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Art Journal? Neuro-art? Knitting? Too many things swirling around in my head!

I have so many projects and things I want to do and I seem to be in a phase where I am jumping from one thing to another and can’t seem to settle my brain. I started a piece based on some work I saw about Neurographic Art, where you begin with a distinct drawing of something – the ones I saw most often were hearts, although I’ve seen quite a few of tigers lately – apparently it is the year of the tiger, so that explains that. That gave me the idea to do a piece using the year numbers. If any year needs the “corners rounded” I think 2022, the third year of the pandemic, is the one. My base piece looks like this:

And I then scanned that so I could print out copies to play with before working on the original (micro pen on watercolour paper) and messing it up. And I did two-a-page so I could test a few things.

I am still not a lover of coloured pencils abut they do seem to be the medium of choice for a lot of neurographic art. I thought I would have another go. Problem is the print I did was on my coated cardstock, and that really doesn’t work great for pencil blending. The larger piece is the coated paper while the small piece is watercolour paper:

The other bits you see are Copic markers, which worked only OK on the coated cardstock, and watercolour markers, which were tragic, at best!

So there you go. A lot of time spent and not a lot accomplished, although I did learn a few things. But I am no closer to getting that piece done. I will think on it a bit more, I guess.


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Copic problems, more choices, and too many decisions

I was looking over my collage fodder bins, trying to find something that would work with the stamps I used on the last group of ATCs. I had a few ideas.

The bits on the left were from a piece I made while playing around with the gel medium-as-resist with gloss sprays (which I don’t think I ever photographed or shared, and didn’t realize till I had cut it up into pieces – DOH!) and the bits on the right were just a strip of watercolour paper that is not quite wide enough for an ATC. I am considering a collage but to make up the difference, not sure. I didn’t love them, at least not for this project, but then I came across an envelope I had printed and not used. You recall this, possibly, from one of my tutorial on making your own pre-decorated envelopes?

I managed to get 4 good bits to use for the ATC backgrounds but ended up having to piece the last one. A Frankenstein ATC!

It wouldn’t have mattered because the stamped image I planned for that one was big enough to cover all of the bits that looked wrong. But where things went badly wrong was in the Copic colouring. I am not sure what happened. I stamped with Versafine, which I have used many times before and which in the past has been fine for Copic colouring. I know Archival ink is a no-no but this time I got a LOT of smearing.

What a mess! In the end, it felt like the universe was telling me this needed to be a 4-card series and not a 5-card series LOL! I’d be interested in hearing what ink you stamp with for Copic colouring and if you get this happening to you ever. All the rest of the stamped images were OK. Darn that light!

I’m not quite done with them yet – once again the words are sort of there but not 100% sure. WOYWW tomorrow so we’ll see if I manage it. This weekend darling daughter has her first Ice Skating comp (syncronized skating) and getting her and all her bits and bobs ready for that takes centre stage. The last comp they took first place in the Mixed Ability category (as the only entry, but not to take away anything at all from the massive accomplishment it was for all of them) but this year DD has a new skating helper and this is their first comp together. I do hope it goes well! Fingers crossed….


This and that – Saturday Play

Well I blew the idea that when my CK levels are high, my back is impervious to clenching up on me. I have been taking painkillers and lounging about since about Tuesday. Can’t tell from my posts because I had a few scheduled. Today I am able to do a bit, but not much as you will see from this post. Hopefully by tomorrow I will feel up to more.

I have been playing with some Lynne Perrella stamps and trying to work out what I want to do with them. The first play was comparing colouring with watercolours and with Copics.

Not a lot in it really, and both bleed outside the lines. Paints left, Copics right.

Then I tried stamping them on some Collage Collective paper. I had an idea but in the end I think I picked the wrong paper, because I think the cut-out words aren’t quite right.

I mean, they’re OK just not striking, or inspiring. I might finish them off, not sure yet. I want to play with stamping them on white card and colouring them then cutting them out. I’ll see how that works. I also wanted to show my version of the pressing device a lot of people use on stamping platforms to get good even pressure all over it. Mine is not as swish as some, no big doorknob or drawer pull on the top, just a simple block wth a furniture pad on it. But it cost me nothing, since I had both of those things hanging about.

Took me a total of 5 minutes to find the bits and assemble. And it works perfectly. I think the bit of the Grand Calibur embossing mat that I cut and stuck on my (cheap) stamp platform helps a LOT. I suspect sticky back fun foam would do similar.

That is a single pressing, not a double one. Not bad at all.

