Monday, September 29, 2008

Diffused Color Background Tutorial

Today I tried the technique challenge over on SCS, which called "Batik, the colorwash way". The instructions were to make your own 'colorwash' by placing several drops of re-inkers into a mini mister (or similar small spray bottle) and then adding water to the mister. Shake to mix. Mist your watercolor paper, one color at a time, dabbing with a paper towel if you get too much color, or to help blend blobs you may get. Well, believe it or not, I dont have any mini misters or spare spray bottles and I always thought of a 'colorwash' in terms of a water coloring technique. Specifically the wet-on-wet colorwash technique. So, I decided to give my way a try and see how it turned out. The results were fun and vibrant so I made up a tutorial on how I accomplished this card in case you want to give it a try.

You will need:

Watercolor paper ~ Versa mark ink ~ Clear Embossing Powder ~ 2 or three dye-based re-inkers ~ 2 paint brushes (one small one large/broad) ~ an embossing heat gun ~ 2 sheets of copy paper ~ Iron set on high - no steam ~ and of course some rubber stamps (I used Artful INKables Autumn's Flowers)

Step 1: Stamp your images using versa mark onto your watercolor paper. Apply your clear embossing powder and heat until embossing powder is melted.

Step 2: Fill a cup full of clean water and let your large broad brush soak some up. Liberally brush water all over the embossed piece of watercolor paper...a bit of pooling is fine.

Step 3: Add some drops of your re-inkers to a small paint palette or tray and using your smaller brush, fill it with plenty of pigment and touch it to the water on your watercolor paper. It is kind of fun to watch it diffuse through the water around the embossed images. As the color lightens, add more drops of pigment until you get your desired intensity and coverage. (Color used in sample is soft sky.)

Step 4: Move on to your next color. (I used more mustard.) As you move on to other colors and different areas of the piece of watercolor paper, you may need to add a bit more water so that the pigment still flows freely from your small brush.

Step 5: If you are using a third color, move on to it in the next step. (Ruby red was used here.) Be sure to fill in all white areas of the paper that aren't covered in embossing. Set it aside to dry for a bit.

Step 6: Now place your watercolor paper onto a sheet of your text weight paper (embossed side facing up) and place another on top of your watercolor paper (to protect your iron). Using your iron press the watercolor paper until the embossing is melted and absorbed into the copy paper. You can check to see if it's all done by lifting the copy paper and if you still see shiny embossed areas, keep ironing.

Step 7: Use your watercolor wash batik in your project as desired.

I finished up my card using some yummy ribbon my husband found at a yard sale...of all places! I also layered the quote on More Mustard and Tangerine Tango cs and added a small tag stamped with the acorn and colored with copics.

If you liked this tutorial, please kindly leave me a comment so I can know what you think! Who knows, I may even start doing tutorials more often! :D

Friday, September 26, 2008

Im Nuts! (for you)

Today I bring you a creation from our final new release set: 'Deer Friends'. I have been wanting to stamp this image like this since I designed the set! I just think that chipmunk looks so smug on top of his pile of nuts. In fact, my dh thought I should draw the image this way but I thought it didn't leave much room for variety. As it is, you can stamp the chippy alone, with lots or a little nuts. It just takes a bit of masking to get it to look like YOUR creation.
I shamelessly borrowed my layout from one of my talented design team members, Jenn Muraoka. I thought the little circles down the side would lend themselves so well to the cut out nuts! Thanks Jenn for the inspiration. And speaking of the DT and sure to check out Terri's, Beth's and Pam's cards using this set! There are so many new critters here and all the creations are different, cute and gorgeous! Be sure to see if you can spy the discount code they are sharing with their blog readers as could save 10% on your entire order on top of the free shipping for orders over $40.
Please Note: I will be updating the company site today to add all these great new creations with the recently released sets so be sure to check it out later.
Recipe for today's card:
Stamps: Deer Friends by AI
Paper: DP from Stampin' up & card stock in Chocolate Chip, Garden Green and White
Ink: Stampa Rosa Black
Accessories: 3/4" circle punch, forest grosgrain ribbon, dimensionals, Copic markers and post-it notes for masking.
Thanks for lookin'! :D

