Thursday, November 29, 2012

VLVS! ATC/Tag/Envelope Combo Swap

Recently, there was a swap at the Viva Las Vegastamps! Forum requiring an #8 tag and a co-ordinating ATC.  The ATC was to be enclosed in an envelope that was attached to the back of the tag.  Both tag and ATC were required to have a VLVS! stamped image.

I decided I wanted to do something with Zentangle®-inspired art, and with a couple of the tangle inspired images available, but I also wanted to do something 3D--really 3D.

Viva Las Vegastamps!

Zentangle Lover 1 1/4 x 2: Item 18817 Plate 1426

Doily 3 x 2 1/4: Item 18849 Plate 1427 

Two #8 Tags-Black Paper
Two #8 Tags-Kraft Paper
Two ATC (3.5 x 2.5 inch) - Black Paper
Two ATC (3.5 x 2.5 inch) - Kraft Paper
Two scraps Black paper approx, 4 x 3 inch & 2 x 2.5 inch
Two scraps Kraft paper approx, 4 x 3 inch & 2 x 2.5 inch

Tim Holtz Distress Inkpad-Vintage Photo
Encore Inkpad-Bronze

May Arts Paper Raffia Ribbon -JP 200y JP16

Sakura Metallic Gel pen: Gold
Pentel White Sunburst Gel Pen

Scissors, Exacto Knife, Self-healing cutting mat, Straight-edge ruler, Miracle Tape, 3D foam dots, velcro closure

To start, I trimmed off about 1/4 inch around the edge of the kraft tag, and then measured and cut out five 1/2 strips from inside.  Then I tangled patterns with gold gel pen on the black tag, and with the white gel pen on the kraft tag.  I used 3D foam dots to attach the kraft on top of the black tag.

On the 4 x 3 inch piece of scrap kraft paper, I stamped the doily image with the Vintage Photo ink, and then cut out the center.  I stamped the 'Tangle a Day' sentiment on the leftover center, and taped both pieces onto the scrap piece of black.  I wanted the tangles beneath to show through, so I used an exacto knife to cut strips out of the center, and taped the medallion onto the tag.

For the ATC, I repeated this process reversing the kraft and black papers, so the black had strips cut out (3 instead of 5).  I used the Zentangle Lover sentiment, switching to the Encore inkpad, because it shows up on black paper.  It wasn't necessary to cut out any strips this time.

To make the envelope I cut the second black tag in half, length-wise.  I turned the second kraft tag length going sideways, and placed the ATC in the center.   I folded one side of the tag over the ATC, and creased at the fold.  Then, I folded and creased the other side.  Taking one half of the cut black tag, I folded and creased from the bottom (the end without a grommet) about 1 inch, and about 2 inches from the top.  Opening the left side of the kraft tag, I taped the bottom inch of the black half to it and taped the other side to middle interior.  The velcro closure was added.

Then I taped the whole envelope to the back of the tag.

I tangled, gold on black, white on kraft, where the envelope showed, and slid the ATC inside, folding the top half of the black over to enclose it.

As it happened, the May Arts paper raffia ribbon I received as part of my DT package was nicely color-coordinated, and made the perfect loop for my tags.

Check out the VLVS! Store for all your stamping needs and the  VLVS! Blog for new projects and news every day. Follow VLVS! as the VLVS! Forum - VLVS! FB - VLVS! Pinterest - VLVS! Twitter.

Link to tangle pattern Petal Tile

Linda Rea has posted the step out to her tangle pattern Petal Tile.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bird at the Gate

Bird at the Gate was done in my slim format Paperblanks journal.  I used Distress stains which were a bit too wet.  The paper didn't dimple or buckle, but that 'ghosting' effect you see on the left is detail from the other side of the page.  I actually kind of like it, lol, but it did blur the work on the other side.

Now that I know I can play around with the effect where it won't do damage.

Link to tangle pattern Tracery

 A link to the tangle pattern Tracery, by CZT® Dianne Krumnow, has been posted at

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The King's Feast

I do like the look I get with Tim Holtz Distress Markers in my Paperblanks Dayplanner!

