Sunday, September 30, 2012

Digi Stamps 101

I have been wanting for some time to do a blog post where I can point new users who ask questions about using Digital stamps etc.
I know there are great how to’s and vids all over the internet-but people still have questions and I have long had a repertoire of vague answers that even I found unsatisfying-like try GIMP…a program I know little or nothing about save for hearsay from friends and designers who use it.
I am a Photoshop kinda fella however I draw all my digis by hand with a -005 Pima Micron pen on Seth Cole Vellum Artists Sketch paper-#62 multi-media made in the USA (as a matter of fact made in California not too far from where I live-I sketch in pencil then ink then use a kneaded eraser to lose the pencils lines-I scan at 300dpi or better greyscale and import the jpeg file into CS5 Photoshop where I do clean up, digital corrections etc.
I save my original cleaned up files in several places for safety-reduce the file and watermark it for an ETSY sample and list it for sale.
That is the cliff notes version of how a digi is created-it can take a day or two to design one image and on a good day I can sometimes draw a couple of simpler images.
Once they go out to the crafters and designers who use them many resize their images (or edit them using a number of programs I have never heard of but resize and flip I believe often in WORD.
Karen McIntyre shares the following info about editing programs:
There are 4 programs I use, three are free:
Paint.net http://www.getpaint.net/
Gimp http://www.gimp.org/
Open Office Draw http://www.openoffice.org/
and I use Hallmark Card Studio to actually print from. With that you simply open an image, pull the box around to where you want it, pull the corners to re-size, etc. That program makes it so easy a baby could use it!

Gimp now has a version for MAC as well as PC which is also free.
Karen continues:
I used Paint.net for a long time (and still do) for darkening or cleaning up digi stamps because I had downloaded Gimp a few years ago and thought it looked too complicated. I have been learning to use gimp more the past month and it's not as hard as it looked at first. If I have a question on how to do something I simply Google it and the answer comes up either on someone's site or blog or the forums for each program. Like "how do I make transparent png backgrounds in gimp" - it was quite easy once I saw it explained.

A lot of people use Word too, they just open the image and can resize to print.
All those programs let you flip an image also.
One of the selling points of DIGIS over hard stamps is the versatility of sizes and the ability to flip the image so having a program able to do that is very important.
Helen Cullem of my EDT suggests:
The program I like to use to print digi's is "My Craft Studio" I was lucky to get this when it was a free program. If I am combining images, I use Gimp to transform to png format and then MCS allows the placement and resizing of each image without having to fiddle about with layers.
PNG may be a better format in which to save DIGIS over JPEGS or GIFS it is my understanding that JPEGS degrade slightly each time they are opened-perhaps someone will comment on this below?
Suzi McKenzie had this to say:
I use Photoshop if I'm creating a scene with more than one image. Other than that I use the printing software that came bundled with my printer, and I'll print either 2 or 4 images to a sheet of A4 depending on what size card/project I'm making
Many designers find Photoshop cumbersome when it comes to layers whereas I find layers to be my best friend especially when I’m editing or augmenting an image-like any program being familiar with it makes it a useful tool and I always tell people to PLAY with Photoshop.
Adobe has produced a boon for crafters called PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS also referred to as BABY Photoshop-I have seen it on sale at Big Box stores for under $50.00usd (as oppose to as much as several hundreds of dollars for the full PS program.
Nataliya Simpson, also of my EDT had a unique program she uses:
I'm using Serif Digital Scrapbook Artist for all my digi, and best part about it - IT"S FREE.
Hazel Thompson-EDT member:
I use Microsoft digital image software for my images but it’s very old. It lets me size up the image to what I want, also lets me crop pages if there are lots of images on a sheet. Can't get the hang of gimp.
A number of other EDT members use the same program Helen uses.
Pauline of my EDT wrote this about WORD:
For printing my images, I import them into MSW Word. I don't have anything like Photoshop .. Although I have downloaded Gimp and I'm pretty sure I have My Craft Studio on a disc somewhere. I've tried to use Gimp, but will need quite some time to get used to how it works. I use png images when I can, particularly if I am layering (I don't know much about file formats etc.).

