Sunday, August 31, 2008

Flower Soft ~ Part I ~ Flowers

Flower Soft ~ Just sprinkle a little imagination...

As you might have gathered this weeks featured retailer/designer is Flower Soft. I am so excited to be able to share this amazing company with you so much so that this is going to be a 2 part feature!! I think you'll be as excited as I am after you get a look at their products!

Flower Soft is a new company to the United States but has been around for a while in the UK. I got my first look at their products in July during CHA. I was so taken with it all I immediately knew I had to share it at some point with all of you. I received my box of samples from Susan on Friday and have already fallen in love with the stamps and "flowers"! I was even more surprised to find the return address right here in Indiana! YES, their first warehouse in the US is less than 3 hours from my home :) Doesn't get much better than that!

O.k. o.k. enough with the teasing...I know most of you are wondering exactly what is Flower Soft???? Well, it's an amazing little pot of colored "sprinkles" that you turn ordinary designs into a garden of color, dimension and fun! I'm not exactly sure what it is made out of but when it's in the pot it feels a bit like peat moss but Flower Soft is even better because it is acid free and perfectly safe for scrapbooks, cards and more!

I love the story of how Flower Soft came to be...it's such a neat story of how this little company turned lemons into lemonade! In Susan's own words..."We used to have a small business making miniature porcelain dolls and we wanted to make a move from this business into something less labour intensive. After researching we found that card making was a growing hobby in the UK and was something that would still require us to use our creativity. We designed kits that used elements from our doll making and by working with a the world's best doll manufacturer we were able to produce small cameo busts that were made of resin, but actually looked like porcelain. The cameos were beautifully dressed and to finish them off we wanted to add tiny flowers to their dresses and hair. This proved quite tricky to develop and took months of work to get right, but eventually Flower Soft was developed to fulfill this role. Beautiful as the kits were, we soon realised they were just too expensive for the craft market.......which left us with a lot of Flower Soft! Our design team wondered what on earth we would do with it, but I realised that it would actually make a very exciting embellishment in its own right. To persuade them of its merits, I took some paper wrote my daughters name in glue and sprinkled over the Flower Soft......IT WAS FANTASTIC! and we then put all our efforts into developing it further."

Now, talk about a success story! Flower Soft is a HUGE hit in the UK and now it's finally on our shores!

Flower Soft also has a new line of stamps which were developed by popular demand...another fun story so I'll let Susan tell the story ~ "A bit like Flower Soft our journey into stamps was not intentional. We are known for producing card toppers and papers (beautiful designs and backgrounds specifically created for use with Flower Soft, so that texture and dimension can easily be added). We sell a lot of our card toppers through the TV shopping channels Ideal World and Create and Craft and they constantly want new things. Late last year we were half way through designing the Country Collection of card toppers when we were asked for something new. We weren't prepared to rush the designs and so came up with the idea of taking two of the finished one's (The Bicycle and Wishing Well) and turning them into stamps. We released them to the show, which sold out and then into our retailers, who also sold out and this went on for about three months until we were able to stabilize our production. We have sold alot of stamps! All our designs be it toppers or stamps are a team effort. We have three people dedicated to design two on computer and my Mom (Doreen) who is our Creative Director and main Ideas generator.....but we all have input and that includes our customers who will often make suggestions."

Flower Soft Stamps come unmounted and need to be cut & mounted (as desired) to use. The great news is they already have plans to turn the Alpha Pots into stamps and more in the works! The creative minds behind Flower Soft also have some exciting things in store for 2009!! I can hardly wait to see what they come up with next.

Now, since this is a fun new product as I stated before I'm going to split this up into 2 parts. This week I want to talk about the flower embellishment side of Flower Soft. Next week I'll go more in depth incorporating the use of the toppers and stamps.

Flower Soft (actual name of the flower sprinkles) comes in 18 colors - 6 mixed (Heather; Lavender; Spring; Summer; Sweet Pea and Vintage Christmas) as well as 12 solid colors.

Today the supplies I will be using include the Spring Mix, Flower Soft Wires as well as the specially formulated Aleene's Flower Soft Glue. You will also need a piece of craft foam or in my case a piece of foam that some deco brads came in. This is to stand the flowers up in while the glue is drying.

Just a note about the glue...."The glue you use is really important, we recommend Aleene's tacky or Aleene's Flower Soft Glue (only available from us). The Flower Soft glue is in a wonderful soft small bottle with a fine applicator, so if you have dexterity problems it is easy to use....and as you only use a small dots of glue to highlight a design (big splodges of the glue will obliterate the design!) this works very well."

