Saturday, 26 August 2017

My Easy Matting System!

Hi there!

I don't normally blog on here these days, Createinspain is now a dedicated  youTube channel...but -

I recently demo'd my very own matting system for card making and that may be why you ended up here.

This came about as a solution to the difficulty I always have in getting my matting straight. Ask me to line up a piece of art on a wall, no problem but card matting drives me crazy! The number of cards I've ruined and binned....

So, I put my brain into gear and designed a system for lining up the mats to make it as easy as possible. As it happens, the first one I made was in UK A5 size. Not sure why, it just was. It worked so well, I just had to share but when I did, it was obvious that American A2 and UK A6 sizes were in demand.

So, if you'd like one of these, please use the contact form (scroll down here and look right) and get in touch, I'll see what I can do.

Happy crafting,

Sandra

Thursday, 21 July 2016

New overhead camera rig!

My husband has just got around to fixing me up with an overhead camera rig! I've wanted one for ages, so that I could more easily make crafting videos - hard to do without one.

It was quick and easy, a few plumbing pipes and joins and a screw fitting, all done in 10 minutes and it can be dismantled when I need the space!

So, incase you have not visited it recently, my youtube channel now has a few new videos of recent projects.

I plan to do many more, at the moment there is not much different in the software side, so screen recordings are not so necessary, although I have done one on Procreate recently, after they updated the app.

If you like the channel please give a thumbs up and subscribe, I'm still a small fish in a big pond and I am not sponsored by anyone, I do it for the love of crafting.

Sandra

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Procreate App Update

So exciting!

Procreate  has launched an updated version with LOTS of improvements!

This is one of two iPad apps that I use for my freehand artwork, this is a painting/drawing app that is not only amazing value for money (NO SPONSORSHIP HERE!) but really good at what it does.

See my video here.

While the interface is clean and friendly, this is a full function art app. Whether you are looking for an app for a child to use or for yourself; for hobby or professional use, Procreate will do so much that far more expensive and complicated desktop software does.

Improvements this time round include a smoothing action for brushes and a range of screen shortcuts that will speed up work/play flow.

In my case, I use it on an iPad Pro 9 inch version, with an Apple Pencil and I absolutely love it. As a more traditional artist normally, I love how the app translates into a digital medium, all the things I normally use on paper.

Brushes in this app are extremely powerful tools. Use the presets and alter them in hundreds of ways, or very easily create your own. Like spray brushes that spray pictures/ clipart? No problem. Lock and load and shower your canvas! Like Calligraphy? Use the new smoothing action on brushes or pens for a hyper dreamy stroke that flows like warm honey.

Cut, copy and paste in either freehand mode or a special auto select mode; apply transformations at the slide of your pen or finger. Change the opacity or size of your strokes quickly and easily.

Use the advanced menu to set shortcuts for desired actions and choose the method of selecting them.

In short, this app is BRILLIANT. 

Available from the App Store.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Update on Cheaper way to Airbrush makeup

Just out of curiosity, I decided to look into other possible alternatives to specific airbrush makeup, after my previous post.

Having found that I could happily dilute water based makeup, I did some research at my local shops to see what was available that maybe could be airbrushed without alteration.

I found some Gosh Foundation Drops. They seemed pretty thin and my hopes were raised.  I emailed Gosh to ask if they were silicone or oil based - looking at the label they looked to me to be silicone but I wanted confirmation.
DIMETHICONE  is the 4th ingredient
ARGANIA SPINOSA KERNEL OIL is only at number 10...

The reply was that they are OIL based, something that the ingredient list does not seem to hold up.
I bought some and tried airbrushing with them, only to find they gum up the brush and sputter rather than spray, so at the very least, they need thinning. However, attempts to clean it out with oil (which if oil based should work) were unsuccessful and it took ages to get the remains out of my airbrush!

This leads me to suspect that I am right and it is Silicone based instead. Which is a problem, since I can't find any Silicone airbrush cleaner or makeup thinner to dilute it with. Hmm.

However, if you want to apply it in the traditional way, it works fine with a beauty blender or dabbed on with fingers and buffed in with a brush. It gives a great finish and cover can be built up if that is your preference.

Looking at the internet once again, I found MAC have a service where you can ask (by various means) a MUA questions about products, application and so on.


I asked if any of their makeup could be used in an airbrush, this is the reply, you may find it interesting.
The reply was very thorough and speedy, I was impressed with their level of service!


 Hello Sandra:
 
 
Thank you for your inquiry.   I am happy to help!
 
You can by all means use our Studio Waterweight and Face & Body Foundations for airbrushing.  If you are finding these formulas to be too thick, I suggest diluting them with our Airbrush Cleanser for smoother delivery.
 
