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Tag Archives | GCD Studios

And They All Fall Down: Splash of Color, GCD Studios, Canvas Corp, Lily Bee

Scrapbooking companies have been falling like dominoes lately, as four well-known companies have shut down, filed for bankruptcy (or both) since early December.

GCD Studios

California-based GCD Studios filed for Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy in early December, listing assets of less than $2,000 and debts of over $2 million. The company ceased operations in late 2013, listing no profits for 2013 and a little over $300k for 2012. The vast majority of GCD’s debt is to investors, including owner/president Michael Rountree.

In it’s heyday, GCD boasted ground-breaking lines from industry luminaries like Melody Ross, Heidi Sonboul, Kathy Davis, and Donna Salazar, and was one of the first companies to try to bring the concept of mixed media to the masses in the scrapbook segment through lines like Ross’s Chip Art. Sonboul has now launched her own company at the CHA show in January, and Salazar continues to build her licensed line through other companies. Ross appears to be focusing on her retreat business for the moment. Continue Reading →

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Review: Pink Paislee Artisan Elements

Not only is this new product something unique, but they are acid free and a lot of fun to play with, too. Pink Paislee has come out with a new product called Artisan Elements, and in its debut they released three different items: sets of swirls, frames, and an alphabet.

product images above from www.pinkpaislee.com

I don’t know what the material actually is. Somehow it’s not only soft and flexible, but also acid free. So many scrapbook embellishments these days do not state they are acid free, so to see Pink Paislee come out with something so unique that is archivally safe (and fairly flat) makes this scrapbooker super happy.

The possibilities, it would seem, are bound only by the imagination. I’ve tried inking, stamping, misting, painting, glittering, gluing, using marker pens, gold leafing pen, and even debossing the material with the GCD ChipArt tool I reviewed a few weeks ago. Everything I have tried to make stick to this material works.

Above is a piece I experimented on heavily. Some mediums take a while to dry, but everything I’ve tried does indeed dry and stick to the surface.

In the example above I used Smooch inks (that have a liquid eyeliner type consistency and applicator) to paint the design. It took a few minutes, but it was fun to do – I felt like a kid with a coloring book.

While coloring in detail was fun, I find myself leaning towards just picking one color to decorate the pieces. Below I’ve used Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist in Timeless Lilac to color the flourish. Rather than spritzing, I dipped a small paintbrush into the Glimmer Mist and let the mist soak into the cracks of the design creating deeper color in the lines, and a lighter color along the raised portion. This is both quick and simple.

While acrylic paints do work, I found that thinning them out into more of a glaze-like consistency helped me keep the intricate detail showing up better on the more detailed pieces.

Spraying or spritzing the pieces to give a more uneven look is a lot of fun too, as seen below with a frame.

The material is very soft and easy to cut if desired. Below you can see pieces from the alphabet set. The Q is spritzed, while the question mark has been drawn on with a metallic marker.

I have only two complaints about this product. First, I wish the alphabet had more than one of each letter. Second, I wish there were a lot more designs to choose from. I’d love to see more fonts, styles, and individual elements such as buttons, flowers, leaves, butterflies, and other shapes that would be both useful and fun to use. It is my hope that we’re going to see a lot more of this special material in the future from Pink Paislee.

Supplies: Pink Paislee patterned papers, Artisan Elements, and journaling paper; Making Memories small letter and number stickers; American Crafts Thickers; Tattered Angels Glimmer Mists; Tim Holtz Distress Tool.

On this page, I used pieces from each of the sheets of Artisan Elements. The brackets shown above were spritzed with Strawberry Shortcake Chalkboard Mist, then lightly glazed with Mermaid Glimmer Glam by Tattered Angels.

I cut this frame in half to make more of a bracket to hold the date for my layout.

Finally, I used a paintbrush and paints taken to a glaze-like consistency to quickly decorate this large corner accent.

I feel like I’m just scratching the surface with this new material, and knowing that it’s flexible I am currently pondering the possibilities for altered arts and other off-the-page crafting.

Pink Paislee Artisan Elements are in stores now, and available through online stores such as Scrapbook.com and Two Peas In A Bucket.

