Friday 15 September 2017

Doctor's Orders: Art Haul!

I've been a bit naughty but hey, it's all a business expense so I can share more cool techniques and stuff with you. I've got another 1-2 instalments from this set of orders still to come, but all of this little lot came from Amazon UK and is all from Ranger or from Stampers Anonymous.

Dylusions Mica Sprays - BUY NOW USA or UK

Dina Wakley Mica Sprays - BUY NOW USA or UK

These are 2 of the 4 sets of Ranger Mica Sprays that were launched last year, if memory serves. They did a set for each of the 4 signature designers - Dyan Reaveley, Tim Holtz, Dina Wakley and Wendy Vecchi. I didn't get all of them because 1) the colours in the Tim Holtz set don't appeal to me and 2) the Wendy Vecchi one I DO love, but I can wait and have it next, as I just had to have Dina's beautiful colours, and Dyan's were pretty much a given as I love her inks. I don't actually have many of Dina's products - just the Media Journal, which has grown on me. It has a mix of kraft paper, burlap, canvas and "watercolour paper" stocks - I have to admit, the "watercolour paper" really isn't one. It soaks in water like a sponge and when I decided to really try it out with an abstract forest, I had to wet it 4 times over before I could do a wet-into-wet wash on it. I spoke to Dina on Twitter (@dinawakley) about it and she was really helpful - she told me quite honestly that the vendor in India sold the stock as "watercolour paper" so that was what Ranger called it - she admitted it was "not for the purists". It IS a nice stock - soft and almost silky - and it takes weight well, so I've been using it for collage pages thus far and I'll be showing you in a video soon! So these sprays are my 2nd Dina Wakley procurement - and my 3rd (coming next week I hope!) is some of her paints. I don't usually buy craft acrylics as I have really heavy body, high pigment load CRYLA, which I can dilute into various acrylic media to make fluid acrylics etc. I have a small number of DecoArt and Distress fluid acrylics, but more for use as comparison tools when reviewing other products. HOLD THAT THOUGHT, it will come back to it! These sprays - which I've not even taken out of the packet yet - are in three AMAZING colours from Dina's range - Evergreen, Lapis and Ruby - and I just loved the tone and depth of them. The other pack are Dyan's colours - Bubblegum Pink, Vibrant Turquoise and Crushed Grape. Like all mica-based products, they are iridescent and look best on a black background - again HOLD THAT THOUGHT - several people have asked me to do a Colour Chemistry episode on how iridescent products work - if you want to see one, drop me a comment down below this post! Can't wait to use them!

Ranger Frosted Crystal Embossing Powder - BUY NOW USA or UK

As any of you living outside of the USA will know, finding brick-and-mortar stores that stock Ranger products are pretty hard. The main chain art-craft store in the UK only stocks a tiny number of products - about 12 Distress Inks from the first few releases, Archival Ink in Jet Black and a few of Tim's other Ranger items, as a rule. That's really it. So when I first started exploring mixed media and card making and so on, I was really let down by the quality of the embossing powders you could get in the shops in the UK versus what you could see on YouTube. Eventually I waited an age for an order from the USA to come that had the Ranger Embossing Powders, mostly from Wendy Vecchi's line, which are the most glorious, bright, smooth, opaque colours one could wish for. I've seen all sorts of videos of mixing embossing powders and dabbled myself, but the one basic I didn't have was Ranger's Frosted Crystal from the Antiquities line, which  - it is a clear powder but gives a roughened finish that takes paint well, and, if you overheat it, you get a white-ish translucent matte look. Sounds cool huh? I know you can also cut it with Wendy's powders to mattify them, which would be useful.

I have used a fair few tags lately so I did a re-stock - but I picked the wrong size! These Size 12 Ranger Dylusions tags are made of Dyan's usual mixed-media stock and are HUGE compared to my usual Size 10s - they are 5 1/8" by 10 1/2" (13.0cm by 26.7cm) - almost as long as the pages on the large Dylusions Creative Journal. I love the surface of these tags, they take ink and paint really well and I have wanted to be able to buy this stock in 500-sheet US Letter-sized reams in this cream colour for YEARS - sadly Ranger only sell it in packs of 10, so it would cost me like $100 to get the ream I want and that's just bonkers - so, for now, these size 12 tags will do the job as they're quite economical.

