Tuesday 30 August 2011

Adding Flexmarkers

The lovely Fiona and Cathy asked me if I could put together one of my blank colour charts to include the new Flexmarkers from Letraset, so of course I'm only too happy to oblige.

Flexmarkers will be available in 72 colours, BUT if you already have all the promarkers you would only need to add 51 of those 72 colours to your collection as 21 of the flexmarker colours are already available as promarkers
(in case you were wondering, those 21 colours are: Berry Red, Sandstone, Mandarin, Pumpkin, Blush, Sunflower, Canary, Buttercup, Bright Green, Meadow Green, Apple, Forest Green, Grass, Cool Aqua, Duck Egg, Cyan, Pale Pink, Pastel Pink, Dusky Pink, Sunkissed Pink and Black)
So I have added the 51 new colours to the blank promarker chart that I made up a while ago.

So all you have to do is click on the above pic which will take you to the 4shared website where you will be able to download the chart.
I highly recommend that you print the colour chart out onto the cardstock that you normally use with your flexmarkers and/or promarkers, then colour it in :) - this way it serves as a true representation of the colours for you and it also doubles up as an at-a-glance checklist.
Please feel free to download my chart, but note it is only for personal use, DO NOT pass it off as your own or sell it or pass it on to others - I would appreciate it if you just pointed people to this post, or to my tutorial page where it is available to download.
Another wee tip for you - once your chart is all coloured in, it's worth having it laminated to save it getting tatty :)

Friday 26 August 2011

And the winner is....

Thankyou so much to everyone who took the time to enter my blogaversary candy and helped to spread the word.
Without further ado I've chose a winner with the help of random.org
So..... lucky for some Number 13 Sandra Strait come on down!! congratulations
please email me with your address so that I can get all these gorgeous goodies off to you.
If the prize isn't claimed before 12 noon on Monday 29th August I will redraw

Thursday 25 August 2011

3rd Blogaversary Candy

This candy is now closed
**More candy added - see below**
My goodness, it's 3 years since I started this blog and I was just having a look at some of my first posts and cringing lol
Anyway, I don't want to talk about the past, I do want to offer some blogaversary candy as a thankyou to all the lovely folk who read my blog and leave me comments now and again.
To enter my big blogaversary candy all you have to do is 
  1. Post the pic of my candy in your sidebar with a link back to this post.
  2. Leave your details with Mr Linky at the end of the post.
Nice and easy eh? and please feel free to tweet, facebook or blog this post to spread the word (buttons are at the bottom of this post below my signature, because the more people who enter, the more I will give away. For every 10 entries over 100 I will add something else to the pot and update this post. 
So what can you win....
  • 1 pack (20 sheets) Papermania Noel 12x12 paper (includes 8 glittered paper designs)
  • 1 pack Anita's foiled die-cut christmas sentiment toppers in red and gold
  • 1 pack Papermania Capsule collection Cranberry & Apple cardstock alphamini stickers
  • 1 pack Forever Friends - A Christmas Tale toppers
  • 1 pack Forever Friends - A Christmas Tale foiled dome stickers
  • 1 pack Kanban - Christmas Urban Belles clear stamps
  • 1 pack Papermania Urban Stamps - Noel
  • 1 pack (30 pieces) Papermania Capsule collection Cranberry & Apple petals
  • 1 pack (12 pieces) Anita's Large paper rose buds
  • 1 roll Anita's Christmas Ribbon - gold
  • 8 oversized buttons
and remember, for every 10 entries over 100 I will add something else to the pot of prizes - only 1 entry per person though.
**edited to add: for reaching 110 entries I have added a Wild Rose Studios Floral paper pack
**edited to add: for reaching 120 entries I have added an undecorated papier mache triple hanging frame - this is one that has been decorated
**edited to add: for reaching 130 entries I have added a pack of glitter border stickers
**edited to add: for reaching 140 entries I have added a Clearsnap Petal Point fluid chalk inkpad collection in Primary Pastels

This candy ends at noon GMT on Thursday 25th August.

