Sunday, 28 November 2010

Product Review: A little peek into the USArtQuest Napkin Kit!

I will be showing projects with this kit, but for now I thought you might like a little peek inside the tin and a little review of it all!

After playing with the contents of this kit at Susan's workshop, (that's Mrs USArtQuest, Susan Pickering Rothamel, yes, name dropping here, again, lol!!) I was so excited to get my tin... and, oh, Christmas came early, I couldn't get the lid off quickly enough!!!!

But, before I begin on the napkin kit contents, I have a little confession to make, when I ordered this kit (and others) for the shop, I also ordered a number of individual items too, one of them was at the top of the list, I had a yearning for it that I cannot explain, I think you well know how that fluttery feeling of gathering crafting stash excitement goes...

Anyway, the kit I yearned for containing pots of uber fine, ultra weeny, tiny itsy bitsy particles of crystal shimmer was, boo hoo, out of stock!!! If any of you that order from us think we don't understand your disappointment when you want something that we are out of, do understand that we truly KNOW how gutting it is.  But...Imagine my excitement to find a little pot of that shimmery loveliness in the napkin kit, yay, those miniscule sprinkly bits from heaven had decended to surprise me!!

And here's that precious pot, unfortunately the photo does not do it justice at all, believe me it is the finest stuff you will ever find to sprinkle!  It's not even the usual fine glitter, that will seem lumpy in comparison.  I'll tell you more about it and the best way to sprinkle it another time:)

Ok, with a deep breath I'll move on to the rest of the kit.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the USArtQuest products are top quality, I'll be explaining more about the adhesive another time as it is MUCH more than just a glue and if you buy the kit you will be very impressed with the brushes too.

Susan has gone down the top quality route by including the excellent detail painting and flat brushes, and I have found them fantastic to use.  It's such a refreshing change to have good quality brushes in a starter kit, it makes a big difference to the quality of the work you can produce. 

Moving on now to the napkins themselves, every one of them in my tin has been WELL stroked, and you know the dilemia, which to use first, or can you bring yourself to use ANY of them?  Phew, my hands were flapping about stroking and chosing before I made my first and final selection.

I can honestly say that there isn't one that I don't like, there were no horrid ones sneaked into the bottom of the tin which may have cut the price of the kit in other's hands, and many of them have a lot of images on so I can see the kit really earning its keep for many more projects than I first thought.  Plus they are 2 and 3 ply so you can colour and use the underlaying tissue layers too.  Some had a faint print of the original pattern too, ah, an added bonus! 

Some of the napkins have 4 main images with pieces left over that you can use for other collage work, others have multiple smaller images all over that you can use individually and again the leftovers of these can be used very effectively.

The next pic shows a napkin that says it all, inspire, with a little peek at a part of the mica paint palette that is also included.  How fab are the colours of those napkins!!

A few more napkins, the smoothing sponge and one of the studio cups for using with glue or sprinkles oh, and a little peek at the instruction sheet.

Now to the Mica Watercolour Paints!  You get this palette of  6 luscious colours to paint on the napkins when you have fixed them in place on your project.  Pick out some of the detail in the napkin, then add the shimmery mica paints.  Believe me, it'll make then pop!  

If you are reading and feeling a bit scared about the 'artiness' of this kit, well, Susan has provided you with 24 ATC size blank canvas' in the kit, well not canvas in the texture, but thick board that is not over facing to work with for your first projects.  When you have made them they will be like toppers or the main focal part to add to a card.  She's taken the scariness out in the kit and I'm sure that by the time you've used up those 24 cards you will be ready to move onto bigger projects.  We will be getting extra packs of those ATC blanks in stock if you wish to continue using them though.

You get 12 white and 12 black ATC/topper boards.  Plus there is the tin itself that can also be decorated!

A final peek at the kit contents...

At the start of our day at Sue's workshop we were drawn to her examples while we had our first welcome coffee.  They were truly and utterly amazing!!!  Just as I remembered they always were.  

All my classmates were in awe of her artwork too, there was LOADS of awesome stuff she has made with the products but there were some extra special pieces that looked like they were painted by hand, honestly we really thought she had hand painted them, but they were napkins with the extra detail added with her mica products and her acrylic paints.  I am amazed how nice napkins can look on artwork.

I hope you've had a good weekend and are keeping safe and warm!