Daily December Inspiration Day #7

The last day of Daily December inspiration from VLVS! (It's my Daily December Critturs of the North Pole!) Don't forget, if you comment, you are entered into a drawing to with the Daily December plate 1430!

While most people are familiar with the Grinch, they are unaware of the Daily December beasts that inhabit the North Pole.  These critturs hibernate all year long, except for one day.  A different beast wakens each day in December, and runs frantically about the workshops and factories, honking or hooting or chirping.  By this means, the elves always know what day of the month it is when they see or hear the Daily beast

I'll be posting my Daily December beasts, one at a time, each day of December!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekly Challenge #96 & new official tangle pattern Zinger!

Weekly Challenge #96 & new official tangle pattern Zinger!

Review of the Quo Vadis Habana Notebook Large

Recently I won a Quo Vadis Habana in the large size.  I've reviewed the Habana before (Past review of the Quo Vadis Habana) and this one is the same except for the size, so I won't go into as much detail. 

The paper is Clairefontaine French-milled paper, and lovely to work on.

I do like this size immensely--it's large enough that you have plenty of room to expand and explore, but small enough to fit on my scanner.  It's light for its size and I wouldn't hesitate to carry it around.  The ivory color adds elegance to any ink you add, but is close enough to white that colors stay true.

The pages lie flat. Usually with a hard-cover I need to fold the book back before the pages will lie completely flat, and in fact the Habana is so flexible you can fold it as though it were wirebound!
You just don't have to.

For my example page I started with Tim Holtz Distress stains-fluid water-based dye ink stains, rubbing the colors over most of the page.  These are very wet, but the page didn't dimple or curl, and there was no bleed-through.  For my line work I used a plethora of pens--a Bic Atlantic, a Zebra Zmulsion EX and Pilot B2P bottle ballpoints,  a Pentel Energel liquid gel pen and a Uniball Signo rollerball pen.

I also used Noodler's Australian Roses in Black Swan fountain pen ink.  I wanted it to be very wet so I loaded up a waterbrush.  It promptly leaked a huge blob onto the page, which made it very wet indeed, lol, and I succeeded in smearing it on myself, the next page and onto the table.  None of it bled-through though the page though!

The drying times for the inks were what I would consider average.  The Zmulsion EX and Energel, and Noodler's took several seconds and the others dried almost immediately.  

I fnished up with Lyra Rembrandt color pencils to burnish the ink stain colors and to add some bubble effects.   The highlights were done with a Pentel white Sunburst gel pen.

There was no bleed-through.  Where I layered heavily with the ballpoint pens there is some light show-through and dimpling from the impression.  I wouldn't hesitate to draw or write over it.

I had high expectations for this notebook, and I was not disappointed.  

Size: 8 1/4 x 11 3/4 (large) aka A6 aka 148 x 105 mm
No. of Pages: 160 Blank Pages (80 sheets)
Binding: Hardbound, Sewn
Paper: Clairefontaine
Paper Weight: 85g
Paper color: Ivory
Extras: Accordion Pocket, Elastic Band, Ribbon Bookmark, Rounded Corners, PEFC Certified Paper-acid & Chlorine free
Cover colors available: Black, Red, Anise Green & Raspberry

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dragonette and Stillman & Birn

A while back I received a couple of Stillman & Birn Gamma Series sketchbooks in the 11x14 inch (27.9 x 35.6 cm) size.  I've been itching to use them but other commitments kept me from it.

I'm commitment free at the moment (wow! How did that happen!) so I've been wallowing in the fantastic freedom of such a large size and such glorious paper!  The only downside is that the paper is too large to scan and it's difficult to get good photos (me be camera-challenged...I'm challenged in many ways.  Keeps life interesting, lol!)

I started with my Dylusion Sprays (after wrapping the edges of the journal with painter's tape so the spray wouldn't get all over!).

Then I stamped up my Viva Las VegaStamps! Harlequin Diamond Background - 18920 with Vintage Photo distress ink and stamped here and there to add a little texture.

I used a Marvy Le Plume Technical pen for the Zentangle®-inspired line drawing, and a Faber-Castell White Big Brush for white.  It has a slightly transparent quality, so you keep layering it until you get the level of opaqueness that you want.

