Saturday, 27 March 2010

Sarah Kay

I recently became the proud owner of another couple of Sarah Kay stamps, so I had to ink one up right away.

I coloured the image with Promarkers and mounted her on card which was coloured with Soft Green Promarker. The circular backing paper was made using Photoshop Elements using the colours from the image (and my Promaker Colour Chart), and the other backing paper is from Papermania. I've backed both the circle and the strip with Promarker coloured card, and added some white tissue paper flowers. The sentiment is hand-written.

This card fulfils the requirements for: Friday Sketchers, Crafty Cardmakers which wanted a Spring-themed card, and Rosie D's Challenge 67 which wanted a green, yellow and white colourscheme.

And another three challenges from one card!

White Rabbit

This image is a gorgeous freebie from Phindy's Place.

I coloured her with Promarkers and cut and mounted her using my Nestibilities. The background paper was made using Photoshop Elements and colours determined using my Promarker Colour chart, and the sentiment is is also computer generated. The flowers are made with eight layers of tissue paper coloured with Powder Blue Promarker and backed by some blue pearlescent paper. I've added some ribbon and sticky gems.

This card fulfils the requirements for the following challenges: I Love Promarkers 7 which was a sketch plus a requirement for dots, Colour Create 41 which wanted pastel colours, Daring Cardmakers which wanted an Easter themed or Egg card, and Fussy and Fancy Friday Challenge 7 which wanted an Easter themed card.

Whew! Four challenges from one card. That's definitely a personal record.


There are so many challenges with a Spring theme this week! And I've been busy.

I used an image from the Dover Books Flower Designs and Motifs which is a collection of flower 'stamps' provided on CDRom. I coloured it with my Promarkers and cut it with my trusty Nestibilities. The background paper is self-made, using my Promarker colour chart and Photoshop Elements. The yellow background is also computer generated, as is the sentiment. I've added another computer generated element - the strip - and added some ribbon and flowers from my collection.

I've had the Dover book and CDRom for quite a while but often forget to use it, so it was good to get it out for a change.

The card fulfils the requirements for Sketch and Stash 31, and Digital Tuesday Challenge 51 which was for a spring themed card.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

This Month's Swaps

Now I know that this month's swaps for Crafty Cardmaking have been received, I can post them here. (Well, the digital challenge isn't complete yet, but I'll post that at the end of the month.)

This first card was for the 'Cute Critters' swap. Now, I don't often do critters, cute or not, but I found the image which is a freebie from Clearly Delightful Digital Designs. He's called Harold, and he's definitely cute! He's been coloured with my Promarkers and the background is one I put together using a flower shape coloured in Photoshop Elements. I did this before I did my Promarker/printed colour chart, and the yellows in the background are definitely subdued compared to the image. I've also used a Martha Stewart punch and some ribbon from my collection.

This one was for a 'brown/turquoise' swap. The image is Sarah Kay and it's coloured with Promarkers. The backing paper was made using the scrunch technique and a mixture of Radiant Rain and Moonglow ink. I've added some ribbon and an embellishment (with Promarker coloured flower) and used a Martha Steward punch.

This uses what is probably my favourite ever Sarah Kay image. Isn't it gorgeous? The challenge this time was to make an easel card - something I hadn't tried before. The papers were a freebie in a recent craft magazine and are some of the lovliest I've ever seen. I just love those colours! I used Promarkers in similar shades to colour the image and added some die cuts from my Spellbinders In Spades pendant set with Promarker shaded gems, and finished with one of the embellishments sent to me by Vixykins as part of a very generous secret Santa gift just over a year ago. (It'll keep me going for a long time to come, I suspect.)

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Promarker Colour Charts

I mentioned these yesterday when I posted a card made with one of Ching-Chou kuik's gorgeous stamps, and I thought I should say a bit more about them.

I often make my own backing papers. If I'm using an already coloured digital image, that's easy - I sample the colour in my graphics programme and do a backing paper to match. But that's much harder when I've coloured the image with Promarkers. I've lost count of how many backing papers I've made to match the colours of my image only to find that they don't match at all. The problem is that the colour on your computer screen is probably not the colour that will print. I'm always amazed when I look at a familiar website on an unfamiliar computer and hardly recognise it. But screens vary a lot.