Saturday, 27 November 2010

Great tape and Mica - it's my kind of treasure!!!

Here's another sample piece I made at the USArtQuest workshop a couple of weeks ago, I had forgotten how satisfying this technique is.  You apply the Great Tape to the card first, ruch it up then add sprinkly bits, ie Mica Flakes, Mica D'Lights and Gliden Glitz, it looks like treasure!  Well, it does to me as I'm a sucker for this kind of bling!!!

It may appear to be expensive but you need to know that these are the original artist's quality products that are designed not to yellow or fade, they are safe, and you know that your work whether it be in a scrapbook or a piece of art, will stand the test of time and remain perfect.  There is plenty of product so it will last a long time but if, for instance, you fancy trying a small amount but in more colours, then perhaps try the kits, the Faux Lace Collection Kit contains all you need for this technique and the  Mica Flakes Expression kit will give you great combinations of extra colours of Mica Flakes to play with.  I've taken 20% off the kits as an introductory offer!

This is one of the techniques I will be playing with the ladies that attend my technique workshop next Saturday.  So I'll be looking forward to having another play.   We have some spaces left if you are interested, you can book a place HERE

I hope you are all keeping safe and warm.  It's looking like a good weekend to stay indoors and finish off those Christmas cards!!!

Enjoy your weekend


Monday, 22 November 2010

Anything by Tim Christmas Challenge updated - tim left a comment!!!!!

Time for our next challenge, which is anything by Tim with a Christmas theme, and how exciting is it that tim himself has actually visited our challenge blog and left us a comment!!!!  Well done to all our DT, I'm so proud of all you talented teamies:)

So don't hang about ladies, do come and join us HERE, we'd love you to share your work with us. The challenge ends on Thursday evening 2nd December so you still have plenty of time to enter.

For mine I decided to do a variation of a card I made previously, I used Tim's Reindeer Flight stamp sheet with Chipped Sapphire and Walnut Ink distress inks.  I love the misty feel you can achieve with the Chipped Sapphire ink, by repeat stamping the trees with the same ink you will get depth through the mist.  It reminds me of how it looked outside the other morning, all icy and misty (well foggy really!)

I've used an adage ticket with an ornate plate for decoration, the Christmas Wishes wording is from AOD 33 – Holly Sprays

We are sure a lot of you out there will have lots of things by Tim now, for others it may be a case of it not being your thing this time, if that's the case then I hope you will join us for the next theme to follow which is a take 3 colours Christmas theme.

The weekend is nearly here, I hope you all have a good one!


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

More Dicrofibers

Here is another example of the Dicrofibers that we used in Saturday's workshop, I mainly followed the same technique as yesterday, except that I've added pieces of leafing flakes inside the fibres.  You need to fluff up paler colours on top of the stamp, add the leafing flakes and then ideally add some darker colours of fibre.  Have a fiddle about to make it look nice before pressing with non-stick paper with a medium hot iron.

The wording background was stamped using USArtQuest Duo adhesive applied directly to the rubber, the stamped Duo image needs to change from white to clear before you apply leafing flakes.  I'll show more examples of this another time.

I found some silver coloured dog tags (spicy and fruit) and coloured them with gold alcohol inks.

I'm looking forward to playing more with these fibres!!

Thanks for visiting


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

USArtQuest Dicrofibers

Dicrofibres are very soft fibres that can be fused together, the fibre itself is much finer and softer than any that I have come across before also, the colours are absolutely beautiful, there are softer shades and they work really well together too.

The cards above and below were made by Susan Pickering Rothamel of USArtQuest

You need to ink a red rubber stamp with black permanent ink (do not use clear stamps for this technique as they will likely melt!), pull fibres apart to fluff up and lay them onto the inked stamp.  Cover with a non-stick pressing paper such as parchment paper and press with a medium hot iron.  When cool cut out designs to make into a card.

Below are my efforts at the workshop with the fibres, we were running late so we had to work fast.  Next time I do this technique I will spend more time arranging the elements that have been sandwiched behind Lamin-It pieces.  Once arranged the Lamin-It piece is ironed to fuse the pieces together.

Fibres, papers and other bits and pieces can be added.

Finally the piece from my display board that was inspired by Susan's at the top of the post, the 2 flower heads were cut out and layered.  They are made with different coloured fibres to make the pieces stand out

I am still adding products to the USArtQuest section on our website and unfortunately I don't have any photos of the different Dicrofibers kits as yet, I will add them as soon as I can.

