Cardmaking

Avery Elle Ink Pads Review

A couple of months ago, on my post about some Stamped Embellishments, I promised that I’d do a review of the Avery Elle Pigment Ink Pads (I was just waiting to get hold of the ‘Cherry’ colour which I really wanted). So here we are!

Avery Elle Pigment Ink Pads Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

I decided late last year that I prefer Pigment Ink to Dye Ink pads. For a good comparison video of Pigment vs Dye Inks check out Jennifer McGuire’s video HERE. Basically as I understand it, dye ink sinks into the paper to dye it, and dries really fast, but pigment ink has pigments that sit on top of the paper and dries more slowly.

I have tried Hero Arts Shadow Dye Ink Pads, and the Studio Calico Color Theory Dye Ink Pads, and while they all do work I find that I’m always drawn to my pigment inks. I like how juicy and spongy the pads are, and how you can tell straight away if you’ve made a good print or not (dye inks often need to be left for a couple of minutes for the colour to even out). So I sold my Colour Theory ink pads to allow me to buy lots of pigment ink pads instead!

Here are the Avery Elle Ink Pad colours I bought – from top to bottom, left to right, they are: Fog, Cherry, Sapphire, Lemon Grass, Fizz, Aquamarine, Kraft, and Conch Shell:

Avery Elle Pigment Ink Pads Review at Jennifer Grace Creates (Colours include Conch Shell, Cherry, Sapphire, Fog, Kraft, Fizz, Aquamarine, Lemon Grass)

I chose these colours to fit in with some American Crafts Pigment Ink Pads that I already own (Grapefruit, Leaf, Mustard, and Wave), plus my favourite black ink to stamp with (VersaMagic Midnight Black Chalk Ink):

American Crafts Pigment Ink Pads

Here’s the Avery Elle Ink Pad Colours all stamped with a solid kite image:

Avery Elle Pigment Ink Pads Review at Jennifer Grace Creates (Colours include Conch Shell, Cherry, Sapphire, Fog, Kraft, Fizz, Aquamarine, Lemon Grass)

And a close up of the Sapphire one to show the coverage:

Avery Elle Pigment Ink Pads Review at Jennifer Grace Creates (This is the Avery Elle Sapphire Ink Pad)

One thing to note with Pigment Inks is because they take longer to dry you need to be really careful not to smudge them! Below shows how I rubbed my finger across a kite stamped with the Fog ink – this was 15 minutes after I stamped it and the colour still smudged a little:

Avery Elle Pigment Ink Pads Review at Jennifer Grace Creates (This is the Avery Elle Fog Ink Pad)

Here are the colours again, this time stamped with a sentiment that has thin lines:

Avery Elle Pigment Ink Pads Review at Jennifer Grace Creates (Colours include Conch Shell, Cherry, Sapphire, Fog, Kraft, Fizz, Aquamarine, Lemon Grass)

They came out really clearly!

I thought I’d try the inks out on a few different surfaces too. I started with a selection of white / light papers, stamping the Fog ink with a triangle stamp. The ‘Cheap White Cardstock (Matte)’ is what all the samples above are stamped on too:

Avery Elle Pigment Ink Pads Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

And then I tried it out on a few other more unusual surfaces – cork, linen, grey chipboard, a feather, a wood veneer shape, and a kraft chipboard shape, this time using the Cherry Ink Pad and a chevron stamp:

Avery Elle Pigment Ink Pads Review at Jennifer Grace Creates (This is the Avery Elle Cherry Ink Pad)

I am loving the feather!

I also made a quick card, overlapping stamped images to check whether the inks would blend / smudge where they were layered up:

Avery Elle Pigment Ink Pads Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

They didn’t smudge or bleed into each other at all, so that was awesome! I did wait for 30 seconds or so before layering one stamped image on top of another, but that was it. It was a quick way to make a nice colourful card!

One last thing to point out is that you might not always get a good stamped image, but this is often because of the quality of the stamp rather than the ink. On the card above you can see that the flowers and the sentiment are not quite as crisp as my other images – these stamps feel more bouncy or wobbly when I’m stamping them, which I guess is down to the manufacturing process. I still like to use them, but I am aware my images might not be so perfect with them.

I really like the Avery Elle Pigment Ink Pads, and I want more colours now – especially Sugar Plum as that looks like a nice deep purple.

What do you think? Do you have a favourite brand or type of ink pad to stamp with? If you have any questions let me know!

I’ll see you again soon,

Jennifer x

Industry News & Reviews

Amy Tangerine’s Creative Handbook Review – Part 2

A few weeks ago I posted my Amy Tangerine’s Creative Handbook Review Part 1, and here I am with Part 2 – the rest of my pages are completed!

