Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Warehouse Wednesday: The trucks keep on delivering…

The trucks keep on delivering…

Not a day goes by that we don't get at least a dozen boxes of new products. It's a big job checking in all the freight, creating all the product files in the shopping cart database, gathering and linking product images and organizing them on our shelves. It takes many elves to pitch in and get it done! Here, Charlene or Blaine check in the freight, Ryan and myself get the product codes in the database and gather images. We have remote elves (Design Team Members) help link the images (thank you Kathy, Jennifer and Jane). Sherie is responsible for most of the organization…. and it's hard to find space for it all! (Do we need a bigger warehouse, again?)

The trucks keep on delivering…

Most of our deliveries come via UPS or Fed-Ex, but today a HUGE truck pulled up with products from Tim Holtz, Cosmo Cricket, and K&Co. Luckily, we knew most of it was on the way, so we were slightly prepared for it all. Two pallettes of products means no room to walk around! LOL!!

The trucks keep on delivering…

The new Tim Holtz products and the Cosmo Cricket items are already up on the site.

The K&Co. items will be a few days as we're working on some other new products that arrived last week…. and let me tell you, even with all the elves helping, we have days and days of work ahead of us.

I must tease you a bit though… One of my favorite lines previewed at CHA was the one we just received from K&Co. The collection is by designer Tim Coffey, and it's called Travel, but it's all beach related and absolutely GORGEOUS!!!

We also have some real shells and dried sealife to go along with this line. These are from US Shells and would be perfect to add that little extra dimensional touch:

But as they say….. That's not all! We also just received all the newest SMASH products (be patient, we will have them up on the site by the end of the week), tons of new stamps from Stampendous and so much more.

Back to work for us….. happy crafting!!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Technique Thursday: Spectrum Noir Markers

Spectrum Noir Markers

I got a baker's dozen Spectrum Noir alcohol ink markers, by Crafter's Companion, for evaluation purposes.

The Spectrum Noir pens come in a total of 168 colors (including the colorless blender). The markers are square to prevent rolling on your work surface, and have two different tips; a bullet tip and a chisel tip. Each cap has the marker number imprinted on it. The bullet end of the marker is denoted by a gray ring where the cap meets the marker, making it easy to know which end of the marker is which.

I found the caps to be a little hard to remove from the markers; I couldn't get a really good grip on them, and I ended up with marker on my hands more than once. (to be fair, though, I have difficulty with my hands, but I do not have trouble with the Copic caps.) The marker lids can not be placed on the back end of the marker for safe-keeping while in use.

The markers have their own numbering system, which might be confusing for people who are used to the Copic markers. You can access a PDF of the marker palette on the Crafter's Companion web site, here.

Among the markers I received were three bright pink pens, BP3, BP5, and BP7. Though I was missing the lightest of the bright pink pens, I decided to try coloring my old friend, Frantic Stamper's Magnolia cling stamp. I started with the BP3, and colored all of the petals of the three flowers. I added shading with the BP5 and BP7, and blended with the BP3.

One problem I had is that I am REALLY used to having a brush tip for my coloring. The bullet tip is very different to color with. One of my favorite blending techniques, a flicking motion with the brush tip, was not available with the bullet tip, because, though I could flick with the bullet tip, the color did not get lighter toward the end of my stroke as it does with the brush tip. All shading, then, had to be done with blending in a darker color with a lighter color, in small circular motions. I found it much harder to get a smooth blend. I do wonder, though, if I would have been happier with my blending and transitions if I had had a BP1 pen.

All-in-all, I was fairly pleased with the results, given that I didn't have a complete range of colors, and that I am not a seasoned bullet tip colorer. I felt the yellows and greens I had on hand blended very well in the bud and the flower center. The bright pinks are exactly that; bright and vibrant. The markers performed quite well.