Dylusions Size 12 tags - BUY NOW USA or UK

Red rubber stamps are a big favourite of mine - I'm actually a bit unloving of photopolymer (but silicone's fine), as it never sticks back on the bloody plastic film properly and I honestly prefer how red rubber looks with most inks. I don't have many alphabet sets - only a circus-y one and a few very small calligraphy ones that are meant for cardmaking - and this set by Ranger's Dylysions range really stood out to me, it's called Dyan's Alphabet as it's based on letters from Dyan's journals and I do love her aesthetic. I'm not very confident with drawing letters, so these will be a big help in getting more writing into my mixed-media work. They have a great texture that makes the ink a bit more haphazard and make them look imperfect.

Dylusions Dyan's Alphabet - BUY NOW USA or UK

I've resolved to do more seasonal layouts and cards. For a very long time, I've not really bought seasonal stamps and papers too much as you don't really use them very often. It has meant I've loved a huge range of products that I've not been able to use or buy. SO I've decided if I start making seasonal art journal layouts, as well as cards, I can almost justifying things. Here are my first two! They're by Stampers Anonymous, whose products I just adore. They are both from Tim Holtz's line and the first is called Day Of The Dead and features a Catrina and Catrin in two sizes. Not a lot of "Tim's" products are remotely original - he's just very good at finding things, and the Catrina is from a piece of Mexican decor I've found a lot of images of online, and the Catrin is much the same - neither are original designs.

Stamper's Anonymous - Day Of The Dead Stamps BUY NOW USA or UK

The second set is called Regions Beyond and is a Hallowe'en set, also nothing original, containing various sentiments, a skull a cross bones, a raven, an owl, a house and an old ledger-y-thing.

Stamper's Anonymous - Regions Beyond Stamps - BUY NOW USA or UK

I also got on the same theme this Cobwebs stencil from Dylysions - it fits the large journal perfectly. Now I've really started to get into techniques using them, I've started to really like stencils. Versatile and SO cheap!

Dylusions Cobwebs Stencil - BUY NOW USA or UK
[NB: the USA link above is for a smaller size]

Remember those mica sprays? I've fancied a Dylusions black journal for AGES and I have loved the square format as I've got a thing about symmetrical work and have often drawn a square in the middle of a large journal page and blacked the rest out - kind of like in my recent Warhol-meets-Honour-Blackman layout. The paper in this journal is lovely and the cover is great too - I want to use it to work more with pigment inks and paints as I don't use them enough.

Dylusions Creative Journal Black Square - BUY NOW USA or UK

Now technically this arrived on Wednesday but I thought I'd mention it. I use cheap-and-cheerful Daler and Rowney Simply white gesso for canvases and I do find it needs a few coats when doing crafting that needs a nice clean, solid look. I use DecoArt Black gesso too, and I like it a lot - but I've never tried clear gesso. I tend to go for economy in gesso and I don't honestly think there is much difference between brands pace viscosity, of course. This clear gesso is from the Art Basics line from the Finnabair brand at Prima Marketing Ltd (the people who make those lovely watercolours we all go mad for in crafting) - it was pretty economical - 8.5 US fl. oz., which is about 250mL - for about £10. I've applied it once to a journal page covered in patterned paper but I've not yet painted on it - I'll talk about how that goes at a later date!

Finnabair Art Basics Clear Gesso - BUY NOW USA or UK

These arrived today - and remember what I said about my not really buying craft acrylics? The thing is, I do love some of the Dylusions colours, and I wanted to try a few, so I've got here Grass Green and Postbox Red (and two more colours are following, which are more pastel), which I want for a specific Christmas-related project. I was quite surprised when these arrived at just how small they are - I'm sure they look bigger in Dyan's videos or maybe she has tiny hands? Acrylic takes ages to use up, so I'm not too worried about value for money, and to be honest, acrylic "goes funny" after 3+ years - sometimes it splits from the binder, which is no big deal, you can just mix it in, but sometimes it curdles and then you can't really fix it. So whilst I buy many things in bulk, the only acrylic I buy in bulk is CRYLA Titanium White as white always gets used up first. These tubs contain about 60mL which is less than the standard 75mL tube acrylics for fine art tend to come in. How does that work out cost wise? These pots sell for about £4.99 in the UK, so let's call it £0.08/mL - if you compare a fine-art pro acrylic could be £10 for 75mL, thus £0.13/mL, whereas DecoArt Fluid Acrylics are £3.95 for 30mL, thus £0.13/mL - same kind of price as a pro acrylic. As such, Dylusions aren't expensive really and are quite economical for the amount that you get, versus other craft acrylics on the market, and they have a BEAUTIFUL texture and dry so flat.