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Review: Chip Art by Melody Ross for GCD Studios

For the last few weeks I’ve been working with and evaluating the Chip Art tools by Melody Ross for GCD Studios, and having a great time with them. They are unlike anything else in the scrapbooking market, and they are a lot of fun. However, I think it only fair to warn you – they are also noisy and they are not fast to use if you include the chipboard drying time.

I don’t think these tools are for everyone, but I do think that they are very cool and I encourage you to take a look at what I’ve done with them so you can decide for yourself if they are something that will work for you. First, let me explain the tools themselves:

There are both alphabets and decorative  images available in this line, all sold separately. They are metal and you use a mallet to create an indentation into damp chipboard. The images come in a dense blue foam, the alphabets are in that same foam, but the foam sits inside a beautifully decorated tin. If purchasing some you will also need the tool handle. This (shown below) is the piece that you fit into the back of the image so that you can use them. There are two sizes – 1/2″ for the larger images, and 1/4″ for the smaller ones. The alphabet shown above has the 1/4″ tool included.

The product line also includes a mallet, spray bottle (for wetting chipboard), and a block (hard plastic) to use as a work surface. I found that while very nice to have, I would consider those items optional. I tried the tools out while working on a hard wood surface, with a small hammer, and using a sponge to apply water to the chipboard. That said, using them with the GCD tools was nice, especially the  work surface that is slick and easy to wipe excess moisture off from.

To use the tools on chipboard, first you need to wet the chipboard and let it set for a minute so the water soaks in. It doesn’t need to be dripping wet, just damp enough to soften. Then select your image (or letter), attach it to the tool handle, and place where you want to have the image. Take the mallet and bang the top of the tool handle a few times. I usually found two-three times worked well. The noise level is similar to traditional eyelet setting tools, and I wouldn’t advise doing this while others are trying to sleep in your house.

This worked on both plain chipboard and chipboard that had been painted with acrylic paint (dry) and then moistened with water. To get more images, simply keep selecting more, and wet the chipboard again and again as needed. A word of caution: you don’t want to soak the chipboard or pound too hard.

Above is an example of a soaked piece of chipboard. It took me three tries to show you what I mean – but if you pound too many times, especially on soaked chipboard it will fall apart as my “M” has on the far right. Below you can see some butterflies I stamped into white acrylic painted chipboard.

To add contrast I rubbed (with my finger) purple acrylic paint into the butterflies and surrounding area.

Then I gently sanded off (once dry) the excess purple paint to achieve the distressed look shown below.

In my experimenting I found that the tools worked well on any standard chipboard pieces, so long as they weren’t treated with a finish that prevented water from soaking into them to soften them. I also found that other thick products that could be softened with water but that would harden and hold the shape once dry worked well. I had success with pulp paper, and I have yet to test it, but I believe leather would work well too.

Above is a name stamped into thick pulp paper I took from my mother’s papermaking stash. The key is really something that will soften with moisture, but really harden and hold once dry.

Here is a ChipArt mini book cover that I created for an inspiration book meant to hold images and thoughts that I want to use at future dates. I should mention that I am very happy with both the quality and designs of the chipboard books and shapes available in this line.

I really like that I can keep adding more images as I feel like it, and I will tell you I have a lot of fun banging the images into chipboard. It is artsy play at its most fun.

Of course, I have to keep testing and trying different things! I took a random butterfly from my chipboard stash (no idea who made it) and sprayed it heavily with glimmer mist instead of using water to wet the chipboard. Then I used a letter to monogram my pretty butterfly.

I could see both putting a few letters on chipboard pieces to customize my layouts, and putting some images on chipboard letters being things I do often in my scrapbooking. It doesn’t take much time, and I love the personal effect it gives.

In the above layout I used the Homespun Chic and Artsy Urban lines by Melody Ross for GCD Studios, as well as Cosmo Cricket chipboard stickers (brackets), a Pink Paislee number (5), and mom’s typewriter font.

I have had a lot of fun testing out these new tools, and I see myself using them a lot in future projects. It’s true I either have to take them outside to use (due to children sleeping) or work quickly with them during times when the girls are awake, but they are worth it. One thing I discovered during quiet time is that you can stamp with them.