If I were in the market for some alcohol markers and I didn't have my strong preference for brush tips, I would definitely consider these markers. The have a lot of features in common with the more expensive Copic Sketch markers, at a lower price point. They performed very well. They have replacement nibs available, but those are only for the chisel and bullet nibs; there is no brush nib available. They also have a much smaller selection of colors than Copic (either Sketch or Ciao), which may figure into a decision on which markers to buy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Warehouse Wednesday: Feeling "Lucky"?

Yes, we know it's a few days after St. Patrick's day... but this title seemed so appropriate for today's Warehouse Wednesday article.  

The Lucky 8 Punches by We-R-Memory Keepers are finally here!   And they are fabulous! Each of the 6 different designs can turn a 12"x12" sheet of paper/cardstock into a fabulous "die cut" page.  There are 3 settings on each punch, giving you 3 different options. See all 6 punches here:

These punches are great because you only need to punch 8 times to create your entire page.  There's no "lining up" of the design.  You simply punch 4 times aligning the corner of the paper against the stop guide, then flip the paper over and punch 4 more times.

THe literature inside also shows you how you can create additional cuts using other sizes of paper.  Although these additional cuts are not as intricate, they are still fun decorative results.

The Lucky 8 punches retail for $39.99 each.  We are offering them to you for a limited time at $34.99!  Now is your chance to try one or two out!

Crafting Hugs,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sketch Sunday: March 18, 2012

Kathy envisioned a few things when she drew this sketch, one of which was a city scape. Here is her take on that city scape in a masculine card for her uncle, who recently had major knee surgery. The inside of the card says "Hope you are on the road... to recovery."

Kathy also saw birthday candles in those vertical rectangles. She chose to use an embossing folder from Darice to make her candles, and topped it off with a punched flowers and hand-cut cupcake.

Isabelle used some great green and chocolate papers and a fun layout to create this fabulous and festive card. Like Linda, she used a heart punch to create her fun clover.

Sharon's used two wonderful images from Frantic Stamper's line of Cling mounted stamps to make her lovely card. She used the French Newspaper background image on the vertical rectangles, and the Pen Nibs to finish the card off.

Linda used some great papers and just a touch of color to really make her card POP. The butterfly seems almost ready to fly off the page, doesn't it?

If you give this sketch a try and want to share your results, please just email a photo to If you do, we will add your photo to this post.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today we have a couple of cards from our design team members, in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. Today we are all a little bit Irish! First up:


by Linda Phinney

Linda stamped the Frantic Stamper leaf background cling stamp on green card stock and punched 4 hearts to make her shamrock/clover. She used a little Tea Dye distress ink to "grunge" things up a bit, and mounted it on her "Lucky" Bingo card. A bit of florist wire and some rhinestone bling finished things off...

Next up we have a preview of tomorrow's sketch challenge.

Happy Day

by Isabelle Drouin-Vachon

Isabelle used some great green and chocolate papers and a fun layout to create this fabulous and festive card. Like Linda, she used a heart punch to create her fun clover.

The whole design team wishes you a very happy St. Patrick's Day.

Friday, March 16, 2012

"Hello!" (Design Team Project)

by Kathy Berger


Earlier this week I shared a coloring project featuring Copic markers and Frantic Stamper's Magnolia Cling Stamp. At that time I promised to try to share a finished card with the colored image, so here is my 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" center step card featuring that colored image.

To make the card base I started with a piece of white card-stock, 11" x 5 1/2". With the piece in portrait orientation, I cut slits 1" from each edge from 1" to 6 1/2". Then I turned the piece to landscape orientation on my Scor-pal and scored on the outside edges only at 1", 2", and 6 1/2". Then I scored in the center of the card only at 5 1/2". I folded on the score lines to form the card.

I added some green panels to my card to decorate the card, using shades that were found in my colored image.

Next, I used a large oval Nestabilities die to cut my Magnolia image. I mounted that oval onto a slightly larger lacy oval, and adhered them both onto the card's central panel.

I created a little floral decorative piece with wooden ivy leaves, a bit of ribbon, various silk flowers, and a couple of plastic buttons, including a butterfly I colored with my Copics. I glued that to the lower left of the front panel of the card.

