Thursday, July 20, 2017

Why Copics?

Yesterday's post on Copics provoked this most excellent question from reader bluejeannes:

"What makes Copics so great, so much superior to others? They are very expensive, so I've never bought any."

Well, bluejeannes, I can't answer that question as an expert, but here's what I know from experience.

1. Alcohol markers come in a variety of price points. Sharpies and Bics are the cheapest, but the color range is limited to mostly very bright, strong colors. They also don't blend quite as well as Copics. Copics are, to my knowledge, the most expensive alcohol markers, and they work like dream. There's a middle-ground price-point alcohol marker called Spectrum Noir. I have never tried these, but a lady at Marco's told me she uses those instead of Copics and loves them.

Random strangers at craft stores might not be entirely reliable sources, but it's all I've got to offer.

2. There are LOTS of coloring options that are just as lovely as Copics...for a lot less money. Watercolors and colored pencils, for instance, are not nearly as pricey, and can produce incredible results. They won't look like the Copics, but if an image gets colored, who really cares what medium was used? Will your card recipient even know there were options? Probably not.

3. We should be careful how we spend our precious crafting dollars. Copics are VERY expensive, and even though I've purchased most of mine with coupons and on sale, it's still a sizeable investment. To be honest, if I'd known about the Spectrum Noir pens before I started collecting Copics, I'd probably have chosen them over Copics. Coloring isn't a passion for me, but I do enjoy all the pretty colors.

That said, Copics truly are high-quality markers. They blend beautifully, especially on the Gina K 120# white card stock. They are refillable, and you can replace worn nibs. Even my oldest Copics are still juicy, and the tips are in excellent shape. They last.

For those who are not expert colorers, it's possible to fake results that are good enough for government work, as the saying goes.

For those who commit to mastering them, the results are pure art. Check out Sandy Alnock's videos on YouTube to see an expert at work.

For those who choose to avoid alcohol markers altogether, good on you! After all, I've avoided die cut machines and the money pit of needing every die I see. Good on me! Let's celebrate by buying a set of stamps!

If you're a total noob at alcohol markers, I strongly recommend getting a few Sharpies or Bics first to try your hand at color blending (off-the-shelf Sharpies in a yellow, light orange, and dark orange would work). If it seems like fun, pick out a few shades of your favorite color in Spectrum Noir or Copics and experiment. Decide how fully you want to commit. If you decide to proceed, build your collection as slowly as your budget requires. I've been working on my collection for about five years or so, and it finally feels finished.

So there you have it. For what it's worth. Which might not be much.

Here's another card (somewhat similar to yesterday's layout) using more shades of Copics. Love these cool, bright colors!

I think I got a little carried away with bling, but still. It's a perfect card for a beautiful friend of mine. She's going to love it, overly blinged and all!

Now, this is already a long post, but I want to share something that happened to me today. My guardian angel was working overtime.

A tree came down across the road right in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes, but couldn't tell if the tree hit the front of my car or if the car hit the was that close. Fortunately, a landscaping company truck and trailer stopped behind me. The guys got out, checked for damage, and told me the tree was lodged under the hadn't damaged the car at all. They needed a chainsaw to get it out from under the car and off the road. Those three men were a GODSEND! They had the road cleared and everything moving in about two minutes. Thank the Lord for Good Samaritans armed with chainsaws!

Mercy, grace, peace, love, and gratitude,

stamps: Concord & 9th Wild Flowers, Hero Arts sentiment
ink: Memento black
paper: Gina K 120# white
accessories: Copics, rhinestones

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Copic Refresh

Full disclosure. I am NOT a Copic expert. In fact, my coloring skills barely qualify as amateur. Furthermore, I'm not even interested in spending hours watching videos on YouTube or taking any's not that motivating for me. So why do I have as many Copics as I do?

Because of all the pretty colors. Duh.

I recently filled in some gaps in my collection. Here's my updated chart, for any of you interested in building a "basic" Copic collection. (*snort*)

Obviously, you don't need ALL 75 markers for a basic set...but hopefully you can pick and choose from my chart to make the going a bit easier. If you magnify the photo, you should be able to read the numbers. Focus on your favorite colors, the ones you use the most.

Anyway, since I'm showing off the chart, I might as well show a card colored with Copics. For newbies to Copics, I use Gina K Heavy Base Weight Card Stock (120lb). It's very smooth and coated so the Copic ink moves around easily and won't soak through to the other side (a critical feature for one-layer cards). Memento tuxedo black ink won't bleed with Copics and leaves a good, solid impression on the Gina K card stock.

Here are the colors I used. They do make a nice Christmas card, don't they?

As you can see, I got a little out of the lines, but I'm using this post to work on my perfectionist issues. See, internet! I can still be proud of something that's got visible flaws. Ha!

It's progress, of a sort.

The gold centers of the poinsettias came courtesy of a humble gold gel pen. Its opaque ink covered the black nicely.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento black, Hero Arts red royal
paper: Gina K
accessories: Copics, dimensionals, gold gel pen

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Butterfly Sympathy

I love that one of you (Lu C) said she prefers to make sympathy cards as needed because she creates better with a person in mind. How kind! She's a beautiful example of how we can all express our crafty creativity differently. Thanks for sharing that, Lu.

Today's three cards spotlight butterflies. Butterfly cards sell particularly well at Karen's Card Shop because everyone who knew Karen knew of her passion for butterflies.

