Thursday, July 20, 2017

Always By Your Side Twist Circle Pop-up with Lyra Rembrandt

Dreamerland Crafts Always By Your Side Karen Burniston Twist Circle Pop-up

This darling stamp is entitled Always By Your Side. I thought it would make the perfect image for my husband's anniversary card (our 27th!). We were friends before we started dating and are still besties, doing most things together - working out, martial arts, watching movies/TV, traveling, board gaming, riding Segways (purchased for our anniversary a couple years ago), and more! If only he liked crafting as much as I do! Oh well, no body's perfect.

I fussy cut the image to be featured inside the card on a twist circle pop-up (using Karen Burniston's new dies!). I kept the card front rather plain, with the real surprise inside. I used Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor colored pencils to color the image. These are oil based pencils, which go on pretty smoothly and blend well. I have the full set of 72. Unfortunately the colors are not best suited to portrait work (or people images) - the flesh colors are really lacking. There is basically only one for fair skin and maybe one for very dark skin - there aren't any suitable middle browns or tans. I much prefer Faber-Castell Polychromos (set of 120); they are even smoother and also oil based. I think the two sets would be great to use together though - extending the color range of both sets.

Karen Burniston Twist Circle Pop-up Card Front Your Next Stamp Papers

Affiliate links may be included in this post. See Notice at bottom of blog. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. There is no cost to you.

Making the Card

1. Cut light pink cardstock 4 1/4 x 11 inches; fold in half to form a 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch card base.

2. Using the largest circle die from Snowman Twist Circle pop-up set, cut both a scrap piece of white cardstock and the light green heart patterned paper (Hugs and Kisses Paper Pad). Optional, go around the edge of the white cardstock with a matching light green color (even lighter than the paper) - I used a Copic marker for this. Adhere the white circle to the back of the patterned circle; this extra layer will give the patterned paper more support.

3. Cut red cardstock 3 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches; fold in half. This is the piece that you will use for the inside of the card on which the twist circle base will be cut. Also use red cardstock for the arm. Watch the following video to assemble the twist circle pop-up part of the card but leave the light green heart patterned circle off for now.


4. Cut two pieces of paper with lips 3 x 4 inches: the paper is 6 inches so cut off 4 inches first then cut it in half. Adhere one to each side of the card inside as shown. Cut another piece from the scrap 2 x 3-3/4 inches. Adhere to front of card where shown.

5. Using Memento Tuxedo Black ink, stamp Always By Your Side (Dreamerland Crafts) on colored pencil friendly white cardstock (I used Strathmore 500 Series Bristol Plate Surface). I recommend a fairly smooth cardstock for this. Color image with colored pencils; I used Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor 72 Set. Fussy cut around image; use a craft knife to cut out inside areas. From the back side of the image, use a black marker, such as a Copic Multiliner with brush tip or Memento Tuxedo Black marker, to go around all the edges - this will hide the white edges and give it a more polished look. Adhere image to light green heart patterned circle as shown, using dimensional tape. Hint: to make edges of white dimensional tape less noticeable, color the edges with a black alcohol marker, such as a Sharpie or Copic, before adhering. Adhere to twist circle arm as directed in the video.

Dreamerland Crafts Always By Your Side Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor

6. Using stitched die from Snowman Twist Circle pop-up set, die cut red cardstock. Using dotted border die, cut pink paper and light green gingham (Hugs and Kisses Paper Pad). Using the smaller circle, die cut pink gingham (Hugs and Kisses Paper Pad). Adhere the light green gingham inside piece of the dotted border (not the border itself) to the center of the red circle. Adhere pink dotted border around it (you may have to gently nudge the border into place in some areas). Adhere pink inside piece of dotted border to inside of card where shown. Adhere light green gingham dotted border around it. Adhere pink gingham circle in center.

7. Die cut "Thinking of you" and "my friend" from red cardstock using Word Set 1 - Greetings (by Karen Burniston). Adhere in circles as shown. Cut a strip of light green hearted paper about 5/8 inches (3 rows of hearts) by 5 1/2 inches. Adhere to card front as shown. Use dimensional tape to adhere "Thinking of you" circle to front where shown.