I like the soft look from the Ranger Distress Ink Pads (wild honey and tumbled glass used above). They aren’t designed to be like rubber stamps, so don’t expect perfection. I just loved the little images I could add into my projects – adding tiny details here and there. This is a great way to (silently) use these products.

I have not been this excited about a new tool in a long time. I feel like I am just scratching the surface of the possibilities of these tools, and I am hoping to add more alphabets and a few more shapes to my collection. While the noise might be a deterrent to some crafters, I see possibility here for mixed media, wall art, scrapbooking, and so much more – I’m looking forward to my next project.

All of the products used are now available in stores. All of the ChipArt can be found at www.artsyfindings.com, a new site that Melody Ross has created  where all her products will be available. The shop at Stampington is also carrying a selection of the ChipArt tools.

If you have any questions about the tools please feel free to leave a comment here or e-mail me at may@scrapbookupdate.com.

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Top Ten Product Trends at CHA Winter 2010, Part 2

It’s time to look at part two of the top ten product trends from CHA Winter 2010! (In case you missed it, here’s part one.)

Please note that these trends are intended to take a look at the types of products that are being offered, not the specific design and style trends that were being applied to those products.

6. Fabric/Canvas

Top row, left-right: Studio Calico, Prima, Prima. Middle row (l-r): Adornit, BasicGrey, BasicGrey. Bottom row (l-r): Melody Ross for GCD Studios, Claudine Hellmuth Studio, Webster’s Pages.

Maybe it is a reflection of the homemade/vintage feeling that is sweeping scrapbooking, but a lot of CHA Winter products were created from textiles. Replacing the hard metal embellishments of a few years ago, fabric is both more versatile as a material and more affordable. There’s also less government regulation to worry about for manufacturers, such as issues created recently by the CPSIA.

Some fabric items, such as Donna Downey’s products for Prima, are a blank starting point for projects. Others, such as Studio Calico’s Fabrips borders, are full-featured embellishments designed to be incorporated into other projects.

7. Embossed Cardstock

Left-right: Jenni Bowlin Core’dinations, Bazzill, Tim Holtz Alterations.

Products that were either already embossed or for creating embossing are becoming quite common in the scrapbook market. All of the manual die cutting systems seem to offer embossing accessories, and Tim Holtz caused big buzz at CHA with his new Alterations embossing designs for the Sizzix machine. Many of the cardstock companies (like Bazzill and Core’dinations) seem to be entering a gray area between cardstock and patterned paper providers by branching into embossed designs. It’s also becoming more frequent for patterned paper companies to include embossed designs in their lines (K and Company has a long history of this, for instance).

8. Spray Ink/Mist

Left-right: Smooch Spritz, Inkadinkado, Chalkboard Glimmer Mist.

Ink of all kinds is a hot product right now. But spray ink, which has only recently gotten attention as a category, is the hottest of all the inks – attracting attention even from papercrafters who don’t own a single stamp. Tattered Angels offered up a big expansion of its Glimmer line at CHA Winter 2010 and many other companies also either offered the product for the first time or expanded existing offerings.

9. Fancy Buttons

Top: American Crafts Glitter Buttons. Bottom: Bazzill Vintage Buttons.

Buttons are back as part of the vintage trend, but with a twist from their classic scrapbooking incarnation. Instead of plain buttons we now have glitter buttons, textured buttons, and bling buttons. Gone are the days of companies selling color assortments of plain buttons to coordinate with their lines – now they must have extra detail of some kind. Offerings from companies like GCD Studios and Bazzill remind me so much of my grandmother’s button jar!

10: Die Cutting

Top row, left-right: Cottage Cutz, Sizzix eClips, Tim Holtz Alterations. Bottom row (l-r): Cricut Cake, Spellbinders, Craftwell eCraft.

At CHA Winter 2010, there was plenty of proof that lots of companies see both digital and manual die cutting as a viable market. Several new exhibitors were associated with die cutting, and some of the show’s biggest buzz was centered around the Cricut Cake machine. Besides the Cricut Cake, Sizzix and Craftwell also showed new electronic cutters, greatly expanding the options in that area for consumers. On the manual side, Cottage Cutz was exhibiting as an independent producer of dies, an indicator of the perceived strength in that market. Tim Holtz’s new collection of vintage style dies for Sizzix has potential to reach a new audience for their machine, which is known for a more graphic or cute style of design.

