NEW AquaBlend Watercolor Pencils by Spectrum Noir REVIEW!

Hi friends! I was so excited when I heard a rumor that Crafters Companion was coming out with watercolor pencils and I finally got my hands on some!

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I will tell you what I think of them and demonstrate them in today’s video!

Thanks to Hallmark Scrapbook (who ships worldwide and has the lowest prices) for sending me these pencils to review:)

Supplies used:

Review!
Pros:
Low price
Highly pigmented with soft rich creamy leads
No duplication between sets
Color releases instantly when touched with a wet brush, no scrubbing the paper move the pigment.
***Superior Lightfast 50-100 years (I just checked according to manufacturer! Yay!)

Cons:
I don’t have any….

Bottom line: I totally recommend these pencils, they are as bright as any of the other brands I own. If you are on the fence and want to try one set I recommend the Primary set and see how you like them then you can build your collection depending on what you like to color. For the price you can’t beat these pencils! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

 

 

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Are Spectrum Noir Pencils Worth the Money?

Howdy friends! If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I would do a tutorial on Spectrum Noir Pencils I’d a millionaire, well, maybe not but at least a hundredaire!  It was enough to make me spring for these pencils when they went on sale for $16 a set of 24 at Consumer Crafts two weeks ago. And because I am a sucker for free shipping I got all 5 sets and a new WeRMemory Keepers album because the Project Life one I previously ordered in a moment of temporary insanity was not cutting the mustard. Anyway, here is a card I colored with the new Spectrum Noirs, it took all of 15 minutes to color.

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I have a bit of a colored pencil addiction, I love trying out new pencils! Since I have a few of the most popular brands I thought I’d compare them to the new Spectrum Noir pencils and see how they preformed, see my findings in today’s video:

Now, here is where I retract things I said that are wrong. Please refer to the below chart. Koh-i-Noor pencils are available open stock. I have only seen the woodless sets of 12 and 24 so maybe they have another grade of pencils that I am not aware of and maybe there are more colors. Leave a comment if you know.  There was a bit of controversy over the Spectrum Noir pencils being oil based. They preformed most like the Polychromos (the lead in the SNs was thinner and they were a bit less creamy and opaque) but I’d wager they were oil based if I had to guess but there may in fact be an oil/wax blend going on…oh heavens, does anyone care? I do not because they do what they were interned to do extremely well. They layer and blend well. They are translucent enough so I can clearly see my black stamped lines when coloring yet they are opaque enough to stand up on kraft cardstock, a very hip trend might I add. I would not use them on darker cardstocks but on mid-light they preformed very well. Here you can see some swatches and also the retail price for a set of 24 pencils across the brands reviewed (but you can always find them online for much less.)

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That said, the Spectrum Noir pencils would not be my first choice to create a painting with. I prefer the creamier properties of Prismacolor or Polychromos pencils. The Derwent Coloursoft pencils are nothing to sneeze at either but I have been using Prismacolor pencils since I was 5 and loyalties like that are hard to break. Now that brings me to another bit of controversy, Prismacolor pencils are now made in Mexico and their quality has declined (you can check out the Prismacolor vs. Polychromos review by Lachri Fine Art if you want to know more) and it is really too bad because Prismacolor was my favorite. All but 3 white pencils in my Prismacolor box are stamped USA and the ones stamped Mexico had off-center lead. I have not sharpened them yet so hopefully they are adequate, I find the white Prismas to me the most achy-breaky ones in the bunch. I had an imperfect stamped image on my table (the one I demonstrated in the video) and decided to color 4 of the flowers with 4 brands of pencils so you could see a side by side comparison. I think the Spectrum Noir pencils do what they are intended for. Coloring stamped images, I find I can color quickly with them and layer easily without losing the definition of my stamping. If you do not want to see your stamped lines then you can use lighter ink.