I have a couple of technique workshops coming up and have decided to add some of the techniques from Saturday into the day as I'm sure everyone will love to have a play too!

I'll show another piece I made with the Dicrofibers tomorrow, then move on to the other techniques on the boards.


Sunday, 14 November 2010

So simple collage...

I posted yesterday evening that Debbie and I had a brilliant day out and went on a USArtQuest workshop with the company owner/super talented artist Susan Pickering Rothamel and her equally super talented sidekick Frankie, it was absolutely FAB:))) 

I've known Susan and admired her talent for many years, unfortunately I haven't seen her for a few years, so it was fantastic to see her again, to have a big hug, and to learn even more techniques with her great products.

She worked us hard, we completed 4 display boards each full of 4 of techniques along with instructions that you can see for yourself soon when you visit our shop.   I got all inspired with the old products again and was truly wowed with the new ones, so I'll be showing you some things here.  There's also a lot of techniques that you can use with your Cuttlebug:)  I feel there's going to be some great new technique classes coming on with all these great materials...

The piece shown above was so quick and easy to make,  but look how complex it looks!! It is laminated and made mostly from leftovers from other projects.  This was made by Susan along with other pieces I took photos of to show you.  Susan used papers, fibres, metal leafing and mica pieces to make it.  Unfortunately some of the photos haven't come out very well but I'll be showing what I have and also the pieces I made at the class.

The photo below shows a similar technique.

I've started adding more USArtQuest products to our website, the products are all the best quality materials you'll find.  I'll post more about them but for instance the dicro fibres are much finer and softer than any I've seen on the market and therefore finished artwork is of a much higher quality.  The adhesives do so much more than just stick things down, I'll attempt to describe all the uses another time.

I've made some introductory offers on some of the kits on our website for a limited period, so it is an ideal time to try them or perhaps someone would like to treat you for Christmas, I've got my eye on the Napkin Collage Kit, wait until you see what you can do with that!!!!

I hope you've had a good weekend!


Saturday, 13 November 2010

Rotherham - Skipton Coach Trip

Forty plus ladies visited us on a coach trip last Monday, they all joined in Make and Takes with Janet and Michelle and made beautiful cards.  Some of the ladies hadn't stamped before or even embossed, they did a fabulous job with their first try at it all.

While half of the ladies made cards, the other half shopped and had lunch.

The weather on Monday was awful, lots of wind and rain, not a great weather day for travelling but I think the ladies enjoyed their day out.  We had a problem with the toilet...  We won't go into too much detail, but it couldn't have happened on a worse day!

Well, this is my first post for over a week, naughty, naughty!!!  I'm hoping I'm now over the horrid bug thing!!!

Debbie and I had a brilliant day out today and went on a USArtQuest workshop with the company owner/super talented artist Susan Pickering Rothamel and her equally super talented sidekick Frankie, it was absolutely FAB:)  I haven't seen Susan for a few years so it was lovely to see her and learn even more great techniques with her products.  She worked us hard, we completed 4 display boards full of techniques.    I got all inspired with the old products again and wowed with the new ones, so I'll be showing you many things here soon.  There's also a lot of techniques that you can use with your Cuttlebug:) 

I hope you are all having a great weekend too!!


Friday, 5 November 2010

New challenge - Christmas - Anything Goes

 I used the following products to make this card

Tim Holtz stamps, Santa's Wish

Starburst Stains Holiday Wreath set

Distress Inks On the main image

Moonglow Embossing Powder Holly Berry Red Gold  to make the 2-tone red/gold heart embellishment, which was then stamped with Aspect of Design 62 Artistic Elements  with heart wings stamp

Nestie: Classic Scalloped Heart I cut the heart embellishment with thick card, the thickest I could cut with my nestie


White Webbing Spray over the Starburst Stain background, (this is only available at the shop as we cannot post the aerosol spray).

The picture below shows the embellishment that I've built up with about 2-3 layers of of the embossing powder.  When using more than one layer of Moonglow EP you really get to see the 2-tone effects.

 Finally a picture of the white webbing spray, it really stands out from darker backgrounds

If you wish to join our challenge, please click here, don't be shy, we'd love you to share your work with us:)


New stuff from Tim!!!

