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Tag Archives | Scrapbooking

Review | Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Paint

I am a big fan of Ranger’s products and use a lot of different items from their extensive product line in my art journals. I also follow a number of crafting blogs and have seen many of my favorite artists demonstrating the effects and looks that they can get with this new line of paints. So, I am excited to post my review of the Tim Holtz Distress Paint that was new earlier this year, and how I think it can best be used.

The Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Paints are available in 30 of the Distress palette colors, plus 3 metallics. For this review, I worked with a sample in Forest Moss.

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Review | Scrapbooking and Papercrafting Adhesives

During a recent scrapbook room reorganization, I was alarmed to find my adhesive storage had overflowed. I clearly needed to purge what wasn’t being used.

But as I emptied my basket, I realized I used nearly every item in it, depending on the project. Some adhesives were meant for paper, some for ribbon, some for fabric, others to provide dimension, and still others that would act as a sealer, either glossy or matte. I needed them all.

So while I searched for a bigger storage basket, I thought it would be the perfect time for an article on some adhesive basics for scrapbookers, and papercrafters in general.

Tape

Tape for me is by far the go-to adhesive. If I was trapped on a desert island with my scrapbook supplies, I would want a never ending supply of permanent Tombow Mono Adhesive at my side. It took a little trial and error, but I finally found the perfect tape runner in this little blue package.

Review | Mepxy Brush Markers

Mepxy markers are manufactured by a family owned business in Seoul, Korea and are now being sold in the United States.  These alcohol ink markers give Anime artists, calligraphy artists, and crafters more choices in alcohol ink markers with their growing product line.  They even have blog dedicated to artists with a fun gallery and ideas for using the markers.  I first learned about these from watching one of Linda Peterson’s “YouTube” video on how to transfer images onto plastic.  She is a well known multi media artist who makes some really fun “how to” videos that you can learn various techniques from.

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Celebrating Movember

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of mustaches on thousands of mens faces around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for mens health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.

You can sponsor the growing of said facial hair of friends and family and be part of a fun event to make a difference as 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In honor of this being the month of Movember, I thought it would be a good time to introduce our readers to some of my favourite Male Crafters.

Fabrizio Martellucci


1. What do you enjoy about being creative?
I enjoy the distraction of it, I can lose myself for hours paper crafting and when I look at the clock I realise that I spent a whole afternoon crafting. It’s healing for me as I would just sulk otherwise because I’m indoors all the time due to agoraphobia and other issues.

2. What is the most frustrating thing about being creative?
Not being able to create what you have brewing in your head. I might have an idea that sits there for weeks then when I’m finally ready to create, it doesn’t come to fruition; I usually get totally disheartened but sometimes out of that original idea something completely different might come up and that surprises me.
3. Where do you look for inspiration?
I’m an avid blog hopper for my own linking website papermood.com as I’m always on the lookout for that ‘wow’ handmade greeting card, I also like to read paper crafting magazines: especially the card making ones. Funnily enough my best ‘lightbulb’ moments came using sketches/pagemaps I really dig how you can apply any sort of papers, embellishments and ribbons, using various layouts, which seems to have taken the guessing work, out of the equation. Sketches are real time savers. 


4. What do you love about your favourite pieces of artwork?
It’s something I like to share with other crafters like myself, in a way it’s a bit of a legacy on my best work (I’m really a hit and miss so I’m not proud of all my stuff lol); I always hope that someone who’s sitting on the fence about paper crafting might decide to start crafting because they see my creations and that would be really cool to think that I’ve inspired someone else.

5. Do you find any differences being male in your creative field?
I think male crafters are still standing out like sore thumbs because there aren’t that many of us. Mind you, I can see more men cardmakers popping up everywhere now than it used to be only a few years ago. I do like the attention I get being male as with my foreign name, it makes me stand out from the rest.

6. What would be your favourite words of creative wisdom to others?
Don’t buy everything you see as we only use 20% we own to produce 80% of our output (using the Pareto principle here), I believe that some of us have hoarding tendencies and that can be a problem if space is at a premium in your own dwelling. My best tip is also to give your creations only to people who will appreciate them, don’t spend time trying to convert the ‘only shop bought’ cards brigade: you’re only wasting your time. 🙂

You can see more of Fab’s work at his site: http://www.kimtag.com/fabrizio

Aaron Morris
1. What do you enjoy about being creative?
I enjoy being able to channel the creativity that I have inside me into things that make me and the ones I love happy.

