Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Spritzed Acetate Backgrounds

I'd say that 99% of the time, I begin a card by stamping my image onto white cardstock and then coloring it in with my favorite medium (colored pencils blended with Gamsol, of course). I certainly love this look and will never tire of it!

But every once in a while, it's fun to try something different, like today's projects made by Debbie Fisher. Take this delightful scarecrow card, for example, which contains stamps from 11196MC Autumn Fields Clear Set (drawn by artist Nancy Baier):

See that beautifully soft yet vibrant background? It's such a neat look because the colors remain distinctive while also melding into each other where they meet. Perhaps the best part is that it's so easy to do!

Debbie's first step was to apply wide bands of color onto acetate (Clear Cardstock would also work) using water-based markers, beginning with the lightest color and following with darker colors:

Next, she spritzed the acetate with a fine mist of water:

Then Debbie placed her tag face-down onto the watery, colored acetate. After carefully lifting the tag and allowing it to dry completely, she stamped and colored as usual. 

Here's another example using other stamps from that same clear set:

You may have noticed this week's card on the main Inky website features the same spritzed acetate background:

Change your markers, and you'll get completely different results:

The cool palette that Debbie chose above works great with the little Frankie from 11193MC Halloween Monsters HoneyPOP Clear Set (drawn by artist Tammy DeYoung). Very Halloweenie, don't you think? What kind of card will YOU try spritzing, Inky friends?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Funnies: Differences Between Men & Women

Sometimes I marvel at the differences between men and women, and I wonder how we manage to get along and communicate with each other at all. Not that don't share any similarities whatsoever (such as a married couple that has common goals, for example), but the way we discuss things can vary so greatly.

Case in point:

Woman 1: Oh! You got a haircut! That’s so cute!

Woman 2: Do you think so? I wasn’t sure when she was gave me the mirror. I mean, you don’t think it’s too fluffy looking?

Woman 1: Oh gosh, no! No, it’s perfect. I’d love to get my hair cut like that, but I think my face is too wide. I’m pretty much stuck with this, I'm afraid.

Woman 2: Are you serious? I think your face is adorable. And you could easily get one of those layer cuts–that would look so cute. I was actually going to do that myself, except that I was afraid it would accentuate my long neck.

Woman 1: Oh, that’s funny! I would love to have your neck! Anything to take attention away from this two-by-four I have for a shoulder line.

Woman 2: Are you kidding? I know girls that would love to have your shoulders. Everything drapes so well on you. I mean, look at my arms–see how short they are? If I had your shoulders, I could get clothes to fit me so much easier.

Compare the above dialogue to this one:

Man 1: Haircut?

Man 2: Yeah.

Here's another example from the TV show Friends:

It's not just the way we talk that is different, but also how we purchase products and services:

I'd imagine the "guy way" of shopping would be so much simpler, and perhaps even more effective:

Do women make things more complicated than necessary? Probably so:

But it expands our options, too:

It's more socially acceptable for women to show a wide range of emotions, which has both its pros and cons:

And while both genders can be Type A "planners," in our house it looks more like this:

My husband has forgotten his toothbrush, belt, shoes, and matching socks, all for the same trip. At least he remembered clean underwear, I guess, but still...

I like to think that, although we may be polar opposites in many ways (not all of which are due to gender, but simply our individual personalities), on our better days we greatly complement each other. And on not-so-great days, at least we can usually laugh about it later on!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Sparkly Stained Glass

We're celebrating the arrival of autumn with a card on our main Inky site that features the warm color palette of turning leaves and a lovely inspirational message:

Michelle Pearson created the above card with 11200MC Squirrel & Acorns Clear Set (drawn by artist Nancy Baier), and then she used the same set to get really fancy with the Sparkly Stained Glass technique:

The results are so sparkly, with all that beautiful glitter to capture your attention! It's easy to do, and the bold lines of these designs from our Handcarved Autumn collection work beautifully here.

"One tip is to stamp on acetate with Stazon ink," suggests Michelle. "Glitter the back of the image starting with the darkest color of glitter first. Keep your glue as thin as you can. The first time I did it on the acorns, the glue was too thick and it dried, and [now] I can see a white smudge where the thick glue was."