 

Our skin conditioning Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation is virtually weightless with a 'serum-meets-water' feel and 8 hours of long wear. It delivers sheer to medium buildable coverage, and a natural satin finish. The ultra-fluid formula is so lightweight that there is no appearance of texture on the skin while silica and mica help optically blur skin imperfections.
 
For flawless-looking skin, apply Mineralize Timecheck Lotion to your face. Use the 196 Brush to apply Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation to create an even, perfected finish.
 
MAC Studio Face and Body Foundation provides ultra-natural, lightweight coverage that blends smoothly and leaves your skin with a long-lasting, water-resistant finish. For a flawless finish, apply with MAC #109 Small Contour Brush in firm, circular motions. Choose one of our "C" shades if your skin has golden undertones, and a shade in the "N" category if your skin has rosy undertones.
 
Ultimately, however, MAC Micronized Airbrush Formula is deveoped for use in the airbrush system.  It is a cutting edge silicone-based Airbrush Formula for face and body developed expressly for Makeup Artists working in High Definition TV, film and beauty. It comes in a comprehensive range of skin tones, neutrals, primary/secondary and skin adjuster shades. This fluid, highly pigmented formula can be poured directly into the airbrush gun  or diluted with the cleanser.
 
MAC Airbrush Cleanser goes beyond cleaning the Airbrush Gun. Through regular use, it can extend the life of your Airbrush Gun. Airbrush Cleanser can be mixed into MAC Micronized Airbrush Formula to sheer down the formula or alter the coverage.
 
 
For your convenience, you may view your recommended products on our Web site by visiting us at:
http://www.maccosmetics.com/category/148/index.tmpl

A much more involved answer than I had expected.

Since I live in Spain and have no MAC Pro stores to hand, although I may find the idea of getting that cleanser or even some airbrush makeup tempting, it's going to be hard to get hold of without paying a lot of postage no doubt. I'll have to keep looking.

So, for those of you with a MAC store handy, there may be some promising solutions, if you wish to use an airbrush without being bound to specific brands.

BTW, this blog is NOT sponsored in any shape or form.
 
  

        

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Non airbrush makeup in airbrush!

Now, before you get any ideas that I am now doing makeup tutorials, just don't. I mentioned in my last post that I had got a mini compressor and airbrush kit, what I  don't have, is any airbrush makeup to use with it. The kit came from Amazon at around €35 in total.

Has it stopped me? No!

I used some WATER BASED liquid foundation, putting it in a tiny bottle, added a couple of drops of glycerine, a couple of stainless steel ballbearings and topped up with water.  If you use a silicone based foundation you will have to use a specialist foundation thinner, this one won't work. If you really want to, you could add a couple of drops of alcohol to make it dry faster but I didn't.

The foundation was from DOMTI and made in Italy, so although only €2, I am fairly sure it is safe, conforming to EU regs. The glycerine I  used was from the chemist at around €5 for 500ml it will last a VERY long time, even with me using it for crafts!

So this has to be about the cheapest airbrush makeup on the planet.

Coverage -see this video.  It isn't a tutorial and I am not doing a full makeup in it.

 I don't want the heavy made up look. I'm too old for it, not that I ever went heavy anyway, but there is nothing worse than makeup settling into all the laughter lines and crows feet. I am well into my 50's, have very sensitive skin and I have found that this allows me to even out my skin tone without looking made up. However, if you are younger, there is nothing to stop you layering this on to your taste.


A note to any manufacturers out there -

I, like many, are not going to buy makeup on line, especially from the States without having been able to sample it. It would be really great if someone could put a line into the high streets, to go alongside the normal stuff, or even have demonstrators in some UK/European stores on a regular basis, using airbrushes.
Do I really want to have to make up my own recipe? No! But if I can't buy it off the shelf, I am left with no alternative.
Many of the airbrush makeup brands are professional only or more for body art and I have not found any side by side comparisons that are unbiased.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Mini compressor and airbrush kit for Craft, Makeup or Cake decorating

Those who read my blog or watch my videos may be aware that I like airbrushing. Sometimes I use it to paint pictures, sometimes I want to airbrush cakes and sometimes I want to add colour to cards etc.

Now I have a serious Iwata airbrush and a small but not desktop compressor that work really well. However, it is a bit much to transport or to take to the kitchen and I fancied a smaller set up for that.

I bought a kit, just a mini compressor and single action airbrush from Amazon, for around €35, so thought I'd let you know what I think of it.

Firstly, the compressor. It's tiny, light, very quiet and pumps out at up to 25 PSI, with 3 different settings. The settings show up in different colour lights on the single button. It comes with a plastic push on hose. It is designed to be used with very thin liquids, like airbrush make up, food colouring etc.

In comparison, my larger compressor, although about the size of a shoe box, is not really desk top size and is probably a couple of kg. It has a tougher, screw on hose and can pump out up to about 45 PSI. It can be used with thicker acrylic airbrush paints etc as well as the thin stuff.