2. What is the most frustrating thing about being creative?
I always find it frustrating when I lose my mojo. I hate having the desire to be creative, but having trouble creating something that I am happy with. Sometimes, I get frustrated when I have too much inspiration, knowing that I will likely not get to everything I want to do.

3. Where do you look for inspiration?
I find inspiration all around me. In a store, in nature, looking at other layouts (both paper and digi). I mostly get inspired to create things by my family and the memories we create – when I have memories to scrap or great photos I get inspired to create.

4. What do you love about your favourite pieces of artwork?
As I’ve spent time scrapbooking, my style has changed. I am most happy with my style as it is now. I love layering and clustering elements, and I love adding surprising elements to my pages. I also love having layouts that I can share with my family.

5. Do you find any differences being male in your creative field?
Not usually. Some people are surprised when they “find out” about me, but people are usually great about it and love having a man that shares their hobby.

6. What would be your favourite words of creative wisdom to others?
I think I would love to remind people that there is no “wrong answer” in creativity. Often we get caught up in what is trendy and what others will like and forget that creativity is supposed to be something that is original to each individual. My best work comes from the times that I forget what I think is the “right thing” to do, and do what I feel works the best.

You can see more of Aaron’s work at his site: http://www.sirscrapalot.com/

Andy Skinner
1. What do you enjoy about being creative?
Finding out new techniques, experimenting with new mediums and loosing myself for a few hours!

2. What is the most frustrating thing about being creative?
Never being totally happy with the artwork I create. Unfortunately we are all our own worst critics.

3. Where do you look for inspiration?
In absolutely everything including my dreams! I take a camera with me wherever I go and take pictures constantly for reference.

4. What do you love about your favourite pieces of artwork?
This is different for so many pieces as I dabble in many techniques, styles and media. I think, however,  for my Steampunk and assemblage items, it is the ability to produce realistic faux metal, rust and aged effects to fool the viewer. It’s so funny that my father spent most of his spare time restoring old items to make them look new, I on the other hand do the complete opposite, it’s much more fun that way!
5. Do you find any differences being male in your creative field?
Not really, I do sometimes feel a little out numbered as men are definitely the minority in this field it has to be said, but I have always got on far better with women having grown up in a female- dominated house and having all daughters.

6. What would be your favourite words of creative wisdom to others?
This one is simple for me, its from Albert Einstein “Imagination is more important than knowledge”

You can see more of Andy’s work at his site: http://andyskinner.org


I hope you have enjoyed this little introduction to some awesome crafters and that you will support Movember’s quest!

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Review | Disney Parks Scrapbook Supplies

Reported by Julie Tiu

Have you ever toted your scrapbooking tools and supplies on vacation? And while on vacation, do you find yourself scouring the local stores for supplies because you’ve run out? I vacationed in Walt Disney World this summer, and was nicely surprised at the availability of paper goods. And, if you’re wondering if they are more expensive than your local supply store – they are actually similar in price.

At almost every gift or memorabilia store, you will find a section with photo albums, scrapbooking supplies, stickers, writing tools and even scissors!

This “Four Parks, One World” WDW Deluxe Scrapbook Kit retails for $22.95 at the park shops. It contains stickers, die-cuts and themed pages. All coordinated for your convenience.

These paper edgers are also offered at stores… how about those Mickey ears? These scissors retail for approximately $9.00

And what about some rubber stamps to complete your set? The Minnie Mouse Wooden stamp set costs about $17.

I will admit that I was way too busy having fun with my kids and husband at the Disney parks. Crafting on vacation never seems to work out even though I bring along a marker set and scissors (in a checked bag – if we’re flying). But Disney does an incredible job at making sure you have absolutely everything you need to have a magical time at their locations – even for us crafty vacationers.

Have you used Disney scrapbook paper or supplies? Did you buy them while on vacation or from your local store? How did you capture your vacation moments? Let us know in the comments!

