October 17, 2014

Hip Kit Club Online Crop and November's Kits!

Hey! It's Saturday morning in Austria, and this weekend is Hip Kit Club's first online crop! The whole design team will be presenting challenges and project to inspire you on the 18th and 19th of October (2014). I hope you'll join us on the Hip Kit Club Member Forum page on Facebook.
Here you can find more details and sneak peeks of our projects.
Here's a sneak peek of my project for the crop-

 Yes, I'm playing with some mixed media!

And the November kits have been revealed this week, they are so pretty! Wintery and festive, but totally versatile even if you don't do themed scrapbooking (I don't do much). You can see all the details and prices here in the Hip Kit Club store.
Here's the main kit-

 My favorites? Those candy cane Thickers are too cute. But my absolute favorite- The puffy stickers. GOLD, PUFFY, CAMERAS!!! I need 3. And that gray paper with dots and hearts. Too cute!!

Here's the embellishments add on-

Silver thickers and word stickers?? Yes please! Those smaller alphas are also puffy!! Puffy stickers remind me of childhood:) And flair always makes me happy:)

And now... The one I'm most excited about... Color kit add on-

 4 amazing shimmery inks!! I'm actually amazed I do not own some of these, but soon I will:) All the colors are too gorgeous and they'll look so great with the kit! Can't wait to play:)

Here's the stamp add on-

 Silver embossing powder. That's all I'm gonna say.

Cardstock add on-

Love the soft colors.
Have a lovely scrappy weekend and I hope to see you at the crop!
Thx for visiting!

October 10, 2014

First Online Crop at Hip Kit Club!

Hey there! It's Friday here in Austria, and I can already smell the weekend. And while I'm (not at all) patiently waiting for my October Hip Kit to arrive, here's something fun to look forward to-

Here's the full announcement-

Hi Everyone! I am so excited to announce the unveiling of our brand new Facebook HIP KIT CLUB MEMBER FORUM. It is a great place to kick of your shoes and get to know other members, share your projects and inspiration.
To kick things off we will be hosting our first Hip Kit Club Online Crop on October 18th & 19th from 8am – 8pm EST daily. You can join in the fun by simply stopping by our Facebook Hip Kit Club Member Forum during that weekend and jump right into the festivities. There will be challenges, giveaways and our DT members will be there all day long to chat with you, answer questions and share special projects that they have created just for the crop. Our crop is open to EVERYONE – you don’t have to be a Hip Kit Club Member to play along. So… mark your calendars – and join us on the 18th & 19th for this fun filled weekend. See you there! xo Kimberly & the Hip Kit Club Design Team

So the October kits are sold out, that means that a lot of you will have all the goodies we'll be using for all the challenges! I will be focusing on mixed media, and using the October Color kit add-on. I'll be playing with texture paste, stencils and gelatos. This will be the 2nd challenge on Saturday, so morning for the north Americans and afternoon here in Europe.
You don't have to be a member to join the fun, everyone can participate, so I really hope to see you there (there is at the Hip Kit Club Member Forum on Facebook)!
Thanks for visiting and I'll be back on Monday with a new layout and video!

October 8, 2014

My Guide to Picking a Monthly Scrapbooking Kit Club

Me and kits- full disclosure-
I started scrapbooking in the middle of 2011. At the end of that year I discovered Studio Calico and decided to subscribe. In May of 2013 I stopped subscribing. It was not working for me for a few reasons, mostly because after a year and a half I didn't want that financial obligation anymore (we just bought a house and moved in), I didn't like the ordering process at SC, and also noticed I had accumulated more leftovers than I would have liked to.
And then I went on, kitless and happy:) I enjoyed the freedom of getting what I wanted when I wanted it. But... Since I don't live in the US and have no craft stores that cater to scrapbookers anywhere near me, I tried not to indulge in monthly shopping, and when I did shop, I ordered a lot of stuff, cause if I'm already paying shipping... And that was fun, but sometimes overwhelming, to get so much new stuff at the same time (heartbreaking, I know...).