I simply import the image file into a blank Word document, and change its text wrap setting too 'square' so that I can drag the image anywhere round the page. I can resize it to whatever size I need. If the image has a white background, I can set it to transparent, although it will remove the white colour from the image as well. I can add text sentiments if I need to.


As to paper-I must include a caveat: Many of my EDT members are in the UK-Nataliya in Canada, Monique in the Netherlands, Pauline, Australia and a scattering in the USA:
Suzi McKenzie:
.I'm lucky enough to have a paper mill here in Aberdeen, and find that they have a brilliant white paper/cardstock for printing and colouring digis on; called Diamond White, it's my favourite so far. Occasionally I’ll print onto Kraft paper too, that works nicely with coloured pencils. I've just got a new printer so haven't had a chance yet to see how it handles watercolour paper, that's on my things to do list
Both Hazel and Helen agreed on this paper.
Elaine Lienhart the corner stone member of my EDT:
I print my images on Neenah Smooth White paper
I have tried printing and then colouring on several types of paper-luckily my printer will handle my Seth Cole paper just fine-I also like various presentation papers from HP.
Hazel also added the following:
I've used the Diamond white stuff too from same paper mill :). I find I like Neenah Card best, I like how it blends with my pens. Staples do a good paper called text and graphics paper that comes in 2 different gsm weights. Quite like it too.
Office Max also makes a good heavier weight, brilliant white paper that is inexpensive and prints nice and crisp.
From Linda Simpson:
I use the same graphics programme as Helen Elite from My Craft Studio to resize all my digi’s. I like to print on a variety of different card and papers. My favourites are Neenah, Stampography Card, Rymans. I also like to play around with different textured paper and card such as watercolour and linen. It all depends on what I am making at the time.
Karen McIntyre:
My favorite paper to use for stamping and printing digis is Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 80lb. They also have 120lb but I don't think my printer could take that, it would be too stiff.
http://www.ellenhutson.com/servlet/the-1368/Neenah%2C-Classic-Crest%2C-Solar/Detail
it’s great with Copics and also takes pencil well. I use a combo of both, or sometimes Copics alone.

Copic markers and Prismacolour pencils stand out as the favorites amongst my team for colouring.
There are several other brands including watercolour pencils etc. that also were mentioned but COPICS by far came in first.
I am amazed when a designer can make the Copics looks fresh and alive not muddy or heavy-a lot of why I picked the ladies on my EDT had to do with how they handled shading their images.
I personally like Prismacolour pencils and actually prefer them to more posh brands like Derwent.
I also asked people for tips and one of the most interesting came from DEE MORAN a longtime friend and fellow papercrafter who does wonderful work-she coloured many of the early samples of my images when I started doing Digis and as a matter of fact is THE PERSON who suggested I do Digis in the first place (thanks Dee).
Dee suggests colouring on a glass cutting board-when you think about it that’s a great idea-nothing smoother and less likely to “texturize” your colouring than a glass surface-I have seen safety glass cutting boards in fairly large sizes on sale at discount home shops (like Home Goods in California a division of T J MAXX).
Dee also has this to say to new digi users:
Be careful...............they are addicting. I find I use the digi's more and more. My rubber stamps aren't getting the use they should be. The digi's are so nice because you don't have to have a lot of room for storage and the prices are so good that you can afford more images to play with. You can make them as small or as large as you want to as well which is great. Much more versatility in the digi's.
From Monique:
I think you will be horrified if you hear the paper I print on is just normal printer paper LOL. It's a lot thinner than cardstock or watercolour paper so you have to colour carefully as in don't get the paper wet. Don't know if it will work with copics or other markers, but I use pencil and odorless turpentine and paper stump. (I guess I’m a bit of a low budget crafter, because I don't use copics or Derwent pencils, I colour with the cheepo pencils you buy in the toy store 36 pencils for 8 euros)
I want to thank all the ladies who contributed to this informal survey and request for information-now I hope YOU will contribute as well and be a part of helping out a newbie, beginner or even more seasoned crafter and digi user!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Here comes HALLOWEEN

Halloween is pretty much an all month thing these days-Smeared and Smudged has their 31 day blog hop-I am sponsoring all 31 days...there are haunted house blogs and mysterious carnivals in the woods---lots of fun for those who enjoy it.