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Bottom Line, these are fun. If your goal is to easily color stamped images on white to mid value colored paper these pencils are ideal and a bargain. If you are a colored pencil artist I think you would prefer a pencil with more opaque and creamy lead But since they layer really well and cost less than half of Polychromos pencils you might want to give them a whirl and maybe pick up a few light-colored prismas. Honestly the Polychromos are not terribly opaque either so you might want a wax-based white with those as well. I would be impossible for me to test all of the great pencils on the market (I’m a hundredaire remember…) but these are the most accessible to me and hopefully you. If you have any questions please leave a comment and I’d love to know what your favorite brand of colored pencils are. I have had several requests to compare watercolor pencils too so you can let me know if you are interested in that as well. Thanks for taking the time to read through this long post and til next time happy crafting!

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PS Quick tip! When making a card make the envelope first then use the scrap of leftover paper to embellish your card. Another tip, dig out the old-school deco-scissors and circle punches to cut a cool wavy border on the card. Using a two-tone cardstock like Doublemates makes the look really pop! Happy crafting!

I can’t believe I didn’t post this card yet!

This poor card, I stamped and colored the image ages ago, all it really needed was to be adhered to a cardbase but it sat neglected on my shelf for months until, during a cleanup, I tossed it in to my “papercraft UFO (that’s un-finished object by the way)” drawer and I discovered it during the lonely crop last month. I needed a card so I finished it up, it really only needed 5 minutes of work, and the recipient loved it!

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I was thinking about what project to share tonight and it hit me, share the forgotten flower fairy, the image has been waiting on my computer Long enough I think! Here are the details: The stamp was one of the amazing flower fairy sets I got at Custom Crops when they first came out (so glad I did because now they are hard to find) they are manufactured by Crafter’s Companion but they did not have this one anymore on their website either.

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I stamped with waterproof black ink and colored with inktense pencils and a blender pen. I stamped some of the individual flowers from the set, colored and cut them out and adhered them with hot glue for dimension.

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I’m not sure why it took me so long to post this, I think it is like clutter, you see a pile of paper on the coffee table, at first you think, “I need to take care of that” a week later it’s like “I really should deal with those papers” and in a month you’re all “what papers?” because you get so used to seeing something that you don’t notice it. That is my theory, it explains why my coffee table is a cluttered mess too! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Are you ready to color! {and stamp too!}

Hello friends! I hope you are having a nice Friday! I feel like I have been bouncing from project to project this week but I have to tell you I love it! I’ll be starting my Mixed Media art Journal series on my blog tomorrow, I’m calling it Mixed Media Fun and each video will explore a specific technique or supply. I hope you check back for that! Today though, I have a couple tutorials for you on how I made the stamped panel for this card:

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I love the Flower Fairy stamp collection from Crafter’s Companion, I bought EVERY unmounted stamp set they offered on sale at Custom Crops a couple years ago and I am so glad I did because you can’t find them all anymore! There are a few (probably the most popular ones) sets of cling mounted flower fairy stamps available directly at Crafter’s Companion but they don’t have the massive amount of stamps that the original unmounted sets had and they are more expensive because they are mounted. But it is an option if you are looking for something similar and missed the boat.

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In the first video I will show you how to color the fairy using watercolor pencils and a blender pen:

I love the way she turned out but I did not like the white background so here is how to stamp a background without masking. You will need a clear embossing inkpad (or glycerin and a make-up sponge) chalk pastels and a pom-pom or Q-tip to apply the chalk, have a look.

You can get the set of chalk I used here at Custom Crops along with other color sets and the last time I checked they were on sale!

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I stamped the sentiment right on the background with purple metallic ink and then used embossing tinsel (OK show of hands, who has been stamping long enough to remember embossing tinsel, turns out it ages very well since I bought mine 8 years ago at a yard sale LOL!) to give it a bit of bling.

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I decided on an easel card because I wanted a little bit more space to decorate and the floor of the card gives me that opportunity.