We’ll see what all of this play turns in to. Maybe nothing, maybe something. I’ll share if it’s something …


I said I wouldn’t – Janet Klein images

Over the WOYWW weeks I have seen so many cards etc. with cute little big-eyed Janet Klein images on them. I thought they were cute, but in the best kind of weird way. But I swore I would not succumb and buy the stamps. Somehow while looking for something unrelated, I was directed to the Etsy shop that sells digital versions. That was a rabbit hole I should not have dived in to. I was rather restrained, I think I bought four things. One of them was a set of fish. I love fishy images, and in my head the words “Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads..” are always playing when I am working with them. Can’t help it. I had a bit of found poetry that I wanted to use for some ATC coins, but the fish needed teeth. Not all the ones from the set had them, but luckily as they were digital it was easy enough to add them:

Now that they are all lovely and toothsome the rest was a breeze. I coloured some spike-y scallop circles with a few sea-shades of Distress Oxides and layers on some stamps and some spatters for my base – I used a scrap of tracing paper to mop up all the DO left on my mat

After colouring all the fish with my Copics I die cut some leafy fronds from the tracing paper to add to the coins, layering but not so as to obscure the fish. Mostly the Copics worked fine on the printed images

except for the purple fish. Purple always did bleed, I remember that from before. A little surgery, a reprinted eye only, and…

All of them:

So cute, but deadly LOL!

Haven’t named the series yet. Maybe by tomorrow… WOYWW and OMG do I need to clean!

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Copic coloured image transfer

OK, here is the info you need for doing a Copic coloured image transfer to fabric.

As I have said, I have a couple of t-shirt transfer sheet brands.  THIS one works well with Copics.  The packaging does NOT have the info printed on it (I’m guessing it was originally on a printed sleeve maybe?) and the packaging looks different now so I hope it isn’t a case of them having changed the paper and that it will still work the same way.  They also have DARK shirt transfers, which could be cool on a black t-shirt.


I think the key has to be the WAY you apply the transfer.  For THIS paper you must peel off the image, apply it face UP to the shirt, lay the silicone backing paper over the image then iron.  It’s a pain to peel, but that could be because mine is old.

You can either STAMP with Memento ink or PRINT a digital stamp onto the paper. This one is one of the Octopode Factory Alice stamps.


You cannot blend on the transfer paper like you can on plain paper, and you do not want to apply the Copic ink wet-on-wet.  That disturbs the transfer film and can smudge it more than tear it but it isn’t good. You want to either apply the ink in broad strokes in one layer or let the ink dry before going over it.


Use a light touch. If you want layered colour, your can apply one colour, like in her hair here, then let it dry and apply the other colour.  I’ve done light first then darker highlights, which works best.


Instead of stroking on the colour, you can fill in by pressing the brush against the paper, like so:


OR you can do hair with a series of little flick strokes instead, like I did on this image from DillyBeans (and can you see how I did wet-on-wet on her face and the smudging that happens?):


As you can see in the last Alice, I trim close to the image but leave a larger area against a large area of the image – like the head.  This just means that the trimming of the tricky, thin bits are done before I peel off the transfer and the area left to trim is easy, if that makes sense.


Peeling tips: GO SLOW.


Now, I think in future I would leave at least a halo all around the image.  I trimmed VERY CLOSE to the feet and when I ironed it on….



The rest of the image worked a treat, but that area was a disappointment.  Can you see on the skirt where I did dark over light to highlight the folds of the skirt?  Nt blended like on paper, but it does give the effect.

For this one I think you have to test out some papers that are available where you are.  The DecAdry paper is on Amazon UK, but as I said the packaging is different so I cannot be sure it works the same way as the stuff I have.  I will probably get some more to see.  It’s the problem when you hoard supplies and don’t always keep the original packaging!


BIG CARDS – 7 of Clubs

I had a lot of ideas for this one but I was feeling pretty crap due to a nasty cold so went with something easy.  I simply embossed the background card, then brayered over some embossing ink and het embossed with some sparkly black embossing powder.

I left the middle empty for the letters.

I used my Copics to colour the arcs – very bright, very random.

The letters are little foam ones, which I also coloured with the Copics to match.

Probably one of the brightest of the lot.  I think had I been more mentally on the ball, I would have done two things – first, I would have matched up the embossing on the black card and second, I would have  brayered on the embossing ink over the black card as well, and added the sparkly black embossing powder to it too.  I may still be able to add that but not today.


Houses in progress – and a Copic Trick!

