Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lovin' La Blanche!

This month I have been playing with the wonderful La Blanche Silicon stamps and a couple of new papers plus one I have been using for a while.  With arthritis creeping into my hands, these stamps allow a wonderful impression without much pressure.  They are lightweight, so I tend to drop them less onto unstamped (or already stamped) work.  I hate having fumble fingers!  The image above is stamped onto the new Ranger Inkssentials Specialty Stamping Paper.  I find the coating wonderful for these highly detailed stamps.  Ranger's new Distress Ink Markers work perfectly on this coated paper.  I have also experimented with Copic Markers on this surface, and I find the surface to be a little too slick for them.  They do not absorb into the surface, but seem to float on top instead.  This cardstock is quite slick, and I found that by applying JudiKins MicroGlaze over the surface, it provides protection for the piece, while giving it a very nice sheen.

The next La Blanche stamped image was stamped on one of my favorite surfaces to use with Copic Markers--X-Press It Blending Card.  It is coated just enough to use with these fabulous stamps and absorbent enough to use with Copics.  This particular image was colored with Copics.  One thing to know is do not over-ink these stamps.  If the pad is scrubbed over the design, it will fill in all the little wonderful details of the stamp.  So just apply the ink with a tap-tap-tap.  

Another great discovery about these stamps is do not over think coloring them.  The stamps are so detailed that they automatically do the shading!  Use darker colors where the shading is dark, and the lighter, brighter colors where there is very little shading.

Remember the rule of thumb for coloring inked images:  to color in with Distress Inks or water-based media, stamp with one of the permanent or solvent-based inks such as Ranger's Archival Ink or VersaFine by Tsukineko.  To color an image with Copic or other solvent-based media, use a dye ink such as the preferred Memento Ink by Tsukineko.

This final stamped image of the owl and the clock was applied to the third type of paper, LaBlanche Specialty Stamping Paper.  This paper was manufactured for use with LaBlanche stamps.  It is an un-coated paper, but it is as smooth as the Ranger's Inssentials Surfaces Specialty Stamping Paper.  The owl and clock stamp was colored with Distress Inks and the Ranger Ink Blending Tool.  I then spritzed the card front with water and allowed it to work before blotting with a paper towel.  I used a mister and also Tim Holtz's "spritz and flick" technique, which gives bigger drops of water and a more dramatic result.  {To do this, spritz water onto your fingers and flick the water onto the paper.}  I was not satisfied with the owl done in black, so I stamped him again with brown ink and used the Distress Markers to add a little more color.  He was then cut out and popped up, offset just a little so the black image underneath looks like his shadow is cast behind him on the clock.

LaBlanche has produced some unusual combinations with their images, and they stamp very well on these three papers.  Always use a very smooth or coated paper for these stamps.  I tried using them with standard porous cardstock, and the image appears a little fuzzy and irregular for my purposes.  The LaBlanche stamps stamped well on all three of the papers discussed here.  I don't favor one over the other.  

 If you want only black (or another color) and white images without coloring, glossy cardstock is another option.  Beware that to use glossy cardstock with these images, you will need a stamp pad that is nearly dry.  Juicy pads will just encourage "bubbles" and open spots on your stamped image and will fill in all the nice details with ink!  I like to keep a Ranger Archival black pad that is quite dry for stamping on glossy cardstock with stamps that are very detailed, such as the LaBlanche stamps and others with photographic-style images, such as the fine stamps from Oxford Impressions.  The polished stone technique for making colored backgrounds using alcohol inks like the Tim Holtz Ranger Alcohol Inks, will work on glossy cardstock. Then overstamp them with a dye-based ink and the LaBlanche stamps if color is wanted for an image on glossy paper.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tip-In Page Swap for An Altered Book...

Front of Tip-In Page

Altered books are a passion of mine, and recently, altered book round robins have occupied  a part of my art world.  Recently one of the Yahoo Groups with which I am associated decided to do a "Tip-In Swap" for altered books. {Click for information:  Tip-In for altered books }

Immediately I was captivated, since I have noticed that when an altered book round robin has many participants, the books become stressed by all the handling and mailing.  So this was a great idea!  Only a single page to mail makes it more inviting to those on a limited budget, and it allows your own book to stay at home, where it will receive TLC from only one person cutting and pasting within its covers.  In addition, the owner of the book can expand the theme of her book using other altered book techniques for her personal artistic contribution, adding the tip-ins from the other players as they arrive, or waiting until the entire swap is complete, arranging it as do desired.

I like interactive elements in my altered books, so I will try to add something to open or pull out and read, or something hidden to find as a surprise.  Pop-ups are a favorite of mine, so future pages may have a pop-up or two.  So look at my blog occasionally.  Each month, until the end of the swap, there will be a new tip-in page for your perusal.  The person's book I contributed to this month used "Nature" as her theme.  The theme of my own book is "If The Shoe Fits..."

The front of the page was done using K & Company double-sided cardstock, which makes a sturdy page when folded.  I added a die-cut file folder stamped with images from Artistic Outpost both inside and out.  The second image shows the file folder opened.  The butterfly punch with all the open areas is one of Martha Stewart's, and the wings overlaying two of those butterflies are punched with a Stampin' Up butterfly punch and some recycled paper from the old punch paper and card system for computers.  I colored this paper with Tim Holtz's Distress Inks made by Ranger, using some of his ink blending tools to lightly add color and dimension to the ivory paper.  Also above the file folder is a series of small to large butterflies cut from one of Stampin' Up's Sizzlit dies that cuts and embosses.

The little brass dangly thing hanging off the spiral paper clip is a brass jewelry blank from Vintaj , and it is colored with Ranger's new Patinas made specially for painting metals.  They are so fast drying!  I love them!  Now I made several, since I got carried away with the Sizzix Vintaj metal embossing folders, so the next project will be making some jewelry with the fun little blanks!

Back of Tip-In Page

 The back of the Tip-In page has library pockets with tags inside, both die cut with Sizzix original dies.  The tags are stamped with tiny butterflies on one side, and words on the other, all from Artistic Outpost.  Two pockets are made with vellum, and two are made with the recycled punch paper, again tinted with Distress Inks.  The outer corners of the page are reinforced with decorative metal copper corners, applied with a Home Pro tool from Bonnie's Best Art Tools.  This Tip-In page swap has been fun so far.  I can't wait until next month, to see whose book I will be assigned to design another fun little tip-in page.