Mar 302018

If you’ve ever used alcohol inks with polymer clay, carefully choosing colors and applying them just so… only to have them look completely different when coming out of the oven, then you’ve experienced the disappointment of color shift.

ff ranger alcohol inks

I’ve been using Ranger alcohol inks for years, and I have experienced that color shift issue several times.

Finally I got smart about it and created a chart showing the colors:

  • straight out of the bottle, not mixed with clay
  • mixed with translucent clay but unbaked
  • mixed with translucent clay, rolled thin and baked

Now I can clearly see why I’ve been having trouble all these years!

I really should do more testing of the sort, the time it takes would probably save a lot of time and aggravation.

In the video I’ll show you not only how I put together this chart and the results (and made a better chart for the Pinata inks!) but I’ll also show you a cool trick I figured out for labeling bottles with black caps. So simple and yet so helpful.

Supplies shown in this video:

Want to see more of the products I use, love and recommend? Check out my Amazon shop.

Don’t know what an Amazon shop is?  Click here to learn more.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Using Ranger Alcohol Inks With Pardo Translucent Polymer Clay-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Nov 142014

I’ve been in love with alcohol inks ever since I discovered them in the paper crafting world. The fact that they can be used to add color to non-porous items like glass, plastic & metal still fascinates me and I’m always thinking of new uses for them.

friday findings alcohol inks

In today’s video I show you a few of those uses. I hope you find them exciting and inspiring!

The alcohol inks used in the video are:

If you’re thinking about playing with alcohol inks I highly recommend you add the Snow Cap mixative and the Gold and Silver Metallic Mixatives to your stash.


The snow cap is a white with a more opaque look than the rest and can be mixed and marbled for some great effects. If you mix it with colors you get a look of sort of like enamels, like on the flowers in this clay wreath. Those flowers began their lives as metal bead caps, btw.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings – Coloring With Alcohol Inks video over at YouTube.

Jul 232012

Tim’s tag for July uses a fun technique involving alcohol ink and canned air.  (Check out the link for a video with the details.)

His tag was patriotic, but I decided to make a few birthday cards for guys instead.


After making ink splats with Gold Metallic MixativeSailboat BlueWatermelonSunset Orange and Stream alcohol inks I stamped Ranger Glossy Cardstock with Jet Black Archival Ink using Tim’s The Journey and Curious Possibility stamp sets.

The best way to do this is to stamp larger images first, then fill in the remaining areas with the smaller stamps, collage style. Notice that the Archival Ink doesn’t do as well over the metallic ink.  That may be because I didn’t let it dry long enough.  Since it’s a collage, I didn’t worry about it.

The 8.5″ x 11″ glossy paper was cut into 2.75″ x 4.25″ pieces, enough for eight cards. (They’re all pretty similar, so I’m only showing you two.)


The collage panel was mounted to some colored cardstock and then glued to a Kraft cardstock card base.

The “Happy Birthday” sentiment is from Inkadinkado All Occasions and the Mini Gears were attached with 3/16-Inch Mini Glue Dots.

There you have it, quick and easy birthday cards for guys.

Happy Creating!

Oct 012011

In the past week I’ve shown you how to make Origami Folded Purses and Beaded Handles for said purses.

Now let’s look at, in no particular order, some finishing details to make your bags truly special.

Consider making the two sides of the bag slightly different

A few years back the oriental purse was the bag I carried with me.  One thing that was frustrating was the constant flipping back and forth to find the side with what I needed in it.

So, when I made the floral purse, I put a pink button on one side…


…and a green one on the other side.  Now you’ll know that your wallet is on the pink side, cell phone is on the green, or whatever.


The difference on the purple purse is a bit subtler; one side has two leaves…


…and the other side has only one leaf.


This leads me to the next point:

You can use embellishments other than just buttons

The purple silk flowers and leaves are actually there to solve the problem of the buttons not being able to entirely cover the back of the magnetic clasp.  I’m so happy I needed to solve that problem, though, because I think they add SO much to the purse.