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Scrapbook Update CHA Winter 2010 Top 10 Hot Picks

Well, it’s all over. The suitcases are unpacked, the photos are loaded in Lightroom, the jet lag is easing. After taking some time to analyze what I saw, and go over my notes and photos in detail, I’ve assembled this list of Scrapbook Update’s Top 10 Hot Picks from CHA Winter 2010:

1. BasicGrey

This pick may sound a bit redundant, because BasicGrey is such a force in the industry. But their last few show introductions have been somewhat underwhelming. One of my favorite companies was frankly, starting to edge toward getting stale. But with the introduction of Kioshi, Green At Heart, Capella, and Max & Whiskers, BasicGrey is starting to look more again like the company whose papers used to make a serious dent in my budget. I wasn’t the only one excited, either – I heard the same sentiment from many others on the show floor.

Another fabulous showing from the company at CHA Winter was their Basics line. Available in 3 colors (white, cream and kraft), it is a line consisting completely of text and ledger-style paper designs that make great backgrounds for building on. Ledger paper is incredibly popular – a whole collection of it is a dream for many scrapbookers.

2. EK Success Slimline Punches

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the EK Success slimline punches. There will be plenty for everyone to love now, because despite the trend towards smaller product line introductions, EK Success is introducing 78 new designs of slimline punch.

A large number of the new punches are border punches, including some that create paper ribbon chains. For Halloween, EK was previewing a punch collection that included a new even larger size of border punch.Consumers are all about tools right now, and punches are used by scrapbookers and cardmakers. Expect the popular slimline punches to get even more popular with this huge introduction of options.

3. Melody Ross for GCD Studios

A few months after the news broke that the Ultra-Pro owned Chatterbox was defunct, founder Melody Ross is back in style with an amazing collection for GCD Studios. She’s obviously thriving in her new professional home, as this is the best creative work that we’ve seen from Ross in quite some time. Ross, who revolutionized the industry a decade ago with her work at Chatterbox, reclaims her position as one of the leading creative minds in the industry with her CHA Winter lines for GCD Studios.

4. Staz-On Metallic

Stamping is hot. Metallic is hot. So StazOn, the ink that stamps on almost any surface, being introduced in new metallic shades seems like a made-to-order hit for manufacturer Tsukineko.

The metallic StazOn ink pads come in four metallic shades: gold, silver, copper and platinum. The pads work in a similar fashion to the Tsukineko glue pad, coming with a pad and a re-inker bottle from which the pad must be loaded and then more frequently refreshed than a regular ink pad.

5. The Girls Paperie

Margie Romney-Aslett has definitely moved on to a successful new chapter after being let go by Making Memories nearly a year ago. Her new line with Advantus, called The Girls Paperie, was all the buzz at CHA in Anaheim.

The designs are in the beautiful vintage style that Romney-Aslett is known for, and include both papers and embellishments. There are two lines. One is travel-themed, and one is a classic feminine floral grouping.

6. Tim Holtz for Sizzix

Sizzix generated a lot of excitement with the announcement that Tim Holtz would design a line of dies for them called Alterations, and the products unveiled at CHA did not disappoint Holtz’s fans. Alterations is something of a departure style-wise for Sizzix, so it may attract a whole new group of customers for the machine.

One nice feature of many of Holtz’s die designs is that they are divided into many pieces. For instance, pieces from the butterfly die can also be used to create  a dragonfly or half butterfly design. The Alterations line also includes a group of embossing folders for the Sizzix machine.

7. Cricut Cake

While technically not exactly a scrapbook product, the Cricut Cake machine from Provo Craft is designed to extend a papercrafting product line to a new audience: bakers. This new version of the Cricut Expression machine is food safe and designed to cut sheets of sugar to use in decorating cakes and cookies. It will ship in May and retail for $399. Regular Cricut cartridges do work in the machine.