This is my monthly freebie-these two images will be up Saturday and Sunday Sept 29/30 over on Sparkle and Glitter my new challenge blog so click HERE to grab them and why not follow the challenge blog while you do that?



Also here is a discount code for my ETSY shoppe-if you have any last minute shopping to do for your Halloween or general digi needs-this will help.

HAPPYHALLOWEEN2012

PLEASE REMEMBER CODES AND FREEBIES ARE ONLY GOOD SATURDAY AND SUNDAY!!!

Don't forget our first challenge takes off on Oct 5, 2012 sponsored by DELICIOUS DOODLES (Thanks TERRI) and moi-so get those cards and projects flying in-be sure to sparkle and glitter...

Finally, if you havn't already don't forget to join us on FACEBOOK...

Hav fun!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2 Creepmas Stamps make a clever scene

I got a big chuckle out of this sparkly project sent in by Monique Van Dijk of my EDT-she took 2 seperate images and envisioned them telling a story-the result is Scrooge and Frosty in a not too happy encounter for the poor snowman:




The actual image names are

BAH Humbug and SAD FROSTY

I have also added several MERRY CREEPMAS greeting stamps so had Monique had one she could have finished her card that way-I however like the idea of writing over the Merry Christmas stamp---sort of rebellious.

Thanks Monique for this cute visual Joke!!!

EEEEK---a rodent!

Every so often I get in a mood where everything is funny-or at least I think everything is funny-it struck me that Disneyland should change that scene with all the fellows up a pole on the Jungle Cruise for Christmas-well, they change everything else over...

What would drive Santa and the Holiday gang up a pole (or in this case on a chair) a mouse...

So I drew it up and it made me smile so I thought it might make you smaile as well.

Hazel sent in her sample so here it is in living colour no Jungle Cruise or Disney vacation included (awwww)...

EEK AMOUSE



I tried to get as many iconic Christmas images in as I could-Thanks Hazel and hope you all enjoy it!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Gallery from Gloria

Gloria (Creepy Glowbugg) Steiger has out done herself by colouring up a whole raft of images to share with you:

This image is BRAND NEW and was just posted on ETSY-Gloria got it first to colour, My Pet Fluffy:


What little girl doesnt want a cuddly pet for Christmas AND it teaches them responsibility and how to dodge sanpping sharp teeth.

SAD FROSTY takes on an antique vintage quality with these warm ivory tones:


Some people just have no respect for a beloved holiday icon and poor Frosty must have a splitting headache.

GRAVE was a simple design suggested by Helen Cullum-I guess watching the birds before draing tainted my vision-that isnt a crow-its a seagull or a cormorant or something...


Gloria makes the design work by uniting the images with her palatte of greys.


Gloria suggested that she would love a creepmas tree festooned with shrunken heads-I however say it augmented with dead snakes and rodents-anyway this is how it came out-
I also have a scrooge design where he is carrying home a matching wreath and shrunken heads must be in because of my geeks is using his shrunken heads in the GIFT EXCHANGE.

Finally Screaming Me Me was a part of my alien mutant collection and always makes me laugh-I sometimes feel like throwing my hands in the air and running naked and amok-however at my age and station I have pretty much eschewed naked amok running---pretty much...


I'd like to than Gloria, Helen and all who encouraged me to explore my Creepmas side-I've had a lot of fun releasing the crazy charecters in my head-now I have to Holiday it up and move on to more sparkly, happy things---like Aliens masquerading as Santa.




Monday, September 24, 2012

2 of our newer EDt members have projects to share

I recvd two projects this afternoon that I wanted to share with you-one feom Helen who has been withn us for awhile but is still newish and the other from Suzi McKenzie who hasn't been published yet on my blog.