But I admit that I missed kits, for three main reasons-
1. Costs. Shipping tends to be much more reasonable in kit clubs than in regular US based stores. I can of course shop in European online stores, but that's also not cheap, and I also pay shipping.
2. The monthly fix. It's so much fun to get a package full of the newest and greatest products from my favorite companies every month. And it's not just that it's every month, it's also that it's the right amount of products and ratio of papers to embellishments to stamps/inks for a month.  And also, more time scrapbooking, less time shopping.
3. The community and inspiration. I love chatting with other people about the kits, and I love seeing what the design teams and the members create with those products. I really missed that when I was not a subscriber.

So... In January 2014 I subscribed to Scraptastic, and I still do (though because I also subscribe now to Hip Kit Club, I buy just one kit or add on at Scraptastic at the moment).
In June of 2014 I decided to subscribe also to Hip Kit Club, and as they say, never looked back:)

If you think you'd like to join a kit club, but you're not sure what kit club is right for you, here are some general things to consider and keep in mind, that can help you find the best fit for you.

I am a traditional 12*12 scrapbooker, so I will talk about what is important for me as a kit club subscriber. There are also card kits and Project Life kits, which are different.

So, when in the market for a new kit club, check the previous kits from the last year, at least, and see if you like them. That will give you a good indication of the style and type of products that kit club offers.
Most kit clubs offer a monthly membership that includes a monthly main kit+shipping as your basic subscription. Usually there is some commitment (like 3 months minimum), and a member's discount on the main kit and sometimes the add ons.  Add ons are additional kits or products that usually coordinate with that months' kit and can be shipped with the main kit (usually for no extra shipping costs).

General things to consider before signing up for a kit club-

What is the minimum commitment time and what is the cancellation fee?

What discounts and additional benefits do subscribers receive?

How does the ordering process work?

Do the kits and add ons tend to sell out really fast?

How much does it cost and is the value for money right for you?  A kit can be amazingly beautiful but cost way too much for what you're getting. This is, of course, a very personal consideration. 

Questions about the main kit and add on-

How many patterned papers come in the main kit? How many cardstock pieces? (Do you use one or the other more?)
Take a look at the last 10 layouts you created. What type of papers did you use and how many?

What type and how many embellishments come in a kit? Some clubs have different embellishments every month, and some have some staples that are repeated in each kit. I like a combinations of different sizes (so for example, die cuts and enamel dots) and different materials (paper, stickers, wood, etc.).

Are there exclusives items? Things that can only be found in those kits, that is.

Are the products the newest and from manufacturers you like?

Are there stamps included in the main kit? Stamps can be expensive, and if you're not a stamper, you might be more inclined to choose a kit club that sells stamps separately.

And a whole other set of considerations are the add ons!

Are there add on kits?
How many?
What kind?
Some clubs have paper add ons, some embellishments, some stamps, some a mixture of all of those.

Are there themed kits? (seasonal, holidays etc.)

Another aspect that is relevant to some people is the inspiration that kit club provides. Most or almost all kit clubs have a design team. Go check it out, see the style and see if those are the kind of projects you would be inspired by.

When are the inspiration projects published? I like my inspiration in small doses and throughout the month.

Are there process videos? Tutorials? If you know me, you know I love process videos, and that's one of my biggest sources of inspiration and learning.

Now for me, after scrapbooking for over 3 years, here are the things that matter-
I want my kit club of choice to have-

Excellent attentive customer service
Stress free ordering process
To be able to get all the products I want for that month
Lots of patterned paper
Lots of embellishments
Optional cardstock, in light or basic colors (I've found that's what I use the most)
Newest products from my favorite manufacturers (American Crafts, Crate Paper, Studio Calico)
Themed products optional
Stamps sold separately
Consistent style of kits, so I can also mix and match kits from different months
Inspiration from the DT (design team) throughout the month with process videos

So, yeah, in my case, Hip Kit Club really fits my style and what I like a kit club to have.

