Friday, February 24, 2012

Product Review: Paper Assortment by Shizen

Submitted at: Dick Blick
Item Description:
Exquisite and colorful handmade paper assortments and embellishments are perfectly coordinated for easy and unique holiday card making, gift decorating, or scrapbooking.

Each pack contains: Ten each of 3 sizes of patterned paper and two packs of sparkling embellishments. Paper sizes are (in inches) 4x4, 4x5 and 4x6. Price: $3.98/each

Currently available assortments are:

  • Cocoa/Moss/Coffee
  • Hot Purple/Hot Pink
  • Lilac/Lavender/Purple
  • Natural/Moss/Brown
  • Red/Orange/Yellow

My opinion:

I bought 2 packs of these: the Natural/Moss/Brown and the Beige/White/Ivory that was on clearance for a little less. I
love these paper assortments! They're perfect for mixed media collage and are very useful for those "I'm bored, let's try something new" moods.

There are
glitter and embossed pages, all perfectly sized for Art Journaling. I don't have an art background, nor was I an avid scrapbooker when I discovered Art Journaling, so I've enjoyed using these special-effect papers for the first time. Having only spent $4 for the entire pack, I had the freedom to go with my "crazy ideas" that sometimes end up in the trashcan. No guilt--just try something else next time :)

I'm happy with my purchase and plan on buying more in the future.

This product’s quality compared to similar, competitive alternatives is : Really nice

The price of this product compared to similar, competitive alternatives is : A fantastic deal

I have not been paid or reimbursed for this review. I paid for these as part of an order of art supplies, and my review is not prompted by any company, organization or affiliation.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mod Podge, Please Forgive Me

(I searched Pinterest for "Homemade Mod Podge" and chose this image from a random person's board.)

So, several months ago I defamed Mod Podge. I regret it now, though, in some cases. At the time, my personal preference ended up being 2 parts "school glue" to one part water, a little different from the blog standard of 50/50. And while I learned the hard way that it made my markers "run" and turned expensive special papers to slushy messes, I was ok with it. It's super-cheap, gets the job done and so it's became habit to be test-cautious then but overly-generous with it. And I'm not giving it up!

But I'm also going back to my dependable friend.

Mod Podge has been a friendly face at craft stores since before I was born (thank God at least something is!) Mod Podge Rocks! is one of my favorite blogs to read on a daily basis. Amy is awesome, and in November, after it was posted and re-posted 9 billion times on Pinterest, she wrote this article, in time for holiday crafting (very thoughtful, sincerely.) She let us know the reasons that school glue and water would not protect our treasures well, and in some cases (like me and the markers) the "make-your-own" would ruin your craft.

I've said before that I'm preparing for Spring already. This process includes going through art, schoolwork, sketchbooks and other random things to flesh out the special things, the little memories I'll want to look back on when my son is driving me insane in his teens (who am I kidding, he does it now!) and remember "the good old days."

You could not pay me enough money to coat these irreplaceable items with my homemade Mod Podge. It's startling how much my son's hands have grown since last Christmas (2010 I mean,) so no way am I entrusting 2011's best and brightest to 25 cent glue!

So I'm going back to the Mod Podge aisle for my refill...and I'm also going to try some of their other formulas while I'm at it; their Shimmer formula seems to fit my current "metallic/pearl" fixation.

I love you, Mod Podge!

An added thank-you to the makers of Mod Podge:
Last summer I made a pendant from a bezel using scrapbook paper and Dimensional Magic. Directions are very clear, and I'm emphasizing the importance of this to you now:
You must protect the paper by using a layer or two of Mod Podge--if not, the DM seeps through and ruins the project. This is what happened to me: I used one skimpy layer, and by the next morning, I could tell my bezel was not going to be worn...ever. But life got busy and time passed, and then I found the darn thing last night.
Did you know that another really awesome thing about Dimensional Magic is that you can correct your mistakes...sort of. The paper is ruined, of course, but the bezel itself can be salvaged by letting it steep in hot water--it loosens the bond and you begin again.
But months had passed, so I wasn't hopeful. But I thought it was worth trying. In just four hours using extremely hot water, I have a my bezel back! It is a little more "gunmetal" than the shiny silver it was, but that's cool with me.

So, I hope Plaid is feeling my love!!
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Glue Caps and Craft Paints: A Pinterest Success Story!

We've had a great long weekend - the "Winter Holiday," as its called by the school - and I have lots to write about and tons of photos to go through.

But I just love to post when something works for me the way it's "hacked" someplace online!! Something like this tidbit from my Pinterest craft board, from an unknown original source. (Although it's late and I'm exhausted, I might try again tomorrow):

Simply take the lid from any generic Elmer's look-a-like"school glue," wash the glue out and screw the sucker onto a 2oz craft paint bottle. Write away, my dears!
And it definitely works on Americana paints from Michael's:
and I'm willing to bet it works on the larger 8oz craft paint bottles as well, I just didn't have one close by. For me, Art Journaling just got one step easier!

