Friday, December 8, 2017

Watercolor Monoprints - Altenew Blog Hop + Giveaway

It's Friday y'all - we made it!!!

I don't know why - but this has been the longest week EVERRRRRRR! But that all ends here, because today I'm part of a super fun blog hop with some friends and Altenew - and they have some super giveaways too, so go grab yourself a beverage and let's talk about FLOWERS. :)

Like you, I'm in awe of Altenew's florals. Their modern/vintage mashup style has produced some of my favorite stamp sets I've ever owned, and their December release is no different!

I live in a climate that is hard on flowers. Our soil temperature doesn't ever drop low enough for the beautiful flowers California grows, and we are relegated to the section of the seed catalog that says "ONLY NEEDS A HOT ROCK TO GROW ON," which is a pretty sad section, I'm not gonna lie.

So my flowers have to live in my stamp room, and they bloom in here in profusion, trust me.

One at Altenew in particular called my name - and that is the lovely new Peony Spray. I knew it was an excellent candidate for my stamp etching technique, and so that's what I did.

But first - I had to try out an idea I'd had for the Gel Press for the background. I wanted to use watercolor powders (Paper Artsy Infusions) and masking on the press - because the powder sticks to the plate, so I came up with a trick to create monoprints with a watercolor medium, similar to my trick for making dye reinkers viscous enough to print with. You can see that video here, and my video for today's trick is below the cards. It's been gloomy here this week, so I went with sunshine colors :).

Peony Spray Stamp & Die Bundle
[ ALTN ]
Peony Spray Die
[ ALTN ]
Flower Arrangement Stamp Set
[ ALTN ]
Flower Arrangement Die
[ ALTN ]
Mini Blossom Die Cutting Machine
[ ALTN ]
Strathmore? 300 Series 9" x 12"...
[ ART | SBC ]
Paper Artsy GOLDEN SANDS Infusions...
[ SSS ]
[ SSS ]
Stampin' Spritzer (126185)
[ SUP ]
Heat Tool (Us And Canada) by Stampin'...
[ SUP ]
Merry Little Christmas Designer...
[ SUP ]
Brutus Monroe RAVEN Ultra Fine...
[ SSS ]
Altenew EMBOSSING Ink Pad ALT1979
[ SSS | ELH | ALTN ]
Altenew JET BLACK Crisp Dye Ink Pad...
[ SSS | ELH | ALTN ]
Copic Multiliner SP 0.03 BLACK Ink...
[ SSS | ELH | ART ]
Whisper White 8-1/2" X 11" Cardstock...
[ SUP ]
Multipurpose Liquid Glue by Stampin' Up!
[ SUP ]
Gold Glimmer Paper by Stampin' Up!
[ SUP ]
Basic Black 8-1/2" X 11" Cardstock by...
[ SUP ]
Hero Arts Ombre Sequins SUNSHINE CH304
[ SSS | ELH | SBC | HA ]

Aren't those happy and fun? They were SO much fun to create, even though I totally did one of them backwards first (easy to do when monoprinting) and I left that mistake in the video so you can learn from my selfless sacrifice of a card front!

And I've been SQUEEING all week over my adorable new mini die cutting machine - look at this cutie!! It's only 6 x 4.5"!! It has little suction feet on it. You'll see it in my video - FINALLY a die cutter that will fit in my videos! I like to film with my Arkon Stand (20% off coupon below) pretty close to my desk for details - and so my Big Shot is just too big to fit in the frame. So this adorable Blossom machine is not just beautiful - with gold flowers all over it - it's super practical.

And I'm also excited to shop for this bundle - I have a lot of hearing impaired team members and blog readers - that's why I closed caption all my videos - and I've never seen anything this awesome. I heart it. AND they are donating a portion of the profits from the sale of this bundle to an organization that supports the deaf community. Love. 

And these ninjas might have to hop in my cart too - how cute are they?

Now before I move on to the video, I have to tell you about my favorite Christmas present, even though it's only December 8th. My friend Lori and I had both been working with Jane Blundell's ultimate watercolor mixing chart and it's AMAZING. She has hundreds and hundreds of colors she gets from a very limited palette. Now I have full set syndrome, so I own the full Daniel Smith line. But that's hard to travel with, and I never go anywhere without watercolor and a sketchbook. So we both decided we wanted her paper book on the subject so that we could always have this amazing reference book with us. Since we both wanted it, we decided we'd each buy it and call it our Christmas present to each other. How smart are we???

Here are a few samples from the preview of her amazing book - there are zillions of charts like these - and all from just 15 pigments. Amazing. So thanks Lori! :) If you like watercolor - this is an incredible tool.

So speaking of watercolor - here's my video, complete with large flub, and then when you're done - how about a giveaway?

So to celebrate this amazing hop, Altenew will be giving SIX lucky commenters a $50 shopping spree, AND I have a $30 Altenew shopping spree to give away as well, because - why not? So leave a comment on all the blogs in the hop by December 15th to be eligible for the Altenew giveaways, and also for my giveaway - just tell me what your favorite flower is in your comment! Winners will be announced here and on the Altenew blog on December 17th. 