8. Embellish with various sizes of crystal sequins as shown (7 on card front, 3 inside around sentiment).

Supplies
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Friday, June 30, 2017

Karen Burniston's New Dies and Stamping Bella Squidgie Card

Karen Burniston Pop-up Stamping Bella Squidgie Card

I wanted to make something special for my little sister's birthday. She loves Karen Burniston's dies and Squidgies stamps by Stamping Bella. I made her a pop-up card with a Squidgies stamp of two girls hugging and made them look a little like us. Both of us like purple, but since it's for her birthday I let her wear the purple dress. We also both tend to hoard Doodlebug Designs paper - I used one of my precious for the front and inside of the card.

Karen Burniston Pop-up Stamping Bella Squidgie Card Inside

Affiliate links may be included in this post. See Notice at bottom of blog. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. There is no cost to you. And I really appreciate it. I spend too much on craft supplies!

Making the Card

1. Cut purple cardstock 7x10 inches; fold in half to form a 5x7 inch card base. Cut pink cardstock to 4 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches. Cut balloon paper (Doodlebug Design 6x6 Pad: Fairy Tales) to 4 1/4 x 6 1/4 inches. Adhere to pink cardstock. Cut a length of teal ribbon and wrap around bottom of this piece as shown - adhering ends on back. Adhere to front of card.

2. Using the stitched circle die (Snowman Twist Circle), die cut window in front of card where shown (be sure to open the card first - don't go through the back of the card). Hint: I run the die through 2 or 3 times before removing just to be sure to get all the layers.

3. Using the largest circle die (Snowman Twist Circle), die cut two pieces of plastic packaging (you may need a shim/metal adaptor or precision base plate to cut through).

Die Cutting the Pieces
I originally did my steps in a slightly different order but you can see the pieces here.

4. Do this two times: die cut purple cardstock using stitched circle die and another larger circle die 3 1/4 inches in size (if you don't have a larger circle die, trace a circle about a quarter inch larger around the die and cut manually). You should have two circle frames. Use same die or trace outside of one of the frames to cut a pink circle (not frame) - this will be for the inside image.

5. Adhere one of the plastic packaging circles to the inside card over hole. Adhere one circle frame over it to hide edges. From the front, cut dimensional tape in thin strips (thinner than frame). Hint: carefully cut slits along one side of the tape in a few spots to help it conform to the circle. Stick down one side of tape around front hole without leaving any gaps, keeping slits to the outside and leaving the backing on top so it won't be sticky when you add the shaker bits.

6. Add shaker bits: chunky glitter, small beads, sequins, etc. I found some birthday hat glitter at a dollar store and put a few in, as well as hearts, Xs, and Os. Save a few sequins in the same colors for the front of the card. Once all the bits are inside, peel off backing from tape and adhere plastic packaging circle. Glue frame on top to finish off the shaker.

Stamping Bella Squidgie Copic Coloring

7. Stamp image (Huggy Squidgies) in black ink (e.g. Memento Tuxedo Black) on alcohol friendly cardstock (X-Press It Blending Card). Color image with alcohol markers. Optional: enhance image with colored pencils. I colored my image with Copic markers (see bottom of post for list of colors) then used Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils to add pleats to the skirts and some shading as needed. I added a couple extra strokes to the pink dress girl's hair as well. I added a line for the ground using a black Copic Multiliner pen. Die cut image with largest circle (Snowman Twist Circle). Adhere to pink circle (step 4).

Copic Coloring Huggy Squidgies
I colored the background like this then desaturated it a bit with some very light orange then lightened w/colorless blender.
8. From purple cardstock, die cut the arm (Katherine Label Pop-up). Watch the following video for assembling the arm. You will adhere the image to the arm by first lining it up in the window as shown in the video. Hint: you may want to use a small piece of removable tape at the bottom of the image to hold it in place before closing the card.


9. Tie a bow with teal ribbon; adhere to front where shown. Adhere sequins as shown. Cut teal cardstock 3/4 x 4 1/4 inches; stamp with party hats or other birthday themed stamp using VersaMark ink (have some go off the edges). Die cut 3 copies of Happy Birthday sentiment (Word Set 2 - Birthday). Carefully glue one on top of the other, lining them up to create two thick words. Optional: add clear Wink of Stella then Glossy Accents. Once dry, glue to front of card.

10. Optional: Use left-over strip of balloon paper (1 3/4 x 6 inches) as an accent inside the card. Frame it with pink cardstock (2 x 6 1/4 inches) and add a small piece of teal ribbon near the top. Adhere as shown. I also put a piece of pink cardstock (4 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches) on the back of the card to give it a bit more support. This also gives you a place to write a longer note.