I already tend to keep little bottles and jars, so I plan on keeping my "empties" and putting "real" acrylics or watercolors into them. They are so easy to carry with the right bag, but not in my current tackle-box-turned-art-kit. They fit perfectly in small gift bags, just make sure you use a reinforced one and not a paper one--paint is heavy ;P

This is also another reason for me to get to painting and use (REDUCE!) what I've got :)

Happy Mon-Wednesday everyone! (It's Wednesday already?? Ugh, holiday hangover....)
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Blueberry Tea, Vampires and My Art Kit

I am sipping some hot blueberry herbal tea, and pondering why it's a beautiful shade of pink:
I don't care what the groundhogs said--it's spring already.  Maybe not to gardeners, or meteorologists--but trust me, we ain't getting snow this year!  It's going to be warmer and warmer, and then the sweltering heat will be upon us.

So, with Spring in mind--fruity herbal teas are my current passion.  My son calls the coffeemaker the "teamaker," isn't that cute?  I do drink coffee, but I drink herbal tea almost every day, so that's what he thinks it's for.  My favorites right now are blueberry, peach and french vanilla; I never would have thought I'd like French Vanilla tea, but I do!

I received my "Bella's Dress" edition of Breaking Dawn Part 1 on Valentine's Day.  I love it, and yes, I have turned into a 13-year-old girl:  I hung the fabric poster on my wall :)  The box itself is beautiful and destined to be used in a mixed media art piece.

Speaking of art, I have some new goodies to play with.  I have 3 different brand bottles of ink: very dark purple, pearl pink and green.  I also bought 8 Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Artists' Crayons, but we haven't gotten to play much.  I bought a set of Blick brand pastels, and I've had a lot of success with those.  I made a beautiful sunrise (or sunset) over the ocean on a random piece of foamboard.  However, I won't be doing that again; the water makes the paper peel up off the board.  

Lesson learned: not all paper is good art paper! 

These are pictures of my Art Box with my new things mixed in with the old.  Not for bragging; I've realized I love taking photos of art stuff. 
Paper and canvas panels are in a book bag along with the set of pastels and Gel Sticks.  Here's my tackle box turned Art Kit:
The top level has my glue stick, water mister, tiny tube of gouache, art pens, Neocolor IIs, plain chalk, scissors and a recycled bottle to hold my Mod Podge.  I need to use another glue bottle like that to hold gesso, or add a bottle of titanium white craft paint.
The bottom level has the watercolor pan, the rest of my Big Brush pens, paintbrushes and white-out (which is awesome!)  It used to hold my Mr. Sketch markers, til they ruined a piece on me; now they are forbidden to the depths of my craft supplies storage!
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

So Cute!!

I'm bored, and felt the desire to see what's up on Etsy.  I love Etsy!  Anyway, I came across this delicious beauty:

And now I want a Kindle just so I can have this case for it ;P  Seriously, I want a Kindle--are you happy now, Universe??  I admitted it: I want a Kindle!!

This does not go with my REDUCE goal at all........

In the description, it says: Life is more fun with Sprinkles!!!  This may become a new life motto :)

DanielleLondon has so many more adorable things in her Etsy shop, so go check her out!

Life is more fun with Sprinkles!!!

Life is more fun with Sprinkles!!!

Life is more fun with Sprinkles!!!

Life is more fun with Sprinkles!!!

Well, sprinkles and fonts, apparently, lol.
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Product Review: Sakura Identi-Pen Dual-Point Marking Pen

Submitted at: Dick Blick

Item Description:
The Sakura Identi-Pen has a fine-point marker on one end and an extra-fine tip on the other.  This pen will write on virtually anything. Use it on fabric, metal, glass, ceramics, rubber, leather, photographs, etc. It is permanent on most surfaces, as well as fade-resistant and waterproof. Available in Black, Blue, Brown, Green, Orange, Purple, Red and Yellow.

My Opinions:
The "extra fine" tip is the same as the Pitt Pens Medium tip or the 05 Pigma Microns; their "fine" point is slightly larger than the Pitt Pen Brush and about the same as the Sharpie Metallic Fine Point Marker.

I was really surprised at how wide their "fine" point is; it really writes more like a marker. No bleed-thru though, and since these are only $1.56 and dual-tipped, they are an excellent addition to my collection and in particular to my "grab and go" drawing kit. Both tips are reliable, with no skipping or smearing of the ink.

Oh! As a unique bonus: this was the ONLY pen that could write on the very glossy pages of my altered book art journal--it was a lonely children's book with excellent illustrations, so I'm keeping most of the art and I've been painting the "backgrounds" with flat acrylic craft paint so far so that my other supplies have something with "teeth" to keep them from rolling off the paper. I made the mistake of using gloss craft paint and it was the same slippery surface, but this pen worked very well even on that.

Overall, this may not be my favorite pen, but it's worth the money just to have more room for more art supplies in my kit. I'll be buying more!