Monday 22 August 2011

Letraset FlexMarkers - My Review

So, I reviewed the Spectrum Noir pens from Crafter's Companion here and today I'll be reviewing the new Letraset Flexmarkers.

Just to clarify, this review is my honest personal opinion, I have not been paid or sponsored by anyone, including Letraset.

Letraset launched the Flexmarkers at the beginning of August exclusively with Create & Craft tv and the initial launch was limited to 4 packs of 6 flexmarkers.... Set 1 & 2 includes 12 colours that are brand new to the Letraset family i.e. they are not available in Promarkers or Trias, and Set 3 & 4 include 12 colours that have only previously been available in Trias. So if you already have promarkers that is 24 new colours for you.
The next batch of Flexmarkers will be launched in September and will be available at all good art supplies retailers. These include 4 packs of 12 markers - 27 out of these 48 colours are not available in Promarkers.
The point of me telling you all this is to illustrate that these don't have to be an alternative to Promarkers and other brands, these compliment the Promarker range - adding some much needed paler shades and other colours that are "missing" from the Promarker colour chart.
However if you don't have any alcohol markers, or want to try a new brand then these would be a great place to start - there aren't a huge number in the range to collect - I know a lot of people are put off by the fact that there are 148 Promarkers, over 300 Copics or Trias and over 160 Spectrum Noirs, there are only 72 Flexmarkers - so that would be a great set to start with and if you needed to add colours you can select from both the Promarker and Tria range, in the knowledge that they will work perfectly together.

Here's the Flexmarker Colour Chart - the ones marked with * are NOT available in Promarkers

The main difference between the Promarkers and the Flexmarkers is the nib - both markers have a chisel nib at one end, and instead of having a bullet nib like the Promarkers, the Flexmarkers have a brush nib.

So let's move on to what I think...
First impressions... well the packaging of the sets is very clever, I love these new blister packs which double as portable storage - ideal for on-the-go colouring and crafting. 
The barrels of the actual pens have a very striking design, which I personally quite like - it is very distinguishable from the Promarkers and the Trias, the end caps are the same or similar to those on the Trias and like the Trias the colour and HSL value is already enclosed at either end so no need to colour in your own sticky dots like we have to do with Promarkers
The only downsides I can find here are
1. both end caps are identical so you can't tell which end is which, purely by touch and
2. the visual indication on the barrel is a little ambiguous and not immediately obvious.

The Flexmarkers use the same ink that is in the Promarkers and Trias, so the quality is terrific, nice crisp colours. The Flexmarkers seem to be more juicy than the Promarkers, the ink seems to flow from the brush nib far quicker, so you definitely don't want to be heavy handed with them or you'll end up with ink pooling on the surface of your paper/card. 
If you are used to Promarkers then the brush nib takes a little getting used to, but with a little practice I'm sure you'll start to love them. Copic users and those of you who have Trias will already be familiar with a brush nib so will be quite comfortable with the Flexmarkers. The brush nib also allows you to create effects that you can't with the Promarkers, just by varying the pressure you use, I also find it easier to fill in an area that's a little too big for the bullet nib of the Promarkers but not big enough or too fiddly to warrant using the chisel nib, you can colour the area quickly and smoothly with the brush nib. This also makes blending that bit easier - because it's always easier to blend when the ink is still wet, before the alcohol has evaporated.

The introduction of a lot of paler colours is a huge bonus for those who already have promarkers - we definitely needed more pastels and the ones in set 1 and set 2 are just ideal. For those who have asked me how to colour white... Light Fawn and Antique White in Set 1 will be particularly useful for colouring wedding dresses, polar bears, white rabbits etc etc
I tend to use strong, bright colours in my crafting, I'm not usually a pastel-ly type person BUT I'm enjoying experimenting with these pastel shades in Set 1 and 2 for more subtle effects.

Conclusion: I love them, they are exactly what I've been waiting for - the colours Letraset have chosen are clever choices for 2 reasons 
1. if you only have flexmarkers then you have a self-contained but comprehensive range of 72 blendable colours and shades and 
2. the new-to-promarker colours fill many of the gaps in the promarker colour chart
The only negatives I can find are the ambiguous nib indicators on the barrel and some of the end caps are harder to remove than others.

Sunday 21 August 2011

So Proud!

I was born and bred in a village on Royal Deeside called Torphins, which is very pretty and every year on the 3rd Saturday in August they have their village Gala. My parents still live at Torphins so we try and go out to visit them and go to the gala, usually some of my cousins and auntie and uncle go too so it's a great opportunity to catch up with family.

Unfortunately this year I wasn't able to walk around the park where it is held, but we still went out to my parents' and Graham took the kids and the dog down to the Gala.
The kids were really excited because there was a Pets Parade which had various prizes for various categories like Waggiest Tail, Most Appealing Eyes, Pet the judge most wants to take home, best fancy dress. Well, if you have ever met Pepsi you will know that she has to have the waggiest tail on the planet, she just loves people and is so pleased when they talk to her. And guess what? I had a proud mummy moment because my little Princess Pepsi did indeed win first place in the Waggiest Tail category!
The kids had great fun, looking at all the stalls, buying junk, sweeties and candyfloss, playing on the inflatables and things in the park and thankfully the sun stayed out and the rain stayed away.

 The dog with the waggiest tail!

 Faith again

 Scott, Pepsi and Willow

 Faith in motion

 Scott & Pepsi

Willow with a pink poodle she bought at one of the stalls.

After the gala they all came back to mum's where the kids all played outside, mum was watching my nephew Kyle so the 4 kids had a great time together. And it was lovely to sit outside in the sun and catch up with my parents and my cousin and his partner.

Today it looks pretty much like we're all having a jammy day and I think Willow and I might go and do a bit of crafting this afternoon. Whatever you're doing, have a great day.

Saturday 20 August 2011

Ahoy, me hearties!

I had a nosey over at the PfP challenge blog to see what this week's challenge was - when I saw it was "a pirates life for me" I thought "oh well, can't enter that then". But on my jaunt over to The Papeterie yesterday to catch up with Charlotte, Rachel, Alanna and Kath, I spotted these cute little Nellie Snellen pirate stamps.

Image: Treasure from Nellie Snellen, stamped with Memento London Fog and coloured with Promarkers and Flexmarkers - got to use Antique White and Light Fawn on his shirt and Aquamarine around him.
Red, black and white cardstock from The Papeterie, Hero Arts canvas stripes cling stamp with Memento Ladybug Red, Papermania mini buttons, faux stitching with Tim Holtz design ruler, Sakura silver metallic pen and Letraset Fineliner

I'd like to enter him into...
Passion for Promarkers - A Pirates Life for Me
Sweet Stampin - babies or little ones

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Trying no lines again

I've had another bash at the "no-lines" technique, this time I tried Memento - angel pink ink and this seems to be pale enough (for this image anyway). I also thought I'd try using an image that has no discernible facial features, and as you know I'm not a fan of Magnolias so it has to be a Gorjuss.

Image: The Winter's Night from Gorjuss coloured with promarkers, flexmarkers and trias.

I think this image does benefit from being coloured with no black lines - especially the skinny scarf, I think I need to rework the hair on the one with no black lines too cos it looks a little odd. But I thought it would be interesting to compare the 2 side by side.
In my opinion you have to do a lot more concentrating and a lot more colouring and blending - this one could have done with quite a bit more work, but I have the attention span of a goldfish and I got bored :S
If you've tried this technique I'd love to come and see, so leave me a comment.