"Gradually work your colors lighter as you go," she continues, "tapping off [the glitter from] the image well in between. I do this while wet because it would take FOREVER [to wait for each section to dry] otherwise. I don't have a problem, as long as I'm careful not to get my fingers in it."

Stamps from Nancy's Scissor-Cut Scenes collection also work very well. In this main image from 11220MC Bear & Bees Clear Set, Michelle used a variety of contrasting glitter colors that work beautifully together:

"Once [the glittered image is] dry," says Michelle, "I trim my images out and then attach to my card with glue dots."

That's exactly what she did in this version, where the main image is colored more conventionally with Copic markers and the glittered pieces serve as a bright accent:

Today's final card is a mix of both sparkly and matte elements, which work together in perfect harmony:

"Bonus...you will have glittery dust bunnies after doing this technique!" tempts Michelle.

Have YOU made your own Sparkly Stained Glass cards, Inky friends?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Funnies: Unusual Products From Amazon

As we enter the fall and winter months, soon many of us will be starting to shop for holiday gifts. As for myself, I prefer to wait until December, when the pressure is on!

But for those early birds among us, I'd like to show you a few ideas for super weird unique gifts that are sure to elicit gasps of terror delight from surprised recipients. Even better, they're all available on Amazon.com, one of my favorite online shopping sites.

Let's start with this distinctive singing vegetable:

It's the Yodelling Pickle, which can be yours for only $10.94.

One of the reasons I like Amazon so much is the helpful reviews, which cover the pros and cons so I can feel like an informed buyer. Here are three of them I found especially enlightening:

Review #1
My twelve year-old niece asked for the Justin Bieber CD for Christmas, so I bought her this yodeling pickle. Nobody so far can tell the difference.

Review #2
Now the age old question, from the beginnings of the internet, emerges. Two Hutzler banana slicers, or one yodeling pickle?

Review #3
I was sitting down to my usual dinner of a bologna sandwich and a Dr. Pepper, when I chanced upon this gem of a product. I looked at my plate and commanded my vlassic to croon me with some dinner music, but alas, the preseved cucumber in brine just sat there, looking rather foolish as it pretended not to hear me. As if.

No more must I put up with a prima donna heinz that demands crystal glasses and silver plates before it hums a few bars of the theme from the Love Boat... no, now I command my pickle to yodel, and it is so.

* * *

If you were hoping the Yodelling Pickle was edible, you'll be sadly disappointed. Instead, you may wish to check out these alternatives: Pickle Candy Canes or Pickle Gumballs.

Looking for something a little more fanciful? How about this carefully preserved gem:

That's right, who can resist Canned Unicorn Meat? Besides, everyone knows that consumable items make some of the most practical and thoughtful presents!

And now for the reviews:

Review #1
I was pleasantly surprised by the unicorn meat, even though canned. It is more tender than the centaur I've had, and far less stringy than faun. My only concern is that after feeding it to my infant son, his diaper was filled with skittles.

Review #2
I bought this item because I am planning on making my famous Unicorn Casserole for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. It arrived quickly and in good condition, and as it is a canned product, did not require any special refrigeration in shipping.

I've used this company's unicorn meat for years. My casseroles always come out perfectly, with a rich, strong flavor of sunshine and rainbows. Be forewarned, though: unicorns are not as big as you think. If you are planning a large casserole, you may need to have more unicorn meat than what is in the can.

Review #3
My daughter couldn't stop crying when I served this for dinner, although maybe it was just gas from the deep-fried fairy appetizer.

* * *

By the way, if unicorn isn't your thing, you could always opt for Canned Dragon Meat.

Last but not least, for something non-food related, why not consider this useful element from nature:

This tin of Uranium Ore is more expensive than the other products above, so it's only suitable for those with a higher budget. However, its practical uses are endless, as noted below:

Review #1
I'm buying this for my wife who happens to be a geologist. I truly believe nothing says "I love you" like uranium 238. Except plutonium.

Review #2
Magic stuff. Been taking 1 spoon a day for 3 weeks. I can now type this review using all 12 fingers.

Review #3
Mixed this in with rose fertilizer and have blooms nearly one foot in diameter! Drawback is I can't cut them, as they growl at me whenever I get near them with the scissors...and they've eaten several small birds and a stray kitten...