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Charming Leaf Card...For You

I wasnt planning on sharing a project today since Jenn, Pam and Beth have some lovely samples on their blogs to share with you using our newly released 'Autumn's Flowers' set. (Im so lucky to have such a talented group of designers on my team...these samples are real beauties. ) However, I just couldnt help myself when I saw they were having a "Charming Challenge" over on SCS. I mean, what could be more 'up my alley' than charms? I love them! Infact, I love them so much I recently purchased a bunch to coordinate with our stamp sets that you can purchase in the store. *wink*

So I pulled out my charm stash and knew immediately which one I needed to use to coordinate with the 'set of the day', Autumn's Flowers! Isn't that falling leaf charm just perfect? I love how the card came out all light and breezy too even though it is a fall theme card. I used my trusty SU! markers today (decided to give the copics a break, lol) in Old Olive, Really Rust, More Mustard, Ruby Red & Bravo Burgundy. Then I cut the piece to be 1 3/4 inches square and anything outside that area was cut out on the lines. I also stamped an extra leaf which was colored and cut our separately. I picked a small sentiment from our Basic Sentiments set and stamped it in the lower corner and then mounted it all on a 2x2 inch square of Kiwi Kiss with the extra leaf falling off the side. Other papers used are Groovy Guava, Whisper White and Old Olive. The decorative paper is by Bo Bunny and the satin ribbon is by SU! I did score the piece of guava paper vertically to give some texture but it isnt readily apparent in this picture, sorry!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Foxy Friend

We started with the Pond Friends* and moved onto Froggy Friend* and Daring Ducky*, threw in a little Stay Cool* and now we introduce some adorable little forest animals from Critter Country*. Can you tell I love my cute animals? I also love designing sets that can create a scene and are interchangable with each other. Both newly released sets Critter Country and Deer Friends have parts to create a scene and can be used together since they are drawn in the same style and are in the same scale. Plus they are super fun to color! :D

The card I'm sharing today uses elements from Critter Country for the main panel. I masked the fox and added the stump below, so he could get comfortable on his little perch. Another mask was added to the stump so some weeds and grasses could round out the scene. Copics were used to color the card...I had such fun with this!! I just wish I had kept track of all the colors I used - there were just SO many! lol Card stock colors are garden green, tangerine tango and really rust by SU! and white by Georgia Pacific. Black ink is my trusty Stampa Rosa Watercolor pad. I stole a stamp out of my Deer Friends set to stamp the leaf background and tied it all up with some yummy orange satin ribbon.

The Ink Girls (my Design Team) have each been assigned certain sets each day to create projects to inspire you. Today it's me, Julia and Jenn and so be sure to hop on over to their blogs to admire what they have to share. Also, be on the look out for a code they are sharing that will save you money when you order!

* Artful Inkables set names...see our store for images.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Butterfly Blessings...a NEW set to share!

Autumn is in the air here in Utah and at Artful INKables! Today we release four new stamp sets that are beyond the ordinary. These new sets have a definite fall feel without being too seasonal - so you can use them year round. My design team and I will be sharing some fun projects with you this week using these new sets. We hope to excite and inspire you but not tease you. Any time you want to purchase any of our new sets, just hop on over to the store and feel free. And while you are there, be sure to check out all the fun new charms we are now carrying as well.

The first project I want to share with you uses my favorite of the new sets being released, Butterfly Blessings. The whimsical leaf butterfly can be colored in autumn or springtime colors depending on the look you want. I colored this one using copics (Y38, Y21, E00, E07, T5) with a little pointalistic blending. The autumnal flourish was stamped using Really Rust ink to create the background. The papers used are all SU! in Basic Black, Barely Banana and white. I also used some Prima leaves, some of which I brushed with a bit of ink to highlight them.