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Cricut E2 vs. eClips

Reported by Marti Wills

Cricut Expression 2
Sizzix eClips

When it comes to making the jump to an electronic die cutting machine there are a lot of choices.  It is quite an investment and there are so many things to consider.  Most importantly, you want a machine that will cut well and is easy to use.

Today I want to tell you about the results of my comparison of two of these machines, the Cricut Expression 2 by Provo Craft and the eClips by Sizzix.

Most important is how well the machine can cut. So I began by testing both on a variety of materials.  Both cut cardstock and paper just fine but I wanted to see what else they could cut.

First I tried chipboard – actually the backing from a paper pad.  This is slightly thinner than regular chipboard but it is free, it is a great way to recycle and it WORKS.  First I cut a cupcake – these are on the large size – 4″:

Both machines cut the chipboard perfectly.  I decided to try a smaller and more complicated design with the chipboard next:

The results with the eClips were not as clean as the Cricut.

Next I tried some acetate – another recycled material – I used the plastic covering that my embossing folders come in – you can use any type of plastic clamshell packaging but I like the embossing folder and Spellbinder types because they are so flat and easy to store.

I cut the same cupcakes first – nice basic larger shapes.  Both machines did a great job, however the Cricut cut cleanly through whereas the eClips required some punching out.  However this did not effect the final result.

I also cut the smaller more intricate images again:

Once again the eClips did not quite get the smallest detail cut all the way through:

Those teeny pieces on each tip would not come out without doing some damage to the overall shape.  The Cricut did not have this problem:

even the tiny circles/dots required no punching out.

Finally, I cut out some fabric appliques with each machine.  Before you can cut fabric you need to add something to stabilize it and keep it from stretching as the blade makes the cuts.  I tried Steam a Seam Lite first but this was not enough and neither machine cut through.  Next I used Heat ‘n Bond Ultra which is much thicker.  Both machines cut the fabric perfectly:

One advantage the Cricut Expression 2 had was the ability to set it to cut each image twice which is probably why it cute through more successfully.  One of the features of the eClips is the pre-set cut settings for various materials.  I used these pre-sets to do all of the cuts above.  Better results might be gained by adjusting the settings manually, but I have not tried that yet.

In addition to the cutting ability there are a lot of other considerations when comparing cutters.  Here is a table with some of these other things to compare:

Sizzix eClips
Cricut E2
Price – Starter Kit Machine
$499 – includes 2 blades, 1 cartridge and 1 mat
$349 – includes 1 blade, 4 cartridges and 1 mat
Footprint
22 1/2″ x 5″ x 7 1/2″
Price/mat
12.99 – 2 pack
12.99 – 2 pack
Price/blade
9.99 – 2 pack
9.99 – 2 pack
Price/cartridge
39.99 –  25 designs plus features
24.99/34.99/55.99 – 68 images/168+ images/200+ images
Cartridges available
36
228
Cardstock
5
5
Fabric
5
5
Chipboard
4
5
Acetate
4
5
Store avail.
1
4
Ebay
4   29.99/53.99
5    15.00 & up – open bidding

Both of these machines have a viewing screen.  The eClips screen is on a separate handheld device and is controlled by buttons that allow you to scroll through menus and make your choices.  The Expression 2 screen is mounted on the machine itself and is a touchscreen controlled with a stylus.  I personally preferred the screen being attached to the machine as I have limited space and found the separate screen and its cord was always in the way.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up – Both
  • Easy to use – Both
  • Great mats and sharp blades – Both
  • Ability to save cut settings for future ease of use – Expression 2
  • Huge selection of cartridge images – Expression 2
  • Free web-based program that allows you the freedom to design and customize shapes on Cricut cartridges you already own – Expression 2

Cons:

  • Separate screen/control device – eClips
  • Cartridge based system – Both
  • Price – Both
  • Cutting pre-sets did not work on smaller more intricate items – eClips

Had I compared the eClips to the original Cricut Expression the eClips would have come out ahead.  However, with the vast improvements made on the Expression 2 recently released by Provo Craft, I found the Expression to be a better machine – the cutting ability was better, the price is lower, and the image selection is vastly larger.

Do you own either of these machines?  What do you think of them?  Do you own a different one?  Let us know!