I wanted to talk a bit about the Flower Soft it's self before I move on to the photo tutorial. This is the package that the Flower Soft comes in...

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and here is what it looks like up close....

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As you can see the Flower Soft is really packed in there tight (Spring Mix shown)! You'll need to do a little prep work before you begin using it.

First, dump the Flower Soft out into a storage container. (Christmas Green shown) Told you it was packed in there tight! I wasn't kidding... Looks like a little moss covered hockey puck doesn't it - LOL!!

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Now, simply break it apart and fluff. You'll be surprised how much was in that little jar. Trust me, a little bit of this stuff goes a long ways!

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Now it's ready for use. Just a note ~ the label from the jar is actually a clear acetate piece just tucked inside the jar lid. It can be removed and adhered to the lid of your storage container for easy identification :)

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Instructions:

1. Remove a Flower Soft Wire from the package and straighten....There are 10 Flower Soft wires in each package and they are very long. Each wire will yield anywhere from 5-10 individual flower wires depending on how long you cut them.

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2. Cut to desired lengths. I cut my wires anywhere from 1" - 2" long. I tried to vary the lengths so my flowers would be taller and shorter as needed. The wire is easily cut with Tonic or like shears.

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(No, that's not dirt under my finger nail....it's a blood blister from earlier this week when I was flattening bottle caps! Warning, do NOT miss the bottle cap...it could result in bodily harm!)

Now, the Flower Soft Wires are covered in a white paper which is perfectly fine because in most situations the "stem" is going to be covered up. If for some reason you're stems are going to be exposed you can color them using inks and water!

These stems were inked using Peeled Paint Distress Ink. The lighter colored stems were made by pouncing the ink onto my Non-Stick Craft Mat. I added 1 squirt of water and simply placed the wires in the mix turning until completely covered. Place in the foam to dry. The darker stems were made by placing the wires directly on the Distress Ink Pad and rolling around until completely covered. Yes, this will result in Ink Stains on your Fingers but that's o.k....we like Ink Stains right?!?!? LOL!!! You can wear gloves if so desired ;)


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3. Now apply a dab of glue alone the upper portion of a stem. You can be generous, this is a specially formulated glue and it won't drip or run like other glues.

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4. Hold the glued stem over the bowl and sprinkle the Flower Soft over the wire. Remember to turn the wire as you go to ensure an even coverage. (the photo is a bit blurry...action shot you know!)

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5. Shake off any excess Flower Soft and place in the foam to dry.

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6. Repeat steps 3-5 making as many flower stems as desired.... Be warned though ~ this can be addictive! I made 12 flowers stems in very little time and ran out of foam to stick them into - LOL!!

Now that we've made the stems, what do you do with them?!?!? WELL, here you go....

Gather your stems, adhesive and a little tissue cone. (Notice how I bent some of the wires...you'll see why in a minute)

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Place a dab of glue down in the center of the cone and start adding your stems. Here is where the height difference of your stem length comes into play. Just like arranging real flowers you'll want the taller "flowers" in the back, shorter in the front and to the sides.

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You will end up with something like this!!! Now how cute is that!


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And finally...the little bouquet in action!


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Beautiful isn't it? I told you that you'd be amazed by it once you saw the finished project! If you like this are you even in store for a treat next week!!! I will be using the flower soft on the Page Toppers and using it pared with the Flower Soft Stamps so you'll definitely want to check back next Sunday!!

NOW....I think it's time for a Give-A-Way!!!

If you like what you've seen here tell me what you like best about Flower Soft...the colors, the styles, ease of use, whatever you want. As long as you post you're entered to win!

Win what you ask?

WELL, how about "The Lampost" set of stamps to start off with...

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as well as an assortment of wires, card toppers and samples of 9 different Flower Soft colors!

Sound like something you'd like to win?

If so, remember to post a comment here and/or on Part II next weekend to be entered to win. You'll have until September 13th to post you're comment at which time I'll pull out the name of one lucky winner (using Random.org).

Good Luck Everyone!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Adirondack Pigment Ink - Snow Cap (White)

I've seen some talk about having problems with the Adirondack Pigment Ink color - Snow Cap (white). Either it's not showing up, poor impression, etc. Now, I've used it a few times and had pretty good luck with it so I thought I'd see if it might be the type of paper it's being stamped onto.

I also had the thought that if there were differences with paper there may be a difference depending on the type of stamp(s) used. I used two types of stamps in this test...a bold rubber stamp ~ Butterfly (Stamp It - Australia) and an acrylic line stamp - Flower (Wildflower Stamps).

I pounced each stamp on the Adirondack Pigment Ink Pad three times to ensure the entire image was covered with ink and then stamped. Nothing special and I've done nothing to the images digitally...you can judge for yourself how well it worked.

