Monday, June 24, 2013

June Tag!

Hello all!

Without further ado, here's my June tag!

Materials used:
 - Ranger Inkssentials Manila Craft Tags
 - Ranger Distress Ink: Frayed Burlap
 - Ranger Distress Markers: Broken China, Dusty Concord, Fired Brick, Old Paper, Picket Fence, Pumice Stone, Victorian Velvet
 - Ranger Distress Paint: Broken China
 - Ranger Distress Stain: Fired Brick
 - Ranger Archival Ink: Jet Black
 - Ranger Glossy Accents
 - idea-ology Tissue Tape: Nostalgic
 - Stamps by Tim Holtz for Stampers Anonymous: CMS143, CMS155, CMS165, CSS25870, CSS27911, CSS30232
 - Cold-press Watercolour Paper

This month's tag sees us returning to Distress markers and the waterbrush.  We did some of this in February, but it was nice to review.  One fun new thing I tried was using the waterbrush to splatter droplets of colour onto my watercolor paper.  I didn't want to stop!  :-)

Additional views:

The background was created by swiping Distress ink, stain, and paint onto my craft sheet, and spritzing it with water before swiping the tag through it.  I wound up with some nice muted tones, which I then stamped over.  However, the first time I tried it, I swiped my tag before I remembered to add water.  It wasn't quite the intended effect, but I now have a different background to use for a future project:  :-)

Well, I think that's it for this month!  (This project was actually completed last week; I'm out of town this week.)  But look for new posts as soon as July begins!

See you then!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ranger's June Colour Challenge!

Hi everybody!

For the third time this year, Ranger Ink has posted a colour challenge.  I've been entering all along, but from here on out, I'll blog them as I go.  June's Seasonal Colour Palette challenge involves creating a project that uses certain shades of Ranger products to convey the idea of summer:

Looking at those great blues, and deep reds, I immediately thought of an Americana theme.  Once I hit my studio and got to work, I had so much fun, that I created two tags!

For the first, I thought about summer nights, and fireworks displays:

Materials used:
 - Ranger Inkssentials Black Craft Tags
 - Ranger Distress Ink: Aged Mahogany, Chipped Sapphire, Pumice Stone, Stormy Sky
 - Ranger Distress Marker: Stormy Sky
 - Ranger Alcohol Inks: Cranberry, Denim, Slate
 - Core'dinations Tim Holtz Distress Collection: Aged Mahogany, Chipped Sapphire, Pumice Stone
 - Sizzix Tim Holtz Texture Fades: Americana Background & Borders
 - DMC Embroidery Floss: S762 Silver Cloud
 - Canned air, white glossy cardstock, foam dots, double-stick tape from my stash

Looking at the list of suggested products, I noticed alcohol inks on the list.  I will admit that while I have several bottles of alcohol inks, I don't use them very often.  So I pulled them out, and set about making my fireworks.  I started with an ATC-sized piece of glossy cardstock, and as I dripped each colour onto the paper, I hit it with a blast of canned air.  Instant firework splatters!  Once I was happy with my fireworks, I set them aside to dry for a little while, and then rubbed Distress ink in the lighter blue over the top of them.  The alcohol inks resist the Distress, so I was able to darken my white "sky" without losing the colours of my fireworks.

I added some embossed and sanded and inked and sanded pieces, and some frayed embroidery floss tied at the top, and I have my fireworks!

Some more views:

Then I got to work on my second tag:

Materials used:
 - Ranger Inkssentials Manila Craft Tags
 - Ranger Distress Ink: Aged Mahogany, Chipped Sapphire, Stormy Sky
 - Ranger Distress Stain: Aged Mahogany
 - Ranger Archival Ink: Cobalt, Vermillion
 - idea-ology Crinkle Ribbon
 - Core'dinations Tim Holtz Distress Collection: Pumice Stone
 - Sizzix Tim Holtz Texture Fades: Americana Background & Borders
 - Stamps by Tim Holtz for Stampers Anonymous: CMS145
 - Double-stick tape, foam dots from my stash

Here I just went for a classic Americana feel.  From Memorial Day, to Independence Day, to Labour Day, holidays are how we mark time in the summer.  

More views:

That's it for now!  Look for my June tag in the next couple of days!  :-)


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Challenge: Yin Yang Interpretation

Hello all!