The airbrush that comes with the kit is single action, which does limit your paint control- my double action Iwata gives precise control - as it should, since it costs about 10 times the price of a cheap one. (You can get cheap double action airbrushes for around £10-20 - you don't have to go really pricey, although they are not so easy to find on mini compressor kits, without paying more than you would if bought separately.)

The kit, used as is, should be fine for airbrush makeup, or for cake decorating, or for doing basic card backgrounds, ombre effects and stencilling - but it can be improved by using a slightly better airbrush than it comes with. Regards make up, I think it would be fine for foundation and blush, eye make up may be a tad trickier to apply but can probably be done with practice. (If there is a manufacturer who'd like to send me some samples, I'd be happy to test them, they didn't have airbrush makeup when I did my beauty therapy courses!)

So, my verdict is that it does what it claims to do, is good value and as long as you don't expect miracles, you should be happy!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Cutting Fondant with an Electronic Cutter

Actually, that is a bit of a misnomer, as what I really mean is cutting flower paste/sugar paste/ Gum paste.

By those terms I refer to a specially stiffened sugar dough, usually by means of a gum additive that makes it harden like rock when it is dry.

Anyway, after my recent cake decorating, where I did it all by hand, I thought it would have made sense to learn how to cut this stuff on the Silver Bullet, if it were possible. I'm happy to say it is!

Don't bother trying to cut fondant, it lacks the smooth strength of gum paste, it is a waste of time. Neither would I try cutting fondant mixed with tylose in it's usual (1/4 tsp per 250g) quantity, for the same reason. That may be ok for some flowers cut by hand but the machine will tear it not cut it.

There are two recipes widely available that I have found to be successful.
The first by Linda McClure ,  made especially for this purpose, and the other by Nicholas Lodge    which although not advertised as such does the job.

While the recipes are different (Nicholas wins on the no fuss scale), they both have huge amounts of Tylose powder, in comparison to normal usage. Generally this stuff is used in very tiny amounts by domestic users.

With Linda's recipe I had to substitute a couple of things. Leaf gelatine instead of powder - 6 small leaves to each tablespoon of powdered gelatine - i.e. enough to set a pint of jelly.  It did make it easier, just soak it in the water, warm for a few seconds in the M/W to dissolve it and add the melted white fat and (in my case, another sub, Glycerine, not corn syrup or Glucose).  While Tylose dries things out, glycerine and glucose etc keep things pliable.  The resulting paste is more like a plastic than fondant at the end of the process. 

Linda said that a pasta roller was needed. Well I don't have one, rolling out thinly and then folding and rolling again a few times did the trick.

Now both pastes need to be rolled onto the mat and left to rest until they stiffen up a bit. Just cover the rolled paste with plastic or clingfilm. It will depend on your climate how long you will need to leave it. Both recipes should be left for a day before trying to roll and machine cut it anyway. The Tylose needs time to work.

To cut it, I used a dedicated mat, blade holder and blade (although I do stress, I am not making things to be edible!)  I used a 45 degree blade but extended it to the fullest - not for the thickness as it is rolled really thin, but to keep as much out of the housing as possible!  I cut at a speed of 800 - going slower isn't always a good option,  and with a force of only 13.
White vegetable fat sparingly smeared on the mat holds it in place.

I think I remember hearing somewhere, that if you want to cut intricate things, to put the paste on card and cut on that without a mat, but I couldn't swear to it.. but cutting out flower petals works well.

If you want to try this, don't try to hurry the process, you will most likely end up frustrated and throwing things around the kitchen, and you don't want to do that with gum paste, it's sticky.

Here is a video  on how I make flowers with the petals I cut out.

EDIT

I did some more cutting today, this using the NL Gum Paste. I wanted to cut out some more intricate stuff. Petals can't be cut in too firm a paste because they need to be worked afterwards, so this had been cut very thin and relatively moist.

It took quite a few attempts, probably because it is quite warm and humid here. I tried freezing the rolled paste but it couldn't stay frozen long enough to cut much. So I added some cornflour and kneaded it in so that it was so stiff I could barely roll it (aah, that's why the pasta machine!)

I greased my mat, added greaseproof paper, greased that and then applied the gum paste. I used a 60 degree blade, extended to a number 6 on my holder and a pressure of 22 with the speed at 800.
The small flowers are about 1cm across.


So the key seems to be to make the paste as stiff as you can possibly work it and make sure it can't move on the mat.  So maybe a really stiff fondant would work after all, I just know the one I use doesn't.

