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Anniversary Card October 29, 2016

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I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!  For today’s post, I’m sharing a card I made for my parents’ anniversary.

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The card base is the ever-gorgeous Rose Quartz Mica/Metallic on a card base of Neenah Solar White.    The heart images are from the Spectrum Noir Colorista In Full Bloom coloring pad, colored with Spectrum Noir markers.  The love die cut is from a Die-Versions die, cut out of regular card stock covered with washi tape.  I thought the card was finished, but it was missing a little extra bling.  In the final version, I added some small 3-D heart stickers from a very old K&Company set.

Sweet Thank You September 17, 2016

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Good morning, everyone!  I hope you are having a fantastic weekend.  Today, I’m sharing a thank you card I made for a very dear friend of mine with the help of some gorgeous specialty cardstock.

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For this card, I went a little bigger than my usual A2 size, and this is done as a 5×7.  The image of the perfume bottle is from the Spectrum Noir Colorista marker pad called In Full Bloom, and it is colored with a combination of the Spectrum Noir and Colorista markers.  My card base is Solar White Classic Linen cardstock, and I matted the image using one of my favorites from the Spring Premium Package, Vintage Silver Lustre text weight.  The Thank You is cut using a Die-Versions die from Greystone, which is also from the Classic Linen line.  Thanks for stopping by!

Peacock Birthday Card January 9, 2016

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Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone has had a wonderful start to 2016.  Here is a bright, cheery birthday card I created for a friend of mine whose favorite animals are peacocks.

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For this card, I started with a base of Neenah Solar White cardstock.  I used an ATC sized stamp from Art Neko from this sheet that I got as a birthday gift from my parents.  I love the images on these stamps and the fact that they are deeply etched red rubber.  I stamped the image using Memento Tuxedo Black ink and then colored the image using the following Spectrum Noir markers: BT1, BT2, CT4, EB6, EB8, GB3, LG1, LG3, and LG5.  I then colored in the background using a Tombow marker (452) and a paintbrush to fill in the background color with water before going over the entire image with clear and black Wink of Stella pens.  The sentiment is from a Sizzix set called Birthday and Frames, and it is stamped using Memento Nautical Blue.  I embossed some beautiful Treasures 80# Pool cardstock with an Anna Griffin embossing folder that I felt set off the feathers.

Quick Christmas Card November 28, 2015

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Wow, I can’t believe it is almost December!  Here is a quick and easy Christmas card to make.

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For this card, I used a Darice stencil with Christmas ornaments on Neenah Solar White cardstock.  The stencil has some light adhesive on the back, which made it easy to color with since I knew it wouldn’t move.  I used Spectrum Aqua markers to color in the ornaments, and then embellished them with a clear Wink of Stella pen and some gold Stickles.  The sentiment is by My Sentiments Exactly, and to frame it better, I went over the outer edge of the card using the True Black Spectrum Noir marker.

All My Love Mason Jars August 19, 2015

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For today’s project, I’m sharing a card I made using some gorgeous specialty papers from PaperTemptress.com and stamps by Unity Stamp Company.

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For this card, I started with a base layer of the amazing Azalea Mica/Metallic cardstock.  I embossed this and Epic Black cardstock using a Sizzix embossing folder.  I stamped the mason jars, hearts, and sentiment from the Jars of Love x 3 stamp set on Neenah Heavenly White 100# cardstock using Memento Tuxedo Black and Ladybug inks.  The jars are colored using Spectrum Noir markers in BT1, BT2, IG1, IG2, IG3, and LY1.  I covered up the edges of the Epic Black cardstock using some floral washi tape and 1/4″ air duct tape.

Mini Notebook July 25, 2015

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I’m really excited to share this notebook with everybody today.  The original tutorial I saw was done by Lawn Fawn, and you can see it here.

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Front, showing closure

In order to create this mini journal, I started out with some Cryogen Iridescent 89# cardstock.  You really need to use a heavier cardstock for the cover of the mini journal because otherwise, it will not hold up well with the closure.

I cut the Cryogen at 7 3/8″ by 4 1/4″ and used a Hero Arts stamp called Many Petals to stamp the design all over the cardstock.  The stamps are colored using Spectrum Noir markers (DR5, CR7, CR11, IB1, and I softened the edges of the IB1 using the colorless blender).

After creating the background for the journal cover, I scored it at 2 7/8″ and 6″.  I used my Cropadile to punch the hole in the journal flap, used a small circle die cut (about 1/2″ diameter) to create the “button” closure from Epic Black cardstock and attached it using a snap since I didn’t have any coordinating brads on hand.  I used a 3/8″ corner chomper to round the corners of the flap of the journal cover.