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review Part 2 at Jennifer Grace Creates

If you haven’t already got it then you can  check out the handbook here: Amy Tangerine’s FREE Creative Handbook. Just head over to Amy’s blog, fill in your email address in a box in the sidebar (in the sidebar of her blog, or at the top of her website homepage), and you’ll receive a link to download the handbook. It was designed by Amy and her friend Jamie Waters to get us creating more!

Practice 3:

At the end of my last review I had completed one of these ‘practice 3’ sheets already, but I enjoyed it so much I couldn’t resist doing another one:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review Part 2 at Jennifer Grace Creates

I went through my Pinterest boards again to print some inspiration for the top half of the sheet (see the globe HERE, the necklaces HERE, and the layout HERE):

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review Part 2 at Jennifer Grace Creates

And I chose a Roald Dahl quote (‘if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely’) for the bottom half of my sheet:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review Part 2 at Jennifer Grace Creates

I painted this using watercolours – something I’ve seen Amy Tangerine do and I wanted to try it out, as I don’t usually to paint words, just pictures.

Practice 4:

Check out Amy and Jamie’s video for practice 4 HERE. It’s about not ‘feeding the bad wolf’ ie. your negative thoughts. You have to write your negative thoughts at the top left and the positive thoughts you should be thinking at the bottom right. I chose to write about blogging-related worries as I am trying a lot of new stuff this year (see my 2015 Blogging Goals HERE) and I’ve been bouncing back and forth between thinking I can achieve things or thinking they are impossible!

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review Part 2 at Jennifer Grace Creates Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review Part 2 at Jennifer Grace Creates

I realise I need to be brave and just take it one step at a time.

Practice 5:

This is the last practice (see Amy and Jamie’s practice 5 video HERE), and it’s about how we usually start crafting with a blank canvas, but for this one you work in reverse, starting with a page filled with text and blocking most of it out:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review Part 2 at Jennifer Grace Creates

My text was an interview with Judi Dench from the Christmas edition of The Radio Times.

I got a bit over excited (it was fun using my gold sharpie!) and kept blocking out words I meant to leave open, so I copied out what it was supposed to say into the middle. My poem reads:

Amused,
I realise how good that gift
I always want to improve
Is.
In a wonderful way
You have a Family Pattern.
I laugh through my tears!

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review Part 2 at Jennifer Grace Creates

I quite like it. I think I might use it as journaling on a scrapbook layout – maybe with a collage of photos of everyday life. I might take off the last line about laughing through tears though.

Extra Page:

There’s one last page in the handbook – an ABC list which you can use how you choose. I decided to quickly fill it out with the first words that came into my head when I thought about blogging and creating:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review Part 2 at Jennifer Grace Creates

Conclusion:

I have really enjoyed using this handbook. I liked some pages better than others. I definitely think I will be printing the Practice 3 page again and again as I can keep changing it up and sticking it up on my wall! Considering this is FREE and Amy and Jamie created videos to help inspire us too I think it’s awesome! If you haven’t got it already I suggest you get it now. You can download it and then just print off the sheets you think you will use, or you can push yourself to complete the whole thing as a creative exercise!

You can also see what other people have been creating with the handbook by checking out the hashtag #amytangerinehandbook on Instagram!

In the meantime, you should watch Amy and Jamie’s new series called ‘Design On Time’. They are challenged to use three embellishments / techniques and then have 15 minutes to create a layout using those. The videos are sped up, so they are quick and fun to watch! You can see them on YouTube HERE.

I hope you are having a great week!

Jennifer x

Industry News & Reviews

Amy Tangerine’s Creative Handbook Review – Part 1

In case you’ve not seen Amy Tangerine’s FREE Creative Handbook, I wanted to do a little review to tell you about it! To get your hands on one you just need to head over to Amy’s blog, fill in your email address in a box in the sidebar (in the sidebar of her blog, or at the top of her website homepage), and you’ll receive a link to download the handbook.

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

The handbook is about being inspired and staying motivated with your creative life! The handbook has 5 ‘Practices’, which are sections to work on. Each practice has a bit of information about why Amy included it and how to fill out your own worksheet (each worksheet also has some boxes / prompts to start you off). But the most inspiring thing is the videos that Amy Tangerine, and her friend Jamie Waters, have made to show them using each practice. The videos are all on YouTube, and you can see them here: Practice 1, Practice 2, Practice 3, Practice 4, Practice 5. Those two are cute and funny (watch for the outtakes at the end of the videos) and so inspiring.

I’ve only done the first three practices so far, so I’ll share how I’ve used them today, and then I’ll be back in a week or two to tell you how I got on with the last two.