You know, I had a little trouble adjusting to the size--it was so good to spread out.  You never realize how much you limit yourself when you stick to one or two sizes of paper.  I did a little better with the next one...but that's for another post!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Link to tangle pattern Bloom

Helen Williams has posted the step out to her tangle pattern Bloom.

The Wild Dragon Bug

Last week I posted a review of Gruppo Cordenon's new Wild paper.  Several of my examples were done using Dylusions Ink spray, which always results in puddles of left-over ink.  As I was working I used one of the Wild sample to soak up the various ink colors.

Last night I sat down and looked for some imaginary animal contained among the blots and blotches.  I came up with some kind of dragon bug, I think!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Link to How to draw KHIRKEE

The link to tangle pattern KHIRKEE has been posted at

Still time to enter Blockheads Paper Arts November Technique Challenge---Clean and Simple

Head over to the Blockheads Paper Arts blog for details!

Weekly Challenge #95

Weekly Challenge #95

Link to DIY color

Diana Trout explores the spices in the cupboard and items you can pick up on your walks, that can be used as stains for your art journal.

Link to Wisdom Circles" Giveaway

Wisdom Circles is a workshop that allows you to explore what limits and drives you through the ancient art of mandalas.

To celebrate the launch of Wisdom Circles, Dion Dior is giving away 3 seat to the class.

Sick day doodles

Whenever I get sick my drawing changes a bit.  I've had a cold that hasn't wanted to go away.  At the worst of it, I found myself doodling people.  I almost never draw people!

It wasn't long before I was back to my usual  Zentangle®-Inspired-Art, though, with my Rabid Rabbit and... superhero!

The winner of Caroly Boettner's Coloring Pages

I have a winner!

For those of you who didn't win, you can buy Carolyn's coloring pages at her 2nd Story Designs website

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Link to tangle pattern Trumpits via

How to draw TRUMPITS

Link to tangle pattern EZ Poinsettia

Lori Hamilton has posted the step out to her tangle pattern EZ Poinsetta.

Review of Gruppo Cordenon's WILD paper

A while back I did a review of Gruppo Cordenon's Plike paper.  Recently, Terri Hill, Western Region Sales Manager of the company offered to send me samples of their newest paper, Wild FSC®.  Thank you, Terri! 

Size(s): 8.5 x 11 inches and 28.3 x 40.2 inches
Weight(s): 101 lb (text), 111 lb (cover), 166 lb (cover) and 314 lb (cover)
Color:  The specs say 'neutral'.  I find it changes color according to the way the light hits it, seeming almost white at times and cream or ivory at others.  I'll go with Off-White, lol.

According to the specs I was given, Wild is produced with virgin pulp from responsible sources, and contains 35% cotton. 

When I opened the folder and picked up a sheet of Wild, my first impression was of hand-made paper.  It has a lovely texture, very soft, at least with the lighter weights, and a rough surface.   Wild is not a hand-made paper, however, so the weave is even and knot-free.

The heavier weights lose the softness, but are so very light for their thickness.  Think illustration board with a watercolor paper surface and you come close.

I couldn't wait to take these babies out for a spin!

My natural inclination is to draw, but Wild is an elegant paper and I think people might like it for writing as well, so I decided to give it a try.

I had no trouble with bleed-through or feathering.  (I need to get more ink for my fountain pens, so both were fairly dry)  I was surprised at how crisp the lines were given the softness of the paper.  I did find that all of the inks would smear within the first few seconds, but dried quickly.  Lefties beware!

I folded the paper in half, and then in thirds as you might a letter, and again I was surprised.     The paper does leave a ridged crease, but it isn't bad.  It doesn't crack or distort the writing.  Still, I think I'd be more inclined to use it for art journaling than for letter-writing.

Fiber-tipped art pen/Pencil/Eraser
I had just bought a brown American Craft Precision Pen so I decided to use it for my first test.  I worked on the text weight again.  

Before I used the pen though, I worked up the steps to a pattern, ZinnTardy (see my previous post for more info on the pattern).  I used pencil lines as a guide to help me keep my steps the same size. I'm not sure they show up in the scan.  I didn't do enough to tell me how well pencil would work on the page, but I did discover that erasing damages the surface of the paper.  I was using a good kneadable art eraser, that I've used on many papers.  It isn't a deal-breaker if you have a small area that needs erasing, but you wouldn't want to try subtractive methods of drawing.