This month I joined a private challenge, where the theme was "Yin Yang Interpretation".  I began thinking about the idea of opposites, and duality, and remembered a stamp I carved for a project a year or two ago, that I've been looking for a reason to use again.  It's an ambigram (which are some of my favourite things to carve!), where depending on how you view it, it either reads "saint" or "sinner".  From there, I pulled out my Distress paints and began to play.  Here's the finished result:

Materials used:
 - Ranger Inkssentials Manila Craft Tags
 - Ranger Distress Ink: Faded Jeans, Fired Brick
 - Ranger Distress Paint: Black Soot, Broken China, Brushed Pewter, Mustard Seed, Picket Fence, Spiced Marmalade, Tarnished Brass
 - Ranger Archival Ink: Deep Purple
 - idea-ology Grungeboard Elements
 - Gold ribbon, foam dots from my stash

Here's another view: 

And a look at the stamp from the other direction:

On the tag itself, I dotted my Distress Paints to give the illusion of clouds and flames, and then inked the Distress Inks over top.  Distress Paints resist the Distress Inks, so I got a nice effect of the lighter colours through the darker ink.

One thing I learned while painting the Grungeboard pieces was that if you use too much heat to dry a thick layer of Distress paint, it will begin to bubble, and the bubbles won't go away.  After this happened to me, I layered on more of my paint colours, and accepted the texture it gave me, but it's worth remembering that if you put a thick layer of paint on, you may want to be a bit patient with it, before pulling out your heat tool to force it dry.

That's all for now - hope you like it!  :-)


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Product Spotlight: Tsukineko Walnut Ink Antiquing Solution

Well, the #1 thing that you wanted to hear about was Walnut Ink!  Walnut ink is, in fact, derived from walnuts, and is used (among other things!) to darken paper for an antiqued look.

For a long time, crafters who wanted to work with walnut ink would start with walnut ink crystals, and would have to prepare them in a solution before they could craft.  More recently, pre-mixed solutions have become available, that allow you to get the same results without worrying about mixing ahead of time.  Tsukineko's line of solutions come in 8 colours:

Cherry Blossom





Terra Cotta



They are available in 2 oz. pump bottles, and 8 ml spritzers (pictured).  I have the smaller spritzers because they're easier to find at local craft stores, but when I use them up, I'll likely replace them with the larger bottles.  The nozzles on the spritzers are a tad...erratic.  They're workable, but occasionally frustrating.

So how do they work?  Well, there are a few things to know.  The solution is a dye ink, and it's going to layer over whatever you spray it on, while remaining translucent.  So they're going to work really well when you spray them on light colours, but I wouldn't recommend spraying them on black or dark colours, as they won't really be visible, and you'll just be wasting ink.  You can spray them over a printed surface, and the words will still show through (though they'll be hard to read if you use Java, which is a brown so dark it's almost black).

As a quick demo, I sprayed Eucalyptus (the darker of the 2 green shades) over pen on cardstock.

They're water-reactive, but not in the same way that Distress products are.  As soon as you spray them onto a dry surface like paper or cardstock, the ink will soak in almost immediately.  It'll be dry to the touch within about 30 seconds (though the core of the cardstock will take a little longer to dry).  When you spray it, you can actually see it soak into the surface in front of your eyes.  Hitting it with water at that point won't accomplish anything - it has virtually no open time.  However, if you spritz your surface with water BEFORE you spray the solution on, then when you do, you'll see it move and wick in all the fascinating ways that Distress does.

Where this gets particularly fun is when you're working with more than one colour.  If I lay down one colour on dry cardstock, and then lay a different colour over it, I'll see both of them, but they won't mix.

Here, I sprayed Willow first, and then followed it up with Cornflower.  
You can see the blue, but the green shows through as well.

When I wet my cardstock first, and add the Willow, it will immediately begin to move and spread.

Next, I add my Cornflower.  I can see the colours mixing together.

After a little time off to the side to dry, this is the result.

Sometimes, I don't want even colour all over the surface.  You can control both how concentrated the colour is, and the area it covers by how far away you spray from.  Here, I sprayed Cherry Blossom, Eucalyptus, and Terra Cotta.  The picture was taken immediately after I sprayed the Terra Cotta, and you can already see how much has soaked into the cardstock.

The same card after a little drying time.

So how might you use this in a project?  Glad you asked!  I whipped up a quick tag to demonstrate.  I started with a #5 manila tag, spritzed it evenly with water, and sprayed on Cherry Blossom, Cornflower, Lilac, and Willow, doing my best to only hit certain areas of the tag, and counting on the wet surface to help spread the colours.  Because I'm impatient, I pulled out my heat tool to speed-dry the tag.

I inked around the edges quickly with a little Distress ink (Brushed Corduroy), and stamped it up!  (Inks used were Archival: Cobalt, Deep Purple, Magenta Hue.  Stamps by Tim Holtz for Stampers Anonymous: CSS27911, CSS30201.)  Added a little string to the top (Maya Road Twine Cording: Celery Green), et voila!