Closed Card

Supplies
Copic Colors Used
  • Background: 0, B00, BG02, BG05, BG07, YR000 (just a small amount to desaturate the darker blues), YG17, YG23, YG95
  • Cheeks: E01, E95
  • Pink Dress Girl/Purple Dress Girl
  • Skin: E000, E00, E11, E13/E00, E11, E13
  • Dress: RV02, RV04, RV08, RV09, G0000 (desaturate)/V09, V12, V15



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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Chameleon Color Tones Pencils Review Let the Journey Begin


This card features a fun image by Dreamerland Crafts, Let the Journey Begin. I chose this for a friend who just finished his PhD. It's the perfect image for starting a new journey. The Tim Holtz metal word band works well as the sentiment for the front of the card.

Also included is a video with a review and comparison of the new Chameleon Color Tones colored pencils, by Chameleon Pens. I compared them to Faber Castell PolychromosPrismacolor and Jane Davenport Magic Wand colored pencils. Further down in the post is a more detailed written review plus images. In addition to the review in the video, you can watch a speed coloring of the card's image. Chameleon Color Tones colored pencils are made in Austria by Breviller, a company with over 150 years experience producing artist quality pencils. Watch to see how they stack up against two of the top colored pencils in the industry plus a fairly newcomer.

Note: all pencils in post/video were purchased by me personally. It would have been nice to get free product though. Sigh.

Affiliate links may be included in this post. See Notice at bottom of blog. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. There is no cost to you.

Making the Card

1. Cut red cardstock 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches; fold in half to form a 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch card base. Cut blue cardstock 3 3/4 x 5 inches. Cut blue gingham cardstock 3 1/2 x 4 3/4 inches (Doodlebug Design Gingham-Linen Rainbow Petite Prints 6x6). Adhere blue gingham to blue cardstock. Do not adhere to card base yet.

2. Stamp Let the Journey Begin (Dreamerland Crafts) on white cardstock with a black ink that will work well with colored pencil. I used Memento Tuxedo Black ink. Color the image with colored pencils. Use a light hand, in a circular motion; build up the color slowly in layers. Watch the video below for speed coloring as well as a review of the Chameleon Color Tones pencils I used for this image. There is a review summary with more detail further down in this post.


3. Die cut image using largest die in Spellbinders Classic Squares Small set. I recommend first cutting a scrap sheet and using the outside piece to frame the image. Once the image is perfectly framed, place the die inside the frame, being careful not to move it.. Trace the top edges lightly with pencil so you can use them as guide lines for the die. Remove the scrap and replace the die lining it up with the pencil lines. Use removable tape to hold the die in place while die cutting (try not to put the tape on the colored image). Erase pencil lines after cutting.


4. Die cut Red Flash Glitter Silk cardstock with largest die in Spellbinders Classic Squares Large set. Use dimensional tape to adhere image to glitter piece.

5. Cut a length of seam binding, enough to go across card and wrap around edges plus some for the knot on the front. Dye ribbon using Barn Door Distress Stain or Distress Ink. Let dry. Thread through Metal Word Band. Wrap ends around blue gingham matted piece near top as shown so that the metal band is closer to the left side; adhere ends to back. Adhere panel to card front. Loop other piece of dyed seam binding under right side and tie in a little knot. Trim ends at an angle.

6. Adhere stamped panel to card at slight angle as shown. Adhere enamel dots.

7. Die cut Congrats from black cardstock (Hero Arts Stamp & Cuts). Adhere to card inside where shown. Stamp "you did it!" in black below the "ats" of Congrats. Optional: stamp "enjoy the journey" at the bottom in black ink. Note: I didn't realize the Compass Blueprint set had been retired by Sizzix. I managed to find a few on Amazon. Tim Holtz also makes many similar "enjoy the journey" stamps.


Review of Chameleon Color Tones Pencils

I compared Chameleon Color Tones Pencils to Faber Castell Polychromos pencilsPrismacolor pencils, and Jane Davenport Magic Wand pencils. I emailed the first two companies to find out whether they were oil based or wax based since I couldn't find that information in their packaging or on their websites. Both companies told me they are wax based, thus the Faber-Castell Polychromos are the only oil based pencils, the other three are wax based.