There is a wonderful range of coverage that can be attained with pen on this paper.  Light pressure gives a smoky, scumbly line perfect for shading, but just a little more pressure produces bold, crisp lines.  The only problem (and that's probably too strong a word for it) was getting boldness in the fine lines.  Even though this was drawn with my usual sketchy hatched shading, the softness of the paper softened the hatching so it looks more like pencil than pen.

Color Pencil and Rubber Stamps

I wondered how well images would stamp given the paper texture, and they did better than I expected.  Some detail is lost due to the rough surface, but that just gives them a distressed look.  (The stamps used were Viva Las Vegastamps! 18982, 18981, and 18975)

The pencil lines I used for my pattern above weren't enough to determine how pencil worked on this paper, but I was pretty sure they'd do well.  So I wasn't surprised that they did.  It takes a little work to build up dark layers but that just increases the range of depth you can get.  

Fiber Brush tip water soluble marker

Moving up to the 111 lb paper, for no reason other than wanting to try all the weights I grabbed my Tim Holtz Distress Markers.  Although I like the richness of the color, I wasnt as happy with the process.  The marker line shows, which is okay.  You just have to work with that rather than fighting it.  But paper surface was too rough, and tore the marker tips.

I tried thinning the color with a waterbrush, but the water soaked in too fast to do much good.

I don't want to give the impression that my markers were destroyed.  Any surface that is too rough will cause some damage to brush tips.  My markers are still usable.  I won't be able to get as good a line, though.  I knew this was a risk when I decided to try them.  

Because I could see some damage on Distress Markers, I decided to skip working with alcohol markers and move onto watercolor...kind of.

Dylusion Water-based Ink sprays

I've been playing with Dylusions Ink Sprays lately, and decided to use them as my watercolor test.  They have intense colors but don't have mica pigments so they are more neon than glittery.  I wanted to try a ghosting method that I'd seen in a video done by Kate Palmer.

I saturated the paper (166 lb weight) with several colors of Dylusions spray.  The ink doesn't run as freely as it does on some papers, so you lose some of the interesting blobs that can occur.  On the other hand the ink does pick up the texture of the paper, so the blobs aren't really needed.

After the ink dried, I misted water through a stencil, and blotted to pick up some color. Again the effect was different than I seen before, but I like it!

The misty ghost-like images made me think of those things you see when you stare at a light while peeking through your eyelashes.  I decided to work with that idea and I used a Micron pen to squirkle me some microbes!

The paper warped quite a bit from the wet spray, but flattened completely after a night under some books.

The works-Dylusions, Stamping, ModPodge, Gel Medium, Napkins, Tissue and Twine

I wanted to try adding some things with a bit of weight.  I decided to continue using the Dylusions (love 'em)  and I decided to test both the lightest and heaviest of my Willd sheets.  

First I sprayed up one of the 101 lb sheets with Dylusions, and decoupaged some napkins onto it.  Afterwards, I stamped some of the images from the Blockheads Paper Art Vintage Bird Illustrations collection.  

The bad thing is that when I stamped over a decoupaged area the ink came out much darker than images stamped on the untouched paper.  Ah well, live and learn. 

Again, the paper warped but straightened well after being weighted down.  Some dimpling remained around the decoupaged napkin, but it isn't bad.

For my next test, I used another Kate Palmer method.  (Check out her blog--she's got some amazing stuff!)
Different sizes of twine were glued down and decoupaged with white tissue to create my cat and tree.  Rock salt and Dylusions spray were used afterward, and when it all dried and the salt was brushed off, I used a metallic inkpad around the tree to pick out the detail.  The scan picked up more of the metallic color than there really is.

The paper did not warp, buckle, dimple or sway.  This weight makes a very nice canvas! And it's so light--it would be wonderful for a work you wanted to mail somewhere.

Gruppo Cordenons Wild is beautifully textured paper that lends distinction to any medium you use.  While it's a bit rough for brush tipped markers, it works superbly with color pencil and water based mediums.  Rubber stamping works well, if you don't mind a slightly distressed look.

