Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Random Little Personal Things.

Varah is actually meant to be pronounced Wara'.
It is Arabic for 'Taqwa'
It is in the Quran.
Mr Burger is my favorite Burger place!
I love roller blading.
I write as a hobby... poetry and prose.
I'm too philosophical for some, or well.. people don't get what I'm writing or saying half the time. :/
I'm very straight forward... I don't like being fake.
Favorite Color: Purple! *hard to believe it's not yellow, right?*
Favorite TV Show: I'll be honest, I don't get time to watch television. I go on for months not watching it.. but when I do.. I love Reba *yes it's old*, The Mentalist, Supernatural, and F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
I'm an anime fan too, Deathnote is my fave!
As for manga, I love Bride of the Water God, Alice 19th and Nana.
Favorite Make Up? Err, I love MAC! Haha. My favorite nail color is probably the only 'Chanel' I own. Alhamdulillah to everything though :)
Where do you get your hijabs? My family travels to Saudi every year, MashaAllah... and my mum gets me beautiful ones on silks and chiffons from there. I love colors and prints, and there are SO many you can get from there. :)
I have a fetish for shoes. Aldo is the place to be!
Favorite Princess fairytale? Sleeping Beauty. I love Aurora.
Who do you look up to? Personally, My Mum, My Shaykh...
Craftwise? I love the work of Anna Dabrowska, I think Tim Holtz comes up with wicked stuff! And Dyan Reavely is out of this world amazing! I love the work of artist Gustav Klimt from his Golden Era/Age, in textiles and print, there are a lot of illustrators and print artists I adore, but I love the work of Zhandra Rhodes and Vivienne Westwood.
Don't ask me about Pakistani Fashion. *grin* I wear Khaadi... and a lot of linen. I can't wear very formal clothes. I become all antsy and itchy... and I feel like they'll get ruined when I walk or sit... I always get that from my mum.. that my clothes don't last me very long -_-;
Sweet Tooth? BIG Time. I love Mrs Field's Chocolate Chip Cookies, Milano's by Pepperidge Farm and Ice Cream. Who doesn't right?
Food? Major foodie... but not someone that lives to eat. :) I've been raised to appreciate food of all sorts. I'm not one of those that say I don't eat beef, that I don't eat fish.. so forth. I love seafood. Despite living in a country where Zabiha meat is openly available, I still opt for Tuna at Subway. I love shrimps and grilled fish! I could live off that. Pastas aren't so far behind. Desi food means biryani and behari.. with the parathas! But I don't like the idea of driving an hour to get a certain type of food. -_-;
I'm not a coffe or tea person! I don't drink 'chai'... ever.
I love Cherry Coke and Dr Pepper. XD
I use my heat gun to warm Pop Tarts. hehe.
I know that most people say this, that they're not 'neat' crafters... I'm not a neat one either. BUT, I can't stand a messy room. I take out 3 sweeps of my room in a day. To get rid of all the scraps of paper and dust.
When I'm working, the floor is my workspace... and despite everything being scattered for days... I know just where everything is.
My baby sister is my biggest support system.
She's 19 years younger to me.
I've raised her, and she could pass as my own.
She's my best friend.
She inspires me in a million ways!
I love butterflies.
I tend to day dream... like a lot.
My brother and I have the craziest LOL moments.
I find thundershowers soothing.
I love rainbows.
The days I'm sad, I take a piece of paper and write SMILE SUNSHINE all over it, anywhere from a 100-1000 times. When I look at it, I just feel better and forget whatever it is I've been upset about. It's therapy!
I was raised in circumstances that made me grow up before everyone else.
Those circumstances make me WHAT I am today.
My family is my world...
My Firefly comes next.
It really is a journal...
It's been through some rough times, the spine and pages are kinda flimsy now.
I have been an arty one since I was a toddler.
I'm a  memon, only by name. I don't associate with the 'jamaats' or the language... or the 'business' sense... Firefly started as a fluke! I promise.
My teacher refused to accept me as a design student in A levels.
Today I hold a degree in Textile Design.
I had to repeat a few courses at uni... only because I did what I wanted
My advisor never believed in scrapbooking or paper craft...
Today Firefy probably has one of the biggest markets and client base for it.
I love my Rabb, Alhamdulillah.
Whatever I have... am... and aspire to be.. is with His immense Grace and Blessings!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Crafty Question: Acrylic Blocks and Ink

I was asked this several times, and I thought I'd do a post about it for everyone to benefit :)

Hey can you also tell me which inks work best with these clear stamps? and is it necessary to mount them on a block?