Dylusions Paints in Cut Grass (BUY NOW USA or UK) and Postbox Red (BUY NOW USA or UK)

I also wanted the Carved Pumpkin Distress Spray Stain for a while now and I thought it might be cool for a Hallowe'en layout. I don't have many Distress Spray Stains - just the metallic 3, the Picket Fence (white) and the Picked Raspberry (cerise).

Distress Spray Stain in Carved Pumpkin (BUY NOW USA or UK)


  1. I would really like one of your educational, fact filled, informational, chemistry videos on all things iridescent and Finetec artist mica watercolors and pearl watercolors.

    Really happy to see your posts in my inbox, you have been missed and glad things have resolved and you are back to somewhat normal. Don't feel bad about spending too much on art supplies, I have been on a buying kick for over a year now and I hate to total up the invoices. I probably have more different items than most craft stores. Take care. Russell

  2. Would love to know how iridescent products work.
    Thanks Glenise

  3. I just bought a few of the dylusions paints for the first time too. I love the wide opening as it makes things much easier.
    I'm in the UK too so have similar art stash addiction sourcing problems and recently discovered when looking for the canvas 'butterfly book' cover by Jane Davenport. Their prices are often cheaper and they stock quite a good range. First order went smoothly so just did a second one succumbing to a ridiculous number of distress oxides...
    Not sure why haul posts etc are so interesting? (Well, I know why yours are, you give useful info) Maybe it's because we like to know we're not alone in our addictions?
    Look forward to seeing thr fruits of your haul.

    PS: is there any way you can change the font you use? If it weren't for the Safari readability option I wouldn't be able to read your posts :( Thanks,

    1. My posts are in Courier which is a standard web font and a default font in Windows, iOS and Mac OS - I can read it fine on my Mac and iPhone so potentially an issue at your end. The reason I'm using Courier is precisely because it is a default font so every machine will read it properly.

    2. Sorry I didn't explain myself properly, or if I caused offense as that wasn't my aim. I suspect it's the fact that it's small and light that I find difficult rather than the choice of font. Research suggests that a black sans serif font on a white background is the most widely accessible, so it's probably the colour (and the fact that its a light font) causing me the most difficulty due to the low contrast. But I do realise that folk with difficulties like mine are in the minority, I just thought it worth mentioning in case you could help. Never mind. Again apologies for bothering you.

    3. The text _is_ black on white - it looks grey as it's quite a fine font, and it's deliberately chosen for being sans serif, as you say. There is nothing I can do to make it appear any clearer unless I increase the size, but as all browsers will increase size themselves these days, the end-user can do that (I have to view Wikipedia at 150% as I also struggle to read off of screens - macular degeneration in one eye).

  4. Time for me to take on the role of pedant ;) For the sake of clarity for anyone who may read this: Courier is a serif case you don't want to take my word for it, it's categorised as such in multiple places and here's a bit from Wikipedia,
    "Courier (typeface) Courier is a monospaced slab serif typeface designed to resemble the output from a strike-on typewriter. ... As a monospaced font, in the 1990s, it found renewed use in the electronic world in situations where columns of characters must be consistently aligned."
    I mentioned black, not just due to the research but because a post I read here recently looked brown. Colour perception is fascinating... 8)
    Yes I'm lucky that I know what to do to my browser to make things easier to read, but not everyone that finds their way here will have the same skill level.
    I'm sorry I followed advice and mentioned it to be honest...we figured I wouldn't be the only one and wanted to help. Here endeth my comments about readability.

    Sorry to hear you're in the Chronic Illness Club too. Sending positive thoughts your way.


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