Thx for visiting and have a great week!

October 6, 2014

The Hip Kit Club Design Team+ Process Video

Hey there! It's Monday, and though I don't like Mondays, this one is happy and exciting for one reason in particular, and that is that I'm now on the Hip Kit Club design team!

I learned about Hip Kit Club through YouTube, when I saw some of my favorite scrapbookers use these kits. In June I decided to join, (joining a kit club is a big deal:)) and I'm so happy I did. No because I had any idea I was gonna be on the design team, I've never been on a design team:), but because I have loved every single kit since. And I have to admit that that wasn't always the case with other kit clubs I've subscribed to.
***My next post will be my guide to picking a kit club that is right for you, with some tips and things to keep in mind when on the market for one.****
Here's my first project for Hip Kit Club (though you can find on my YouTube channel many more projects I've created with these kits since June)-

You can see the whole process in the video-

Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you on Mondays on the Hip Kit Club blog for more kits and mixed media fun!

October 3, 2014

Scrapbooking with Grids +Process Videos

Happy Friday everyone! There is one major reason I am happy whenever October arrives, and that is that my birthday is in November. Besides that it's the usual shock of oh-I-can't-believe-its-already-October every year all over again.
So the first week of Wilna Furstenberg's class at Big Picture Classes was all about grids. Here are two layouts I created very much inspired to the verge of scraplifted (and beyond) from Wilna's layouts-

I used some washi tape to create that grid, and filled the squares with rub ons and (peerless) watercolors. Super simple and oh so pretty!

Here's the process video-

 The next layout started with Crate Paper chipboard frames, and then it came together not at all the way I thought it would. Love it when that happens:) I used gelatos (I applied gesso to the white cardstock and let it dry before adding the gelatos) and water to create the background.

Here's the process video-

Thanks for visiting and have a lovely day!

September 26, 2014

Watercolors for the Scrapbooker- Comparison-Part 2

Hi there! I'm back with some more info about other watercolor brands I own and use. check out part 1 for reviews on Artist's Loft, Simply Art, Studio Calico Mr. Huey's, Peerless watercolors, and Zig Kuretake Gansei Tambi sets.
In this part I'll talk about Twinklin H2O's, artist grade watercolors and Ecoline fluid watercolors.

Colourarte Twinkling H2Os-
These watercolors are shimmery (and come in cake form), and that's their selling point and attraction, as they contain mica. They come in dizzying 200 colors, small (called mini twinklers) and large jars, as well as sets of 6 or 12. You should spritz some water on them in order to activate them about 5-10 minutes before using them.
On the company's website a large jar costs 4.30$, small jars 2.30$, all other prizes can be found there as well. I own 2 sets, each contain 6 colors. You can find some at Simon Says Stamp. Here's how a set looks-
These colors are very shimmery, as promised, and that creates a unique look. Personally, I find I prefer the matte look for backgrounds on my scrapbook pages, though this is a fun product for altering embellishments or coloring stamped images, for example. If you like shimmer, these are worth checking out. The pigment content is high, so the colors are bright (the ones that are supposed to be, there are also pastel and other very subtle colors) and vibrant. There are also many videos and project ideas online. Here's a nice review on YouTube, and another video with some techniques.
These can be sometimes tricky to find, I ordered mine from Simon Says Stamp, but compared to the color range and different sets the company shows on their website, the variety available to me as an international customer (that doesn't want to pay a fortune in shipping and taxes) is rather small. Another problem I have with these is the packaging. I don't know how the large or single mini jars come, but the sets of 6 that I got are little plastic containers that feel rather cheap, and are annoying to open and close. One lid is completely stuck (of course of my favorite color) and I can't get it open. But maybe that's just me. All these little jars are rather annoying flying around, and I wish they came in a palette or a tube where you could build your own palette. In the video I linked to there is a palette but that is not something I can get cheaply outside the US.
These are not crazy expensive, but they are not cheap either. If you really love shimmery watercolors, use them a lot and feel you want a large variety of colors, I highly recommend reading about color theory and color mixing, as this knowledge will help you create you own beautiful colors and will probably save you money. I will talk a little more about this later in this post.
At the end of the day, yes, they are really pretty, but personally, I don't use them often. If you really want the shimmery look but not buy extra products, you could just use regular watercolors and then add shimmer (like with the Wink of Stella markers, or perfect pearls, or shimmer spray, just to name a few other options).