Helen needed a birthday card for a friend and ecided to use ESMERALDA a new 2012 digi that I havnt even seen coloured yet.



I really like the rich colours Helen used and the addittion of the gold-I would have never thought of using this combination but it works and it would also make a great Valentine card with something about Love in your Future!

Here are a couple more shots of Helen's card.



This image is really versetile and could be coloured in peacock colours, antique reds and browns or traditional Gypsy with a rainbow of hues-Thanks Helen for sharing this great project and letting me see how Esmeralda colours up.

The 2nd card is from SUZI McKENZIE and is her first project on my blog:


This card uses MISS RAZZLE DAZZLE an image we will be seeing more of soon in the first challenge on the new Sparkle and Glitter Challenge blog.

I was suprised at how popular this digi has been-she is a little touch over the top but I really like the blue dress and red hair combo and the way Suzi combined feathers and other rich embellishment to make this a very show bizzy card.

I designed this with an intricate :beaded" trimon the dress assuming that designers would sparkle it up but so far I havnt seen it happen-this sort fo Vegas costume almost demands glitter.

I sorta like the micro glitters but for my own work I prefer RHINESTONES-especially the self adhesive stones from ME AND MY BIG IDEAS-they are almost a swarovski quality and have a good depth of colour and sparkle.

The peel and stick adhesive is one of the better ones on the market and I do brayer over the stones lightly with a rubber roller to help them adhere-a touch of jewel glue never hurts.

MAMBI stones are available from Michaels and JoAnns both in store and online.

Thanks Suzi for this captivating redhead in blue-LOVE IT-and glad to have you on my EDT!!!

Vicky Fortier


There was a lot of buzz yesterday afternoon with emails flying "did you see this?"

Vicky Fortier grabbed some digis on the flash sale and ahhpily shared the result with this delightful DJJIN card...you can see more shots of the prject and read Vicky's blog post HERE.

Thanks Vioky for sharing this wonderful project and of course you will be recieving a thank you sheet of digis for sending it in!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Goth Girl welcomes a new EDT member

I sent out one of my newest designs to my EDT including Linda Simpson one of our newest and have a couple projects back-so in order to welcome Linda let me start with her soft and lovely Easle card:



I seriously expected this image to come back in black, purple and navy-really seriously Gothy and suprise-pink!

I like this combo of pink and brown and the way the lace plays off the leather accessories in the drawing.

The pearlescent bits pick up the belt buckle which lind used as a stop for the easle.


You can find Linda's product list on her blog-all the EDT ladies blogs are linked by their names on the EDT roster-over on the right side of this page.

Welcome aboard Linda I hoep you enjoy your time with us!!!

Monique also sent her version of Goth Girl:



This is decidely more Goth in feeling but still maintains the girlie feel.

I always like how Monique thinks outside the box and the quirky little touches she adds to her projects.

I stress to my EDT ladies that the pictures are as important as the projects in presenting the feeling and atmosphere involved.

You will notice that props and lighting play an important part in the finished shots-I think this is a left over from my Magazine experiance and I do feekl strongly that the little touches set a shot apart and make it memorable!

Thanks to both designers for sharing Goth Girl-she is available HERE.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dear Aunt Spidey makes appearance on Facebook

Creepy Glowbugg (Gloria Palmer Steiger) posted this project which is incredible to Facebook and I jsut happened to see it and grabbed the image for the BLOG-I have to have a serious talk with these folks who do such wonderful things with my images.

Gloria is thus far the only person who has taken advantage of the Flash Sale-which requires knowing the naswer for a somewhat obscure question in order to win a large discount on my Etsy shop-however I believe she got this image by sending me her Zombie Stripper project.

Whenever designers send me projects that I can use on my blog I thank them by bestowing more images..its how I roll...so I will catch up with Gloria and shoot her some more stuff to colour.

Enjoy the incredible shading on GPS's project---wonderful!!!!


Click HERE for Glorias webpost with more photos and info.