The Walnut Inks make for a very pretty background!  Kinda like the effect I'd get by inking with a bunch of Distress inks or stains, but with a little less time, and a bit more permanence.

Some caveats: 
 - There are only 8 colours, so if you have all the Distress shades, you might not feel these are worth it.  
 - The sprays are a bit hard to control, at least on the little spritzers.  Tsukineko makes screw-on applicator caps that fit the larger bottles, essentially turning them into dabbers, but they're a bit hard to find.  None of the "big box" craft stores seem to carry them.  Joann's has them for sale online only, but they're only sold there as a 25 pack.  Be prepared to do a little Internet shopping if you're after them.

Additional notes: 
 - Shake them every time you use them, to make sure the solution is fully mixed.
 - Clean up with these was nice and easy.  I was working on my non-stick craft sheet, and the excess ink wiped right up with a paper towel, leaving a nice clean surface.  (The stains you see on the craft sheet in some of the pictures are from old projects!)  :-)
 - Tsukineko does also sell the crystals in the original walnut ink brown colour only, if you're really keen to try mixing your own solution.  Again, be prepared to shop online for those, as it's unlikely you'll find them locally.

All in all, these are a fun product for colouring pages and creating backgrounds, but if you already have a ton of Distress stuff, you might not feel these are worth the purchase.  However, if you perhaps already have them sitting in some dusty corner of your craft room, and you've never been sure just what to do with them (I can't be the only one who does this, right?), I hope I've given you some ideas!

I think that's everything I had to share, but if you have further questions, by all means add them to the comments!

'Til next time,

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Survey Says....

...Walnut Ink!  Full results below:

What should I survey next in Product Spotlight?

You'll note that due to the recent blog template update (how do you like it?  I thought we needed more colour around here!), some of the text at the bottom of the survey widget is a little hard to read.  It doesn't seem to be something I can change, so moving forward, I may use a different widget, but we have a little time to figure that out.

I was happy to see that for all the options presented, there were at least a couple people interested in learning more about them.  So I'll be starting with Walnut Ink, and continuing with the others, in order of popularity.  Look for the Walnut Ink post before the end of the weekend!

'Til then,

Monday, June 10, 2013

Now Seeking...Your Opinion!

Since last week's inaugural Product Spotlight post, several people have commented both here and on Facebook that they'd like to see more Spotlight posts, but no one suggested which products they'd like to learn more about.

So I created a little poll.  ------------------------->

Between now and Friday night, feel free to weigh in on which product you'd like to see me play with next for this blog.

I'll continue to publish surveys from time to time, so keep an eye out and give me your opinions.  And if there's something else you'd like to see reviewed, by all means, comment on this post with it, and I'll add it into the mix!  :-)

Happy Monday!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Product Spotlight: Ranger Inkssentials Craft Scrubbie

...a.k.a. "Ode to my Craft Scrubbie!"

Seriously, I love this thing!  I've been thinking about devoting a post to it, so here goes!  :-)

If you're not familiar with the Ranger Craft Scrubbie, it looks kind of like a bath-size bar of soap, but it's made out of grey foam, and super light.

And if you work with inks or paints that stain your hands all sorts of pretty shades, it's like magic for getting them clean again.  One of the things I hate when I'm crafting is getting ink on my hands, and then I touch a white area of my project, or switch to a new project, and boom!  There are fingerprints in whatever colours I've been working with.  To avoid that, I'll frequently duck away to the sink, give my fingers a quick scrub, and away I go again!

So how does it work?

Well, here I am, nicely stained with dried Distress paints:

I head to the sink, and wash with water, hand soap, and my scrubbie:

Et voila!

The scrubbie is a gently abrasive surface, that makes quick work of whatever's on my hands without scraping or harsh chemicals.  It basically just exfoliates the skin (and my fingers always feel a bit smoother when I've used it!).  

Here's another before-and-after, this time with Distress stain:


I've used it to remove alcohol ink, Staz-On, Archival ink, acrylic paint, and all manner of Distress products from my hands without any difficulty.  I even use it for non-craft purposes, to remove blue dye from my hands when I re-dye the streak in my hair!  (Anyone who's ever used Manic Panic know it stains skin almost instantly, and I rarely bother with gloves.)

In short, I have yet to stain my hands with anything this little scrubbie can't handle!  It is one of my favourite craft "tools"!  :-)


I'd like to make Product Spotlight a semi-regular feature on my blog.  I have a lot of random products and tools, and I'm more than happy to share about them, if there's perhaps something you've seen in the store, but you're not sure just what you can do with it.  :-)  

Please comment below if there's something you'd like to see me show/share/review, and I'll see what I can do!  

'Til next time!