Now on to the rock stars I'm hopping with! And please note - there are TWO Lydia's in this hop! What are the odds? Your next stop is the fabulous Lilith, and the full list is below.

Sveta Fotinia

Thank you for stopping by - I appreciate you!


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Breakfast With Artists & Foolproof Die Cutting

When I was in Ohio a few months back at a retreat, I went to one of my favorite breakfast spots - First Watch. They have this sweet & smoky Millionaire's Bacon that we all just love. They also have my favorite avocado toast.

When we had settled in and gotten coffee, we went to unwrap our silverware and we noticed that the paper wrapper was seriously awesome. It was black on kraft - a fave combo for all of us - and it had a PIG and it talked about BACON. At literally the same moment, we all looked at each other in amazement and a challenge was born.

We couldn't wait to get back to the ballroom where we were spending the weekend crafting and turn these into cards. It was Lori Craig, Jen Del Muro, Susan Opel and I - four people with very different styles. Since Jennifer McGuire missed breakfast with us, we decided that the "winner" would have to buy her bacon. (Not sure how that worked - she has a special mind control - especially when it comes to bacon!)

I knew I needed an adorable pig, so I hit up Jennifer's stamp collection and landed on the oh so adorable Hog Heaven from My Favorite Things. I had brought my Polychromos, and Gina had brought her Artist's Choice paper, which I wanted to try (I now have ten packages after trying it out on this card!) with pencils. Jennifer had the MFT Stitched Hearts Stax. Jana was sitting across from me with an incredible container of different sequin mixes, and I found one that matched my piggy - so this was my challenge entry, complete with the silverware band.
BB Hog Heaven Photopolymer Stamp Set
[ MFT | ELH | SSS ]
Die-namics BB Hog Heaven (3658)
[ MFT | ELH | SSS ]
Die-namics Stitched Heart STAX
[ MFT ]
Artist's Choice 110lb White Card Stock
[ GNK ]
Crumb Cake 8-1/2" X 11" Cardstock by...
[ SUP ]
Little Things From Lucy's Cards PINK...
[ SSS ]
Darice® Blank Cover Journal - Natural...
[ CNS ]
Darice® Blank Cover Journal - Natural...
[ CNS ]
Sizzix - Big Shot Express Machine...
[ SBC | BMS | SSS | ELH ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and...
Coloring Glove - Anti-Smudge
STAEDTLER Mars Plastic Eraser
Derwent Battery-Operated Eraser
Westcott iPoint Halo Electric Colored...
Global Art Classic Leather Pencil Cases
Sizzix Accessory - Cutting Pads,...
[ SZZ ]

Now in the list above, I've included some of my essential colored pencil supplies, because I get a lot of emails about these every time I post a pencil card. I highly recommend an anti-smudge coloring glove, the Ipoint sharpener, and the leather Global Art pencil cases. There are cheaper pencil cases - but there's a reason they are cheaper. Also, the Global cases are all the same size, even with different pencil capacities, so they stack nicely on a shelf. There's no better eraser than the Staedtler Mars - and it's latex-free - in case you're allergic, as I am. I also use the Derwent battery-operated eraser in my watercolor sketchbook.

I really loved the paper and the way the pencils looked on it. We had a blast doing this challenge, and really, at the end of the day, it encouraged us all to eat more bacon.

Here are everyone's cards laid out for voting - which eventually carried over to Facebook:

Bacon Contest Cards from Ohio

They are all so different and fun. I loved Lori's pop of yellow, Jen's beautiful background she made with a die, and Susan's witchcraft-level of awesomeness with contrasting patterned papers.

Before I go - like with my colored pencil questions - I see the same die-cutting question over and over again with people getting poor cuts on intricate dies. So here is my foolproof die cutting method so that I can link people to it instead of re-typing it 1000 times a week. :)
  • Clean, uncut plate on bottom. I use the colored plates I linked above for my clean plate so I have a visual cue to NEVER cut into the plate.
  • Die with blade up. 
  • Paper (tape if you need to). 
  • Bowed, grungy plate on top in mountain/convex orientation (helps keep them flat if you always do this.)
You will get 100% perfect cuts every time. The precision plate will dull your dies and you don't need it. 

This method works because it's the only one where the die doesn't flex - that's when you get poor cuts. The grungy plate flexes to meet a perfectly flat, even die. 

Also - at our retreat, Lori made these awesome journals for us with a custom cover - and I freaking love it! I've linked the little books in the supply list for the card above - in two sizes - 3x4 and 5x7. They are a great gift because when you are around creative people, you ALWAYS need to write down all the things they enable you to BUY :D. I love the art she created for the front.

If you have time during the holidays - go have a meal with a crafty friend. See if something inspires you - and then sit down and craft together - share your supplies and tools, and just see if it doesn't make the world a happier place. Just see.

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