(NOTE - In case you're wondering these are scraps of cardstock & specialty paper I have in my scrap basket so they aren't exactly all the same size or shape but they got the job done and I didn't waste any paper! Also, I didn't edit each photo because there are quite a few ~ so you'll see edges and the background cardstock from time to time...I figured you'd be more interested in the ink & paper vs. the editing.)

Adirondack Pigment Ink - Snow Cap (white)

Bazzill - Linen or Weave Pattern

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Bazzill - Line Pattern

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Bazzill - Bling

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Die-Cuts-With-A-View - Linen Pattern

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Club Scrap

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Club Scrap - Embossed

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Club Scrap - Specialty (Games Paper)

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Wal-Mart type cardstock

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Pattern Paper - Basic Grey

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Die Cuts With A View Pattern Paper

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Pattern Paper - 29th Street Market Pattern Paper (back solid color side)

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Inked Paper - Distress Inks over White Cardstock (Completely Dry!)

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Inked Paper - Color Wash over Hand-Made Specialty Paper (Completely Dry!)

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Ranger Black Glossy Cardstock (bit of a glare but the inks still show well)

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Specialty Paper - Cork

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Specialty Paper - Hand-Made w/Glimmer Mist (Completely Dry)

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Specialty Paper - Vellum

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Specialty Paper - Mica/Star Dust Paper

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Now, it's your turn to decide how it preformed!

I just wanted to mention that in addition to these I also tested it on a very light color of cheap cardstock which I could not get a good photo of. The camera couldn't focus on the stamped images because the ink was so close to the color of the paper. It did show up very faint which would be cool for "ghost" images.

This ink is also very compatible with Glass, Acrylic, Non-Porous Surfaces, etc. I didn't include those materials in this test because paper was the primary issue.

Hope this helps clear up any questions about the Snow Cap Ink!

Friday, August 29, 2008

4-1 ~ Stampington & Co's Robin Script Heart

I had such fun using today's 4 for 1 stamp...it's not necessarily a new to the market stamp but it is new to me (you just gotta love fresh rubber!!). It's a Christine Adolph design called the "Robin Script Heart" from Stampington & Co. If you've never taken a look at her stamps you'll definitely want to ~ they are amazing. Vintage with a certain flair to them. I just love em!

Roses are Pink...

Now if you know me you know I'm not normally a frilly, pink kind of girl but I LOVE how this card turned out!! The style is very me and I was able to use a recent garage sale find for the first time! The image was stamped on a page from a vintage Gregg Shorthand Manual. It makes such a neat background and the book is FILLED with pages just like that. It was such a find for only $0.25. (I know, doesn't take much to get me excited - LOL!!!) Anyway, once I stamped the image I used the Ink Blending Tool & Worn Lipstick Distress Ink to color around the image. The edges have been inked with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

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Journey ATC...

For this card I applied Alcohol Inks & Metallic Mixative to non-glossy chipboard (you know AI's are normally used on glossy items). The inks absorb into the chipboard and just act totally different than they do on glossy items. It's a fun look to experiment with. You get depth that you may have though you could only achieve on glossy cardstock. I grunged the image up with Rangers White Pigment Pen and then added a couple real postage stamps.

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Birthday Wishes...

More roses! I know, but I just love this paper. It and the pattern paper in the first card are both from a Crafty Secrets pattern paper book. I just LOVE that stuff! The vintage feel of it is so me :) I added a bit of sparkle by using Stickles on the flowers & leaves then I added some dimension by cutting out extra flowers and mounted them around and on the heart using various types of double stick foam tape to add multiple height variations between them all.

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Robin Tag...

O.k. o.k....I'm also on a Stickles Kick - LOL!! I cut the bird from another stamped image and applied various colors of stickles over the entire piece. A bit of Stickles on some mini Primas add the finishing touch!

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Well, there you have 4 more ideas on how to use just one rubber stamp. Isn't it amazing how varying the inks, papers and embellishments can give a single image such life? I just love the 4 for 1 challenge for that very reason. It's always fun to see how things will turn out!

Don't want to forget to give you a sneak peek at next weeks Ink Stained Sketch!

Here it is ~

"Tie a Ribbon"!


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Even though the sketch is called "Tie a RIBBON" you don't necessarily have to use ribbon...think about other options out there for example you could use jute/hemp; paper ribbons, fabric, sequins scrap; etc. The possibilities are endless when you take that first step out of the box.


NOW, for some great news I'm REALLY excited about....