Ecoline are transparent fluid watercolors, they come in little 30ml jars as well as huge bottles (I really wish I had a project that required a huge bottle of beautiful watercolor...). I'm not sure how easy they are to get in the US, but here in Austria I can find them in my local art supplies store, as well as in online European art supplies stores. They are manufactured by Royal Talens and are available in 46 transparent colors plus 2 opaque- white and gold.
Now be warned. If you get excited about a product watching awesome videos or looking at beautiful pictures online (like me), this is the product that might get you to order some fast. But I advise you to read my short review till the end and then decide.
These are incredibly bright and vibrant and beautifully transparent. The color choice is great, and I think the price is reasonable for what you get here. In Europe I can get them for about 3-3.5 euros (around 4-4.5$) for a 30ml jar. These are amazing for splatters (like with a straw, or a brush), and are really easy to use when you just want pure bright color, as they are already fluid and you don't have to add water. They are also great for creating even washes and of course you can add water to lighten them, the same as with other forms of watercolor.
I find these less convenient to use because I have to be careful not to contaminate the whole jar of paint with a dirty brush (a brush with other colors on it). In order to really play with these and not just use them pure out of the jar (even though they really are so pretty just like that) you should pour some into a palette using a dropper/ pipette. Also then you should make sure you pipette is clean before moving on to the next paint. I found a set of 10 plastic pipettes at my local craft store for 2 euros (less than 3$). All this is not that complicated, but for me, playing with my palette of pan and from a tube watercolors is just easier. I do use these, but I wouldn't recommend them as your only watercolors. Also, they are relatively (or very?) unfamiliar to the scrapbooking community, at least the one I'm a part of, and the YouTubers I follow, which means there is little info about techniques and layouts done with these out there. I find it inspiring to see what other people create with products, so this might deter some who need this guidance and inspiration to use new products, even though these could be used like mists (mists have been used a lot lately in the scrapbooking universe as fluid watercolors anyway). For the average scrapbooker, who probably owns mists, or can get his/her hands on mists easily (although mists are not cheap), you could do pretty much everything Ecoline watercolors do with your mists.
Just for fun, watch this amazing video:)

Student and Artist Grade Watercolors-
This is a whole world, and I am really not qualified or experienced enough to review different brands and quality as there are so so so many out there, and I'm just a scrapbooker, not a watercolor artist (well, in my dreams I am...).
I do want to share some thoughts, as a scrapbooker who uses watercolors on her pages often, and getting more into using them also outside the scrapbook. I think this information will probably be helpful also for people who are just starting out with watercolors, scrapbookers or not. I will share my process, so maybe you can avoid some of my mistakes:)

To start off with, there are two major questions.
Should you get student grade or artist grade?
Pan or Tube?
Well, student grade is cheaper. It also contains less pigment, which is usually the expensive ingredient.
If you want the best, the clearest brightest cleanest most vibrant strong pigmented color, go for artist grade.

I have enough cheaper watercolors, so I decided to go with the artist grade. I don't do a lot of sketching and studies and even though I have some projects that don't make it into a finished layout, I don't feel the need to try out things many times before going for the 'real thing'. If you do a lot of prep work before your projects, then you might consider getting some student grade watercolors for those.

I would say this-
If you think watercolors are a medium you would like to further explore,
and you want the best quality
and you want to be able to mix as many colors as possible
and you have a budget-
Then you should build your own artist grade watercolor palette.