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I decorated it with orphaned die-cuts that were sitting in the use-it-or-toss-it-basket, don’t we all have one of those? I hope you try these techniques and if you do share it on the facebook page, I’d love to see it! Have a great night and til next time happy crafting!

Pressed Flower Fairy Cards!

Happy Monday folks! It is a quiet day here as my kids are enjoying one of their last days of summer vacation. there is a lot of lounging going on! I took advantage of this downtime by printing my summer photos and playing a bit in my craft room. I made this card with the flowers I pressed in the microwave last week:

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I’m afraid if I put the flowers away I will forget about them so I plan on using them up! They were so quick to press that I can make another batch when I get more flowers.  I made the envelope with my Kreate-a-lope and i used the leftover paper and a panel of white to make an insert because the purple cardstock i used is kinda dark to write on. Also I clipped it inside because that way the card can be reused!

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I made an envelope seal to match my project, it was really easy! Take a 3″ long piece of clear packing tape and gently pick up a pressed flower with it, then press a punched circle of paper behind that, trim around the circle leaving a 1/8″ border of tape (so it will be sticky on the edges) and stick it on your envelope to seal it shut! You can make a bunch of these in advance and store them on waxed paper if you like! Another idea is to lay your flowers on your scanner and scan them and print them on sticker paper or labels and you will have custom envelope seals without having to use up your flowers!

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Here are the steps I used to make the card. I might do a video on this, if anyone is interested let me know. First I inked up my fairy stamp, except for the skirt, and stamped. The fairy stamp is the Christmas Fairy from Crafters Companion. Then I recommend you color the fairy (I actually stuck the flowers on first but it will be easier if you color first!), i used Promarkers and Copics. Then ink the background if you like. Add drops of clear glue all over the back of your flower, little drops, and press it on your card. Add clear glue where you want glitter and then sprinkle on transparent glitter. I stamped stars around the wand because I stuck my inky finger on there and have to hide the boo-boo but I like it!

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You can use glitter glue if you prefer, I am stickle-impaired so I used dry glitter.

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Well, that’s it! I think I will try and motivate my crew now and hit the grocery store. Fun Fun! At least I was good and cleaned before I played in my craft room (the rest of the house that is, the craft area is a hot mess!) so I’ll be able to come home to a clean house! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Make a 3-D card or gift box with the Envelobox Creator!

Howdy friends! A couple of weeks ago I showed you how to make flat envelopes with the Envelobox Creator from Crafter’s Companion. Today I will show you how to make a 3-D box with it:

Easy huh? I love how I can make cute boxes for lumpy cards or jewelry gifts. Now if only it would punch the notches for me….

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I used the Envelobox Creator to make this gift box for a pair of earrings!

Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

A new fun toy and a busy weekend!

Helloooo friends! I was up late last night working on a parade float (I’ve never helped make a float before and it is surprisingly much like making a pinata, only way bigger!) and as soon as I am done writing this post (and drinking my huge bowl of coffee) I will be loading my van up with my displays and wares for a craft fair I signed up to do (at the last minute) tomorrow. Wow, it that last sentence doesn’t bring out the parenthesis police I don’t know what will! Oh did I mention I have my first book signing and special craft with Kelly Brooks Bay in the afternoon tomorrow too? Parade, craft fair, book singing…hmmm, I might have to put a big coffee can on my craft fair table with a hole cut in the top for money and have an “self service craft table. While getting ready for the craft fair I decided to package up some of the cards that I have made lately. I needed to make envelopes for some of the non-standard sizes so I used a new tool to do that. I got a $50 gift certificate from Crafters Companion as a publication intensive and used $12.95 of it on the Envelobox Creator.

I plan on doing a video on making the boxes with this as well and using the embossing designs on the template. I am really happy with this tool and the price is great for such a sturdy item. They have a big kit called the Ultimate Tool that this Envelobox will go in but since I already have a scoring board I did not buy it. My only concern is that I will loose the scoring pen so I put everything pack in the plastic bag it came in for now. I hope you have a great weekend and til next time happy crafting!

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