Friday, 20 November 2015

Seriously Thinking..


I am seriously thinking of giving up this blog.

As most of you will realise, I have a Youtube channel that is connected with this and doing both takes up a considerable amount of time.

Looking at the stats, I get more people watching videos than reading this and I seldom get feedback on here, so I can only think that people would rather have the video channel.

My suspicion is that many readers here were only doing so for the free files that I previously linked and that now I focus on teaching others how to make their own files, interest in that regard has dropped!
Maybe it is just that you watch the videos and because things are explained you don't feel the need to read about it as well, which is fine. Generally I use the blog to give extra information that maybe I forgot to mention, or that you can see photos of the processes.
Lately I have too, been doing more hands on, craft room videos, I'd like to do more but getting things set up is not so easy in my craft room!

So, if you care one way or another, leave a comment, I'm interested to know what you think!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Card - Pembroke the Polar Bear

Like a lot of people who use YouTube, I get recommendations for things to watch. Sometimes these things inspire me, just by the title and I don't even have to watch them!

The other day, one came up with how to make a sort of night sky. I hadn't painted like that for ages, so thought I'd do one. Of course, once I'd done that, I needed to turn it into a card. It's the sort of image that goes well with ice floats and polar bears. I knew I had a doodle of a bear that I'd only just done..

(Yeah, I know, a bit too mushy!)

My mind, doing what it does best, started thinking of ways to make a better ice surface and what better than texture gel? I tinted some of mine a pale blue and added some glitter to it as well.

The idea was taking shape and I thought I'd use my doodle as a cut out embellishment, just as long as I could reproduce it. The original was far too big and anyway, on printer paper.

It occurred to me that I could use it as a tutorial on tracing in SCAL but after an hour messing around with scanning in and attempting that, it became clear that was not happening. The outer line presented no problem but I was not able to get the inner lines to be single ones. Hmm. I need to work on that!

Plan B was to use Concepts - a great iPad app. I was able to import the scanned image into it and manually trace it with my stylus.

If you are not familiar with this app, go and check it out. It is not like other drawing apps. Concepts has been updated recently and now has improved features. I found I could trace the outer line quite easily as a filled shape - or as a line. It allows you to choose thickness, colour, transparency and degree of wobble, so where you may not draw the perfect line, it sorts it out for you. I used a fixed width marker line to do the interior detail bits. Oh, and I also searched on line to find out how many claws polar bears have - well have to be careful  not to short change the guy!

After it is done, it can be exported as an SVG - with all the lines being single lines, regardless of how thick you had them on screen. I emailed it back to my laptop and then opened it in SCAL for cutting.
The rest was easy enough, turn on draw lines and cut lines and add a sentiment.

Here is the end result. I named him Pembroke, every young bear needs a name!

So that's it, job done. Now for getting to grips with that trace function...

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Happy Accident Card!

We all have those days sometimes, when nothing goes quite to plan. I've been having one of them!
I intended to make another shaker card, made the frame and then couldn't get inspired for the content.  So, I doodled a bit, didn't like the result and had to have a re think.

I ended up stamping flowers inside and colouring them, I'd put some cellophane in the window bit but thought it still needed a bit more tweaking.

Out came the white glitter. I put it all over the back design and stuck it closed. It needed a card base now and I found just the right colour to set it off.

The photo does not do justice to the full amount of sparkle but it has the benefit to the recipient that they won't get covered in glitter when they open it!

And another one - I was supposed to have cut a window in it, but didn't before I removed it from the mat, and the flower was just a test bit done on a scrap of watercolour paper. I hadn't even intended to colour it!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

SCAL PRO Tutorials

I am very pleased to announce that I shall shortly be making some tutorials on SCAL PRO.

Being completely up front about it, having done so many tutorials on SCAL 4,  I asked the company if they would like to upgrade me to the PRO version so I could answer questions on it and make tutorials and they kindly did just that. While I have been happy to do that with SCAL 4,  (which I did buy myself) when anyone asked if the upgrade was worth it, I had no facts on which to base a reply.

They know me well enough by now to realise that I will be completely honest in my assessment and findings even though I didn't have to pay for it. I am one of those people who calls a spade a spade and not a manually operated soil movement device!

In part, I hope to show the differences between the two versions, side by side on the screen, hopefully the recording will allow that, I don't think it should be a problem. I will go through all the tools and note differences and make videos of the features that the standard V4 does not have.

So, if you have questions on the PRO version you'd like answered, leave a comment and I'll see what I can do.

SCAL has come a long way in the last 10 months. While no software is perfect, I have found that I can do pretty much what I want to do in it and I know they are still working to improve, so I look forward to giving the PRO version a good work out!