Julia and Terri are also showcasing this set today so be sure to hop over to their blogs to check out their projects. They may also have a little code to share the will save you some green on your next order! ;)


Monday, September 22, 2008

Some Awesome Scenery

My family and I just returned from a relaxing vacation in the northeastern part of Utah and I wanted to take a moment to share some pictures I took. I am in awe of the variety of beautiful landscapes here in Utah! I didn't grow up here, in fact we moved here from Virginia 5 years ago so I'm still exploring the beauty of our adopted home state. This week we camped near Flaming Gorge and took in some beautiful sights there. The kids loved camping and getting dirty and I loved the scenery. The pictures above are of this beautiful canyon with the Green River (yes, it really is a lovely deep blue-green) flowing through it. Apparently then name Flaming Gorge come from the reddish striations in the rock.

Here are a few more shots taken while we were driving through the geological loop. Here we saw many different rock formations, lots of animals and even some spawning salmon!

One of the days we took a trip to the Vernal area of the Green River. My son is a real Dinosaur nut so we wanted to drive through Dinosaur National Monument and go to the museum. It is amazing to me how, just an hour's drive can take us to an area with a completely different type of landscape! Here are some photos.

The one in the center is of most of my family (excluding me and one dog) climbing up a cliff area to look at the cool cliff drawings there.

On the way home we took the scenic route over some mountains and again we had more different landscapes to look at. We stopped to enjoy a 'ghost town' of abandoned logging camp with some neat examples of cabins from days gone by. We also had a lovely picnic at Mirror Lake and enjoyed the view of the changing foliage up in the mountains. All in all a great trip!


The winner of our Challenge prize from last week is Amy from Tethered to Home (blog). She is the winner of an Artful INKables stamp of her choice. Please visit her blogfor a peek at her creation: and Amy, please contact me with your choice and your address!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

IKEA is my Friend!

Well, I've been commenting on my stamp room make over for a few weeks now and I guess it is time to share the results. Below is a picture of what my stamp room used to look like...well, sort of! It was never this clean and it had much more 'stuff' crammed up on the counters. That was actually one of my pet peeves about my room, no counter space! The other peeves were: 1) cant see the tv from my spot (See the mirror hanging from the bottom of a shelf? That was how I watched tv while stamping!) 2) Cant see the GORGEOUS view out over the valley from my seat since Im facing a wall! 3) No organization so that all my most used items were easily within reach. 4) No more wall space since I continued to add shelves and iris carts all over the place. Infact, I had no where to put the great craft cabinet that the kids gave me for Mother's day. And finally, the most important peeve, 5) Im just not comfortable sitting on a stool (or standing) at the counter anymore! When I first started stamping, I HAD TO stand up, but I've found age and my ankle injuries have made that a very uncomfortable way to stamp and I started avoiding my stamp room in favor of more inviting places to sit.

This is a picture of the other side of the room. That desk belongs to my husband, he is a coin collector and he sits there to research and admire his coins. There is actually much more on those shelves...this picture was taken shortly after he moved into my room. And no, Im not allowed to sit there. lol This is where the tv is located and the door to the deck. Also, alot of my stuff ended up over here including my paper and single stamps!


So, my plan was to rip out one half of the counter and everything above it and put in a nice desk, some storage and my new craft cabinet from the kids. The removal was fairly simple, but it sure left a mess! I had craft supplies everywhere and I ended up having to paint that wall after removing all the shelves and the cork board.

Then I went on a trip to IKEA! Can I say just how much I really LOVE IKEA? We had one of the first ones in the US when I was growing up in Northern Virginia and I have to say, I was quite spoiled having one so close!! When we moved out here to Utah, 5 years ago, I was very bummed to find out there wasnt even an IKEA anywhere in the whole state!! Luckily they built one just 10 miles from me last year so I can again be spoiled by IKEA's lovely products!! Anyway, during my shopping trip I pick up a great storage unit called an EXPEDIT book case, which can be detailed to your liking with drawer units, doors, boxes and baskets. I also picked up 2 drawer cubes (2 drawers each cube) for the unit, a basket and a few paper storage boxes.

They also have a system for desks called VIKA where you pick what type and shape of desk top you want and choose legs or tresles of different types to hold it up. As you can see in the picture below, I picked one with a curved end and some fairly cheap (but with adjustable height) legs. I also got a 'tote tray' to attach under the desk as an extra drawer and some stackable CD racks to keep all of my Artful INKables stamps in, right next to where I sit. Oh, and speaking of sitting, I chose a small desk chair there too, a JANNE swivel chair, so I can be mobile and zoom around to the things I need without getting up!