Lastly, I stamped a little "Hello" greeting to finish the card.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Warehouse Wednesday: The Birth of a Frantic Stamper Cling Stamp

The Birth of a Frantic Stamper Cling Stamp

Have you ever wondered how a rubber stamp is actually made? For smaller manufacturers like Frantic Stamper it is a multi-step process, requiring a lot of hands-on work. Today we'd love to share the steps involved in getting a high-quality, deeply etched, closely trimmed, cling-mounted rubber stamp into your hands.

The process starts with the creation of the artwork. The artwork is produced with black ink on a white background. A high quality photo-copier can be used to resize the artwork if desired (this is how artwork is prepared for stamps in multiple sizes.) Once the artwork is ready, it is carefully cut out and laid onto a sheet with other artwork, making sure there is enough space to cut between images. A clean copy of this layout is then made and sent to an engraver.

The engraver uses a chemical etching process to produce a magnesium etching of the layout of images. This magnesium etching is raised wherever there was black on the layout, and indented where there is white (a positive etching). Some rubber manufacturers use a different process (called Rigelon) to produce a photopolymer on metal plate, but that produces less depth in finished stamp, which can mean less detail in the image. Frantic Stamper uses only the best in deeply etched magnesium. (Note... this is not a Frantic Stamper plate, but it does represent the kind of plate we use.)

Next the magnesium plate is pressed into a special kind of board called matrix, and is "cooked" under pressure in a vulcanizer. The raised areas of the magnesium plate press into the matrix board, which hardens and gets very smooth once heated. This matrix becomes the actual mold for the rubber stamp as it is indented wherever the black lines on the original images were, and raised where the white was (a negative image).

Here is a photo of a vulcanizer, and of a matrix (the matrix created with the above magnesium plate.)


The above is a one-time process (although occasionally matrix will require replacement.) Now we can finally start pressing rubber.

Raw rubber sheets (actually, it is a combination of rubber and sulfur that is sold in rolls or sheets, ready to be vulcanized with heat and pressure) are placed on the matrix mold, and then they are placed into the vulcanizer at a set pressure and temperature to cure the rubber. Once they are cured (about 8 minutes per sheet), they are set aside to cool a little, and then are removed from the matrix mold. The rubber sheets are ready to be sold as unmounted sheets, or, they can be mounted onto a foam sheet and trimmed into individual stamps.

Frantic Stamper uses a cling foam mounting sheet. It has a very sticky adhesive on one side, so it can adhere to the rubber, and a plastic cling layer on the other. We mount the rubber sheet onto the foam mount and then trim each individual image by hand with scissors.

Once the rubber is mounted and trimmed we are ready to ship it to you. When you get your stamp you can use it on an acrylic block right away and stamp it with your favorite ink. We think you will be pleased with the quality of our Frantic Stamper stamps, their deep etch and the close hand-trimming. Check out our collection at Frantic

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Coloring Corner: Magnolia colored with Copics

Coloring Corner: Magnolia colored with Copics

Today I decided to color Frantic Stamper's wonderful cling-mounted Magnolia stamp with Copic markers in preparation for a card I hope to make later this week.

I stamped the image on Bazzill ultra-smooth white card-stock using Memento Tuxedo Black ink.

Next I started to color the top-most image, which is the one furthest from the foreground of the image. I laid down a complete layer of RV000 ink in that part of the image.

Next I layered in some RV02 in shadow areas and blended it with the RV000.

And then I added some RV04.

And then blended that in, though not as smoothly, with the RV000.

In order to tone down the pinks and add a sense of distance (things in the distance tend to be bluer and less vibrant than things in the foreground), I used a C3 to add some shadow, and blended in a little C0.

Next, I tackled the flower to the lower left. This bloom is in a little more shadow than the other two, so I opted to make it a little more muted and less pink.