First up, butterflies stamped using markers and a water spritzer. I tried several times to eliminate the blotchy effect here but finally gave in to it. I think stamping on absorbent watercolor paper requires WAY more water than stamping on ordinary card stock.

After creating such blotchy images, I used pigment ink to get VERY smooth images on the second card.

By the way, I prefer the blotchy butterflies to the smooth ones. That surprised me.

Finally, I used a bit leftover of watercolor background and a butterfly punch for this super-simple and elegant card. It's my favorite of the three.

Which is your favorite?

stamps: Papertrey, Uniko
ink: Archival black; VersaMagic concord grape, pretty petunia
paper: watercolor paper
accessories: markers water spritzer, rhinestones, butterfly punch, watercolor

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sympathy Sell-Outs

Wow. Karen's Card Shop at our church routinely sells out of sympathy cards. Last week, the church secretary emailed me that she'd bought the last one.

Many thanks to those of you who've sent us sympathy cards! Know that they are very much appreciated.

Anyway, I sat down to crank out a bunch of sympathy cards, and in the process, I pulled all the sympathy sentiments I could find from all my stamp sets and put them into one CD case. That helped, and should serve nicely in the future when we run out of sympathy cards again. Because it's going to happen.

Anyway, I really enjoy making sympathy cards of wildflowers, so I tried out several different flower silhouette stamp sets to see what I could make. First up, a one-layer card with a cool color scheme of greens, purples, and blues.

Next, a two-layer card with a simpler color scheme of blues and gray.

Both cards use some watercolor paper I bought on sale at Marco's last week. It doesn't work well with watercolors, but it took the inks nicely on these cards, so way to repurpose, Susan! It's got a lovely, soft feel to it, as well as a bit of texture.

Sympathy cards are easier to make when I don't have to make them. What about for you?

stamps: Papertrey Life and Mega Mixed Messages; Tim Holtz Mini Bouquet; Gina K sentiment
ink: various dye inks
paper: watercolor 
accessories: craft foam, corner rounder, glue

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Friendly Layout

If I were still scrapbooking, THIS is the sort of layout I would be making. So much lovely white space!

Since I'm not scrapping, a card will have to suffice.

The only thing I would change about this card is the size of the three small hearts. They are a tad too big and draw too much attention to themselves. Perhaps I should have stamped them in the lighter pink. Oh, well. I still love the card and the layout, not least because most of the stamps used are from really old sets...yet they look fresh and fun!

The panel under the large hearts is edged with black ink...the bit of roughness of that adds to the otherwise crisp design works well to my eye.

And now, gratuitous puppy pictures for your enjoyment!

EEEEEP! Puppy breath! I can't wait!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Heart Prints, Hero Arts, Concord & 9th
ink: Impress Fresh sugar, pink lemonade; Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: heart punches, dimensionals

Saturday, July 15, 2017

God's Sunshine

We rescheduled our visit to OSU, so nothing to report to the Buckeyes out there. And I don't have any new puppy pictures. Will keep you posted.

Today's card was inspired by THIS PIN, which I found in relation to a Splitcoast Inspiration Challenge a few weeks ago. Love me some Inspiration Challenge.

While I adore this card for its colors and layout and the fabby sun stamp, I confess to having an issue with the theology behind this sentiment. The more I think about it, the more it seems to imply that God withholds sunshine and will only send it to you when He's good and ready...or even worse, when He's punished you enough.

The sun is always shining. Clouds might obscure our view, but the sun is always there, even at night as its light reflects off the moon. That's what God's love eternal glow we are never denied, even though we, Peter-like, may deny it ourselves.

And going even deeper, when we know the love of God in our hearts, clouds and the earth's rotation have no impact on our perception of the Light. It truly is always there for us, even and most especially when the rest of life seems pretty dark.

If you're in the dark, try to connect with the Light. Reach out to someone. Ask for help. Keep asking for it. Because the Light is already shining for you.

If you're in the Light, be like the moon and reflect that stuff all over the place.

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Hello There, My Favorite Things Cheerful Blessings
ink: Memento dandelion, Archival black and leaf green
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: none

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Business Card Greeting Cards

One of my all-time favorite layouts includes a small, raised, stamped panel on a white card base. Working on such a small space gives ample opportunity to create a very strong focal point framed by lots of glorious white space.

Combine that layout with bold colors from Kaleidacolor pads and the Mini Bouquet set from Stampers Anonymous (which is anything but mini), and you get some pretty and amazing cards.

I could make these layouts all day long with all sorts of different stamps and themes. It makes me very, very happy.


There were a few questions about the puppy, and of course, I'll share more pictures as they come from the breeder. The mom, Annie, is an English Cream. The dad, Grady, is part English Cream and part Golden. We honestly don't care about color or sex...we simply want the sweetest, most docile pup. Goldens are great dogs; the new one will be our third. We haven't picked names out yet, although we do have a list for both sexes. We want to meet the pup and pick him/her out before settling on a name.

And that's how things stand now.

Blessings as we head into the weekend. We're going to go check out Ohio State University this weekend with our elder son. It's his first choice for college. Lord, help us!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

stamps: Papertrey Out on a Limb Sentiments, Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz Collection Mini Bouquet
ink: Kaleidacolor, Archival black
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue