Category Archives: reviews

A Beautiful Mess Ink Swatches

Here’s a quick photo of some new inks I got in the mail last week from A Beautiful Mess’ online shop. I loved the colors when these first came out but seeing as I have a ton of stamp pads, I couldn’t justify buying any color/formula dupes. The studio calico manufactured dye inks don’t give the crispest coverage but I really like their pigmentation so I searched and waited for a reliable stamp color swatches that hadn’t been significantly photo edited. I didn’t find anything super satisfactory and recently just bit the bullet. I did not get either the black or yellow because I have a ton of ink pass in both colors. I absolutely love the colors I received and there’s especially matte to me about the way the finish when the inks dry. Hope this helps anyone else who’s been interested in the line!

Papertrey Ink Type Strips – Stamps and Dies

So many crafty goodies this holiday – I am so excited!

Today, I finally got a chance to play with Papertrey Ink’s Type Strips mini alphabet stamps and die. I absolutely love it! I’m forever running out of letters in the right color and this set changes everything.

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The process is very straightforward – stamp, then die cut. My new MISTI tool made things even easier. I have always been obsessed with getting even coverage. With MISTI and a few magnets, the solid stamp image comes out perfect each time. I haven’t had a lot of time to craft recently but I will definitely write up a review of the MISTI with some of my initial impressions soon.

This Papertrey Ink set will definitely be a workhorse for me, especially with project life. How awesome is it that I’ll now have an endless supply of vowels and all the other letters that always seem to disappear first on my sticker sheets! Love mini alphas!

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Studio Calico’s Funnel Cake Digital Stamp

Knowing that chances were slim that I’d be able to buy the stamp, I decided to purchase the digital files. We’re tiling our backsplash today so I’ve been super busy all day but when after I bought the file, I just had to see what it looked like. I quickly print-and-cut the image on vellum with my Silhouette. The image is so fun and distinctive. I used regular print settings (printer paper) and set my blade to 4. The image came out perfectly without requiring a double cut. After all these years, the precision of the Cameo cut is still so fun to watch.

I’ll definitely have to try to create projects with individual states – the California example on the product page was very inspiring for me. Since I’m from LA, it’ll be a perfect die cut for all sorts of specialized kits. Even though Studio Calico is restocking, I may not actually need to buy it because the digital stamp seems like it would be much more versatile.
funnel cake on vellum

Faber Castell Gelatos – First Impressions

After binge reading Wilna Furstenberg’s blog and watching countless videos she’s posted online, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the Gelatos full set.

IMG_0054 IMG_0057Before purchasing from Amazon — at the time of purchase, they had by far the cheapest price — I spent two nights deep reading about the “gelatos vs gel sticks” debate. For me, even if the quality is exactly the same, color choice was the determining factor. I use the Peach, Guava, Mango, and Lavender colors all the time and I simply would not have used the primary colors of the gel sticks. After playing with them for a few days, I know I made the right choice. Some swatches of the first row of colors below.

IMG_0058 IMG_0059 IMG_0060I’m watching many videos to learn how to control the intensity of swaths of color — the traditional watercolor look is easiest to recreate when I use swipe a wet brush against the stick. For more intense color, I swipe the stick directly on the water color paper a few times. Sometimes it blends smoothly but other times, it doesn’t work as well as I want it to.

I also read about using gelatos for stamping and creating both slightly embossed or water color effects. I’ve read that rubber stamps work better than acrylic or clear stamps — I’ve only tested it out on rubber stamps so far. The first example, I spritzed the stamp first then swatched the stick around like messy lipstick. It created a slightly raised impression.

IMG_0061 IMG_0062With this stamp, I sprayed the stamp after I colored the rubber surface. Can you tell that this is supposed to a be a macaron? I bought this stamp on a whim when I had a class coupon from Paper Source.
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Next up — I’m going to test it out on different types of paper.

Hero Arts – Christmas Ink Cubes Pack Swatches

UPDATE:

I still don’t know how to use the Gold ink with stamps effectively, however, it creates a beautiful burnished gold color when stamped directly onto paper. There’s a slight shimmer to it as well.

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NOTE: I didn’t make any additional swatches for Red Royal. If you want to see a swatch, it’s available in this post.

I really love the ink cube form factor. Too bad they didn’t come out earlier this year – I would have saved a TON of money when I learned about the Shadow Ink pads. The size is quite perfect for the accent stamping I do on Project Life and greeting cards.

Forever green is a really great holiday and nature color.

IMG_5788The silver is okay – it’s a shadow ink so I wasn’t looking for a bright metallic.

Hero Arts Silver

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Another pic to try and capture the subtle sheen.Hero Arts Silver - sheenI’m not quite sure what I’ll do with the gold in this pack — it’s just very odd to me. It’s very splotchy and unlike other shadow inks, it doesn’t fill in solid images very well. I’ve stamped it MANY times, making sure it’s very inky on the stamp, but it looks so odd when stamped. Maybe I just don’t get the aesthetic Hero Arts was going for or I have a defective one. I have heard awesome things about Unicorn though and will probably pick up one of those next time I visit my LSS.

Hero Arts GoldIMG_5784

Preview: LG Pocket Photo for Project Life and Minibooks

Christmas came early — thank you family — and my LG Pocket Photo has arrived.* After one week, the picture quality beats the socks off of my Polaroid POGO. No more ridiculous streaking and I like that the photo paper is thicker – actually feels like a real picture. The wireless printing capability is awesome too.

Do I need one of these gadgets? Of course not. Cost per print seems steep (some could say stupid) too. However, as someone who loves making mini travel albums and loves the idea of her friends printing out pics to contribute to the album, the compatibility and portability of this printer is awesome.

While I was researching the Pocket Photo, I couldn’t find any comparisons between the POGO and LG printer. For my review, I’m thinking some side by side comparisons — especially of the print outs — would be useful.

Below are some pictures of the device right out of the box.

* For anyone else who is interested, I got a great deal on a bundle from Adorama before Black Friday and also received an additional 5% cashback using ShopDiscover.