Now I can keep all of my 'counter top clutter' (or in other words, things I need all the time) ontop of the bookcase unit so it is in easy reach but not in my way. Above the book case I put the unit my sweet kids got me for mothers day. It was a happy surprise to discover that the front doors are magnetic so I picked up a ton of those magnetic storage containers and filled them with all of my small embellishments. Inside, I have all of my ribbon (YES...all of it can fit in there!) and some lesser used 12x12 paper. Between the old counter top area and the new book case, I placed my paper storage unit within easy reach. My uncle made me this unit by hand, back when I first started this hobby and, though it isnt beautiful, it serves it's purpose well and I couldnt live without it! Above that, I 'artfully arranged' my 3 single stamp display shelves, including a shelf displaying all the stamps from my first plate of AI stamps on wood blocks.


The only change I made to the remaining counter unit was to leave the corner cabinet open as shelves. This keeps my 12 x 12 paper with in easy reach on the stackable trays, along with my coloring and painting cupplies and my big box of paper scraps. I did however, reorganize the cabinet space and drawers, so now I know where everything is!! My cutting station is up here on the cabinet, along with my Portaink pad holder within easy reach from my chair. I am still waiting on the arrival of another unit I ordered to keep all of my other, non-SU! inkpads on.

The only things left unfinished in my opinion, is some wall decor...maybe a hand made Artful INKables sign? And I storage place for my punches. I guess I'll just have to make another trip over to IKEA and pick up some pieces from their KROKEN rail system! LOL

So now, I can sit, stamp, watch TV, reach and find all my supplies and enjoy my view! The only reason to leave is to eat, lol! Maybe I should think about putting in a mini fridge! :D

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Artful INKables Challenge #5

It's Challenge Day and today, I have a special surprize for you. Since it is my turn to host the challenge, I am throwing in a CHALLENGE PRIZE. Anyone who participates in the Artful INKables challenge this week will be eligible for ONE FREE AI STAMP SET OF THEIR CHOICE!! Dont be nervous though...this is NOT a talent contest! If you wish to participate, please post a link to your creation either here or in your SCS gallery. (Include ARTINK [all capitals] in the keywords when you upload on SCS so we can find your card.) I will then randomly draw the winner from the names of those who participated. Artful INKables Stamps are not required, but if you've got 'em, why not give 'em some lovin'? The most important rule is to have fun.

I've named today's challenge "The Doodle MASKquerade Challenge"

This technique challenge will require that you use masking and also add some doodling to your card. The doodling can be a doodled border, corners, some swirls or even added grass, a cloud or other hand drawn image. Dont stress over it, it can pretty much be anything! For the masking, stamp an image onto your card stock and then again onto a post it note. Cut it out and 'mask' the stamped image on the card stock. Now you can either work on a background for the image or stamp another image over the masked image. Masking it will make the background or other images look like they are behind the first image.

Here is the card I've created for this challenge:

This card uses the bear from the AI 'Stay Cool' set, which I stamped on plain white card stock and masked. I also masked the area at his feet with a piece of torn post it note. I then sponged on some Almost Amethyst ink around the masked bear and the torn edge. Next I sponged with Going Grey a little further from the image and finally I sponged with Vintage Violet ink...getting darker as I progressed out from the image. I removed the torn 'ground mask', while leaving the bear mask in place, and moved it down a bit. Here, I sponged lightly with Amethyst ink again. This I repeated a few more times until I got the look of an uneven snowy ground. Next, I added my doodles (yes, the bear mask is still in place, lol). I hand drew the swirls randomly using a Milky Way White Galaxy Marker and shadowed the swirls with a grayish violet copic marker (BV25). Finally, I removed the mask over the bear and added some shadows with a toner gray #3 copic marker. To finish off this card, I mounted the bear scene on silver cs and then used dimensionals to put it on the Amethyst card that I had added doodled glitter swirls to. The amethyst organdy ribbon, silver cord and snowflake charm complete this creation.

