Saturday, March 26, 2011


Men are hard to make cards for, no doubt about it.  My husband is having a Major Birthday this weekend.  Tough enough already, then I figured since it's a weekend-long thing I should make THREE cards, one for each night.  I'm just crazy that way.  It was a kinda stressful decision considering that until yesterday I still only had one card made.  But desperation and a couple of blog challenges helped pull me through.

Friday night: the symphony.  We go a few times a year but for this I got seats in a front box.  Wow!  Amazing sound.  This card is 6"x6", a random cardstock with slight colored flecks in it, the music staff is Microsoft clip art that I turned into a cut file for my Gazelle, flat black cardstock.  Background stamp is Modern Lines from Hero Arts with Distress Ink in Mustard Seed, Worn Lipstick, Tea Dye and Faded Jeans.  Quote from Nietzche, font is Future is Back, printed on vellum and adhered to a fibery handmade paper, both cut with Nestabilities Label Two.

Saturday night:  fancy restaurant.  We don't eat out often but when we do we like to really splurge.  A fancier card is called for.  Incy Wincy and Paper Sundaes both have Embossing as the challenge, and I just picked up the Tim Holtz folder in Rays, I was dying to use it.  Then I recalled a card I had seen on a blog recently - sadly, I can't find it, but this is my rendition of it.  (If you know the card and the maker please let me know so I can give credit!)  Embossed a generic purchased 4.25"x5.5" card blank, Distress Ink in Mustard Seed rubbed all over it, then scribbled a little color in the depressions - I used Copic RV11 and B0000.  Needs something else .... hmmm, the Do You Stack Up Challenge Blog recommends shine and sparkle this week!  Men need glitter, too.  So, a liberal spraying of Glimmer Mist in Iridescent Gold.  Done!  Sparkle is hard to photograph but you can see it a little better in the second pic.

Sunday night:  homemade cupcakes at home with presents, maybe a tiki drink, maybe a movie.  DH is the baker/dessert maker in our household, but I'm afraid he is trusting me to make the cupcakes.  Should be interesting, lol.  I have a lot more confidence in this card.  The image is a vintage one digitized by TLC, colored with Copics (sorry, I don't have the list! I must have tossed it when I cleaned).  Red Bazzill bling cardstock embossed with Cuttlebug's Diamond Plate folder and cut with Nesty Curved Rectangles.  The label is a random denim-textured blue paper with a lighter kraft, Sizzix Bookplates die, and a couple of bright blue eyelets.  Purchased kraft card blank, oven mitt stamp from the Crafty Secrets 'Little Chef' set, with Distress Ink Faded Jeans and Tea Dye.  Manly enough for the All About Him challenge on Drunken Stampers?  I know my man will like it, and that's enough.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Copics and the Perfect Crafting Pouch

Over on the forums recently, Amy Roszak asked if anyone had ever tried the Perfect Crafting Pouch with Copic markers.  Amy, if you don't know, is the inventor of this magic little product that helps stop ink from smearing, dries ink more quickly, acts as a release agent for molding compounds, etc. etc.  It's similar to an old-school graphic arts product called Pounce.  You can check it out on her website

I have the pouch but I don't use it a lot.  Right now for printing I'm using an HP Photosmart D7560 with their Vivera inks and for the most part I don't have any problems with ink running or with drying time.  However some papers are almost impossible to print on and ink bleeds like crazy - like a vellum parchment I'm very fond of using for srapbook journalling - and with these the pouch is absolutely essential.

So when Amy posed the question about using the pouch with Copics, the general consensus was - if you use the right paper then Copics don't bleed, the powder will clog the marker tips, and just use the right ink for stamping.  All good points ... but you know what?  When there's a "right" way to do something I immediately start thinking of "wrong" ways to do it.  I'm cantankerous that way.  Sometimes I don't want to use the "right" paper.  There are too many gorgeous papers out there with lovely colors and textures, I hate feeling limited in my choices.  And knowing that the tips are easily replaced if the powder does clog it, I had to test this out.

First I did just a simple color swatch on 3 papers - a generic fibrous cardstock, Neenah Solar White, and Cryogen White.  I used R27 Cadmium Red since the reds are the most bleedy of the colors.  Right away you can see that using the powder does help with the bleeding and leaves a crisper line.  Interesting.

Next test - blending.  Neenah Solar White on top, same random cardstock on bottom.  I'm a messy colorer so the variations in each swatch are due to my "technique."  The powder did not lead to any evident problems with blending, and again it did keep the bleeding down.  I have a tendency to heavily saturate my paper with ink when coloring, so this test leads me to think that especially with reds and especially with paper that tends to bleed, using the pouch might be a very good idea.

Next test:  coloring an image.  For this I chose a digitstamp from Priscilla Styles, and a random rubber stamp.  (Sunflower with Y08, Y06, Y11, Y000, E53, E34, E000; flourish with R32, R35, R0000.  Don't look too closely, I've never been one to color inside the lines, lol.)  However I got an unexpected and unpleasant result here - on the side treated with the powder the ink ran when I started coloring.  It's really bad on the random cardstock.  I let the ink dry for several minutes on the other two samples and even hit them with a blast from my heat gun for a minute, but it didn't solve the problem.  The running ink isn't as bad on the Neenah, but it's still obviously muddy.  The stamped Memento ink was the most successful but it too muddied a bit with coloring.

Bottom line - I do think using the pouch will come in handy in some situations, but I would probably avoid digistamps, or at least approach them very cautiously.  You may have a different experience if you have a different printer with different inks.  For using "wrong" papers with rubberstamped images or possibly with hand-drawn images (still need to test inks/pencils for this last) the pouch is definitely a new tool in my coloring box.  And I don't feel that the powder clogged my marker tips at all.  Again - your experience may vary so do some testing of your own before starting a real project.