So, determined to save myself some paper and ink, I tried printing out a range of the available colours and matching them to my collection of Promarkers. It quickly became obvious that I needed an even bigger range of printer colours, and when I mentioned what I planned on the Crafty Cardmakers group, Vixykins offered to supply Promarker swatches for colours I didn't have. She even got a friend to complete the set!

If you're not familiar with hexadecimal codes, they're simply a way of describing colour. They're most commonly used in HTML and CSS, and consist of three separate numbers. The first two digit number gives the amount of red light (not pigment), the second the amount of green and the third the amount of blue. The only complication is that the higher the number, the lighter the shade because it's based on light reflection and not on absorption. I like this method because I can guestimate differences from a given and a desired colour, and because I've used it for several years when I've played with designing websites and so on.

So, why are they called hexadecimals? Well, that's because these numbers aren't the usual base ten numbers, they're base sixteen. That means that the digits used are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, a, b, c, d, e, f. So, the lowest number you can get for any colour is 00 and the highest is ff. When you put those colours together, 000000 is black (no reflected light) and ffffff is white (because when you mix red, green and blue light together you get the whole spectrum which is white.) Similarly, ff0000 is pure red, 00ff00 is pure green and 0000ff is pure blue. Mixing those, you get the familar printer ink colours: ffff00 mixes red and green (or if you prefer, it's white light less the blue component which gives you yellow. ff00ff mixes red and blue (or is white light less the green component) and gives magenta and 00ffff mixes green and blue (or is white light less the red component) to give cyan.

Ok, enough maths. I took a shortcut that's common in HTML and only used those colours which have repeating digits - so colours like aa5566 and 110055, and printed out small samples of all the resulting colours. While that was a shortcut, it still meant printing out 64 A4 sheets each of which had 64 colour samples (4096 colours in all). Once I'd done that, I assembled the colour swatches and compared them with the printed samples in daylight. Some colours were easy to match and some were just not possible. Unfortunately, because the printer ink colours aren't perfect, some colours aren't reproduceable. This is particularly true of the most vibrant reds, and blues. Where that happened, I tried to match the colour balance as closely as I could, although the ink shade would normally be duller and paler than the Promarker shade. Once I'd done all that once, I did it again! For some of the paler shades that fell between two of the printed shades, I printed further charts with the intervening 16 shades and matched from those. Some day, I'll do the same for the various greys because I wasn't completely happy with some of those either.

Having done the comparison twice and compared notes, I then came up with a confidence measure - 1 if I chose exactly the same shade both times, 2 if I was pretty close and 3 if there was a significant difference (mostly the colours that couldn't be matched well at all.)

The result is either an Excel spreadsheet with colour names and hex codes, or a couple of jpg files where I've added a small sample of the appropriate colour for comparison purposes. The only colour currently missing is slate because I forgot it's hidden among the grey lists on Joanna Sheen's website (because that's where I got the full listing.) I'll add it when I can.

In the meantime, if anyone would like a copy of the information, you can comment here with an email address and I'll send it on. Just remember that it isn't perfect, and that it's based on colours from my Canon printer using Canon ink printed on Tesco Finest ink jet paper. Other combinations will be different, but hopefully not so different that it's not still a useful tool.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Leaving Card

One of my colleagues is leaving the school where we work to move north, so I decided to make a card. It might make sense here to say that we work in a school for children with moderate learning difficulties, and we first worked together in the autism base. Although the children we worked with are aged from about four, Mo Manning's images seemed perfect for the card.

I combined two of her 'terrible twos' images, and added the wording with Sakura Stardust pen which, unfortunately doesn't photograph too well. So you don't have to look too hard, it says 'Won't let you go, Sian' and adds at the bottom 'without one last tantrum'.

The image is coloured with Promarkers and the backing is Co'ordinations card which I've run through my Wizard with a Cuttlebug embossing folder and sanded. Then, I added a few gems and a colourful butterfly from my collection.

The card fulfils the criteria for this week's I Love Promarkers challenge which was a sketch and a ban on backing papers, and the Saturday Challenge on The Secret Crafter which was an 'anything goes' requirement!

A Fishy Tale

The amazing Vixykins sent me some stamped images, and I used one of them to enter a couple of challenges and try out my newest 'toy'.