FLASH CONTEST

If you know the answer to this very obscure question you will win 25% off at my ETSY shop:

DO NOT leave the answer here just use the code...

Here is the question the answer is one word:

WHERE do indulgent, effulgent and the moon all appear together?

The______________________???

Good Luck


Ends Sunday Sept 23, 2012

Melting with Monique

Earler we saw amelting project from Helen Cullum that featured the broken down witch on a candle with a matching gift box-today Monique Van Dijk sent me her melting project which is very different:



Monique used my DRAGON digi and actual cayons-it certainly say melting to me.

Great Job Monique-we may have to do a melting challenge over on our challenge blog.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Nataliya Simpson-the QUEEN of WOW

It has to be official...Nataliya is the QUEEN ---of WOW...I think that stands for What Outraegeous Wonders!!!

This card goes over the top down the other side and starts over again at the bottom-I told her all it needs is a music box and lighst but maybe a glitter snow machine as well???



This gives you an overview of this construction.

What Nataliya did that was clever-she usd my Septemeber Freebie Three Chimeny Cottage along with Isabella Making snow Friends to complete her scene.



And then look at the details, glitter, rhinestones, snow flakes, oragami---I mean WOW
this card isnt a debate about a bow-its a masters thesis in opulance!




Here is Nataliyas product list-

Clear Embossing powder with Glitter for all scan
Snow Writer
Diamond Dust
Stickles
MS Punches
Fens Die cut
Gems
ProMarkers
Prisma Colored Pencils (on Isabella)
Ribbon
Stickers for the sentiment
Blue Ink for the Sky
Stitching




Heres the amazing thing about thius card-with all thats going on the image still manages to be the focal point-thats a fine piece of work...

But WAIT-she's not finished yet...I actually was gutsy enough to ask Nataliya to do TWO versions of this image one being a 3 dimensional decoupage project.

And here is the result-another WOW moment:



Obviously this version is in more taditional Christmas colours and I like it a great deal.

The layers seem more subtle here than the work she did on the Revenge witch but I certainly grabs the eye and makes for an interesting overall look.

I can't imagine too many people sitting down and colouring all those layers and Nataliya is suggesting that I offer colour decoupage sheets as well as the B&W digis-what do you think about that?

I think part fo the fun is changing the colours to suit your own taste??

Here are some detail shots from the project.




It's wonderful to see how adaptable my designs can be to various styles, colours etc. I just love BOTH of these projects and I hope you've enjoyed seeing them?

I can't wait for the next suprise from Nataliya and the other members of my design team-every day is like Christmas or a birthday for me as I open up all the trasures in my email box...I have also started a pinterest board for the ladies projects so many more people can share them.






NEW EDT Member Linda Simpson

I am happy to annouce our newest EDT member Linda Simpson!

Linda joins 9 other designers in working on my designs, the new challenge blog, our facebook presence and all the other exciting new activites we are embarking on.

Welcome aboard Linda!

I still have 2 remining slots for members so if you would like to be a part of what I cansider to be the most unique DT on the web I hope you will submit an application to
rickstdennis@yahoo.com.

I would appreciate 3 images (jpegs) of your best work, a link to your blog (if you have one) and a little info about you...I am especially interested in people who are strong in challenge blogs and FACEBOOK.

Thanks

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Making Snow Friends

I did this design and I didn't want Isabella out making a snow person so I decided to have her make a snow kitty.

Hazel decided that the dsign needed lavender and sparkle and here is her design as she first sent it:



I never question my EDT ladies designs but this one made me take a 2nd look-something (for me) was missing so I asked Hazel if she thought it might need a bow on the lower right?

Not suggesting just asking...

Of course it ccame right back with a bow-and for me (as I explained to Hazel) it's like a period on a sentance when it's missing you notice-Hazel couldn't decide whether she liked it better with or without?



What do you think with or without-please comment and say why you feel that way???

I think with or without Hazel did a great job of this sweet, frosty scene!!!



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DT call-still looking

Because of adding the challenge blog and so much new social media activity, new digis etc-we need more people on the EDT-we are looking this time for people who are very familar with challenge blogs and social media-mainly FAcEBOOK.