About Artful INKables bi-weekly challenges:
Every other week My design team and I will post a challenge with rotating themes onto the store blog. We would be so pleased to have you play along! If you should decide to join us, please, include ARTINK (all capitals) in the keywords when you upload on SCS. By having consistent keywords, we will be sure not to miss anyone's wonderful creations! As an alternative, feel free to add a link to your creation in the comments section of this post. All the design team members (aka INK girls) will be participating in these challenges. Please take a minute, if you have the time, to see what they have created. Their links can be found at the top of the column to the right.

Drawing for one free Artful INKables stamp set (of your choice) Prize Info Recap:
* Participate in today's challenge
*Post your entry on SCS using Keyword ARTINK or post a link to your creation in the comments section of this post.
*This is a Non-vendor specific Challenge.

* DEADLINE: Have your post/entry up by noon Mountain Daylight Time on September 18th.

*Prize winner will randomly be chosen to receive one FREE set of his or her choice. I will post the name here on the company blog and the winner must contact me via email to collect their prize.

Good LUCK...and Have fun!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Under a New Moon

Even with all the fun new tools and techniques available to us as stampers these days, I often find myself going back to the basics. There is nothing like the rich feel you get from a polished stone background, is there?
That is what I used to create my night sky for this card...polished stone using blue bayou and bashful blue re-inkers from SU! and some silver colorbox metallic ink (along with some good old-fashioned rubbing alcohol). I then stamped my Artful INKables Sea Oats stamp over the polished stone 2 times and colored the open areas in with a black marker. Now since I used polished stone, I couldn't mask out the moon so, I stamped the sea oats image again on white card stock and punched out the area I wanted with a 1 3/8" circle punch and overlayed it in the correct position. To create the shine of the moon's light on the plants, I used a medium white Gelly Roll pen in places that the light might hit...keeping in mind what angle the moon's light was coming from.
Oh, I forgot to mention...for this card I used a wonderful new black pad I bought. It is a Watercolor Black Inkpad by Stampa Rosa. I love that it is a TRUE black...not purple like some, doesn't smear when using water, or markers (or alcohol apparently, since I used it with my polished stone), it dries FAST and for those who like archival...apparently it is that as well. I'm seriously thinking of carrying these pads in my store!!
So, to finish off my card, I stamped the 'Miss You' sentiment from Basic Sentiments in black. mounted the whole piece on black card stock and placed it to the far right of my folded Blue Bayou card. Then...I needed something to embellish the left side. Here, I went back to basics again. No need for fancy glitter jewels, big brads or special rub-on. I just punched 1/2" and 1/4" circles out of heavy white card stock, filed them a bit to smooth and bevel the edges and applied them up the side with glue dots. Then I covered them with a bit of diamond glaze to give them a bit of shine and a more 3D feel. I like the way these pieces reflect the white in the main panel and mirror the shape of the moon. Very graphic! :D

In other news, I have been renovating my craft room. It is almost done so when I get it finished I'll share some before and after images. I'm definitely liking the change already though...all my stuff is much more accessible and I'm feeling much more creative with this new change!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Dont forget that this Wednesday is our Artful INKables challenge! And since it will be my turn to host this week I will be offering a prize for be sure to check back here on Wednesday for more details!!

Also I have extended the free shipping offer until September 15th. Any order over $30 will qualify for free shipping until then!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you here Wednesday!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hello and Good-bye

I would like to take a moment to introduce to you our newest Design Team member, Terri Dodd. She is a super talented stamper and we are lucky to have her on our team! I've had my eye on her for a few months and in my opinion she is a rising star in the stamp world. Be sure to welcome her and visit her blog: . I just cant wait to see what she does with our stamps!

The happy addition of Terri to our team comes along with some bad news as well, though. Unfortunately, Kim Teasdale has had to leave the Ink Girls behind. Her schedule just wont permit her to continue with us and she will be greatly missed! She is a true artist and was a great friend to us all here at Artful INKables. We are very sorry to see her go and wish her well. In tribute to her and her super talent, I am posting 2 of her recent fun stamp projects using the Paradise Island Set.