Student and artist grade watercolors mainly come in two forms, pan (cake) and tube.
Pans come in half and full size, in sets and singles-

Tubes also come in different sizes, sets or singles.

Which one should you go for? As always, that depends:) Here are a couple of helpful links, about this old dilemma:)
In general, pans are ready to go, just open your palette, wet them and paint, but they can be rougher on your brushes (cause you have to do some stirring to get the paint going as it is dry to begin with). They are easy to travel with. You can get a set in a nice palette, or buy an empty palette and create your own with singles.
Tube paint can be used directly from the tube, even pure for the most intense color. It's great for large washes or just large paintings when you need a lot of paint. It's already moist and blends easily with water. Many crafters and artists use dried tube paint in their palettes. They fill the empty pan in the palette, let the color dry and rewet it when they want to use it. Then it becomes similar to paint that comes in a pan.

There is a lot of information about creating your own color palette online, and this is a very wide subject that goes way way way beyond the scope of this post.
Personally, I have a mixture of both pans and tubes in my palette currently. For my uses the half sized pans are a little small, so if and when I get more paint I'll either go for full size pans or tubes.

What brand to get?
I'm not even gonna try to answer that!
I have some Schmincke, Windsor& Newton and Daniel Smith and they are all great. The names of the colors can differ from brand to brand.  

What colors to get?
Now that's a great question. Tough one:) There are sooo soo many colors out there. But if you decided you want to invest in the best quality, and like most people do not have an unlimited budget, I advise two strategies.
Don't do what I did. Don't go to the art store and buy some pretty colors. I mean, you could do that, it's really fun (unless you're very indecisive, and then don't go just before closing time) but the more you paint, the more you'll see that you need the 'right' colors. And what I mean is that you need certain colors in order to be able to create many many more other beautiful colors.I love pinks and aquas, and purples. I don't feel like buying boring primary colors... No offense to the primaries. But the thing is, once I started using those beautiful paints, and this is also true to other media, like acrylic paint, I noticed how limited i was with those colors. I want to paint with many colors, even if I am 'only' creating a background for my scrapbooking page. So for that it's best to learn some color theory and color mixing. Unless you can afford to buy all the pretty colors you want:) But also then, I promise you you'll want to mix them up anyway:)

So one strategy is to do your research and choose some colors.
The second is to buy a palette that already has a variety of colors and shades, most companies offer those. I know Windsor& Newton (just notice that Cotman is their student grade brand name) and Schmincke Horadam offer half and full pan sets in different sizes, so this is another way to try out some colors and see what you use the most. If you're anything like me, you might think the colors in those palettes are not your favorites. But chances are, you could probably mix every color imaginable from those colors.

Just before we move on, I feel the need to write this, boldly:)
This is a very general overview, and I highly recommend further research before committing to artist grade watercolors.
Now we have to get to some color theory. This is actually interesting stuff. But who has the time to read all this? I just want to make a layout in the free couple of hours or less that I have... Yeah, what can I say, only that I think it'll be worth your while.
This is a good place to mention, that you can do all the research in the world, sit for hours online surfing the web, search for other people's opinions, color choices, recommendations etc. And while this is helpful and definitely invaluable information, there's no substitute to painting, mixing, playing, trial-and-error-ing for yourself.
But there's still some important stuff to read and learn and keep in mind before shopping.

Besided colors there are other things to keep in mind, like opacity (watercolors can be transparent, semi opaque or opaque), lightfastness, staining. I'm not going to go into all this here, so just in a few words.
I prefer transparent watercolor for my purposes.
On my scrapbooking pages I don't really care about lightfastness.
Generally, on my projects and scrapbook layouts I try to use non staining watercolors so I can correct my mistake more easily. But I admit I mostly go for the pretty color, staining or not:)

If these terms are unfamiliar to you, here a great link with some simple examples and explanations.