You could add a ribbon bow under your buttons, clusters of ribbon or silk flowers, beading… the possibilities are endless.

If you don’t like how it comes out, you can change it

This floral bag was made for a class sample, and it was beyond the scope of the class to add beaded handles.  I really struggled to find something quick and easy that I liked for a handle for this bag

Late one night before the class I settled on this braided ribbon.  I never was satisfied with it, and it was a relief to take it off and add the beads.


 I carried this black purse with me just like this, and was happy with it…


…but I’m even happier with it now.  🙂


How about jazzing up the beads with a twisted cording?

Someone was kind enough to give me this purple cording to use on this bag, so I really wanted to incorporate it with the beads.  When I saw these twisty glass leaves, I knew they’d be perfect.


If you want to twine cording around your beaded handle:

  • Twist it just the way you want, then tie it to the ends of the clasps.
  • To keep it from untwisting, tack the ends of the cording to the inside of the side seams.  (Simple enough, eh?)


And finally, my favorite trick of all time:

Use alcohol inks to change the colors of your hardware

The eyelets for this purse really needed to be something other than silver in order to go with the beads and the gold bits in the fabric print, but I could only find them in silver.


Alcohol inks to the rescue!  They are awesome, because you can use them to permanently color any non-porous surface.  This means glass, glazed ceramics, metals, plastic… are you starting to get ideas?  Oh, they are fun!

Dabbing on alcohol inks

So, to do my eyelets, first I dripped some Butterscotch alcohol ink all over them and blotted off the excess.  This colored the inner sections where I couldn’t reach with my dabber.

Then I applied one dot of Gold Metallic Mixative to a small piece of felt (make sure to shake up the mixatives well before using) and dabbed this on my eyelets.  Voila, gold eyelets!

I could have made them any color the alcohol inks come in, and even blended colors.  You could try mixing browns and oranges to get a brassy look, or even just coloring them black would look cool.

Painting on alcohol inks

Aren’t these buttons gorgeous?  I thought so; I picked them out to replace the solid black buttons on the oriental purse. (They oughtta be amazing, they were $8 for the pair!  Thankfully, I had a 50% off coupon with me.)


However, I thought they could use a bit of pink in them to tie them in with the handles and the pink in the fabric print.  How to do it?

No problem, once more it’s alcohol inks!

To paint with alcohol inks you will need:


First, drip several drops of each alcohol ink color you want to use onto your palette or plate.  Now, leave them alone and let them dry.  It should only take a few seconds.  And it will look like an utter mess.  Yup, I know this sounds weird, but it works.

While you’re waiting, fill the water brush with alcohol blending solution and label it as such.   I mean it!  If you confuse this with water, you will be sorry.

Now take your brush and gently squeeze it, the solution should start to flow from the brush tip.  Lightly rub this into one of the colors of dried alcohol ink.  It picks up the color onto the brush and now you can paint with that color on your object.

I chose to paint the little leaves on my buttons with Cranberry alcohol ink.  Wonderful!


When your brush runs out of color, just go back to the palette to pick up some more.  If you want to change colors, just scribble the brush onto a Non Stick Craft Sheet until the liquid runs clear.

You can use the blending solution to clean off the craft sheet, fingers and most anything else when you’re all done.  Also, if you’re not happy with what you’ve done, just wipe it with blending solution to remove all color and start over.

Now my buttons go perfectly with my bag.


By the way, it’s a good idea to first test alcohol inks and the blending solution in an inconspicuous spot to make sure they won’t damage any existing color.  Usually they won’t, but it smart to test first!

So there you have it, some fun details to add to your purses.  I hope you’ll give this project a try.  If you do, I’d love to see pics of your work.  🙂

Happy creating!

May 092011

Since Saturday was National Scrapbooking Day, and Sunday was Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share with you my First Mother’s Day scrapbook layout.