* * *

So, there you go, some gems to add to your gift-giving list! Which one will YOU be adding to your shopping cart, Inky friends?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Stamped Acrylic Block Backgrounds

Acrylic blocks have been around since before I started stamping in 1996. (Yep, I'm dating myself here!) They've always been useful as a temporary mount for rubber dies, and then with polymer stamps when those came onto the scene many years later.

However, it wasn't until fairly recently that we started seeing them being utilized as a "stamp" of sorts themselves. Somebody got the brilliant idea to ink up their acrylic block and put it to paper, with lovely results.

Michelle Pearson likes this technique because "it is very quick and easy and beautiful...I tapped the distress pads on my long acrylic block before spritzing with water and stamping on watercolor paper."

You can find a step-by-step tutorial here, which outlines the process she followed using 11069SC Soaring Eagle Clear Set to make this card:

"For other [cards]," continues Michelle, "I dragged the ink pad through the inked blocks for contrast." Here's an example created with 11073SC Shining Lantern Clear Set:
The card above shows slight variations in color, whereas this one featuring 11070SC Songbird Clear Set contains greater contrast:

And for even more variety, Michelle explains, "[on] others I used my markers to make random patterns before spraying and stamping."

The resulting bold splashes of color are really striking:

The stamps from both 11013SC Brushed Calligraphy #2 Clear Set and 11071SC Holy Spirit's Fruit Clear Set work great for this fun technique!

I think the "wet" watercolor look of the horizontal darker green stripes mimics the juicy pear theme here:

Have YOU tried stamping backgrounds with acrylic blocks, Inky friends? Did you like how your projects turned out?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Funnies: Favorite Cartoons Follow-Up

Congrats to Sue D, whose name was drawn randomly from these blog candy entries.

Sue D said...
Hope these links work. They crack me up. They are from a blog called The Chicken Chick but are not about chickens...[links included]
September 6, 2014 at 12:38 PM

These are the photos that Sue had linked to:

I also said that we'd mail a goodie to my personal favorite entry. After pondering the options, I chose Denise Bryant's submission.

Denise said...
I love all the Grumpy Cat pics that are so popular right now! Here is one of my favorites!
[Submitted via email]

(Sue D and Denise, please email me with your address by September 30th to claim your secret prizes.)

If you're wondering about the Grumpy Cat that Denise referred to, this is the example she sent:

"Grumpy Cat" is a nickname given to an angry-looking snowshoe cat that rose to fame online after its pictures were posted to Reddit in September 2012. The cat's real name is Tardar Sauce.

Memes featuring this frowning feline spread quickly, with crabby quotes plastered all over Tardar Sauce's photos:

There are not one, but two, Grumpy Cat books that have been published:

Grumpy Cat also has apps, including a plug-in for the Weather Kitty app:

(I just downloaded the GrumpyBomb app, where Grumpy Cat photobombs your pics, but I haven't had a chance to play with it yet.)

You can even buy Grumpy Cat merchandise, such as t-shirts, mugs, and even a droll-looking plush animal:

Similarly, Grumpy Grandma was an instant online hit:

This one made me giggle:

Apparently, Grumpy Grandma really made the rounds:

Thanks to everyone who made time to participate last week. I hope your day is a decidedly NON-grumpy one!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Zentangle-Style Stamping

Have you tried tangling with your stamps? No, I don't mean getting into a wrestling match with your wood mounts! I'm talking about the Zentangle method of drawing structured patterns.

You may remember when we first showed this technique on our blog a few weeks ago. Michelle Pearson had creatively filled in the upper part of the hot air balloon image from 11255MC Balloon Kitties Clear Set (drawn by artist Maria Woods, also available as 7005J in wood mounted):

"Real Zentangle is done on square tiles," explains Michelle. "You draw a square and then a 'string,' which is some sort of swirly line around in the box, and then tangle each section differently.

"I’m not a real tangler, so I can can do anything I wish! For this one, I just sorta drew my 'string' where the shadow lines fell. I decided to do a tangle design with more black areas in the shadowed areas and a lighter design in the highlighted areas of the pot. The heart was just an afterthought…kinda like a mosaic flower pot!"