Gruppo Cordenons is serious about environmental responsibility and all their products are recyclable. More than 80% of their cellulose comes from either ISO 14001 or FSC-certified companies, to guarantee that their pulp comes only from responsibly-managed forests.  You can find out more about their high standards at their website.

I don't see Wild  listed onthe website yet, but I'm certain you can get information on prices if you contact their Customer Service department. If you wish to check out their other products, you can find them at the Gruppo Cordenons Fulfillment store.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Link to the November 2012 Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper

November 2012 Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper

Zentangle Challenges and Prompts for the week

I apologize for not posting the usual link-ups, prompts and challenges earlier this week (and part of last).  I've had a miserable cold that turned into an ear infection the left me dizzy if I sat up or stood up for too long.  If you haven't already found them, here are the latest:

Geneviève Crabe's Weekly Roundup

The Bright Owl-Zendala Dare #30 - Thanksgiving

Laura Harms' Weekly Challenge #94

Reminder! Giveaway of Carolyn Boettner's Coloring Pages

Have you entered my giveaway yet, for a chance to win all 6 sets of Carolyn Boettner's coloring pages?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Review of Carolyn Boettner's Coloring Pages

Many of you are aware of Carolyn Boettner's beautiful Zentangle®-Inspired Art.  And I'm happy to be introducing her work to those who haven't seen it before. (You can find her work on her Flickr site or at her Facebook Page Doodle Daze Designs)

Carolyn creates the most amazing ZIAs, and she is now selling coloring page sets of her work!  I was so pleased when I saw this, that I bought a set, and when I told her I'd be doing a review, she graciously offered a set for this giveaway (details below).

Carolyn has six sets of coloring pages available.  Each set includes a black and white sheet suitable for coloring and a full-color sheet, showing how she colored the work.  

Size: 8.5 x 11 inches (21.59 x 27.94 cm)
Weight: 80# laser on the color prints & 67# Bristol on the B&W's.
Surface: Smooth but not glossy. 

Look and Feel
These sheets are light enough to be flexible, but heavy enough to be sturdy. I can bend a sheet (gently) so that the corners touch and there is no creasing, and I can stand one upright, holding it at the bottom, and the sheet stands up straight without collapsing.  They'd be easy to carry inside a PeeChee style folder or large envelope and sturdy enough to take some wear & tear.

The full-color sheets have a nice range.  There is a white border around them that isn't always even, but that can easily be covered by framing! I just wish Carolyn's signature was placed a bit higher so it won't be covered when I do frame them! Personally, I think these are worth the price alone.  

The black & white sheets have gray tones, so you already have shading.  Although, they're inviting to color, you may be tempted to leave them as is, just to have the artwork both ways. 

Before I started coloring my pages, I spoke with Carolyn a bit, and asked what she had tried on the paper.  This was her response...

"Sandra, I tested alot of different mediums on them ... I used Prisma, Tombow,& kuretake markers, the Prisma had bleedthru (like they do on everything) but none of the markers smeared the ink of the print ... I used Prisma, Derwents Colour soft, Derwents Inktense, Faber Castell watercolor pencils & General's Kimberly watercolor pencils ... I used a colorless blender brush pen with the Inktense & the watercolor pencils instead of a waterbrush or brush & water ... I also tested Sharpie & Bic markers for those who don't have the more expensive markers, they worked fine but had the same bleedthru which did'nt affect the coloring page on the front but I would want to lay down something to protect the surface below it. I think that's about it, oh, .. I did try Lyra colored pencils too, used them both dry & with my Tombow colorless brush marker ... I never use waterbrushes or brushes & water with my watercolor or Inktense pencils anymore , I love the way the respond to the colorless brush blender & they are really portable that way ... just have a separate piece of paper off to the side to run the brush over to keep from carrying it from one color to another, especially the dark ones."

Since, she had not used water that was the first thing I decided to try out.  

I whipped out my Tim Holtz Distress Markers and the color went down smoothly and richly.  These are water-soluable markers, so I used a waterbrush hoping to lighten and spread the color.  The water just soaked in, and made no difference to the color at all.  Once the wet spot dried, there was no indication it was there at all.