I had a LOT of fun with this, after doing many boy-type pages with blues and greens, I went all out girly.  🙂

first-mothers-day scrapbook page left

This one is FULL of fun techniques, it was such a blast to do! Here are just a few of the products and techniques:

  • The QuicKutz Spooky Scroll border die to make the arches. I don’t think they look spooky at all, but put me in mind of a garden trellis.
  • For the journaling tag, the Spellbinders Nestabilities Mega Dies, Labels 8
  • For the flowers, several layers of white mulberry paper, cut with the Sizzix Flower Layers #3 die.  Simply crumple each of the flowers after die cutting, then stack, offsetting the petals.
  • I used Dimensional Adhesive to make a pocket for the Mother’s Day cards I received.  The one you can see, “For You Daughter,” was actually from my mother-in-law.  How sweet! It still brings tears to my eyes when I read it.
  • The transparencies are Prima Clear Paintables.  They come in 12″x12″ sheets with four 6″x6″ designs on each sheet.  It was a blast painting the back side with alcohol inks and blending solution.  Go here (steps 1-15) to see terrific step-by-step instructions by Tim Holtz for this technique.  (One of these days I’ll make a video for ya’ll.)
  • The background papers are from K and Company’s Que Sera Sera Collection.  LOVE those papers.  I’ll be sad once I’ve used up the whole paper pack.

first-mothers-day two page scrapbook layout

Each of those little squares was done with a different technique involving distress inks, rubber stamping, embossing and painting with a variety of media.  I’ll share each one in a separate tutorial some time soon.

first-mothers-day scrapbook page right

It’s hard to believe that little baby is now 23 years old and a Marine.  Jeepers, where does the time go?

I’ll leave you with the journaling:

My first Mother’s Day was May 8, 1988, Joshua was just 17 days old.  Our church always had special recognition for the mom’s on that day: the mom with the most kids, the grandma with the most grandkids, the newest mom, etc. My friend, Karen Wilson, went into labor at nearly the same time as I did.  Our husbands were surprised to see each other in the waiting room at the hospital.  Sadly, by the time I was ready to go home with Josh, she was still in labor.  It was awful and lasted over 72 hours for her.  So, when she got the Newest Mom roses, beating me out by less than 48 hours, I was happy for her.  She told me later she thought of sharing them with me, but decided she’d earned them.  I heartily agreed!

Mar 272011

I first saw this beautiful technique on Tim Holtz’s DVD, An Altered Journey and made this photo frame.

Ever since then I’ve been really, really wanting to show you all how it’s done.  This past week I finally put together a video making this blue frame.  (Actually, it’s a series of three videos.)


I just love all the texture you get.  And I love that you can use any shapes or words you desire.


The possibilities are endless!


Thank you to Tim for his kind and generous permission for me to share my own take on his original idea.  He did a similar but slightly different version on his day 10.  You’ll find lots more of his genius and generosity with ideas at his website

Some of the supplies I used:

Feb 262011

I really wish I’d been a scrapbooker when my kids were little, I’m sure I would have tried to take better pictures, and record more of the little memories.  Ah well, better late than never!

By the way, this “Bundle of Joy” element wasn’t the color I wanted, so I colored it with Stream alcohol ink.  Now it’s perfect!

The punch is the Doily Lace Edge Craft Punch by Martha Stewart. The clouds are all edged with Broken China Distress ink, which I think makes them look nice and fluffy.

bundle-of-joy scrapbook page left

The photo below of my husband and I was terribly water damaged on the left side.  I scanned it, then worked on it in Photoshop and fixed as much as I could.  The rest is hidden under an embellishment!  (I never would have scrapped that actual photo, I think it had mold on it. BAD for scrapbooks!)

bundle-of-joy scrapbook page right

It’s funny, I was really looking forward to doing the baby pages in sweet, soft colors, but I’ve found that I still have to add in some brights and/or some distressing.  I don’t think I could make a completely pastel page if my life depended on it, lol.

bundle-of-joy two page scrapbook layout

Feb 022011

A Valentine’s card seems appropriate for my first post in February.  This one is a lot of fun, combining many simple, yet beautiful techniques.

valentine's card with stamped and embossed hearts and perfect pearls

Believe it or not, this lovely background starts with a sheet of plain white cardstock. First, apply a mask to your background.  I used a stencil that had been hanging around for ages and sprayed the back with spray adhesive.  (Check the instructions first, many spray adhesives will become a tacky removable adhesive if applied according to the directions.)