The Chameleon Pens company website says this about Chameleon Color Tones pencils:
  • They come with 25 Pencils / 50 colors (one on each side)
  • They are artist quality, made in Austria 
  • The colors are highly pigmented and intense with an ultra smooth consistency
  • The colors are permanent
  • The pencils have break resistant 3.8mm lead
  • They come pre-sharpened 
Before going over these points in more detail, I will explain a few color theory terms:
  • Hue is synonymous with color; it is the pure color, e.g. red, blue, green, etc.
  • Shade is the color mixed with black. This increases darkness, making the color darker.
  • Tint is the color mixed with white. This increases lightness.
  • Tone is the color mixed with gray (i.e. black and white).
  • Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color.
  • Saturation is the intensity of the color - the strength and vividness (often referred to as pigmented, more pigment = stronger color)
  • Warm colors are basically those from yellow to red on the color wheel.
  • Cool colors are basically those from green to violet on the color wheel.
Note that a brown (usually considered a warm color) or gray (usually considered a cool color) can be viewed as warm or cool depending on their mixtures. For example, a warm brown or gray will contain more yellow or red whereas a cool brown or gray will contain more blue.

Spice (L)/Ginger (R)
Chameleon Color Tones come with 25 double-ended pencils, giving you 50 colors. The colors are coordinated, with one end darker and the other in a lighter "matching" color. The idea is that these colors can be used together for blending and smooth transitions - you don't have to look for the matching color, it is right on the other end of the pencil. This might not work quite as well as it sounds since the coordinating colors are not all the same hues.

Caribbean Sea (L)/Bay Blue (R)
Although Chameleon pencils include "Tones" as part of the name, they are not actually tones. A tone would have gray added to the pure color, not other hues. For example, pencil 4 with Spice and Ginger: Spice is more cool/blue (leans violet), whereas Ginger is more warm/yellow (leans orange). In practice shaded areas do tend to have more blue and lighted areas more yellow, so this might not be an issue for you. But then look at pencil 16 with Caribbean Sea and Bay Blue: the former contains more yellow, making it a warmer hue than the Bay Blue even though it is the darker of the two. There are several colors I wouldn't use to blend with their counterparts. (Note: the colors samples are a simulation - these will vary depending on your monitor.)

In general, you may find the color pairings work better for some images than others. But you can always mix other colors to achieve the look you want. Most of the colors mixed and blended well; the colors went on fairly smoothly. The biggest advantage of the doubled ended pencils for me is their portability. Instead of carrying 50 pencils, I can carry 25 but still get the same number of colors.


It should be noted that the paint color on the pencil casing is only to be use as a general guide for color. As with most colored pencils, the outside may vary somewhat from the actual color. I recommend making a swatch sheet, with gradients of each color (i.e. color by pressing harder on one side then ease up as you go so the swatch will have more pigment one one side and less on the other - dark to light).

Chameleon Color Tones seem to be harder than the other three, which might be why they are break resistant, but may crumble slightly when coloring. The crumbled bits are fairly small; the problem is that if you are coloring and don't notice the bits, then go over one, it will make a dark spot on the paper. Keep a brush handy to sweep away bits as you color. Prismacolors are prone to crumbling as well but in larger pieces - I haven't had the same problem.

Chameleon Color Tones are made in Austria by Breviller, a company with over 150 years experience producing artist quality pencils. Most artist quality pencils are lightfast, but no lightfast ratings are listed on their website and usually this is a huge selling point with artist grade pencils. I contacted the company for lightfast ratings but they don't have any at this point. Lightfastness is how resistant the colors are to changing when exposed to light; if colors are not lightfast, they are prone to shifting and fading. They are fine for sketchbooks that won't get much exposure to light. If you are planning to display your artwork, I recommend either using UV filtering glass/Plexiglas and maybe even coating them with a UV filtering spray or scanning/photographing your artwork then printing it.

The company claims the colors are permanent but don't specify how. Maybe they are referring to how difficult the pencils are to erase (staining), especially when not applied lightly. Note: most color pencils are hard to erase.

Artist quality pencils also tend to have more pigment than student or craft grade pencils, making the colors more intense. I found several colors lacking in this area, black being most notable. It is very difficult to get a rich black. I had better luck when using a lot of pressure on a real toothy paper but you have to burnish it to get richer color; burnishing destroys the tooth of the paper so you cannot add layers and usually produces a shiny spot. Artist pencils should produce more pigment without burnishing. This was probably what annoyed me most while using the pencils.