Practice 1.

This is is a bit of an introduction to yourself and your goals – a sheet to doodle, jot, and get the gears working! I allowed myself a good hour to play with this one and experiment with a few different techniques:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

Something I discovered right away was that I quite liked writing with Promarkers because it made my words seem bold a purposeful. I’d only used them for colouring before. I also enjoyed doodling with watercolours:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

I also loved the boxes to fill with patterns. And my favourite bit is where it says ‘more of this…’ and I wrote ‘colour +’ and then added a couple of glittery stripes, just using my Herma dots runner, and some American Crafts Wow fine glitter:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

Little Miss (age 6) saw me filling this out and she wanted to do one too, so I printed her off a sheet and she got to work with the paints (I’ve blocked out her name with an orange rectangle):

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

I like the starburst patten she made with green, blue, and brown!

Practice 2.

This practice is one you could fill out everyday – writing three quick ideas to complete that day. You are supposed to fill it out in the morning, and it can be done in just 5 minutes.

I’ve filled out 3 of these, on different days. Not one of them has been done in the morning! I’ve been doing them just after lunch as I tend to have a free 5 minutes then. I think they’ve taken me slightly longer than 5 minutes, but not too much – I’ve been very casual with these and not worried if my scribbles aren’t perfect or if I colour outside the lines. I just use it to have fun and release my creativity:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

I love this little elephant on a path I doodled (drawing in pen straight away, no pencil). And then the doodle gave me an idea for a scrapbooking sketch too:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

Practice 3.

This one is about how we collect inspiration and how to put it into action. I think I enjoyed this practice most of all and I’ve stuck it up on my wall to keep me inspired. I can imagine me completing this again and again to keep my mind turning!

At the top you can make a kind of mood board, with images cut from magazines or printed from pinterest, blogs, etc. The bottom is for a quote / quotes:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

I went through My Pinterest Boards to find a few ideas that I wanted to try. I love having these actually printed out so I can glance at the when I’m next delving through my stash:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

And I went through my ‘Quotes and Phrases’ Board to find a quote that appealed to me:

Amy Tangerine's Creative Handbook Review at Jennifer Grace Creates

I think I was drawn to this one because spring is finally on it’s way here!

Conclusion So Far:

I found it really easy to download and print off the handbook, and I have really enjoyed filling out these first pages. I may not have used them exactly as intended but I don’t think that’s a bad thing – I’m sure Amy won’t mind! It has confirmed what I already suspected – that Amy Tan ROCKS! She is lovely to have done all this for free. What are you waiting for, go sign up at Amy Tangerine’s Website HERE. You can also see what other people have been creating with the handbook by checking out the hashtag #amytangerinehandbook on Instagram!

I’ll be back with the other two practices in a week or 2. In the meantime, have a creative day!

Jennifer x

Industry News & Reviews

A Review Of The Big Picture Classes New Website

NB: I am not affiliated or connected with Big Picture Classes in any way, I just want to shout about something I’m loving!

Have you taken a look at the new Big Picture Classes website yet? I’m loving it, and I thought I’d share a review so you can find out why!

Straight up I will say there are things that are different to how it was run before. And some aspects aren’t perfect, but they are working to try and solve them, so we may just need to wait a while for a few fixes. But for me the new way works. And I’ve got some shiny new projects to prove it…

A Review of Big Picture Classes at Jennifer Grace Creates

If you haven’t heard of Big Picture classes, it was started by Stacy Julian in 2005, and has featured a variety of classes about scrapbooking, crafting with kids, photography, and more. The company was sold to Studio Calico in August 2014, though Stacy Julian is still at the forefront of the business. You can read more about the story of the company HERE.

Big Picture Classes used to sell classes on an individual basis, charging different amounts per class. Some class were self-paced and some were taught during a certain time-frame. I think all of them were sold with the promise of lifetime access, which has now changed, and which caused some controversy at the end of 2014, which you can read about at Scrapbook Update HERE. However Big Picture have been doing their best to figure out how to give plenty of time for people to download / backup the classes they’ve paid for in the past. Any classes that are transferring to the new site will still be accessible if you’d previously purchased them – I believe once they are uploaded you receive a code so you can access them without having to subscribe…

The new website is run on a SUBSCRIPTION basis.