Next, you’re going to make your own custom pearlized mist.  In a Mini Mister combine one dropper of Distress Reinker (I used Vintage Photo) and one scoop (use a craft stick) of Perfect Pearls (I used Heirloom Gold.) Fill the rest of the mister with water and replace the cap, shake well.

Now mist over your cardstock, covering completely.  You’ll get a gorgeous pearly shimmer. Blot up the excess ink with a paper towel and remove the mask.  You can use a heat tool to speed up drying, but make sure to remove your mask first.

Ink up entire card, including the masked area with distress inks (I used Worn LipstickFired Brick and Aged Mahogany.)  Ink the edges of the card with browns (Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain.)

Here’s how to make those cool, blotchy spots (it’s SO easy!)  Spritz a little water into your hand, then flick the water onto the card with your fingers.  Here’s the important part:  Let the water droplets sit on the paper for 10 secondsand then blot up with a paper towel.  Now you have cool faux bleach spots! (This works best with distress inks, they play nicely with water, not all inks do.)

valentine's card with stamped and embossed hearts and perfect pearls close up

The hearts were made by stamping a variety of flower and scroll stamps onto white cardstock with Clear Embossing Ink, then embossing with Black Soot Distress Embossing Powder.  After the embossing powder cools, color the paper with a variety of distress inks.  I used Dusty Concord, Worn Lipstick and Fired Brick.  I used the Sizzix Heart Set red die to cut several hearts from this paper. Ink the edges of all the hearts with Vintage Photo.

The gold hearts were cut with the same die, but they were painted with perfect pearls.  Again, SO easy!  Use a paintbrush to mix a small amount of perfect pearls (Heirloom Gold is what I used here) with a few drops water until you have a paint-like consistency.  Use this to paint the outer edges of your larger hearts. Sparkly. 🙂

Of course, you need to add some bling!  I only buy gems in clear, and then color them to my hearts contnet (pun intended)  with alcohol inks.  These were colored with Cranberry.  Perfect!

To finish it up, add a strip of torn music paper inked with Vintage photo and a stamped sentiment.

Oh, and here’s the inside (composed mostly of leftover scraps on my table.)

valentine's card with stamped and embossed hearts and perfect pearls, inside greeting

Dec 092010

A certain weekend last October was a High Point in my year.  That was when Tim Holtz came to the Boston area and I got to take not just one, but TWO classes with him.  It was awesome!  He is such a nice guy and a fantastic teacher.  What a privilege to get to spend an entire day playing and crafting with other creative people.

We used his new configurations line to make lovely Christmas shadowboxes.  It was such a blast filling each little section with vintage bits and pieces that Tim has collected.

christmas configuration Tim Holtz

When I got home, I added a few things.  The empty birdcage made me kind of sad, so I put the cardinals on the nest on top.  I also cut a scrap of fabric to make a skirt for the tree, and changed the knob from a larger white one which seemed kinda clunky to me.

The package of cardinals I picked up had two bright red birds, which hardly seemed authentic to me.  To make Mrs. Cardinal more brown, I dabbed her with ginger and espresso alcohol inks.  (Yeah, um, then she started to fall apart!  Apparently something in the ink dissolved her glue.  All worked out well, though.  I just had to wait until all the pieces were dry and then use Matte Multi Medium to put her back together.)

The Matte Multi Medium was one terrific thing I learned about in this class.  It dries, well, matte, rather than glossy, so if you’re sloppy in your gluing, it doesn’t show.  Brilliant!

christmas configuration with cardinals on top

What a terrific idea, using the little flameless tea light, it adds so much!


Tim told me that the wooden blocks, the little ceramic dolls, the silver glitter and the mica we used to cover the outside of the boxes are all vintage items he’s found.  And he shared them all with us!  I felt so grateful!

christmas configuration Tim Holtz doll and pearls close up

He also taught us how to make faux print blocks just using grungeboard and chipboard.  He. Is. So. Clever!

christmas configuration Tim Holtz joy print block letters

This is definitely one of my new favorite Christmas decorations!