The colors went on fairly smoothly and blended well, with the exception of the slight crumbling already mentioned. I didn't have the best luck blending using solvent with blending stumps. The pencil seemed to disintegrate too much too fast. I will have to experiment more, maybe trying a different solvent (I used Winsor & Newton's Sansodor or applying with a paintbrush. Since they blend well without solvent, this isn't really an issue, and probably a good thing for travel. I might try using a blending pencil or burnishing pencil to see how well they work with them. Prismacolor and Magic Wand pencils worked best. Faber-Castell Polychromos also melted a bit too much as well; they faired only slightly better than the Chameleon Color Tones (need to do more testing on these too).

Solvent melted pencil (center)
The Chameleon Color Tones pencils come pre-sharpened. They do however wear down fairly quickly, even when turning the pencil while coloring, which usually helps preserve the point. Keep a sharpener handy (my favorite is by Kum).

Regarding the packaging (see video), the website claims "that Chameleon Color Tones Pencils are packed in a convenient storage case that transitions into a brilliant workstation for creativity on the go!" Although the packaging looks pretty good, and in theory should work, I personally found it annoying. There is a color chart below the pencils but my set wasn't glued well - the pencils wouldn't stay against the box so they blocked a good part of the chart. This doesn't really matter to me since I always make my own swatch chart (printed charts won't exactly match the colors anyway due to the printing process).

The package contains a number of magnets, some to hold the box closed and some to allow the box to stand while using, making it a "workstation." There are two problems here, first is that the colored pencils are sharp and if you aren't careful you will stab yourself when trying to get them out or put them away. I find this much less a problem when they are in a pencil case such as the ones by Global Art that I am currently using (see video or photo above). Having them laying down rather than sticking up makes a big difference. The second problem concerns the plastic that holds the pencils in the case. The pencils may either be slid out/in the top or pulled out/pushed into the plastic with a snap. If you slide them out or in you risk stabbing yourself on the pencils to either side. If you push them in from the front (they will snap in), you risk breaking the tip on the bottom of the plastic if you put them in too low, or they will stick up if you have them too high then you have to push them down somehow. I highly recommend putting them in a different pencil case. Sadly, this fancy container is probably adding to the cost. I wish they would have used a nice metal tin instead.

As far as pricing goes, here are some comparisons. I included only retail prices. Chameleon Color Tones may be harder to find at a discount whereas you can get some great discounts on Magic Wand pencils (Michael's coupon), Prismacolor, and Faber-Castel Polychromos. Keep in mind that Chameleon Color Tones are double sided so each pencil may be used twice as much. I included pricing for number of pencils and number of colors where I could.

CPP = Cost Per Pencil

Chameleon Color Tones $49.99 for 25 pencils (50 colors), CPP $2
Magic Wand Pencils $24.06 for 24 pencils, CPP $1
Prismacolor Pencils $98.69 for 48 pencils, CPP $2.06; $50.23 for 24 pencils, CPP $2.09
Faber-Castell Polychromos $161.25 for 60 pencils, CPP $2.69; $64.50 for 24 pencils, CPP $2.69

Considering that the professional art pencils are only $.06 to $.69 more and that the lightfast ratings are available (so you can create art that will last longer), you may want to invest in those if you need that attribute. The biggest advantage with Chameleon Color Tones is that they are more portable because they are double ended; you get 50 colors for carrying around 25 pencils. If you don't care about lightfast ratings, the Magic Wand pencils are a much better deal, although you only get 24 colors instead of 50.

Another drawback with both the Magic Wand pencils and the Chameleon Color Tones pencils is that neither are offered individually. If a pencil or color wears out, you have to buy a whole new set.


In the video I tested the pencils on toned and black papers. I chose three basic colors from the Chameleon Color Tones, red, blue, and yellow, then matched these as best as I could with the other companies' pencils. All of the pencils worked well on the toned paper but only the Faber-Castell Polychromos and Prismacolor pencils worked well on the black.


I also tested a white pencil from each company on black paper. The Prismacolor was the brightest, the Faber-Castell Polychromos and Chameleon Color Tones pencils were about the same, although I had to use more pressure with the latter, and the Magic Wand pencils were the lightest.

In Summary...

Chameleon Color Tones pencils blended well and went on fairly smoothly. They will need to be sharpened often so keep a sharpener nearby. I recommend putting them in a different pencil case maybe one for travel. They are not quite as highly pigmented as stated but are generally good. They are probably not lightfast. I recommend them as best for travel, having 25 pencils with 50 colors is really convenient plus the ability to blend smoothly without solvent is a big advantage.

Supplies
Video:



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