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Author Archive | Amy Westerman

Thomas Kinkade Rubber Stamps–Are they my style?

Reported by Amy Westerman

Recently, Cornish Heritage Farms partnered with world famous artist Thomas Kinkade to create a line of rubber stamps for rubberstamping and scrapbooking enthusiasts everywhere. It was a long, painstaking process to create a stamp that would, in the end, beautifully articulate the fine details so evident in Kinkade’s work.

A few months ago, when these stamps were first revealed by Cornish Heritage Farms, I was super skeptical that a rubber stamp that featured such detailed artwork would translate very well onto paper. In addition, the style of the stamps just didn’t interest me much at all. They just weren’t “me”, if you know what I mean. No matter how much they were being hyped in blogging community, I didn’t find myself drawn to them at all. I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be jumping on the Thomas Kinkade rubber stamp bandwagon anytime soon!

Well, I’ve held true to my word. I haven’t purchased any Thomas Kinkade stamps as of yet, but I was generously given two Thomas Kinkade stamps a few months ago by Sarah Moore, our dear Craft Critique boss lady (who graciously received them from the great folks at Cornish Heritage Farms). Along with the stamps, Sarah asked me to write a review on what I thought about them once I had a chance to ink them up a bit. Oh, brother. Some assignment. Make cards with stamps I’m not crazy about? I certainly had my work cut out for me.

The one thing I did vow to do before I started stamping with these new images was not allow the “style” of the stamp to dictate how my card looked. I was going to make sure the stamps adapted to MY style, and not vice versa. In the beginning, many of the cards I saw made with the Thomas Kinkade stamps were monochromatic in nature, very subdued, and elegant. Most of the time, that is completely opposite of how my cards look when I’m finished with them! The big question mark for me was whether or not Thomas Kinkade stamps could be successfully incorporated into my love of bright colors and bold designer paper choices.

And what did I discover? This tough critic discovered that YES, these new rubber stamps featuring the stunning artwork of Thomas Kinkade can be adapted to anyone’s style of cardmaking, whether you love bright colors and bold patterns, or if you tend to be attracted to the more subdued, rich colors of the spectrum. Don’t be afraid to give them a try just because they don’t seem to be your “style”. I was skeptical, but in the end, I love how my cards turned out. Have I become a Thomas Kinkade rubber stamp convert? You bet I have. My wish list is all ready to go, now I just need the hubby to find a job so I can go to Cornish Heritage Farms and buy them, LOL!

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

Bluegrass Publishing: Color Made Easy by Misti Tracy

Reported By Amy Westerman

The book I am reviewing from Bluegrass Publishing is entitled Color Made Easy by Misti Tracy.


Wow, this book makes it easy to explore color! If you’ve ever panicked before when you sat down to make a card, you need look no further. No more trying to figure out what colors go together or don’t go together. Everything you need to create a card or scrapbook page can be found in this comprehensive, full color, easy-to- understand book. It does the hard work for you, all you need to do is choose a color combination from the ready to use color palettes that are provided and you’re on your way!

Now, I have to confess, I’m not really a person that has a hard time choosing colors that go together, so I was a little skeptical going into this. But once I had a chance to read through the book completely, I decided that for those people that do find it hard to choose colors that work well together, this book can be and will be an invaluable tool.

Color Made Easy contains 35 color palette selections to choose from as a jumping off point for crafters. The color palettes look similar to paint chips you find in the paint store. There are 5 coordinated colors in each palette and each 5-color grouping has its own theme name, such as “Be-bop! 50’s”, Bodacious ‘80’s, and “Timeless & Classic”. The color palettes can be removed from the book and bound together to create a Color Buddy Book, perfect for carrying with you to the scrapbook store to help you buy coordinating designer papers! Not only does the book give you 35 different color palettes to choose from, the five colors in each of the 35 color palettes featured can then be broken down into combinations of three (leaving out two of the colors), to create stunning layouts using a dominant color, a secondary color and finally, an accent color. Using this process, you have the potential for over 500 different color combinations!

The author, Misti Tracy, recommends that when creating a scrapbook page, you match your colors to the theme of the pictures, not necessarily the color in the pictures (something I’m guilty of). For instance, if you were putting together a scrapbook page from a vacation to Tahiti or Hawaii, you need look no further than the “Tropical” color palette provided in the book. These colors (appropriately named Aloha, Mango, Pineapple, Flamingo, and Sassy Lime) all reflect the colors so often found in tropical locations such as these. Or, if you’re creating a scrapbook page about your young son, the Rough and Rowdy color palette just might be what you’re looking for (Sailor Blue, Ribit-Ribit, Mud Puddle, River Rock, and Alpine Meadow) to convey your son’s rough and tumble nature!

There are many sample projects for each of the 35 color palettes, so you will not lack for inspiration in Color Made Easy. For each color palette, the author provides at least 2 art projects (mostly scrapbook pages and cards) for you to see how the colors were incorporated. The photos in the book are big, glossy and beautiful! Ms. Tracy even gives her reader Creative Kick-Starts to help them get started on projects!