The 'toy' is a chart that matches (as far as possible) Promarker colours with the hexadecimal codes I use when specifying colours in my graphics programme. Since I don't own all the Promarker colours, I owe a vote of thanks to Vixykins and her friend Sue (don't have any other details about her) who supplied me with swatches of the colours I'm missing. The result is the background paper below which uses the ink matches for mint green and cinnamon as well as a cream. In fact, because I used some green card for matting, the match doesn't look as good as it could because the nearest card I could find wasn't perfect! I'm hoping it'll save me some wasted effort in the long run because the colours on screen often bear very little resemblance to the printed colour so you can't use that to match. We'll see!

Anyway, here's the card.

The image is a Sweet Pea stamp - Ching-Chou kuik's September Rhythm. Isn't it gorgeous? I must get some of those beautiful stamps as soon as funds are available (and not earmarked for something else.) The paper behind the one I made is a cream glitter paper which doesn't show well in the photos, and I've cut an In Spades Borderability in some speckled cream card I've had for a long time. I finished the card with flowers made using my nestibilities and pearls coloured with mint Promarker.

I'd like to enter the card for the Colour Create challenge which is to use mint, cream and chocolate colours, and the latest Crafty Cardmakers challenge which is a 'Feminine Celebration'.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

A Card for a Colleague

No challenges this time - just a card for a colleague and friend. The image is from the Debbi Moore Art Deco CD and the backing paper uses the two flowers from the image and a gradient of the colours put together on Photoshop Essentials. The sentiment is also computer generated and then cut with my nesties. The ribbon is from an autumn collection I got in Hobbycraft a while ago. I must admit, I like the rich colours in this - they don't seem too heavy either which strong tones can sometimes seem.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sunday Challenges Part Two

The second card also has a 'supernatural' theme, but it's very different.

The image is from Pollycraft - one of the Lilybean fairies. This one is called 'Primrose' and she's so pretty. She's coloured with Promarkers and highlights have been added with Sakura Souffle pen, and I used a clear Stardust pen to add a swirly pattern to her wings. The circular paper is from Paper Cellar and the black glittery paper has been in my collection for too long to remember where it came from! The card is actually a beige-y pearlescent whose name I can't remember from Craft Creations. I've added some ribbon and flowers and gems from my collection.

I'd like to enter this card for: Colour Create which asked for a black, red and off white colourscheme and Friday Sketchers.

Sunday Challenges Part 1

I've been busy this afternoon - although a lot of the time has been spent planning and trying things rather than actually making. Still, the result is two cards with five challenges between them.

This first card uses one of the goreous images from Selina Fenech. I've coloured her using a mixture of Promarkers and Sakura Stardust pens. Skin, dress and hair are Promarkers while wings are Stardust pens painted on with a damp brush. The frame is straightforward Stardust pen. I quite enjoyed using more than just the clear Stardust pens - they're all gorgeous and I haven't done that for a while! The background paper is scrunch technique with Radiant Rain and Starburst Stains mixed. The sentiment is hand-written and mounted on various nesties, and I've also used a Martha Stewart punch and some ribbon from my growing collection.

I'd like to enter this card for three challenges: Daring Cardmakers which called for an aquamarine colourscheme, Digital Tuesday which called for scallops, and Sketch and Stash.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

18th Birthday Card

My nephew is 18 soon, and I set out to make him a card. Like all male cards, it's hard - even harder than my husband or either of my sons because humour is more unpredictable. (My nephew lives 400 miles away and I see him once or twice a year so I really don't know what he'd find funny and what would embarrass or irritate him.) So, knowing that he's got a motor bike and having spotted an appropriate decoupage set in a recent magazine, I set to work.

The rider is, I think, from Crafters Companion, and he's been decoupaged with silicone glue. the tools on his belt are from my collection, and I must try to get some more of them. They're useful! The tool box is of my own devising. I knew the card needed something else, but flowers and/or butterflies just didn't seem appropriate, so I put the box together on Namo Web Canvas and layered that too. The background paper's mine too - just a simple stripe put together on Photoshop Elements, as was the sentiment. I've also used a Fiskars border punch, and my nesties - the pinking circles to match the border punch.

The overall card is bigger than I usually do - A5 - but the size of the image dicatated it couldn't be any smaller than that.

I'm entering it for the Allsorts Challenge Week 42 which called for 'Cards for Men'. And, despite the fact that it makes me feel old, at 18, he's legally a man!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Prima Candy

So, it looks like Prima has something new coming out, but they're not saying what (yet). But, in the meantime, if you blog about it, and link to their blog, you've got a chance to win.
. To find out more, go here.


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