Just a few of the many, many products we used:

5.75 X 10.75 Configurations Box
Symphony Tissue Tape
Seasonal Paper Stash Paper Pad
Advantus Corporation Grungeboard Minis, Plain Alphabet
Aged Mahogany Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Shabby Shutters Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Fired Brick Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Tim Holtz Baubles & Curio Knobs
Snow Cap Paint Dabber
Matte Multi-Medium 4Oz
Ranger 1/2-Ounce Adirondack Alcohol Ink Singles, Espresso
Ranger 1/2 Ounce Adirondack Alcohol Ink Singles, Ginger
Foundations Metal Feet
Everlasting Tealights Battery-Operated Flameless Candles with Soft Flicker, 12-Pack

Dec 032010

I have a friend with a birthday next week and decided today’s design would make a perfect birthday card.  You’ll have to check out Tim’s site to see his instructions for making the tissue tape collage and flower.  So. Much. Fun!

birthday-card-with-bird-and-tissue-tape-flowerMy background was colored with bundled sage, shabby shutters and peeled paint distress inks and edged with walnut stain.

The words background was stamped bundled sage (my new favorite for background stamping!) and the splatter with vintage photo.

I couldn’t find my paper distresser, so I opened a pair of old scissors about 1″ and ran the edges of the paper along the “V.”

I decided to color my tissue tape with eggplant, wild plum and raisin alcohol inks before making the flower.  After I made the flower I found the colors were a little dark for my liking, so I swiped over it with alcohol blending solution until it was just right.  (FYI, the circle punch I used was 1 1/4″ and I ended up using about 30″ of tissue tape.)


The “Make A Wish Quotes” stamp set by Fiskars is adorable, the inside of the card says,

“Growing OLD is mandatory, growing UP is optional.”

Love it!

At first I stamped the “Happy Birthday” with distress ink, but it didn’t come out very good.  It was a clear stamp so I stamped again – still not good.  So I dried the inks with a heat tool, and stamped one more time with embossing ink, then embossed with white.  Hence the happy accident of the shadow behind the words.  HA! Sometimes it’s not what you can DO, but what you can FIX.


Walnut Stain Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Peeled Paint Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Vintage Photo Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Bundled Sage Tim Holtz Distress Inks
Shabby Shutters Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Dusty Concord Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pad, Clear For Embossing
Terra Cotta Tim Holtz Adirondack Alcohol Ink
Ranger 1/2 Ounce Adirondack Alcohol Ink Singles, Raisin
Ranger 1/2 Ounce Adirondack Alcohol Ink Singles, Wild Plum
Ranger Adirondack Alcohol Inks eggplant
Ranger 1/2-Ounce Adirondack Alcohol Ink Singles, Denim
Adirondack Alcohol Ink .5 Ounce – Stream
Ranger 1/2-Ounce Adirondack Alcohol Ink Singles, Espresso
Ranger 1/2 Ounce Adirondack Alcohol Ink Singles, Ginger
Tim Holtz Alcohol Blending Solution
Ink Blending Tool & 2 Foams

All Night Media Wood-Mounted Stamps – Splatter Pattern
Quote Clear Stamps: Make A Wish (Fiskars)
Stamp: Italian Poetry (Hero Arts)
Embossing Powder:  Zing! White Opaque Embossing Powder
Symphony Tissue Tape  (Tim Holtz)
Button: Making Memories Vintage Findings
Die cut: Tim Holtz Caged Bird Sizzix Bigz Dies
Grunge paper 12-Inch-by-12-Inch, 3-Pack
Distress Stickles Glitter Glue, 1/2-Ounce, Rock Candy, Clear
Patterned Paper: Seasonal Paper Stash Paper Pad (Tim Holtz)
Dimensional adhesive: Squares Foam Tabs
Mono Adhesive Dispenser Permanent
Matte Multi-Medium 4Oz