First one!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Easy way to Construct a Shaker Card

I was inspired by Kristina Werner to make a snow globe shaker card with the shaker bit on the front, rather than behind.

I thought I would try silicone glue for attaching the front but this stuff squidges out too much!

The trouble with this type is getting things all neat and tidy because most of it is on show and not concealed!
So, my mission on this one was to make it as fool proof as possible.

So, assuming you have  a cut file or the dies for a snow globe, here are the steps needed.

Make your card front panel and put double sided tape on it if you are using that method to adhere to the card base. It should be slightly smaller than your card base for good effect.
The second step depends on what card you are using for the front. If it is a coloured card, then cut out the shaped 'window' in white, to draw/stamp/paint your design on.
Do your design.

Adhere it to the front card panel, making sure to position it so that you can put the frame around it.
Cut out your dam in fun foam. The Silver Bullet can do this easy peasy.
Using your design as the guide, stick the foam around it. Allow to dry before adding your sequins or whatever you are using.

Now for the front bit.  Place card pattern side DOWN on an only slightly sticky mat. Tape down the edges.
In SCAL use WYSIWYG mode. Place your card on the mat and TURN OFF the outer cut line. Place double sided tape all over the total cut area.
Cut just the inside window.

Remove that piece but leave the rest of the frame in place on the mat.

Remove the tape backing

and place a piece of acetate or cellophane over the window and taped area.

TURN OFF the inner cut line and TURN ON the outer cut line. Now you can cut the outer line, giving you the frame already backed with the acetate.

All you need do now, is stick this onto your foam frame and finish off with colouring or sentiment etc. Be careful not to do what I did on this one and put too much glue on the frame...:)

See? Simple when you know how!  If I have left you confused, make sure to check out the video.

How to create the shape in SCAL 4

Friday, 6 November 2015

Heat Embossing

I'm new to this heat embossing malarky, so I have been experimenting with different ways of adhering the powder to the card.

There are two main ways of embossing it appears, one is to use an appropriate coloured 'ink pad' and use either clear or coloured powder.
The other way is to use a clear ink and whatever powder you choose.

So if using the second method, the sticking bit is pretty straight forward. Either buy a clear embossing pad such as Versamark, or make your own version. A shallow tin, some sponge and some glycerin is all you need, but did you know that you could, at a stretch use baby oil? Yup, tried it and it worked!
The glycerin is perhaps capable of a finer stamped image but the baby oil still did the job, much to my surprise, so if you run out of one, use the other!

Turning my attention to the other method, that of using a coloured ink, I had already had some success with acrylic and water colour paints mixed with glycerin but wasn't completely happy that I was getting the very best result. If it was wet enough, it tended not to be as opaque as I may want.

 I've never painted with oils, always thought it too messy, all that drying time....wait a minute, did I just say 'all that drying time?'  Sure did - and what is it we need for heat embossing? Hmm? Drying time! So, I went out and bought a set of 12 tiny oil paint tubes. From the size of them, I think they are 6ml each but they are not marked, so I have no way of knowing. Good strong colours and I am more than capable of mixing them if I need to.

After a bit of a trial, I have found that although I could emboss with paint straight from the tube pretty much, it is quite soft paint, I got the best result by adding a drop of glycerin to make it wetter.  No racing to get the embossing powder on, I could take my sweet time. The paint was still so opaque that I could even use white on black card quite happily. Moreover, the embossing powder stuck to it very nicely, providing good coverage.

I can't think why I didn't try this before, except that the terminology of 'ink' made me ignore the idea of oil paint entirely.  Cleaning up stamps is still easy.

There is another method, and sometimes it is quite useful. Stamp with a water based ink or  your standard fast drying one and then stamp over that with clear ink and use that to emboss. I tend to prefer doing this with black, rather than use black embossing powder. Some of my card is ok but other card just won't keep a clean image with black powder, even if I treat it first.

Monday, 2 November 2015

A Few Recent Cards

Just some pics of some of the cards I have made recently.
Stamped and coloured.

For these cards, I wanted to use up some patterned card that I had in my stash! So this is why they are not my usual style..

A shaker card with the mechanics behind the front panel.

A pull tab card - the cat moves!

Shaker with stand out panel

I heat embossed all over the water coloured flower.

The inside panel was coloured and then glitter applied to all of it. The window has plastic, the advantage of not leaving glitter everywhere.

Embossed with Sea Foam with added glitter, then a silver pen is used to highlight all the shapes.

What I like to call a 'mask and splash!'

If you are very clever, you may notice that this one is made from the piece of watercolour left over from the card above!

Combining glitter embossing and metallic heat embossing

The matching pair for one above!