Have you managed to get your Tattered Florals die yet?  Or any of his new ones?  We have a delivery today that contains some of Tim's new products, we don't have many so don't hang about!!

Then there's the new MINI baroque and ornamental dies!

New on the edge dies...

And new embossing folders...

You'll find them HERE

I decided that when we had our few and far between deliveries of the Tattered Florals dies that were delivered over the last months that it would be unfair of me to grab one when I know they have been like hen's teeth to get, I've finally felt we have enough now for me to have one, phew, it's been a LONG wait!!!

I'm saving mine to use for the first time at Saturday's workshop, then the ladies that are coming can share in my delight:)  How sad am I?  Now come on, I know you know what I'm on about!!!!


PS:  If there are any tattered leaves dies left by Saturday, then I may not have enough will power to resist one of them joining the florals!!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Extra workshop dates, come and get messy for a day:)

I've added some general techniques workshops up to Christmas that are ideal for anyone who wants to come and have a play with a variety of products.  The first one is this Saturday...

We will be using a combination of products from 

Moonglow:  The 2-tone Embossing Powders, Starburst Stains, Moonshadow Inks/mists, fusible webbing etc...

Ranger:  UTEE with the Hot Pot, distress inks etc

Cuttlebug:  Embossing Folders and Nestabilities

Mica powders:  Learn about their many uses

It's an ideal opportunitity for beginners or those that have so far dabbled in these things to come along and play with all sorts of different products and learn new techniques.  We'll cram as much in as possible to ensure you learn as much as possible in a day.

Click HERE for workshop information

Click HERE to book

If you have one, bring an apron as thing could get messy:)


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Another new Design Team member!!!

Yes, ANOTHER one!!!

It is Sarah Anderson, the art of moodling, she is a dear dear friend of Ian and I, who we have known for years.  Sarah is the most happy smiley person.  People that know her will agree, I'm sure, that when Sarah enters the building, laughter and giggles just happen, and continue...  it's infectious, then when you see her work and how talented she is, then I'm certainly left in awe, and I'm sure I'm not the only one!!!

Sarah taught classes with us years ago, we'd been chatting about her joining our DT but we never actually sorted it out, but we have now:)  That's down to Vix stepping in and getting us organised.

Sarah is very talented and just loves splashing around in ink and paint, remember this photo from our demo weekend, yes this is Sarah!!!

If you haven't visited Sarah's blog before, here's a link, you'll not be disappointed! 

This is a journal page Sarah started that weekend that made those hands so messy at our open weekend with one of the designs from Tracey Coates' Butterfly Beauties stamp sheet, it's stunning, and she did most of it in 6" of space at the end of Vix's demo table!!!!!!  Click here to read more Sarah's day visiting us.

So welcome to Sarah, we're all thrilled you are joining us:)

*  *  *

Well, Halloween is over now, I didn't intend to, but I think I not only scared the small children that called round but also a dad!!  The outside light bulb has gone, and it was pitch black outside.  Ian had gone to bed early with this bug and had said to me to make sure I got my door keys ready in case anyone called, I hadn't, so it took ages to get my keys when they called.

Our dog was going bonkers barking (shame he didn't do his howl), and I knew I'd never get him shut in the kitchen without a battle and I'd left them waiting ages.  So, I had to leave him in the living room and close the door to the hall in order to open the door, there is no light in the hall and I had to unlock the door in the dark.  

Ian has fitted 2 really strong bolts to the front door which REALLY creaked and groaned and took me ages to unlock, my keys were also jangling about and I think I was getting scared myself!  I opened the door and could only see silhouettes, handing over the treat was fun and after feeling about in the dark I eventually found a tiny little hand.  

I did apologise that I couldn't put the light on as the bulb had gone, as they walked away I heard dad say, that it was the spookest one tonight!  I felt quite proud, although I hadn't really tried to be scary (they were actually lucky the light was off, me having a bug isn't a pretty sight!). 

I locked and bolted the door again, and another group knocked straight away, so same procedure...  I'm not convinced it wasn't some of the first group coming back to have me do it all again.

Our house is 100 years old, on a hill which makes it imposing, with lots of trees and bushes and I have a feeling that for a few years there will be some little children in the village running past our house on their way into school.   I wonder if they will come back next year, lol!!

Oh, I do waffle don't I...