Maybe in winter I could even cut cookie dough but I think I'll give that a miss for now! Maybe a Christmas project.....:)

Sunday, 22 May 2016

My Idea of A Birthday Cake

I recently made a Birthday Cake.  Thought I would share the photos here - oh and did I mention cup cakes too?
Bigger things are happening..
Much bigger..
If that has got your mouth watering, read on....
Getting more interesting...but this pic has a strange angle!
And here is the finished cake. In case you wonder, it is special cake
fireworks behind the topper. They were spectacular!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Foiling for Card Making and Scrapbooking



This is, strictly speaking, not a blog post. It came to my attention that there is going to be a sale of Foil Master foiling machines.

I don't have one myself as I do very little foiling but I thought I would post here in case there are any crafters out there looking for one. 


To anyone looking for a Foil Master foiling machine, Thyme Graphics in the UK, has them on sale, starting on Monday 9th May 2017. Down to £99 from £135!  http://www.thymegraphics.co.uk/products.asp?cat=83 If you ask Dawn there, she may also have some cosmetically damaged ones for as little as £75 - they will not show up on the website.
I'm not on commission, I get nothing from this except the satisfaction of knowing I have helped someone get a bargain.

Sandra

Monday, 18 April 2016

Important Message

I have enjoyed making this blog but it is getting very little traffic in comparison to my Youtube channel.  Due to the amount of time that it takes to add posts here I have made the decision to stop, at least for the time being. The blog will remain an archive.

For those who have not noticed, I have kept making videos and will concentrate on those, only adding things here when extra explanation is needed or if I want to post photos of projects.

Happy crafting,

Sandra

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Watercolour Masking Fluid and Opaque White Pens

I have been away in the UK, so apologies for lack of posts. I have been making things, but I don't do blogs on putting kitchen cabinets together... though maybe I should...:)

While in the UK, I had a few minutes in Hobbycraft and Rymans, neither of which had the masking fluid I wanted to try, so it came courtesy of Amazon Prime (thanks to our younger son!)


Back home, I have had a chance to try it out and I am pleased with it. Unlike it's look in promotional pics, it is white in the bottle but when applied and dried, it is clear. This makes it great for use on all colours of paper or card (disclaimer here - masking fluids of all types may not work well on soft seized paper).

To use it - don't shake just dip your brush in the liquid and paint onto a DRY surface. Allow to dry or speed it up GENTLY with a dryer, before removing. I use either a finger or a soft eraser. This is definitely going to be my main masking fluid. Coloured ones often stain and although you can get away with that often in a water colour painting, in card making, it's more of an issue.

My trip to Rymans, was actually for something they didn't have but I couldn't pass on a quick browse and ended up with two types of white pen. I have the usual fine paint type markers but they do have a tendency to get messy or stop flowing. I'd heard good reports of the Signo but nothing of the Pentel one, so got both (under £3 each).


My favourite is the Signo by Uni-ball. Don't get me wrong, both write with fluidity but the Pentel is not as opaque, chalkier looking. I suspect, but have not tried, that with the Uni -ball, you could also heat emboss. Both take a little drying time but the Uni-ball is bright opaque white, which is what I usually want.

So there you are, my honest opinion. Unsponsored as usual!

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Distress Ink Alternative

I've noticed for a while, a trend for card demonstrators to use 'Distress Inks' to create softly blended backgrounds or areas for cards.
Often we see that the demonstrator has a vast collection of inks (not to mention stamps and dies!) that most of us would sell our souls, spouses and children for. While they may make very interesting and informative videos, they are often in the business, their supplies are business expenses, not personal purchases like ours.
Of course, when you try to make a similar card, you don't have the supplies. Never the right colour or type of ink, is often going to be the case.

As someone who has a vast range of colouring methods at my disposal, one thing I don't have is distress ink, neither, because of the aforementioned supplies, can I condone myself buying any. Yes, I can airbrush but for a 30 second job, don't always want to.

So today, I was considering what distress inks are. They have to have some kind of water base, as they appear to be water rather than oil blended. I tried out straight watercolour, sponged or smoothed on with a variety of tools but ended up with very unsatisfactory results. In a lot of cases, the paper pilled and looked terrible, because of the friction of rubbing paint on, even gently. Hmm. That didn't work.

I then thought of something else to try. I have a few embossing inks, and I remember that distress inks can also emboss - so they must have something in them that stays wet. Glycerine came to mind. A water soluble oil. An oxymoron if ever there was one, but a very useful oxymoron.

So I tried mixing glycerine with my normal ink pad ink, palette watercolours and liquid watercolour.
It works. You can even sprinkle on water and blot it off, another popular technique. To see how I applied it, have a look at the video, it couldn't get much easier. Even works with washable felt tip pens (AKA  children's pens!) Problem solved, money saved for much more important things, like UV light bulbs, black vinyl...

So, if you have ANY form of watercolour, think about giving it a try, unless you have loads of distress inks, in which case you probably won't like me much!