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back of mini journal

The paper inside the journal is five pieces of copier paper cut down to 10 4×6″ pieces.  I folded them in half using a bone folder, and then I used a craft knife to trim the edges of the paper down 2 3/4″ wide so that the edges will all lay evenly and not peek out of the journal cover when it is open.  The paper is attached to the cover using a stapler, but you could also punch some holes in the spine and thread more twine through to keep it together.

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journal, open to show pages

I attached some twine to the under side of the Epic Black cardstock with Glossy Accents, but any strong liquid adhesive will do.  After letting it dry, you can wrap the twine around the journal a couple times and keep it closed.  I also tied a knot in the bottom of the twine so that it wouldn’t unravel.

Hope you enjoyed this and will give it a try yourself!  These would make really cute little gifts, and you can truly customize them using specialty paper and stamps.

Christmas In July July 8, 2015

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Here is my card for the Imagine That digis by Kris progressive challenge.

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Well, we’re more than halfway through the year, and (gulp!) on our way to the Christmas countdown… This adorable set of images and sentiments included one for a sweet Christmas, and I had a lot of fun coloring it.  I printed the image out on Bazzill cardstock and colored it with my Spectrum Noir markers.  I used my Perfect Layers ruler to cut the border in black cardstock, and mounted that on the card base, which is from a Christmas Recollections paper pack.  It’s a little difficult to see since most of it is covered up, but it is some really nice paper with Christmas ornaments on it.

Hamlet Pigwit Being Shy! April 26, 2015

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Here is my card for the From the Heart Stamps progressive challenge.

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I had such a great time creating this card.  I created the background using Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors on watercolor paper.  I love how bright the colors are for the background.  Hamlet PigWit is printed on XPress It Blending Card and colored with Spectrum Noir markers.  I matted the image with some Mica/Metallic cardstock that is (unfortunately) no longer available, and it was my last piece!  I love how the dark brown sets off the image though, so I had to use it.  The three pearls on the bottom o the card are a Viva Decor Pearl Pen.

Spectrum Noir Update April 18, 2015

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I just wanted to update my original Spectrum Noir post since I just received some new information from Crafter’s Companion as well as the replacement markers for the ones that I was missing or were broken.

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I updated my swatch chart to show the IG6, IG8, IG10 blending combination.  They blend together quite well, but I’m not sure how often I will use that particular combination because it is so dark.

The new information I received from CC’s Customer Service is that no, I should not attempt to glue the marker barrel on my own!  It is great to know that they will stand behind any of their markers that happen to be defective, at least at this time!  I requested two additional markers that are consistently coming apart at the barrel of the marker, so hopefully both will be replaced.  (At the time I originally wrote to CC, only one marker was coming apart at the barrel, but by the time I got the response, another one started to do the same thing.)  I am afraid of damaging the nibs or part of the marker that holds the ink if I keep jamming them back together.

Spectrum Noir Markers and Copic Markers April 14, 2015

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Well, I jumped on the bandwagon and bought a set of the Spectrum Noir markers.  They are marketed as a craft grade alcohol ink marker.  I was mildly interested in these markers when they originally came out, but obviously it has taken me a few years since to actually get a set of my own.  Guess that’s a good thing, since they have definitely made some improvements to the original version of the markers.

I have been using Copic markers for years now, and I got my toes wet in the alcohol ink marker arena by starting out with a set of Neopiko 2 markers. I liked that they were virtually odorless (unlike the Prismacolor markers), and I really enjoyed having the brush nib – the downside is that the brush nibs are a much lower quality than the Copic markers, and by the time the markers were running out of ink, quite a few of the brush tips were shot.  I got my set probably 6 or 7 years ago and paid around $100 for the set of 72.

My delight with the brush nib led me to want to try the Copic markers.  I took a so-called Copic class through Archivers before they declared bankruptcy.  Honestly, I didn’t learn much in the class itself, and some misinformation was actually given out about the markers, but I did discover that I definitely wanted to invest in Copics.  I have Original, Sketch, Ciao, and one wide marker (which I got as part of the Copic Certification class and don’t use).  Most of the markers I own are Sketch markers, which are my favorite.

Here is a comparison of something I’ve colored using my markers where I tried to match the SN and Copic marker colors:

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Comparison using comparable colors to blend the same image

The stamp I used is one I stamped while at a friend’s house – I’m guessing it is an older Stampin’ Up stamp, but I’m not sure.  The Copic version is on the left, the Spectrum Noir version is on the right.