The machine can cut from two different thicknesses of decorating material. From the examples on display at the Provo Craft evening event in Anaheim, the Cake is capable of cutting quite detailed images. The images on the cake below come from a Cricut cartridge called A Child’s Year. The Cricut Cake generated a lot of buzz at CHA, and is a great opportunity for Cricut to extend its market base beyond just papercrafters. According to a representative for Provo Craft who spoke to Scrapbook Update at CHA, the Cake is just the start of some major development in the Cricut line – the company has five new machines in the pipeline for the next few years.

8. Copic Markers

The rise of interest in stamping has brought along a rise in interest in mediums that are used with stamps. There’s been a lot of buzz recently about Copic alcohol-based markers for use with stamps. Copic markers were hot sellers at the CHA Supershow in Anaheim (in fact, the booth with a great deal on them was the only one I waited in line at all day). There were examples on display in many stamping booths at the show that had been made with Copics, and Couture Cardstock was advertising its new bleed-proof Pure Silk blending papers designed especially for use with Copics.

9. Lily Bee Design

Lily Bee Design, a new exhibitor, has been attracting a lot of buzz with its vintage feminine designs. They’ve achieved something that usually seems to be difficult for a new company, by creating embellishment designs that are beautiful and noteworthy. Their chipboard flowers and 12×12 rub-on sheets are worthy accompaniments to the company’s beautiful papers, giving Lily Bee’s lines a depth that many new companies can’t match. These lines’ reasonable size and their quality means that a retailer doesn’t need to cherry-pick them to carry them.

10. Eco Green Crafts

Also in the new exhibitor section, Eco Green Crafts is making a timely entrance to the market when interest is building in “green” products. Co-founder Julia Andrus is a cancer survivor, and all of the company’s products in some way are designed to be environmentally friendly – from low VOC paints and inks to unmounted rubber stamps that save wood. The company’s line of inks are vegetable-based. Eco Green Crafts offers an extensive selection of colors of inks and paints, recycled paper board books, and a catalog of unmounted rubber stamps that are “steampunk” styled, among other products.

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CHA-Winter 2010 Color Palette Predictions

CHA-Winter 2010 will be here in less than three weeks! And the big question is, what will the major show trends be?

One major trend indicator to watch at each show is what the color palette is. The dominant color palette is a good way to judge what direction the style trends are moving, since certain colors will be associated with certain styles.

Twice a year, Pantone issues color trend forecasts for the upcoming fall or spring fashion season. These trends aren’t always carried into the scrapbook market, since the colors don’t always translate to the needs of scrapbookers. (neon scrapbook paper, anyone?) Pantone’s Spring 2010 color forecast looks like this:

The background on the graphic is all turquoise because Pantone has declared that 2010 is the year of turquoise. Scrapbook Update Contributing Writer May Flaum and Rhonna Farrer both wrote on their blogs agreeing with Pantone’s forecast, and the early peeks from CHA-Winter 2010 are in fact heavy on turquoise.

So what other colors will we be seeing alongside turquoise? Here’s a few predictions, based on fashion in stores, Pantone, and the early sneak peeks:

  • Navy Blue: Brown will be replaced as the dominant neutral by the warmer and richer navy blue. In fact, all the blue tones will be warmer and richer, in contrast to the past several years of more grey or baby blue tones.
  • Lavender/Violet: Purple will be making a comeback in lighter tones.
  • Red: Rich, vibrant reds will be a popular accent color. Spring/summer reds will be brighter than the cranberries that we saw for the holiday lines.
  • Earthy Greens: Green tones will be even more earthy, vintage and grey in nature than the subdued tones we already saw dominate the holiday lines for 2009.
  • Candy Pink: The innocent, happy look of candy pink is back strong.
  • Lemon Yellow: Another bright, happy color tone that is back for summer and to provide a lift to people.

What does this palette look like in action?

Melody Ross’s Homespun Chic line for GCD Studios incorporates a lot of this color palette:

Kaisercraft’s upcoming Gypsy Sisters collection is also a good example of the trendy palette in action:

Many of the other lines that have already been sneaked also feature touches of many of these colors. Some even feature them as dominant themes, like the Independence line from GCD Studios, which heavily features a deep rich navy blue:

So, that is just a sample of the rainbow that CHA will be bringing our way for spring and summer 2010!

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