I started by coloring the image with R20, and shading a bit with R22, blending with R20.

Then I added in a little of the RV04, and blended with the R20. I also added just a touch of C1 to the most shaded parts of the flower, under the blossom to its upper right.

Next I colored my last blossom with RV000, RV02, and just a touch of RV04, leaving some of the RV04 unblended.

Once my blossom petals were finished, I then colored the center of the large blossom, the leaves, the bud cover, and the stems.

On the flower center I used Y28, YG91, AND YG95. I used those same colors plus G82 and E31 on the bud cover. On the stems I used E31 and E33.

Here is my finished image.

I hope to share a card using this image with you soon!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sketch Sunday: Bunny Template

Today we are getting in the mood for spring, flowers, and Easter. We hope you will enjoy this bunny template to help you get in the mood, too.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Technique Thursday: Rose Card from Memory Box

Hello! Today we would like to share a wonderful video showing the use of several Memory Box dies, Memento ink, and Copic Markers to make a beautiful card. We hope you will enjoy it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Warehouse Wednesday: Shipping Charges...

Things are still crazy busy at the Frantic Stamper Warehouse. The new site and shopping cart has resulted in a huge up-tick in the number of orders to process, plus we are still working on adding products to the site, and getting in new product daily. I barely have time to breathe.

But I did want to take just a few minutes to explain something about the new shopping cart that has worried a few customers, and to reassure all of you.

With the new shopping cart comes an automated way of assigning postage costs. Sometimes those calculated costs seem really out of line with the products you have selected, and indeed they are! Unfortunately, there is really no good way for the shopping cart to know how much product can fit into a certain sized box, or whether it would be less expensive to ship flat-rate or otherwise. And so the shopping cart does its best-guess, which is not always very good.

I want you to know that we STILL work to find you the least expensive method of shipping we can, and if there is a difference between actual cost and what the shopping cart calculated, we will take care of it! If the cart over-estimated your shipping, we will immediately reimburse the difference. And if the cart under-estimated, we will contact you to explain the difference and get your approval before we ship.

We pride ourselves in keeping the shipping charges reasonable. So the next time that you order, please note that the shipping charges you see are just estimated, and know that you will get the best shipping deal we can find.

Whew. Now I need to get back to work.


Sunday, March 04, 2012

Sketch Sunday: March 4, 2012

We hope you will enjoy today's simple sketch and the cards from our design team that it inspired. This week we feature cards from all of the full-time 2012 Design Team members.

Here is Jane's card using Frantic Stampers cling mounted stamp Lady w/ cane, stamped on vellum.

Isabelle chose a Riley image, Snowball Riley, for her card and turned the sketch on its side. Don't you just love the slightly ruched ribbon on the curve?

Kathy chose to do a literal interpretation of the sketch (what else is new?) using the Frantic Stamper Cling-Mounted Stamp Stem Rose (colored with Copic markers) and Frantic Stamper lace background cling stamp. Dimensional rose stickers and a bit of stickles finishes the card.

Kathy also turned the sketch on its side and swapped the proportions to create this "supportive" card. She colored a Penny Black image Uplifting Occasion with Copic markers and matted it on light blue card stock. The image itself had all the elements of the sketch!

Jennifer made a card using the Frantic Stamper Large Rose Cling Mounted Stamp. She stamped it multiple times in sepia ink, and then added sponged-on color to create her own designer paper.

Linda stamped a card using the Kissing Couple cling mounted stamp from Frantic Stamper. The little wire detail on the border between her background colors is fabulous, don't you agree? And we all are impressed with her scissor skills in cutting out the couple!

Sharon's card uses the Vertical Rose cling mounted stamp from Frantic Stamper. We love how the shape of the die she used provided both the curve and the interest points on the curve all at once. Of course the pearl bling really makes it all stand out!

And now, here is a card from one of our readers, Marcelle Roberts.

If you make a card using this sketch and would like to share, too, please send a photo to We'll add it to this post, like we did with Marcelle's.