Since the color was a little darker than I wanted over all (something I've found with these markers in the past), I decided to use my Faber-Castell White Big Brush pen to lighten some areas.

I wasn't done with testing out the waters, though.

For my second page I used Luminarte's Twinkling H2O watercolors.  The color spread easily though I did need to keep my brush wet to keep it moving.  The paper did buckle and dimple as the paint dried, but I piled a few books on top overnight, and it flattened out with just the slightest of dimpling left.

The scan never picks up the glimmer of these colors, but they look fantastic. The heavily shaded areas of gray tone give a slightly greenish cast to the yellows.  I got some spotting of color on the back of the page so you'll want to have a craft mat or some protection underneath while coloring this way.

Satisfied that watercolor is an option, I moved on to Colored pencils.

Since the coloring pages are quite smooth, I wondered if they would have enough tooth for colored pencils, and indeed they do!

I was able to work up to four layers with no waxy build-up, and I could have continued had I desired to do so.  If you apply too much pressure rather than building up color with layers, you do get pencil marks (that is very common), but I found I could lift some color away with an eraser.

I was very pleased with the delicacy of the color.  Unfortunately, the scan lightened everything, especially the greens in the background.  There is far more definition of color than it shows here.

I decided to save the other pages for when I remind you about the giveaway! Coming up next--alcohol marker.

Based on what I've done so far,watercolor is fine, but you won't be able to get washes or to blend water-soluable media with water. (I need to get one of those colorless brush blenders!)

Color pencil works beautifully, buidling color nicely, and allowing highlights to be added by lifting color away. 

These pages are great fun.  You can use Carolyn's full-color pages as references or do your own thing.  Either way, you'll find her line work and fanciful twirls and whirls to be an inspiration!

Uou can purchase Carolyn's coloring pages at her website, 2nd Story Studio Designs.

The Giveaway-now closed

One winner will receive all 6 sets of Carolyn's coloring pages.

Comment on this post to enter.  Leave contact information. 
If you don't wish to leave contact information here, copy your comment, paste it into an email and email me at

Starts Monday 12:00 AM  PST 11/05/12  

Ends  Sunday 11:59 PM PST.  11/11/12
I'll announce the winner on 11/12/12.

Good Luck!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Steampunk Lady in Distress

I used some quick and easy distress techniques on this tags.  It's a good one for those times when time is a factor.


Stamp Used: Viva Las Vegastamps! Steampunk Tophat Lady : Item 18829 Plate 1421

#8 Tag (6¼" x 3-1/8") made with Kraft paper
Inkpads: Ranger Archival black, Tim Holtz Distress-Vintage Photo
Pilot FriXion Color-Pencil-Like Erasable Gel Ink Pens: Black, Mountain Yellow, Red, Light Blue, Gray
Pentel White Sunburst Gel Pen
Exacto knife or paper distresser


  1. Hold tag up and use exacto knife or paper distresser along the edges of the tag to roughen.
  2. Rub sponge across the Vintage Photo inkpad, and apply to tag, starting at the corners and working inward.  Repeat along the edges.  Make some areas darker than others and leave the central area of the tag untouched, so you get a sort of glow.
  3. Crumple the tag in your hand and straighten back out.  If you want deep creases, fold at diagonal in 2 or 3 places.
  4. Stamp image with Archival black.
  5. Color with FriXion pens: Mountain yellow for hair; Red for hat and vest; Light Blue for dress, Gray for gears.
  6. Use white sunburst pen to color sleeve and add highlights.  Add white curls to hair and let dry for 10-15 minutes.  Then go over white curls with Mountain Yellow.
  7. Use FriXion Black and draw Zentangle-Inspired Art around the stamped image. I used patterns Bales, Knightsbridge, and Hibred.  The rest I just pulled out of my head without reference.

And there you go--a quick and easy tag.

Visit the VLVS! Store for all your stamping needs and the  VLVS! Blog for new projects and news every day. Follow VLVS! as the VLVS! Forum - VLVS! FB - VLVS! Pinterest - VLVS! Twitter.

Monday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Zentangle Challenges The Daily New Tangle Challenge Pattern-Collections Daily Pattern Focus Zentangle All Around-Taking it to the Next L...