I had a blast making the Steampunk Castle but it was def. brown.  Craving some colour, I went back to what had been the original plan when I had the idea to decorate one of the book-templates, and that was using the DillyBeans digital stamps.  I had a problem with the first set she sent – and to be honest I have no idea if it is her, me, my email, her email, PSE or some other weird problem, but the images were small when I got them.  The artist, Megan, has been brilliant in trying to sort this out, but I’m not sure we are there yet – I’m still seeing them at 96 DPI when I open them in PSE.  Any ideas, please LMK – if it’s some setting and the fault of my machine or tools, I’d love to let her know.

The 2nd set of images she sent work when resizing MUCH better, so I am happy to use them as I planned, and have made a start:

I need to get some A3 black card before I can continue, or play around with some A4 card and see if I can make it work.

Anyway, I’ll be cracking on with that today, but I wanted to share a little trick I found when colouring in.  First, let it be said that I am not a Copic-colourng expert.  I have a shaky hand when it comes to fine detail and while I can usually manage a pretty decent job, I am in AWE of some of the pieces I’ve seen.  Maybe it’s the card, maybe it’s my printer ink in combo with the markers, maybe it’s me, but the ink will seem to overflow the printed lines – more so with my new Canon than it ever did with my Epson. So I have to do the trick of using the colourless blender to push back the ink.  It doesn’t ever seem to work as well as I hope it will, leaving too much of a halo of colour.  But I had some success with a make up sponge in one hand, marker in the other.  I’ll explain and try to show you.

Here you see my intentional mistake – I’m shaky, but not THIS bad.  I did two leaves so I could try to show the difference!

Using the colourless blender and pushing the ink made it better, but by no means GOOD:

And when it dries you can see where we are – the colour is still leaching out from the “stamp lines” and looks…not great:

Now check this out.  By pushing the ink with the blender and immediately dabbing it with the make-up sponge, it gets a lot better:

You should  be able to see the difference between the petals. Now, the slightly greenish cast you see is because I tried this technique with a bold green Copic and there was a bit of that still on the sponge.  DOH!  This won’t make a huge difference with those colours where pushing the ink doesn’t, in and of itself, make a big difference.  Reds and Greens are the worst for that, in my experience, which is part of the reason I tried green, to see how it worked.  It makes a LITTLE difference but not enough that you can really see it in a photo.  But if you have over-spill, why not try this and see if you can make a better fix than just with the blender?  My guess is that the sponge is absorbing the ink, both blender and colour, and drying the card before it has a chance to seep.  But who knows?  All I know is it made a BIG difference on one of my little skellies so I will def. try it again if I need to.

I am liking the Dillybeans – they are more cute-creepy than creepy-creepy like the Stampotique ones (which I still adore) so at least my sister will be pleased.


Safmat fun

As you may recall from my WOYWW, I got a sample pack of Safmat transparent film to play with.  I looked at the link on the site and they had some nice projects there, but nothing I personally would do.  I don’t struggle to print on small pieces of card, I just stick it with temporary adhesive to a bigger sheet and it goes thru my printer fine.  I don’t have candles, except for emergency use when the power goes out. Most of what I saw on t’internet all seemed to focus mostly on using Safmat as a sort of rub-on substitute.  Fine, too, but I have 1000s of rub-ons and I never think to use them.   So it got me thinking about the properties of Safmat – what makes it unique?  What can you do with it that you really can’t do some other way.  And then I got one of those brainstorms (all too few and far between)

OK, so Safmat is clear. Fine, so is acetate.  But acetate is a pain to attach invisibly.  And you use your printer…

The key to this is your printer does not contain white ink.  It assumes that you are printing on white paper, and ignores any white areas of your design, so they “print” clear.  Well, I had seen the Stampotique challenge, and mistakenly got it in my head that the challenge was CLEAR, not acetate (DOH!) so was thinking also about something to do for that.  I wanted to do some sort of cage, with a figure inside, on a background that was scenic, like clouds and grass, place the gazebo over the background and the figures, sandwiching them between the Safmat and the background, with some extra stamping at the bottom of the gazebo. I had a couple of images from The Graphics Fairy already on my Mac. While browsing my files I picked out the gazebo and a pair of wings. And shifted firmly into Safmat experimentation mode.  I knew the gazebo would work perfectly but the wings intrigued me more.

As you can see, the images have a white background.  Fine if you want to print on white or patterned paper.

Edited to add: I sort of glossed over the fact that while, yes, you could simply print the image onto patterned paper, you can’t PLACE the image precisely.  The beauty of the Safmat is you can see thru it to highlight a specific area of the paper (in this case some little circles that look a bit like the markings on butterfly wings) which I think you would struggle with if you tried to place the printed image with your printer!