You can do a lot of things with them without the block, the block gives you a backing to apply the pressure and make the imprint. :) Otherwise let's say you stamped with your palm or fingers, you'd either miss some areas, or your stamp would move and it would blur. It's great to try for backgrounds and textures, but I'd opt to have an acyrlic block for let's say fine text and sentiments.

As far as the inks go, pigment inks are great and there are MANY brands and makes out there! If you want to use them for everyday stamping with color, pigments are awesome. You need to know what you're wanting to do so you can use the ink accordingly! Pigment inks stay wet longer so they're fab if you want to use clear embossing powder to heat emboss with. Pigment inks, because of their water based composition, they will dwell into the fibers or granules of paper and may bleed or blot.

If you plan to layer with other media, ie want to use paints, color pencils, markers and such for mixed media, you want to go for oil based archival inks, they dry super fast. And as the name suggests, they're good for documenting and are long lasting.

A note, pigment inks will bleed if used with other water based inks. They're great for lighter background surfaces and are not suggested for slick/smooth surfaces such as glass, acrylic, plastic, foil and so forth.

Archival inks, because they dry super fast are great with the above! AND they won't wash out. :)
Hope this helps!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Inks, Stains, and other things!

Well, I'm on vacation. Hehe. And this is actually the best retreat as I get to explore and tread on art therapy. As I am not used to feeling idle, I pick up crafty things to do on my own without a brief or requirement from clients, no deadlines... and just an opp to explore different media.

I haven't splurged fully, so I've been sampling and if I like these, I'll probably invest in more colors and what not. This blog post is pretty much a demo and a tutorial. What often happens is we don't know the use or the technicalities of a lot of chemicals and inks we purchase. This is to help you with that so you can eventually invest or consider buying them.

Once you're done reading, do leave your feedback as a comment on the bottom of this post :)
PS: I haven't all my tools and things on me so can't do one on embossing and stamping inks yet. Shall cover those on the next round :) inshaAllah!


Rule Number ONE... if you don't know the use... do some research... if you're experimental, try one at a time. These inks can eat up our pocket. :P
Liquid Pearls
These read as dimensional pearlescent paint. The colors for these were gorgeous, and I HAD to buy them. I have no idea what I'll use them for but they're fun to try out, right? :)
I haven't yet gotten the hang of controlling the consistency but here's what they look like on paper.
These would be sweet as little accents on flowers or geometric designs.
The Fad about Distress Inks
There is a tidal wave in the market for Tim Holtz Distress Inks. They're intended to give your work an aged and distress look, perfect if you're into vintage and mixed media! When I first bought mine, I honestly didn't like it. I thought I was better off using a dried stack of Martha Stewart Inks. A week ago however, I bought one again. To play around with. And I must say, first impressions are never lasting!
Ranger produces these distress inks and other amazing products. They have an ink blending tool and the whole shabang. But for, the fix-it crafter I am, I decided to skip the ink blending tool (namely because I packed it away in a suticase) I tried using it without.. and the above is the result I acquired.
A lof of you ask me if you can use Distress Inks in inking your stamps or using them while stamping. For this blog post, I actually went ahead and stamped a little butterfly with each distress shade to let you know the result. It is pigment ink, which means it's wet and stays that way for a bit.. but given it's created to give that aged feel, the sponge doesn't quite ink the stamp the way you'd want it to.
I have 5 colors I demonstrated with.