Since I’m a team player, I decided to give one of the color palettes in Color Made Easy a try. I chose a color palette that appealed to me, Eclectic, and went ahead and created a card using three of the colors in the palette; Cherish (I chose Rose Red), Green Apple (I chose Certainly Celery), and Blueberry (I chose Brocade Blue).
I also chose a designer paper that had all three colors in it as well. At the same time, I chose two ribbons that coordinated with the colors in the palette. Once I had them all laid out, the card literally took me all of 10 minutes to throw together. All the hard work had been done for me already….. choosing the colors I was going to start with! I guess I didn’t really realize how much time and effort I put into choosing the colors I do for my cards.
It’s not hard for me, but this certainly made it easier. And I’m sure you’ll find it makes crafting a little easier for you too!

Color Made Easy will be a great resource in your crafting room; you might want to consider adding it to your library soon!


Would you like to win something?
We hope you enjoy this week of reviews! If you have read a Bluegrass Publishing book and would like to share your opinion we’d love to hear it! Leave your comment about a Bluegrass book on any of the posts this week. At the end of the week we will randomly draw a comment and that individual will win a copy of “The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Card” by Linda Latourelle. Contest ends on 9/14 at Midnight. A winner will be announced On the 17th.

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

PURSuE Your Art—Changeable Art Purse

Reported By Amy Westerman

I was pumped when I received one of Erin and Mary’s purses to alter when I was at this summer’s CHA Convention in Chicago. I received it with the sole intent of reviewing it for the readers of Craft Critique! That’s you guys!

The PURSuE Your Art Purse is made from high quality, durable vinyl. It’s approximately 8” tall x 11” wide, and is 3” deep. So as you can see, the purse is sized aptly enough to hold a nice size wallet, some lip gloss (sorry, I can’t do the lipstick thing!) and your cell phone. Size is one of the most important factors for me when I choose a purse. It can’t be too small because it has to be able to hold, at the very least, the above three items. Yet it can’t be too big, because then it just ends up being a big junk pit!

I was slightly confused on how to get started designing my new purse, but when all else fails, find and read the instructions! It’s amazing how helpful instructions can be. Once I found those, the project was underway.

The first thing I did was remove all of the black panels from the vinyl “purse”. This was a very easy process. These panels are what you adhere your designer paper to, and they make up the “structure” of the purse. Without these panels, you would just have a flimsy, vinyl purse with no structure to it whatsoever. So, once I removed these I needed to decide which paper I wanted to cover them with. Since I’m such a fan of Scenic Route paper, I chose to cover all the panels with a pattern from their Laurel line called Marina Drive.
This part was so easy. If you’ve ever covered chipboard with paper before, this is the same concept. After I got each panel covered, I placed them back into the vinyl purse covering. So far, so good! It was simple and quick.

Next came the hard part. Now I had to design the “pocket” panels of my PURSuE Your Art purse. I have to admit, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my panels. There are two different styles of this purse available for purchase. One of the purses has 8 pockets (5 pockets on the front panel of the purse, and 3 pockets on the back side of the purse, all sized 2.5 x 3.5”) on it, and the other purse, which is the style I had, has two pockets (one on the front flap and one on the back panel). Each of the pockets on my purse are 4.25 x 5.5, which is the exact size I make my cards. This makes it easy for those of us who are card makers, to use these pockets to showcase our work and change them out as often as we like!
If you chose to use your pockets that way, you would want to make sure the paper you chose to cover your main panels was very neutral in nature, so the cards would stand out and not be lost in a sea of color!

I chose to make specific designs for each of my pockets that matched the paper I used to cover my panels. I don’t plan on “re-designing” my purse once it’s done, although that is surely an option you have with this purse. You could actually cover BOTH sides of your panels with different patterned paper and just flip flop them around as the mood strikes! In addition, you can purchase additional panels for your purse, so you can have even MORE options to reassemble your purse and make it look different! How cool is that? When I was done making the cards to place in the pockets of my purse, I was really pleased with how it looked! What an easy project! These purses are perfect for those of you are in direct sales and have numerous products to sell! The self promotion opportunities are endless! For someone like me (who is not in direct sales), the purse is a great way to show off family pictures or personal artwork you are proud of!

The last little detail that I had yet to finish on my purse was attaching the ball-chain handle on the purse. The instructions make is sound really easy. I’m here to tell you it was NOT easy for me! After trying numerous times to “pop” the bell sleeve off the end of the chain, I gave up and emailed Sarah Moore, Editor in Chief of Craft Critique, and asked her how to remove it. She instructed me to use a needle nose pliers to hold the bell sleeve and pop the ball chain off. Finally, I was able to remove the sleeve. Maybe I had a particularly difficult chain, and the rest aren’t that difficult. I don’t really know. But adding a little blurb in the instructions about using a needle nose pliers to make this step easier would be a cheap fix that would eliminate frustration.

In the end, I am pleased with my PURSuE Your Art Changeable Art Purse. The creative possibilities are endless. It makes the perfect gift for that special someone in your life. And if that special someone is you, more power to you! Have fun with it!

Independent Scrapbooking or Stamping demonstrators: Pursue Your Art offers a wonderful Class Kit… details of which can be found HERE. It’s a 10 Pack kit that allows you to make a small profit off the sale of the purse to your customers so you can incorporate the purse into a special class!

All Craft Critique Customers: Here is a special deal for YOU! Get a free set of replacement panels and pocket cards with every purse order. Just use coupon code “101” during check out. Offer expires September 9th.

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