We are very glad to have Aletha Jane Williams joining the EDT and Team Glitter for the challenge blog-she is exactly the sort of designer I was looking for.

Also joing the EDT on Team Sparkle is Suzanne Baker McKenzie another very unique designer with fresh colours and unique designs-Suzi brings a lot of experiance in challenge blogs to the team.

Eah of the two teams will handle one of the 2 monthly challenges on the blog.

There are 4 more spots I need to fill-edgier designers are welcome as are the more traditional since my designs span a wide gamut of styles and subjects.

Send me 3 jpegs of your best work-It would be nice if at least one were one of my images-I like to see clean, unique work, good shading (I personally prefer coloured pencil but am astonished when designers can make copics look dimensional and not muddy)

This is one thing that impressed me about Aletha Jane and Suzi -Their colouroing and shading with copics is impeccable.

Send email to rickstdennis@yahoo.com - you need to love working with my images because you will get a lot of them...

You will be assigned to one of the two challnge blog teams either Sparkle (Helen,Helene and Hazel and now Suzi) or Glitter (Nataliya, Tine and Monique now also Aletha Jane) each team is responsible for one challenge per month...plus the normal EDT stuff

cheers

Spiders are not my favorite things...

Spiders are very Halloweeny aren't they? They can give you a good scare or make you freak out if one is crawling on you---that picture of the spider staring back with its 8 eyes from a Japanese womans ear canal certainly creeped me out.

I do think spider webs are beautiful and fascinating.

Last year I did a series of mutant aliens which included two sort of monster movie spiders one of which was DEAR AUNT SPIDEY-well, they weren't huge hits-a little too bizarre for the digi world at that time or at least my audience.

This year people seemed to like the more hard core Halloween stuff so I tried the mutants again and they have done well-the Alice card Monique did was from that series and she has now sent me this great TAG using Dear Aunt spidey!



I love #8 tags-its one papercraft thing I love to do and I make sort of collaged tags using my digital art and other embellishments-I frequently do trades with them.

This tag just has so much texture-Monique did it for a specific challenge so if you have seen it elsewhere I apologize I had to hold it till after her challenge post was published...

Here is her product list:

for the tag I used
flourish tim holtz
leaves from a punch don't know which brand
spiderweb stamp and little spiders http://www.de-stempelwinkel.nl/index.php?action=article&aid=7294&group_id=20000105&lang=EN
embossing folder woodgrain
distress ink walnut stain and rusty hinge
Dear Aunt Spidey digi by Rick St. dennis

Thanks Monique for making Dear Aunt Spidey a part of your crafting...Love her...just not so fond of spiders...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ah, for a country lane and a village street

I was requested as you know by Karen MIntyre and friends to do some English and european cottage scenes. I have been amazed by the sort fo work these scene stamp designers do-we had the thatch cottage a few days ago and now Diana sends me her version of my country Lane digi augmented with . Trees by Stampscapes, Love You to Bits, couple by Inkadinkado and grass in foreground by Beeswax.
I just happened to also have a version that Hazel from my design team did using waterolour pencils-I think its fun to see 2 versions of the same source material side by side
I find it so interesting how little variance in colour and in this ase the addition of the stamping to complete the scene by Diana makes 2 most appealling visions of this peaceful view. Thanks to Diana Sample and Hazel Thomson for sharing these works...

Elaine Lienhart

I am always pleased when I get to post a card ffrom Elaine. Elaine was my first EDT member and gave me lots of good advice when I was starting out and had no idea what I was doing (not that I know much now). Here are two new cards from Elaine: One a take on a very old design which is on one of my Thank You sheets and the other a very popular Pumpkin head from my Halloween collection.
I love Elaine's fresh clean take on card making. Her colour choices are usually light and crisp and her cards put the spotlight on the image and the sentiment. I especially like the Pumpkin Head Witch in this fresh, trend forward take on Halloween colours-pastels are in and working for fall. Thanks Elaine for your contributions.