And I thought I'd share the pics of Faith from yesterday - her first day at primary school
 too excited!!

and I was going to post a pic of all 3 of them together this morning but Willow wouldn't smile and the photo's turned out pants so I'll try and get one later.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Sugar Bowl #65 - entry 2

Hmmmmm, looks like this might be becoming a bit of a habit, entering the Sugar Bowl more than once per challenge. :) Not sure if could have something to do with a) the fantastic sketches (you know how I love a sketch) or b) the enormous range of Sugar Nellie stamps there is to play with.

Before I get onto my card, it's first day back at school today - Willow was up just after me at 7am this morning, all raring to go. So here's Scott and Willow all dressed and ready to go - Scott started his last year of primary school, and the P7's get to wear black sweatshirts.
Faith starts Primary 1 this afternoon, so I won't have pics of her to share until tomorrow. I've got mixed emotions about her going to school, on the one hand I will be out with the flags because it'll be the first time in 12 years I haven't had at least 1 child at home with me, but on the other hand - this is the last of my babies all grown up, so I think there just might be a tear or two this afternoon when we take her to school this afternoon.
Righto, back to my card...
Image: Strike A Pose from Sugar Nellie, coloured with promarkers and flexmarkers
white card from The Papeterie, cuttlebug EFs, MS border punch, ricrac from stash, Fiskars flower punch, clear bling coloured with promarkers, core'dinations card
here's her close-up...
I'd like to enter her into:
Sugar Bowl - sketch and blue
The Shabby Tearoom - polka dots
Pile It On - 3 shades of blue
Scrappy Frogs - bling
Challenge Up your Life - no patterned papers
Just Some Lines - embossing

Sunday 14 August 2011

No Lines

firstly a big thankyou to everyone who has left such lovely comments over the last few days - I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel now and have been able to cut right back on the pain killers so I feel an awful lot more human now, I still can't sit for any length of time at the computer or on the settee, but hey-ho.
I have been dying to get back to crafting, even with my tramadol befuddled brain, I had loads of ideas floating around, so last night Willow persuaded me to have a crafty evening with her. Although she gets the better end of the deal here, by sitting in my bed, in her jammies and crafting til she falls asleep lol

I've noticed a bit of a craze starting for colouring images with no black lines - it's where you print a digi with very faint lines or you stamp an image using a very pale ink. So I thought I'd give it a try... I used Memento - Desert Sand ink, although I think this is still too visible, but hey, it's my first try. I'd appreciate any constructive criticism - what I mean is...
criticism = saying it's crap
constructive criticism = saying it's crap, because....
Image: Pillow Talk from Sugar Nellie, coloured with promarkers, flexmarkers and trias
papers are all BG Marrakech, core'dinations card, fiskars flower punch, ranger enamel accents for flower centres, lace from stash, white satin ribbon coloured with promarkers

I've followed the sketch at The Sugar Bowl and the optional extra of Blue, I'm also entering this into the Sugar Nellie FB group challenge this week which is "punches"

Here's a wee close-up where you can see the inked outlines still, but not as obviously as using black or dark brown ink.

Have you entered my blogaversary candy yet? remember to spread the word - the more entries I get, the more I will add to the prize pot :) so feel free to share on FB, tweet, blog it etc - just click on one or more of the wee buttons under this.

Friday 12 August 2011

Quick Update

Hiya, sorry for being MIA - I'll explain in just a minute, but before I do I just wanted to give you all a heads up about some things that are going on in and around blogland....

Jane has some fantastic Sassy candy to give away here. And while you're there you'll want to have a nosey at her fabulous creations from the cupboard under the stairs :)

And if you are a Sassy fan then you might want to enter the Simply Sassy blog's latest challenge where you could become one of their header girls or boys.

There's also a fantastic DT Call over at Sugar Nellie that's not to be missed - who wouldn't want to work with Sugar Nellie stamps ??

