collage paper, along with a sun and added more doodling for outlines and journaling to complete my page.

On to my next page, I tried the “Unique Batik” technique from one of the instruction cards. This involved first scribbling and blending some Aquarelle colors together on my journal board.
I blended the colors together with a paint brush and water and then covered the board with plastic wrap.

The result was a very subtle batik pattern. A more dramatic effect could be gotten by using more water and/or not completely blending the colors before the plastic wrap was put on, as well as scrunching up the plastic wrap more. Definitely a technique I’ll be experimenting with more as I like the potential effects that this technique has.

I wanted to try out the brush nibbed PITT artist pen (Cold Grey color) so I tested it out on a rubber stamp by applying the ink directly onto the stamp.

I huffed the stamp a bit and then stamped it directly onto my dry batiked journal page.
I created some colors on a watercolor paper palette and pulled the color off with my paintbrush to paint in my stamped image.
I added collaged elements, doodling and journaling to finish it off.
I also tried the cross hatch technique done with the Aquarelles that was shown on one of the instruction cards.

Once the cross hatch design was dry, I turned to the Mini Sketches section of the instruction cards and tried my hand out at it with the brown PITT artist pen. I really like that the PITT pens are waterproof. It makes for great sketching before watercoloring.

Here are my two purple pages facing each other in my journal.
Next up was doing a gesso technique. The instruction cards include some quick information about gesso, which is a “white paint primer used to treat blank canvas or art board and to add texture to watercolor paint.” You can also use it as a white paint and to cover up something you’re not keen on having show.

The kit comes with a small 18 ml bottle of gesso, but unfortunately, the gesso is my kit was unusable. It was all dried up into one big clump. I always keep gesso on hand in my studio so I just pulled one of the bottles I had off my shelf and used that instead.
I started off by gluing down a piece of collage paper to a blank journal page using the craft glue included in the kit (which works great, by the way) and then lightly swiped over the entire page, collage paper included, with gesso.

This gave the page a subtle background that I was still able to journal over afterwards without competing with the pattern.

I next created a page that was completely collaged with different patterned papers and wanted to try stamping on it using the Aquarelle pencils as a make-shift ink pad. I scribbled onto a piece of watercolor paper and blended the colors using a wet paintbrush.

I then pressed the stamp directly into the blended Aquarelles.
I stamped the image onto my collaged page and I didn’t really get the look I was going for as the ink didn’t fully absorb into the paper.
I tried this same technique again and stamped on a piece of smooth, white cardstock and it turned out great. Depdending on the look you’re trying to get, it’s best to experiment first with your papers to see if your ink will absorb or not.
I used the brown PITT artist pen to doodle and journal in my collaged page and also used gesso around the edges.

I created shadow effects for the flowers using the grey brush tipped PITT artist pen.

I still have a few pages to fill up in my art journal, but for now, I put the book rings into the journal to assemble it and added some knoted ribbons on the rings to dress them up.
The Creative Journaling Kit retails for $29.95 and comes with a total of 35 pieces, all housed in a handy and sturdy case.
In reviewing the Creative Journaling Kit I learned some new techniques and had my mind opened up to the possibilities that exist in just three watercolor pencils in the primary colors. I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of the process of art journaling and highly recommend this kit to anyone looking to get into art journaling.
Pros:
  • Well rounded kit with everything you need to get started with art journaling.
  • Instruction cards in the kit include a good variety of techniques and information on how to use the items in the kit.
  • These may not seem like a big deal to some, but I love that the kit also included a pencil sharpener and artists eraser. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my kids are always stealing my sharpeners and erasers (they call it “borrowing” but I never get them back).
  • The kit even included craft glue in a convenient size for taking on the go. Great for artists that want to travel with a kit but not take large bottles of glue with them.
Cons:
  • The gesso in my kit was dried out and unusable. 

GIVEAWAY
The cool folks over at Faber-Castell are giving away Stampers Big Brushes to one lucky reader! Just leave a comment on either of the Faber-Castell reviews today answering the question in the Comments section of either article to be entered to win!

Have you tried any Mixed Media projects? What do YOU think of this journaling kit?

One comment per person, per article, please. Winner will be selected on Saturday, June 4, 2011.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!
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