It costs $9.95 a month to subscribe, and you get access to all the regular classes on offer. There will be quarterly premium classes which ARE NOT included in the subscription, which anyone can pay to join in with. I think there’s currently 20 classes available, with more ‘coming soon’ – they say they hope to add 10-15 classes, maybe more, per month. Here’s a glimpse at some of the current classes:

(Screenshot of ‘New Releases’ at Big Picture Classes, taken 11th March 2015)

Here’s what I like about this – you can unsubscribe at any time. And your content will still be there when you re-subscribe again. I plan to unsubscribe at the end of September and re-subscribe at the beginning of February, because I know during October – January I don’t have time for classes! In the meantime I can browse all the classes, and dip in-and-out when I find something that interests me. I’m not limited to one class that might turn out not to be what I expected – I can just do a lesson on cardmaking one day, and a lesson on photography the next!

You can also customize your profile page – you can add your profile photo, a cover photo, links to your blog and social media, etc, and you can ‘follow’ other members. Here’s what mine looks like at the moment, though I’m still tweaking it:

You can follow my profile HERE.

So far I’ve checked out several classes, though I haven’t completed all the lessons for each – I’m just going with whatever intrigues or inspires me. I have watched all the lessons of Paige’s Pages 01 though, and one of the lessons inspired me to make this layout…

Pass That Silly Parcel:

Pass That Silly Parcel Layout using a pinked-circle punch at Jennifer Grace Creates

Paige Evan’s had a great video sharing how to make the circular page element with punched circles cut-in-half, though adapted it by using a pinked-circle punch, and I only filled half my layout with the design instead of the whole layout like Paige’s.

I enjoyed almost didn’t stitch the circles with a sewing machine, but I followed Paige’s guidance and I’m so glad I did:

Pass That Silly Parcel Layout using a pinked-circle punch at Jennifer Grace Creates

It was a great way to use up lots of paper scraps and adds a dramatic detail to the page:

Pass That Silly Parcel Layout using a pinked-circle punch at Jennifer Grace Creates

This is for an album I’m making about My 30th Birthday Party, where we all dressed as Disney characters and had lots of fun. The photo shows my friend Rosie (aka princess Jasmine) trying out an inflatable saxophone she won in the pass-the-parcel:

Pass That Silly Parcel Layout using a pinked-circle punch at Jennifer Grace Creates

I am so glad I tried this technique out as it adds something unique to my album, and it was great to add more patterns than I normally do.

Another class I’ve dipped into was Postmarked, by Julie Campbell, about cardmaking. I’ve totally skipped a bit, where you are shown how to make a storage folder for cards – I might go back to this at some point but I didn’t fancy it right now (I’m happy with the box storage I’m currently using). But there was a lesson on watercolour cards, and a watercolour rainbow cake was included, which prompted me to make this:

Watercolour Cake Birthday Card at Jennifer Grace Creates

It was super easy and fast to make!

Both the above classes have videos, though not all classes do. Hopefully at some point there will be an icon to show which classes have a video as that would be good to know.

One class that doesn’t have videos, but which I still enjoyed, was Creating With Kids – Cards, by Natalie Elphinstone, about getting kids to help you with cardmaking. You can still enjoy this class without kids as it’s mostly about getting messy and having fun, so if you are up for that you can do them all yourself! I haven’t made any projects following the actual lessons yet, but the stamped embellishments did inspire me to make the layout I shared HERE on my blog last Friday:

Stamped Embellishments at Jennifer Grace Creates

I am sure I will find lots more inspiration as I keep browsing and as new classes are added. Something to note is that there’s currently NO ABILITY to print out or download your classes – you have to follow them all online. They’ve said they are working on a solution for offline access, but I don’t know what form this will take, or when it will arrive, so if the ability to view classes offline is make-or-break for you then don’t sign up until they have this figured out. It doesn’t bother me as I can browse and watch videos on my tablet (a Hudl2), and carry it to the crafting table with me, and when I’ve printed classes in the past they’ve just stayed tucked in a folder, unused and unloved!

There’s also a community section of the website, with groups you can join to chat about your favourite topics, and a student gallery where you can upload your work (and ‘like’ or comment on other people’s projects). As more people get involved it’s going to get even more lively and interesting!

Conclusion:

This is a big change from how Big Picture Classes was run before, and I can see why some loyal customers are upset at the change. I’d only taken a few classes at the old website, and I’ve already downloaded all the class info that I wanted to keep.

For me the new website is fresh, more visual, and exciting to browse through. It gets me fired up – just like when I browse Pinterest or other blogs and I spot something I want to try. But here, unlike Pinterest, I also get the community spirit of uploading my projects and chatting to other class participants, I can earn virtual ‘badges’ for joining in, and I get little check-marks to show I’ve completed a lesson, which makes me feel like I’m achieving something!

Have you checked out the new Big Picture Classes website? What do you think? If you haven’t checked it out you can try it for free, but I think you have to put your credit card details in – so don’t forget to cancel it if you don’t want to carry on.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Jennifer x