Have you seen the new Flexmarkers from Letraset? how do you fancy the chance to win a complete set of 72? Pop on over to the Letraset FB page to enter - you do need to "like" them to enter.

And before I go I just want to thank everyone who has left get well messages. As some of you know I went into hospital on Tuesday to get treatment on my hips. For those that don't know, I have a congenital condition that has resulted in osteoarthritis in both my hips, it has deteriorated over time and in the last year my mobility has been seriously affected. Because I'm 38, the doctors have always been reluctant to give me a hip replacement operation but they have at least acknowledged that I do need it. So as a stop-gap measure they suggested that I try lubricant injections. And so I went in on Tuesday as a day case patient to get hyaluronic acid injections in both hips.
A needle is inserted into the joint via the groin, first they put down a local anaesthetic, then a dye is inserted so they can check the needle is in the joint - at this point they take several x-rays, and once the surgeon is happy that the needle is in the correct place he injects the hyaluronic acid. 
I was told that the procedure would be uncomfortable but not painful, but my experience was probably the most painful thing I have ever experienced and having had 3 kids I know what pain is.
Back on the ward I was told I had to eat, drink, pass urine and walk before they could discharge me. So I did all those things and was allowed to go. At that point I felt quite good - but I know now that the local anaesthetic was still having an effect.
Once that anaesthetic wore off I was in a huge amount of pain and had to take the max dose of paracetamol and tramadol for 2 days.
And it's only today that I can move without excruciating pain. I am still having problems with my left leg - which was actually the better of the 2 in the first place ironically.  But at least I'm more compus mentis now.
So, thankyou for all your comments and well wishes, I really appreciate them

Monday 8 August 2011

And the winner is....

I've used random.org to choose a winner for my 100,000 hits mega blog candy, but before I get to that I just want to thank everyone who entered, and thankyou for spreading the word.

Busy busy today, took the kids to Hoodles at Oldmeldrum which is a play barn,then in to McDonalds for their tea on the way home. 
My Letraset Flexmarkers arrived late morning so they came too - one lady even came up to me at Hoodles and said she really admired my colouring :)
Tomorrow I go into hospital to get lubricant injections in both hips, I have absolutely no idea what to expect and have deliberately not googled it. Hopefully this will free off my hips a bit to allow me to exercise and loose some weight, which will take a bit of the strain away from my hips. I'm in hospital all day tomorrow and because I get an anaesthetic I very much doubt if I'll be in any kind of state to blog tomorrow.

So before I go and get organised for tomorrow and have another play with these lovely new flexmarkers, the winner of my candy is ...

Number 18 - Kym of Kym's Crafty Cards
congratulations and please make sure you email me before Friday 12th August.

For those who didn't win this time - keep your eyes peeled because it's my 3rd Blogaversary on Thursday and I just so happen to have more candy to give away :)

100K Mega Blog Candy

This candy is now closed - please do not add your details to Mr Linky. The last valid entry is 136. Winner will be announced soon.

I recently passed 100,000 blog hits so I thought it was about time I gave away some blog candy to celebrate, does that sound like a good idea?
Now there won't be any long-winded rules and regs, all I ask is that you post a pic on your sidebar of my candy with a link to this post and enter your details in the Mr Linky at the bottom of this post.
So what goodies do I have up for grabs?

1 full pack of Papermania Happy Birthday To You 12x12
1 pack of Papermania Happy Birthday To You diecuts
1 pack of Papermania Happy Birthday To You stickers
1 pack of Papermania 4 door card blanks and envelopes
1 pack of Papermania borders clear stamps
1 pack of Anita's large pink paper rose buds
1 Papermania Typography clear stamp "with love"
1 Sugar Nellie Sassy stamp "all spruced up" from the recent xmas release
1 gingham background stamp
7 Letraset Tria markers (I know there's only 6 in the pic)
I added the Tria markers because they are a fantastic addition to a promarker collection, the colours I have included are: R766, R354, C917 (Denim Blue), O618 (Putty), Y337 (Tulip Yellow), R327 (Dusky Rose) and a blender.
The Tria markers have 3 nibs as standard... a chisel nib, brush nib and ultra fine nib, and they use the same ink as promarkers so you can mix and match.