This product’s quality compared to similar, competitive alternatives is:
Really nice
The price of this product compared to similar, competitive alternatives is:
A fantastic deal

I have not been paid or reimbursed for this review.  I paid for these as part of an order of art supplies, and my review is not prompted by any company, organization or affiliation.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Breaking Dawn, Part 1

I hope you all are having a great Friday.  And for the Twilight fans, the day has arrived!  My copy is coming from Wal-Mart; it has the dress detail packaging and a poster of Bella and Edward from the wedding.  Yay!   Realistically, it will most likely never get up on the wall, but maybe....  Or good collage material.  :)

The Target edition has a special preview from Breaking Dawn Part 2which I believe will be easily found online by this afternoon!  Poster vs. competition.

I tried to link a photo of the Wal-Mart packaging, but I can not figure out how to do that right now.   I'm sincerely trying to limit my online time, so just follow the pretty blue links, ok?
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Product Review: Niji Pearlescent Watercolor Pan Set

I thought I would begin to post my reviews from other sites here as well.  ( I have around 90 book reviews on!) 
First up is a brand new favoriteIve been into pearl colors lately, as opposed to glitter, satin or gloss.  I got these in the mail yesterday from Blick online.  I love these!!  And for $3...even better!

Submitted at: Dick Blick

Pearl and Opaque

This is a set of beautiful pearl watercolors, and at $2.99, it's a great value as well. The range of colors is surprising, and while the colors can be translucent, they are also easily layered and were opaque within 2-3 layers. Either way, the shine on these is perfectly amazing in the light. I've used these on gesso, on plain paper in my sketchbook ("heavy weight" 117 gsm) as well as on 90lb watercolor paper—and the colors and shine were consistent on all 3.

I'm also able to write on these once they're dry; I experimented with a Pitt Pen, a metallic Sharpie and a Big Brush Pen ("marker,") and all 3 were visible even on the most opaque sections. Use a light touch if you want to preserve anything under these.

The only drawback to this set is that there isn't a "real" black; the closest is a dark silver-gray. (It's beautiful though, very similar to "black pearls!")

I highly recommend this purchase! At such a low price, even if you use these watercolors just once, they're worth the money.

This product’s quality compared to similar, competitive alternatives is:
Best in its category
The price of this product compared to similar, competitive alternatives is:
A fantastic deal

I have not been paid or reimbursed for this review.  I paid for these as part of an order of art supplies, and my review is not prompted by any company, organization or affiliation.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

REDUCE: Mindless Web-surfing

Last year, around the end of April, I discovered Art Journaling.  It saved me, in more ways than one.  I started with my son's art supplies, and moved on to "grown-up" art supplies: I bought some of Faber-Castell's new Big Brush Markers last year from Dick Blick, and while I do enjoy them, they were a "safe" purchase, one I was comfortable with at the time.

Color Gelatos: BLUE/GREEN
As I was looking around for more info about the Big Brush Markers, I found out about the new line of "Gelatos" that were soon to be released.  These looked like fun--I've always loved crayons, and I thought it would be cool to experiment with a crayon-like medium that moves, blends, and changes texture on the page.  But EXPENSIVE!

Gel Sticks
Then, I saw these Gel Sticks on Journal Girl's website.  They bear a very close resemblance to gelatos, don't they?  It was very hard to find them, though.  I searched and searched, and I ended up buying them from Faber-Castell's CHILDREN'S art supplies section (completely different from the other supply sections; all of them can be accessed here.) I paid for them (AND shipping--I hate paying for shipping--Amazon has ruined me!) and they arrived in all their creamy goodness today.  

Sooooooo....what's the problem?  Instead of sitting here and playing with the art supplies at hand (literally--they're sitting right next to me) I've spent the last 4 hours playing around on the Internet, searching and searching for...I'm not sure what I'm searching for!

There is a time and place in my day for the Internet.  But it's not four hours of my day!  Now that I've realized what I'm doing, I'm going to try to keep my eyes on what is around me: my cat, my art supplies, my husband, and my son.  I'm extremely lucky to have these, and they deserve my time.
Reduce: wasting time on the Internet!!
A side note: I've only played World of Warcraft one day since I reactivated my account; even in this new zone, it's just not holding my interest anymore....
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Thursday, February 2, 2012

World of Warcraft

I've reactivated my World of Warcraft account.  I'm actually playing an Alliance character, a Worg.  Something new!  So I might not be around as much...but I'll be back soon!!

The art above is not my work.  I got it from Blizzard's fan art section.  I could spend hours going through it all--they have all of it, starting from when WoW began in 2004.
(Can you believe I have active WoW characters older than my child?)
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Happy Groundhog Day!

I've always loved Groundhog Day.  I think it's a fun and silly tradition that shows we do have a sense of humor as a country.  :) 

We own both the "baby" groundhog and the regular one ("Chuck") from Build-A-Bear.  It is the softest BAB I've ever had.  James and I tend to fight over who gets to hug Chuck all night.  Most of the time he hangs out with our other stuffed animals, but I've brought him out to have James judge Chuck's behavior.  I believe it's going to be an early spring though--we haven't had much "winter" so either we'll have snow in April, or record highs in March.

Turns out that James seemed to forget what the point is, lol.  He was singing a song about it on Tuesday and now has no clue--darn kids! ;P
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