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Crafter’s Companion recommended blending families

This next swatch is the Crafter’s Companion recommended blending families that are on the basic 72 set (the 6 marker packs).  I couldn’t complete the one cool gray family because I received a duplicate marker in that set (I got 2 IG6 markers and no IG10).  I contacted Crafter’s Companion last week, and they are supposed to be sending me out a replacement IG10 marker and TN2 marker, which had a cracked gray part of the marker that holds the bullet nib.  Personally, I do not care for some of the recommended color blending families, and I found some of them very difficult to blend – some that I thought did not work for me include both purple blends, the FS6, PP1, EB2 blend in Pale Hues, PP3, PP5, DR3 in Pinks, and TB1, TB2, TB9 in Blues.  The remainder seemed to blend pretty well for me.

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Completed Spectrum Noir color chart

This is the blank chart I colored in with the Spectrum Noir markers.  You can find it on the Crafter’s Companion website under downloads.  While this chart is very helpful, I’m still confused as to whether or not there is a reason for the letter/number system of color labeling.  Perhaps there is a better explanation on one of their instructional DVDs, but I really don’t want to have to buy a DVD to learn how to use the markers.  The colors in the different color families do not appear to guarantee that they will blend will together, and I really had to check with a few colors to make sure I did not color the wrong rectangles since the colors are almost identical.  In particular, this happened when I was coloring TB5 and TB6; BG8, BG9, and BG10; CT2 and CT3; and JG1 and JG2.  However, because these markers are sold in sets, I either have to purchase them or go without the set.  Copic markers also have a number of shades that are very similar, but at least if I purchase them as open stock, I do not have to buy the colors that seem to be duplicates.

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Here is another swatch sheet I made using some different variations for skin tones I found online on the Crafter’s Companion website.  They seemed to blend quite well together, and I thought this would be handy to have around.

Overall, I have been generally happy with the Spectrum Noir markers. I  do have to remind myself that I purchased them to travel with and to share, mostly because they are at a much lower price point than the Copics, but in a sense you do get what you pay for.  I have to be much more careful about the cardstock I use with the Spectrum Noir markers or I get an excessive amount of bleeding when I use them.  I also (in general) have to lay down quite a bit more ink to get the Spectrum Noir markers to blend than I do with the Copic markers – part of this is probably experience-based since I have much more experience using my Copics, but it may also be something about the way the markers work.  I still prefer the brush nib on the Sketch and Ciao markers by far over the bullet nib on the Spectrum Noir markers.  I know that Crafter’s Companion is now selling a brush nib for their markers, but they are quite pricey and based on the experience I have had with the bullet nibs on the markers, I’m not convinced that the brush nibs will hold up to use.  I say that because, right out of the box, there is a difference in the bullet nibs on many of the markers.  Some of them are nice and firm, giving a great fine line.  Other nibs are much more soft and cannot produce a fine line.  Having used Copics with both the brush and bullet nibs, I have rarely had to replace the brush nib and never had to replace a bullet nib so far.

Another issue I’ve had with the Spectrum Noir markers is that many of them have poorly stamped names on the end caps, and they are not identified on the barrel at all.  Now I realize that the Ciao markers are only identified on the barrel of the marker, not the caps, but a big convenience factor for the Sketch and Original markers is that the caps and barrel are labeled.  It definitely helps to have all parts labeled if I’ve got a bunch of markers out for use!  I contacted Crafter’s Companion, and the customer service rep stated that the marker names should not come off; I didn’t even try scratching the label off for fear that it would actually come off!  I wound up putting a coat of Glossy Accents on the ends of the caps for good measure.  Better safe than sorry, in my opinion.

The most annoying issue i have had with the Spectrum Noir markers is that a number of them come apart at the barrel when I try to remove the cap.  Since I did test out the markers soon after purchase, it wasn’t due to mishandling on my part.  Most of the markers functioned fine, and they were all nice and juicy.  I have another question in to customer service and have yet to receive an answer as to whether or not I can use glue to secure the gray part to the black barrel with some kind of glue or not.  The reason this makes me question the overall quality of the marker is because they are marketed as refillable – but I don’t want to deal with the markers coming apart at the barrel.  If they start coming apart within the first week of light use, what will they be like in a month or a year?  Hopefully, there is a fix for the issue.  Knock on wood, I have never had this happen to any of my Copic markers before.

All in all, the Spectrum Noir markers are a good jumping off point for getting started with alcohol-based markers.  I’m not happy with some aspects of them, but they are comfortable to hold and use.  They are refillable, and the nibs are replaceable.  They don’t stink or give me headaches, and I’m glad to have a set of alcohol markers I can carry around with me and not worry as much about replacement cost.  But Copic markers will remain my favorite alcohol-based markers to use at this point.

ETA (6/19/2015): I have now been able to find Spectrum Noir markers being sold individually at many retailers, including Crafter’s Companion.