Yucka-Poo Weather and no AAC this week:(

Hi friends! Guess who doesn’t have her act together this week? Yep, that would be me. It’s funny just how much time gets sucked up dealing with feet upon feet of snow. I feel like I have been behind all year (I blame snow, jury duty and taxes…boy, I’m really gonna have to start coming up with a better excuse than jury duty, then again I’m still blaming my extra 15 pounds on my twin pregnancy. They’re 10 now.) So today was spent driving in a nasty snowstorm (not bad enough to cancel school so I figured the roads were fine and I had all 3 kids yearly well visits scheduled so I hated to cancel) I allowed 45 minutes to drive a distance that would have taken 20 normally and I was still 2 minutes late! The roads were not any better coming back but I was home by noon with the kids safely deposited at school BUT THEN I got my darn car stuck in my own snow bank in my own driveway except for the tail end hanging out in the road. Did you ever see the move Fargo and the scene when William F Macy’s character is scraping ice off the windshield and then he just loses it? Yep, that is this winter in Maine. For a born and bred Mainer I am pretty useless with outdoor winter car problems, luckily my niece Sarah around and helped me try to dig out the van (it did not work) but then our friend Jim stopped by in his truck and he was able to pull my van out. After that I needed a nap. I was somewhat productive yesterday but could not get an AAC filmed and Monday I ended up grocery shopping and since I HAD to leave the house so I decided to bring some more handmade stuff to my shop and freshen up my booth while I was out. But hey, I got the booth tour video I have been promising since January 1st done, so that’s something! Check that of the to do list LOL!

The Schoolhouse Antiques Mall is located at 530 S Main St, Brewer, ME 04412 Phone: (207) 989-9777 if you are ever in the area and want to check it out:)
I have arranged with Kathy and Lorraine to film a fresh batch of Ask a Crafters on Monday so you won’t be high and dry next week. Thanks for understanding and til next time happy crafting!

Tutorial: How to watercolor with markers!

Hi friends! Today I am going to show you how to watercolor with watercolor markers. You can follow along with any watercolor markers you have and I say watercolor instead of water-based because there are some acrylic and poster paint markers and pens out there too and technically they are water-based but not watercolor. That means you are good to go with any of your basic watercolor markers, even the kids kind. That said, I will be using the extremely lovely Spectrum Aqua pens that I got from Hallmark Scrapbook. They work with any of the other watercolor markers you have so if you are considering buying some get a set with colors unlike what you already own. It’s a great way to start out! The only other thing that is important is to use watercolor paper, it is essential for blending, Today I am working on the same 140lb Strathmore cold pressed cards I use for most of my watercolor tutorials.

When you are choosing a brush you want a synthetic. A natural sable/camel/pony hair brush will hold too much water for this technique and not be stiff enough to push the color around and a natural hog hair brush is too rough and can damage your paper. A waterbrush is a synthetic but any nylon round in the #5 to #8 range will suit you just fine. Don’t stress about it, if you want to learn how to paint you have to put that brush to paper!

Tips!

  • Sketch with the fine point to avoid depositing too much color on the paper.
  • Work on small areas at a time, it is easier to blend if the ink is wet.
  • For larger soft washes with no streaks scribble the markers on a plastic palette, plate or tile and add water and use a brush to apply it.
  • Wet the paper before adding the wash for a smoother blend.
  • You can vary the line (aka stroke) of the brush marker by working on the tip for a tiny line or applying more pressure for a thicker line. Practice this technique to get experience with your markers!
  • For extra control when water-coloring stamped images (make sure to stamp them with waterproof ink) use a brush tip blender pen, many companies make them but I enjoy the Stampin Up and Tombow brands. The Dove Blender can also be used, I have not tried it but it but many stampers I trust love the it plus it comes with extra nibs and a bottle of blending ink so you might be set for life there! The blenders for alcohol markers will not work for this. To color with a blender you need to scribble the marks on a palette or dish and pick up the ink with the blender pen then start to color your image, start at the darkest area because it will gradually fade as you color with it. It is a great way to get a soft blend. Hot press (aka smooth) watercolor paper is best for this but cardstock can also be used pretty successfully. *If your blending pen goes dry or you run out of blending solution you can make your own by mixing equal parts glycerin and water.
  • Play. You won’t learn unless you use your markers. You will not harm them or use them up… well, if you do use them enough to use them up you deserve another set LOL! You buy supplies to use them so make sure you don’t let them become too precious to use!