Get it?

Look – clear wings, zero effort!

I wanted the wings to have a  subtle pattern. And I just love this paper scrap.

I applied the Safmat to it and cut the wings out. It ALMOST makes it look like you stamped over patterned paper, but with a lovely sheen.

Those went behind my figure.

Shame the card doesn’t fit the challenge (clear, yes, sort of, but def. not Acetate! So I’ll have to do another one) – and I was experimenting, after my Copic class, with cutting out my stamped figure with a halo on one side, then colouring that with grey ink so it looks a bit like a shadow, but am not sure it was totally successful.

I did use the traditional application of Safmat, printing the text on that then applying it over a piece of the same patterned paper, but I could have just as easily printed directly on the paper.  The Safmat does give it a bit of a sheen, which is nice, but now I know this cool way to use it, I don’t really want to waste it when something else works as well.

Edited to add: in this photo you can see, I hope, more clearly the circles I mentioned before.

So, Think about all sorts f images with white backgrounds that you could use!

This one is on my list, also from The Graphics Fairy:

Oh, and the rest of the quote? My sister should look away now…

You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar…

I thought it might work well for a teenage girl, or maybe even for one going off to college soon.

So there you have it.  I think a new way to use Safmat for adding images to tricky or time consuming to edit, merely printing to remove the background.

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Metal embossing templates

Binkin’ ‘eck!  The day I have had!  I’ve been playing around with the little metal embossing templates that I unearthed in my stash and everything I tried with them failed – mostly because I have the wrong cardstock.  I wanted to try something that looked a bit like Letterpress – ie depressions (DEbossed rather than EMbossed) filled with colour.  But everything ran, bled or smeared.  Usually when I use my Copics, there is a stamped image so the black ink acts, I think, as a bit of a barrier.  I know I have successfully coloured in on the cardstock I was using in the past, but today, it was all just a huge mess.

Anyway, I found, in the end, that if I edged the debossed areas with gold gel pen it keeps the Copic ink from bleeding.  YAY!  It looks ok, but I am not sure I would wast too much more time on it, if I’m honest.

You can’t really see that it is debossed in the photo, but the light is fading and so is my patience! It actually looks quite pretty IRL.

In the end, I think I prefer the one that I coloured, still the debossed side, with Distress Inks:

But there you go.

I suspect they will end up on cards one day, if I don’t lose them LOL!

I have some other cards to make, so really must get on with that….


SDC card redo

Well, I kept looking and looking at the card from yesterday and in the end I think I don’t like the pink, and the bluish skin.  LOL!  I do that a lot.  Make something, then only once I look at the completed project do I decide what I need to do to make it better. Sometimes I do wish I would realize BEFORE it is complete, but I think I just need to SEE the whole thing done before I can decide.

So anyway, I did say I would share how I did it, but I am using the new, improved one, rather than the other one.

I stamped the big head with Memento ink in Tuxedo Black. I then stamp again on a Post-it note and cut out a mask (just INSIDE the edge of the stamped image, so I can avoid as much of the “halo effect”.

Once you cut out the mask, store it with your stamp – as you can see I;ve used mine quite a bit!

I use a stamp positioner to ensure the body is in the right spot.

I cut a mask of the body as well and with both bits masked, stamp the background over top.  I used the stamp positioner again, because I wanted the feet to be straight above the line at the bottom of the background stamp.

Then I grabbed my trusty plastic mesh and laid it over the image (with the mask in place again!)

That gives me a lovely grid pattern on the background.

I added the leters and coloured the image in shades of grey.  I like it MUCH better.

Just a couple of other things – first, the letters.  I really love how they turned out.  I took some letter stickers and dotted on the Copic ink. As the dots dry and new wet dots get placed over them, the ink sort of bleeds and spreads – it’s a bit like Alcohol ink when it gets tamped on.

I’ll def do that again!

OH!  and before I forget.  I’ve mentioned before that I am haunted by the idea that I had seen the big-heads on a little body someplace, and every so often I go searching to see if I can find where I originally saw it.  As I was doing that it came to me that the stamp involved was Moth Fab, so I added that to the search string.

And guess what?  I found the post I was looking for! As soon as I saw the header I KNEW it was the place.  and “head transplant” rang a huge bell.  So I wasn’t totally remembering it right, Kaz just switched two heads, Prom Queen’s head  on Moth Fab’s body, but it was the seed of the idea to use a BIG head instead.  PHEW.  Now I feel a whole lot better 🙂