OK, back to color choices.
Start with the primaries. Yellow, Red and Blue. But that's not that helpful when choosing watercolors, since there are dozens of each. Colder reds, warmer and so on.

This is a good link for deciding which primary colors to get.
This is another good link with a color wheel to help you better understand color in watercolor. There are also some great (and short) info about which colors to get and why.
Here's a quote from that site, dummies.com-

''Each one of the primary colors — red, yellow, and blue — is biased, meaning that it leans toward one of the other two primary colors. When mixing watercolor paints to get a secondary color — orange, green, or purple — use two primaries biased toward each other. Otherwise, you get a gray, muddy color.
For example, to get purple, be sure to mix a blue biased toward red such as ultramarine blue and a red biased toward blue such as alizarin crimson. When mixing colors, refer to the following list:
  • Reds with a blue bias: alizarin crimson, carmine, crimson lake, magenta, opera, rhodamine, rose madder, scarlet lake
  • Reds with a yellow bias: cadmium red, chlorinated para red, chrome orange, English red oxide, fluorescent red, Indian red, light red, permanent red, perylene red, phioxine red, red lake, red lead, sandorin scarlet, Venetian red, vermillion, Winsor red
  • Yellows with a blue bias: aureolin, azo, cadmium yellow lemon, cadmium yellow pale, Flanders yellow, lemon yellow, permanent yellow light, primary yellow, Winsor yellow, yellow light
  • Yellows with a red bias: aurora yellow, brilliant yellow, cadmium yellow medium and deep, chrome, gallstone, golden yellow, Indian yellow, Mars yellow, Naples yellow, permanent yellow medium and deep, raw sienna, Sahara, yellow lake, yellow ochre
  • Blues with a red bias: brilliant, cobalt, cyanine, indigo, mountain blue, ultramarine blue, verditer blue, Victoria blue
  • Blues with a yellow bias: Antwerp, cerulean, compose, intense blue, manganese, monestial blue, Paris blue, peacock blue, phthalocyanine blue, Prussian, Rembrandt, speedball, touareg, turquoise, Winsor blue''
Note**** Many recommend the shade Aureolin for a primary yellow, but it has been found to fade to brown or grey, so consider avoiding it.

Check out Jane Blundell's page. This is an amazing webpage with so much information about watercolor color choice, beware. Check the links on the right for great color comparisons.

This book by Stephen Quiller has some great information about color. It's called ''Color Choices - Making Color Sense out of Color Theory''. 
I really wish I read it before I bought anything, but better late than never:) Google 'Quiller Wheel'.

OK, this is WAY longer than I intended... Hope this was helpful, I'm working on reviewing also other water soluble media for the crafter/scrapbooker, so hopefully I'll post that in the near future. And I always wanted to say this, I have some exciting things happening next week, so stay tuned:)
Have a lovely weekend and please leave me a comment if you have any questions!
Thanks for visiting!

September 25, 2014

Scrapbooking with a Grid Design

Hi there! While I'm working on part 2 of my watercolors for scrapbookers post I thought I'd just share that I'm taking a class at Big Pictures Classes, Art and Design, taught by Wilna Furstenberg. Well, the class started today, it's 5 weeks long and there are 5 videos every week. I'm almost done with the content for the first week (like all of Wilna's classes, this one is also jam packed), and what can I say, it's lovely. Beautiful designs, beautiful pages, just a joy to watch and as always, so inspiring. So week 1 is all about grid designs. I use grids now and then on my pages, but it's not one of my go-to designs, I guess because I love layering and not measuring. I'm challenging myself to make my grid pages look more like me. I've already made one layout that turned out good, but it's cleaner and emptier than my usual style. I like it, but it's not completely me:). I'll probably post a process video making that page cause it was really fun, but for now here are some pages I've made using a grid design (or a variation of it).

Wilna's class at BPC is open for registration till October 1st BTW:)
Thanks for visiting!