I hope this tutorial helped you get more from your watercolor markers! Thanks to Hallmark Scrapbook for sending me the new Spectrum Aqua markers, I am having quite a bit of fun with them. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Let’s Make Ribbon Flowers to Use on Crafts!

Hi friends! Today I am going to share a fun way to make ribbon flowers that can be glued onto barrettes, pin-backs or used to embellish your cards or scrapbook pages:

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You will need ribbon (I am using beautiful solid and patterned ribbon from Offray, see other ideas with this ribbon here), a needle and thread, scissors and a button. Follow along with the video and have fun!

For a removable card embellishment glue or sew the flower to an alligator style clip barrette so it can be worn in the recipient’s hair! Here is a closer look at the card we made:

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Ribbon flower how to:

  1. Cut a 4″ piece of ribbon for each petal you wish to have.
  2. Thread a sewing needle with thread to match your ribbon.
  3. Make a right angle fold in the middle of the ribbon by folding the right side down, then take the left half of the ribbon and fold it down over the right to create a point. Please refer to the video so see this in action.
  4. Hold the ribbon so that the smooth side is facing you (the side that shows the folds is down) and pleat it in the middle and fold the edges back to make a petal. Again, refer to the video if you are confused.
  5. Stitch through all the pleats to create a petal.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 until all of the cut pieces of ribbon are used and you have a full flower.

They look great on a scrapbook page too!

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I have a video on making this scrapbook page here on my YouTube channel if you want to see how the page went together. Lots of tips in that video too!

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I want to thank Offray for sponsoring today’s blog post.  You still have a couple of days to take advantage of the coupon FRUGAL15 (it expires 2/28/15 so hurry) for 15% off your order at Offray.com They have all the ribbon you want in the quantities you need so save a trip to the craft store and snag it online! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Free French Fry Favor Box Template!

Hi Friends! Today I have a fun french fry favor box that you can craft and fill with goodies for someone! You can snag my free template here. You can print it right from my website (select landscape to print the same size I used) or download it and save it!

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I printed mine on green cardstock but you can also print it on sturdy double-sided patterned paper too, just make sure to print on the side that will be the inside of the box to hide the scoring lines. Watch the video for instructions:

Supplies:

  • free fry box template 
  • green cardstock
  • hot glue
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • bone folder or butter knife
  • stamps and ink
  • die cuts or other embellishments
  • Mardi Gras Beads
  • snacks to put in the box

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I want to thank our sponsor Love With Food for their commitment to feeding hungry children in America. They have a special offer for my blog readers: Get your first Tasting box free here and get $20 off any 6 and 12 month plans with code YTFEB15SAVE20!

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Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Stamp with me in Springfield!

Hi friends! I just wanted to give you the heads up that I will {hopefully} be teaching 2 stamping and watercolor classes at the Heirloom Stamp Show in West Springfield  Massachusetts in June. Are you going? I’d love to meet you! I have so much fun there every year! I wanted to make sure my blog readers get first dibs on the class (only 16 students are allowed in each class) so if you want to be notified when sign ups are posted leave a comment on my class page and I will let you know. The classes will likely be on June 5th or they could be held on the 6th or 7th. Who knows, maybe they would let me repeat the class on Sunday if the Friday spots fill up…now that would be cool! Here is a preview of the two classes:

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Please visit my class page for more info and samples. If there is a good response I might teach at other conventions! If you are wondering if there is a Heirloom Stamp Show in your area you can visit their website  or Facebook page (you could also tell them how much you’d love to take my class! Just kidding….not kidding, tell them! Kidding…not.) I hope you are finding some time to be crafty this weekend. It is snowing again up here in Maine (shocking) so I think we will be inside and crafty tomorrow! Thanks so much for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

New Marker Play! I Got Spectrum Aquas!!!