I have got a special surprise planned for Sunday on the Rubber Stamp Retailer/Designer Feature!! It is an awesome new (to the US) product line that I am sooooooo excited about. It is a really cool embellishment with their own accompanying line of stamps. This is going to be a 2 part feature as there are so many things to talk about. I hope you'll pop in and see who it is....cause I'm not tellin' - LOL!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pizza Anyone?

Well, today certainly didn't go as planned! Last night dh unexpectedly brought home a bushel of ripe tomatoes!! Soooooo, seeing how I have made spaghetti sauce (twice); stewed tomatoes and salsa today I ended up making Pizza Sauce! A whole giant pot of it! I started at 8:30 this morning and didn't get finished with it until just a few minutes ago!

It sure does taste good though :) I can't wait to use it....we had fried chicken tonite because it was already out. I'm thinkin tomorrow night might be pizza night :) You're all invited if you're in the neighborhood - LOL!!

Soooo, consequently no game piece art today. No fun stuff at all for me today but I will have a new 4 for 1 tomorrow using a new (to me) Stampington & Co stamp!

On Saturday I plan on sharing what Ranger's Adirondack Snow Cap Pigment Ink looks like on various types of papers. I've heard alot of comments about it from different places so I thought I'd see what it looks like for myself (and for you guys!).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bingo!

Yep, today is Bingo day - LOL!!

I was so lucky to get a vintage bingo game from a lady my mom works with. She was cleaning out her parents home and the game was destined for the garbage!!! Can you believe it ~ anyway, mom told her that she was sure I'd like to have it and boy was she right! You'll understand when you see the cards!

First I wanted to share a couple of charms I made using wooden bingo chips. These are actually new chips from Hannah Grey. I carefully drilled a very small hole down the center of them so they could be strung on a beading wire. Add a few beads and dangles and you've got yourself some great charms!

O67 - "67" is the year I was born and the computer is for how much I love the net :)

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B11 - "B" is for Ben & Bob (my guys) and the leaf represents their place on our family tree!

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And here is an ATC from the awesome vintage bingo cards....

Object of my Affection -

Some of the cards are that cool washed out green color! The flourish stamp in the background is Fancy Pants; the People Image - Stampington & Co.

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Your Special Day Card

This is the other type of card in the box. It started life out being white but is now a nice vintage color of old paper. I love it! It's perfect for layering on Distress Inks :) Bird stamp is Stampington & Co, flourishes, tiny flowers and saying are all Inkadinkadoo. Flowers are of course Prima's.

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Be sure to check in tomorrow to see what new game piece goodies I can come up with!

TTFN and it doesn't sound like too many of you have inky fingers?!?!?

What's going on out there???

Sounds like you need some quality time with your ink pads & stamps!

I give you permission to take a break and play ;)

Have a wonderful Wednesday!!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Double Sided Checker Bracelet

Oh! I am so excited about the bracelet I have to share with you today! It turned out far better than I anticipated :) I love it when that happens ~ don't you?

As you've already figured out the game pieces I'm using today are checkers. Vintage wooden ones to be exact!

Let's get down to it...

Supplies:

Vintage Wooden Checkers (or new wood checkers work as well)

Tissue Paper

Adirondack Snow Cap Pigment Ink - Ranger

Flourish Stamp - Fancy Pants

Glossy Accents - Ranger

Collage Sheet - Curious By Design - Hannah Grey

Dried Flowers

Posh Accent Pen - Gold - Ranger

Wire

Beads

Tim Holts Ideaology Trinket Pins

Instructions:

1. Drill 2 holes in each checker.

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2. Stamp flourishes onto tissue paper using Adirondack Snow Cap Pigment Ink. Heat to set.

3. Adhere tissue paper to checkers ~ see video...Let dry.


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4. Trim excess tissue paper from the checker using an exacto knife.

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5. Sand the edges of the checker to take care of any jagged edges left from cutting away the tissue paper.

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6. Apply a dried flower to each checker over flourishes using Glossy Accents. Let dry.

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NOTE - if at anytime the holes become plugged with the Glossy Accents all you have to do is take a pick and clean them out.

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7. Cut out desired images using paper punch from collage sheet.

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8. Adhere collage images to checkers using Glossy Accents. Let dry.

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9. Apply Gold Posh Accent Pen to edges of all stamps.

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10. Wire the checkers together. The bead isn't necessary, it's just an extra little fun touch.

11. Add Trinket Pin for the closure.

Now you have your very own double sided vintage checker bracelet!!

ENJOY!!

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Tomorrow I will be using Bingo goodies!

Hope you stop in and check em out...

Now, the question of the day...

Have you got any Ink Stains on YOUR fingers?!?!? ;)