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Review | Hampton Arts Spritz Board

Reported by Susan Reidy
I love chipboard, I love embossed texture and I love mists for scrapbooking and cardmaking. Imagine my delight when I found all three wrapped into one with the Hampton Arts Spritz Board.
The board comes in icons and alphabets, and is essentially 5″x 5″ white chipboard with a transparent pattern that “pops” when you add mist, chalk, ink or some other type of coloring medium. As a bonus, they’re self-adhesive.
I picked up the icons, which include butterflies, flowers, tags, shapes and other natural elements like a birdhouse and leaf branch. There are 24 in the box.
Here you can see the transparent design on one of butterflies. Some pieces are outlined like this one, while others have an overall pattern. Hampton Arts says they’re designed for Smooch Spritz, but work well with other mists and inks.
For my flower below, I used two different colors of Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist, lime and turquoise. After spritzing on both my colors, I used a baby wipe to go over the embossed areas. For the most part, the ink came off, but there were a few places where ink absorbed into the chipboard over the embossing.

At 5″x 5″ these suckers are big, which is nice if you want to add just one main element to a scrapbook page or card. Not much else is really needed to complete a page.
I also really liked embellishing them beyond adding color. On this flower, I added an acrylic flower in the middle for just a little more depth.

When attaching to my layouts, I found the adhesive already on the back just wasn’t strong enough to keep it in place. I added some Scor-Tape to ensure I had a good, strong hold.

Here’s my finished layout. Like I said, not much embellishment is needed beyond these shapes.
Next up, I wanted to see how my American Crafts markers would work. Here’s another half-colored flower.

Here is one petal freshly colored, before wiping.

And here is the petal after wiping:

I love how the embossed pattern really pops with the markers. Using markers is great if you want to use multiple colors on a more detailed piece, like with this flower where I made the center a different color than the petals. I used this flower to decorate the top of a papier-mâché box. Simple, done and done.

I really wanted to try this birdie. Look at all those pretty embossed flowers.

I decided to try another coloring medium, to really put these Spritz Boards to the test. For the birdie, I used some Jacquard Pinata Color alcohol-based inks. I used yellow and a little bit of orange to highlight some areas. Here is the birdie inked up, but not yet wiped off.

Below, he’s been wiped off, again using a baby wipe. I did find the ink soaked into some of the embossed areas and covered up the design. Overall though, you can still see most of the embossing. The boards are sturdy enough to stand up to lots of coloring, whether it’s wet or dry. No matter what I threw at it, I never had a piece warp because I added too much coloring medium.

Again, I had fun embellishing him with some bling and flowers.

He, or I guess she, was perfect for my layout about my Easter Chicks.


Up next was some more inking, this time with Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pads. I thought they would be perfect to make this look like a weathered birdhouse. The ink worked great; no bleeding over the embossed images, plus it was super easy to blend several colors to get the look I wanted.

I added the birdhouse to a card with a glittered Martha Stewart bird. Again, super easy to finish, thanks to the large size of the Spritz Board.

Last but not least, I gave chalk a try. Again, great results with the embossing popping nicely. It was also very easy to blend. I would recommend spraying with some kind of fixative so the chalk doesn’t wear off over time.

I added a few embellishments, and now I have a cute Summery tag for a future layout.
I really enjoyed playing with the Spritz Board. I love that you can use so many different coloring media and get great results. Ironically, my least favorite technique to use with them was spritzing. They hold up great to lots of coloring, and they add a lot of punch to a layout without a lot of effort.

Pros:
  • Cute designs, with fun embossed patterns.
  • Very versatile; several different media can be used to add color, including spray mists, ink pads, alcohol inks, markers and chalk.
  • Nice large size makes it easy to use for embellishing a scrapbook page or card.
  • Perfect canvas for embellishing beyond just adding color, with bling, flowers, brads, etc.
  • Stands up to lots of inking/coloring with no warping.

Cons:

  • Some media work better than others. Ironically, the results were the least impressive with spray mist.
  • Adhesive on back is really not strong enough to hold the chipboard pieces in place for very long.

Have you tried the Hampton Arts Spritz Board? What’s your favorite way to add color and embellish?

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