The top of the tag is distressing by dabbing my fingers onto the ink pad and patting on to the tag edges. The bottom, as you can see is more intense, is directly brushing the ink pad against the cardstock tag. This isn't the most appropriate way as it just uses up a LOT of ink and becomes too intense for the distressed look. *you can see it in the photo* You can try distressing without inking your fingers by using cotton swabs, the eye shadow sponge swabs, an every day sponge, cotton fluff, or the actual ink blending tools.
You can also crinkle and scrunch up your paper and rub over it with the ink the same way for a visual and physical distressed appearance on your projects.
For the demo I have used Victorian Velvet, Tea Dye, Wild Honey, Crushed Olive, and Broken China.
The tag below is something I played around with using some stamps, archival ink, broken china and wild honey distress inks. The green is where the two over lapped. I didn't use any other sponge or applicator, just smudged with the fingers.
Distress Stains
Continuing the range of Tim Holtz products, there's also something called Distress Stain. It's ink that
comes in a little bottle with a sponge dabber at the end. I currently bought these two to play around with. For the demo I've used Vintage Photo as I used wild honey for the distressing earlier.

That's teh sponge on top.

What you do is, shake up the ink a bit.. squeeze the bottle gently, and the sponge releases some ink.. the more pressure you apply on to the bottle and surface, the more ink there is. For the tag, I've just gone over to create a darker intensity. Squint your eyes and study the tag for a second... you can see a gradation in the color. Because of the amount of ink I've used over it. This is fun to use with embossing and resist inking. You'd get some fab results if you keep playing around. You can also dab it for the distorted effect on the top right.
These are available in several colors, not as many as the distress inks though!
Adirondack Inks
This is another product by Ranger and Tim Holtz. These are alcohol based inks, which directly tells you that they dry SUPER fast. And they have that nail polish remover smell because of all the ethanol in it! These will bleed and run if you pour spirit, thinner, or nail polish remover over them, as they will mix.
I find them interesting to use over plastic. On paper, not so much. They bleed through and dry super fast so you can't really blend them unless you have the hair drier blowing the ink in all directions... they're not really intended for paper to start with. They're used on glass, and other slick surfaces. There's a specialy gloss paper you can use these with to retain all the media properties. Tim Holtz also has those acrylic charms you can use these to ink with. These alcohol based inks are fade resistant and are permanent. 

Just playing around here, you can see clearly how much these inks bleed!
I tried it on a plastic wrapper, because plastic doesn't absorb ink, and these alcohol based ones just evaporate leaving the pigment stain, this surface allowed some moving around and blending with other colors.
While Alcohol inks are fab to play around with and use, if you plan on shopping and then bringing them over to Pakistan or any place outside the U.S... you may not be able to. These are highly flammable hence cannot be shipped on air transit due to flight regulation and safety. Same reason why lighters and large quantities of liquids are not permitted on the air craft. As per the Ranger website terms and conditions, it does state they only ship via ground post.
Now these inks are also by Ranger, they're super opaque, dry pretty fast... and well, they're intended for metal. I used them for a tag.
For this tag in greens, there's a lot of Patina, and some wild honey distress. The dimensional bits and bobbles are Liquid Pearls, and the gold is actually a stamp embossed in golden archival ink.
Glossy Accents

While I have used epoxy resin for my charms and gumdrops, there are alternatives for quick dimensional projects. Glossy accents is a chemical you glaze over your imagery or surface, and it yields a clear gloss coat finish. The longer you let it stay, the harder it gets... but it still has that dent quality. So if you jab a finger nail into it, it will leave a mark. It's nice though if you want to create the glazed and glossed look on your embellishments.
I have tried Judikins Diamond Glaze and prefer Glossy Accents over it. The dry time is approximately the same, but I find Diamond Glaze more maleable or 'soft'... 
Using it is super easy, you just evenly coat the surface by squeezing the bottle. The Glossy Accent comes through the nozzle. You have to try not to get bubbles, it's pretty neat. :)
Here's how I first tried out Glossy Accents. I punched out a butterfly from a stack of glittered cardstock. Put Glossy Accents over one of them.
After letting it dry, here's what it looked like :)

See the difference? It's that epoxy bubble feel, but it's not resin... it's not hard.

To show you how you can embellish your stamped images, I went ahead and stamped this butterfly.

Covered it with Glossy Accents, you can see the cloudy glaze.

This is a little later, you can see it's drying.

You have the dimensional feel there.
Don't touch it no matter how tempting it is! Let it dry a few hours before you poke it. *wink*

I hope this blog post was helpful to most of you.
To treat our readers at Life as the Firefly Girl Blog, I'm going to give away one bottle of Glossy Accents! To be counted in the draw, just leave your feedback on the post by commenting below :)
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