"For the quilt [on this next card], I wanted to go for a crazy quilt effect," Michelle continues, "so I just made my quilt squares and tangled in them."

Her quilt pattern really adds pizzazz and provides a unique focal point, which is made with the adorable bulldog image from 11257MC Get Well Pups Clear Set (drawn by artist Maria Woods):

"For the vase [shown below], I just was playing...you can see on my blog post how differently the vases look when I tangle them with different designs," offers Michelle.

She made three Zentangle-style cards, which are all neat, but of course we're biased toward the one that features a lush honeycomb paper flower (made with 11102SC Fabulous Flowers HoneyPOP Clear Set, designed by Michelle herself):
Michelle also designed 11104MC Simple Sentiments Clear Set, which contains the "You add sunshine" saying. The dry embossed background, die-cut greenery, and vintage button (flower center) from her grandma's collection make the perfect finishing touches on this pretty project.

Although I'm not very confident in my own doodling skills, Michelle's cards have piqued my interest in giving this a try. What about you, Inky friends? Have you done it before, or are you thinking you might tangle with your stamps sometime in the near future?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Funnies: Favorite Cartoons

One of my all-time favorite cartoons is this:

Followed very closely by this (in fact, I'm not sure which one I like better):

What specific cartoon makes YOU laugh every time, Inky friends? Describe it (accompanied by an online link, if possible, but not required) in the comments section below OR email it to me, and you'll be entered in our BLOG CANDY drawing to win. We're going to keep this open a bit longer than usual, and accept contributions through Thursday, September 11th.

On Friday, September 12th, I'll randomly choose the winner for a secret prize and post the lucky person's name here on the blog. I will also choose my personal favorite entry, and that person will win a prize, as well. So please take a few minutes to join in the fun, and then be sure to check back next Friday to see if you've won!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Try It Different" Tuesday: Beautiful Backgrounds, Part 2

Last week, we introduced our new Beautiful Backgrounds collection by Inky artist Nancy Baier. You saw how these lovely 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" cling mounted stamps can be used in a variety of ways: Start by stamping with black ink, and then decide if you want to color with your favorite media, "spotlight" portions of the image with color, or leave the whole image uncolored to provide a background design that offsets other elements on the card. Or start with an inked piece of cardstock, and heat emboss the black ink with clear powder to give the design a glossy finish.

Today's first few projects continue with the concept of heat embossing but take it in different directions. For example, you can create an elegant tone-on-tone look by using a VersaMark ink pad and clear powder on colored cardstock, such as in this simple yet striking teal, white, and black card:

A coordinating strip from CLS-003 Sm. Blooms & Butterflies Strips Cling Mount Set that has been stamped and then embossed with white powder adds contrast and draws your eye around the card. The sentiment, which is from 11254MC Script Sentiments #2 Clear Set (or 6511G in wood mounted), is a personal favorite that I'd saved for months and couldn't wait to add as a stamp.

Want to make that CLB-004 Garden Flowers Background Cling Mount Stamp have a totally different appearance? Take a look at how it's shown here:

It's embossed again, but this time with white powder that serves as a resist for Distress Inks applied with a blending tool...wow, what a difference, huh? I just love the versatility of these stamps!

Here is the exact same technique with another image (CLB-005 Tropical Background Cling Stamp) and sentiment (1254MC Script Sentiments #2 Clear Set or 6404E in wood mounted) from this collection, and a smaller range of colors:

Not in the embossing mood at the moment? What about applying different colors of ink onto the rubber with sponge daubers and then stamping:

The watercolored sky background and vellum sentiment overlay lend a soft touch to this pretty card. (Do you recall last week's yellow bird card? Such a contrast!)

Or you can go bold...start with the same multi-colored ink sponging method, or use a rainbow pad as shown below, but fill in the background areas with a black marker:

(It's another big change from our previous example using CLB-003 Leaves Background Cling Stamp.)

Which technique from today and last Tuesday do you like best, Inky friends? Leave a comment letting me know your favorite, and you'll be entered in a BLOG CANDY drawing to win a prize from this collection.

On Sunday, September 7th, I'll randomly choose the winner and post the lucky person's name here on the blog, so please check back to see if you've won!