Hi Friends! Have you heard the buzz about the new Spectrum Aqua watercolor markers yet? Well, I had not until about 2 weeks ago when several viewers asked me what I thought about them and if I would do a review or demo with them. I was curious. I didn’t really NEED new markers but when the nice folks at Hallmark Scrapbook (who stock the markers at a 30% off retail discount) asked me if they could send me some I said “sure!” all for the sake of science you know:)

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They sent me the full range of 48 colors and a storage rack. The markers are sold in 12 color collections based on what you like to color (nature, floral, essential and primary) and there are no duplicates within the packs so you can collect one set at a time to see if you like them or as your budget allows. That is one thing I really like about all of the Spectrum products, you can collect as you go without buying duplicates. Today I will show you a few rubber stamping techniques with the markers. Feel free to follow along with whatever watercolor markers you have at home because these techniques will work with any watercolor type markers. These markers will also work well with your current collection so if you want to try them you can chose a set of colors that us different from what you have because they will play nice. I hope you find this video helpful!

I got a few questions from viewers:

  1. Are the markers refillable? Hmm, I did not see anywhere on the Spectrum Aqua website where it said you could refill these BUT none of the other watercolor markers are “refillable” and I refill them with reinkers or liquid watercolors. I wonder if the new Spectrum Liquid Watercolors are the same colors and if the Spectrum Noir (alcohol marker) replacement nibs are compatible? I’ll try to find out!
  2. How light fast are they? Again, I looked for this info on the Spectrum Aqua site but did not see that info so I suspect they are not but then again, most markers aren’t unless you are buying an $8 a piece watercolor marker.
  3. Are they comparable to the Tim Holtz Distress Markers? Actually, I prefer the Spectrum Aqua, I have a few of the TH sets and singles bought at different locations and I have had problems with a couple of them from different vendors being dry or leaking (and that was without my hardscrabble reinking techniques LOL!) Now, Ranger is great at replacing faulty products, don’t get me wrong, but I think the Spectrum Aquas are higher quality and more consistent.

I love watercolor markers and I rate these up there with my favorites (Tombow and Memento) but you can’t beat the price and quality of the Spectrums. The fine tip is much like the tip on the Memento and the brush end is similar to a Pitt Big Brush pen but the ink in the Spectrum Aqua is watercolor, not India ink, you can go over it with water after it is dry and soften the lines. I am also a big fan of using what you have and I am glad you can use these with the watercolor markers you have. Bottom line, if you have watercolor makers you love keep using them, if you want to add to your collection these are great and if you are just starting out this is a very great set to start with. I was not paid to write this review but I was given the markers for free to share the review with you. If you have any questions just ask in the comments section and I am happy to help. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Rosy Favor Bags Perfect for Spring Weddings or Tea Parties!

Hi friends! We got more snow today (luckily only a few inches) and I am so ready for spring! It may be a couple of months before I see any flowers in my garden but at least I can make them in my craftroom!

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The technique for making these gathered roses is so easy, all you need is a needle and thread and some ribbon. Using narrower ribbon will give you a smaller tighter flower. I used beautiful sheer organza ribbon from our sponsor Papermart to make mine:

Supplies:

Directions:
1. Cut a 2′ piece of ribbon and make a long running stitch along one edge. Note, if using narrower ribbon you can reduce the length of the ribbon. The longer the ribbon the fuller the flower.
2. Pull both ends of the thread to gather the ribbon. It will spiral itself into a flower. Glue on to the bag.
3. Tie a bow from a 1″ wide green ribbon and glue in the flower center OR you may use a button or rhinestone if you wish.
4. Add a tag strung with bakers twine!

This quick project is beautiful enough for weddings but also suitable for birthdays, tea parties and luncheons. Wouldn’t your guests feel special to receive a gift in one of these bags!

If you haven’t been to Papermart lately you should go! They have some beautiful printed spring ribbons and brand new kraft tags in 50 count packs, instead of the 500-1000 packs the manila ones come in, perfect for crafters! thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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