This candy will close at 12 noon GMT on Monday 8th August.
Good luck 


Sunday 7 August 2011

Spectrum Noir - My Review

There's quite a buzz going on with some new markers on the market and I've been asked by quite a lot of people what I think. So this is my honest opinion and a few facts that I have managed to find out. Today I'll be reviewing the Spectrum Noirs and soon I'll be reviewing the new Letraset FlexMarkers.
Now some of you might be sceptical because I'm a pretty hardcore Promarker devotee, BUT I am not an employee of Letraset or any other company and therefore this is entirely my opinion, no-one has sponsored or paid me to do this review either.

I was given 3 of the tonal packs to try out, the Turquoises, Pinks and Purples - I chose these packs in particular because these are the colours I felt I could add to my promarker collection.
My initial impression wasn't good - I thought the printing of the colour names and numbers and also of the product name on the barrel and ends of the markers wasn't very good - parts were missing and appeared to be rubbed or scratched off. But that was just a minor point and is neither here nor there when it comes to performance, however it may make life difficult if it's hard to read the colour name/number.

Next I decided to make my own wee swatch cards so that I could see what each of the colours looked like on the cardstock that I normally use for alcohol marker work....

As you can see, some of the colour names/end cap colours bear no resemblance to the colour of the ink - I think the most noticeable is #88 Purple Grey!
I decided to try the Spectrum Noir pens out on different surfaces - I have used 2 weights of Diamond White cardstock from The Papeterie - I will edit with the weight details, I can't remember them off the top of my head - and the 3rd surface was Letraset's bleedproof paper which is 70gsm
here's the heavy (top) and light (middle) Diamond White and the Letraset Bleedproof (bottom)

I have also included a scan of the reverse side of each so you can see how "juicy" the pens are. Now this is only one layer of ink. In my opinion the Spectrum Noirs saturate the paper far quicker than the promarkers do and so you can't do as much blending or layering with the Spectrum Noirs before the paper/card is saturated completely with ink and then starts to bleed outwards across the paper/card.

Next I tried some colouring.....
From the waist down I have coloured like I would with promarkers e.g. from dark to light, I used Geranium (15) in the darkest areas, then coloured over it and outwards with Rose Pink (8) - now these two blended reasonably seamlessly and I was quite happy with it, but when I coloured over the whole skirt and then tried to blend the Medium Pink (137) onto the skirt it started to look a bit strange - it looked like the 137 was bleaching out the colour of the other 2 shades in the same way a blender pen would. However, when it dries, it doesn't look so bad and the blending looks quite good. 
I went from light to dark from the waist up, first colouring the whole area with 137, then dotting on some 8 followed by 15 in the darkest areas - working quickly so that the ink was still wet, but this doesn't make for a smooth transition between shades.
In conclusion, working from dark to light, I did get the end result that I was after, but it was quite disconcerting when I tried to blend in the palest shade - I think the end result is more to do with chance than anything else.
 And lastly I thought I would try to illustrate where these packs of Spectrum Noirs would fit in with your promarkers - I've done this because I know a number of you have bought some Spectrum Noirs to add in to your promarker collection. It's obviously not an exact science as they are not designed to work with each other, but this is the best I could come up with....

CONCLUSION: this is purely my opinion, I don't like them - I did want to like them and to be honest I was very disappointed. I was hoping I would be able to fit them into my promarker collection, but I'd rather pay that bit extra for the new Flexmarkers and Trias to fill the gaps in the colour chart of the promarkers :)

New Baby 1

My boss at work, and friend Charlotte recently had her first baby so I had a few baby cards to make, on for Charlotte and her husband James,...