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Tag Archives | Melody Ross

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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Noteworthy | 6.22.2012

This week I’ve got some designer news, some hot products, and some new calls to bring to you….and of course, as always, some great links.

The Gaylord Opryland convention center in Nashville, TN, which will host a CK Convention on Aug. 24th-25th, was the site of a large mechanical explosion on Tuesday that evacuated the hotel for several hours. The explosion did an estimated $750,000 in damage, but Gaylord officials told the Tennessean that the damage was limited to a relatively small 4,000 square foot area and the damage should be repaired by June 30th. Officials also told the Tennessean that they did not expect the damage to interfere with events at the property.

Fans of Hambly will be happy to hear that Allison Kreft isn’t going away…Echo Park announced this week that it will be releasing a collection she designed, called Everyday Eclectic!

Allison’s style is easily visible in Everyday Eclectic – and it’s a perfect fit for Echo Park as well. This collection will make both Hambly and Echo Park fans happy! Continue Reading →

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Unity Partners With Signature Designers

Unity Stamp Company’s booth at CHA Summer 2010 was almost half devoted to the company’s new signature stamp lines – a reflection of the growing trend in the industry of relying on signature names to promote products.

Previously, Unity had released a small number of signature stamps designed by Donna Downey. At CHA Summer 2010, they were showing stamps by Downey, Melody Ross, Scrapbook Royalty, Cosmo Cricket, Suzi Blu, and Samantha Walker.

In addition to the signature lines Unity’s new lines also include two other trendy options: a large selection of journaling stamps and a line of Itty Bitty stamps that retail for $5.


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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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2010: A banner year

Editor’s Note: A few days ago Scrapbook Update identified banners as one of the key product trends at CHA Winter 2010. Now, Contributing Writer May Flaum takes a closer look at that trend.

A few months back, I noticed banner patterned paper in a Studio Calico kit. I’ve also noticed digital brushes and other files from Rhonna Farrer at House of 3 that I like a lot. The more I think about it, the more paper banners make sense in scrapbooking. I am not sure why, but it would seem 2010 is destined to be a year of banners in scrapbooking. This is one trend that is picking up speed quickly!

{image above from American Crafts CHA booth – the Dear Lizzie collection}

Banners were all over the sneak peeks for CHA-Winter, and once on the show floor I noticed them everywhere – both decorating the booths and on product as well. Here are a few examples:

Melody Ross (above) has chipboard that could be turned into a decorative banner, mini book, or so much more. Webster’s Pages (below) has incorporated banners into their paper and ribbon.

The Dear Lizzie line from American Crafts (above) held banners in all forms from paper embellishments and patterned paper to stamps. October Afternoon (below) has a lovely banner sticker in their new “go fly a kite” line.

Making Memories (above) has a whole set of travel stickers full of banners and colors that make me want to take a vacation to somewhere warm. Jenni Bowlin (below) introduced make-your-own banner stickers. I think these are clever, and because they are paired with alphabet stickers on the same sheet, you can make titles or decorative accents for your projects as well.

Maya Road, The Girls’ Paperie, and several other companies also have products with banners coming out. There’s so many choices! Now, as products become available in stores, the next question is – how will I incorporate this trend in my crafting? My number one suggestion is that you make sure that your banners aren’t just floating around on your project. Ground them to the edge of a photo, to the edge of the paper, to an embellishment, or to some other element on your page.

To make your own banners, I have two suggestions. First, try cutting out squares of patterned paper and then cutting from the bottom center up to the top corner of each side. This will give you a pretty triangle like the example I’ve shown below.

My second suggestion is that you use a triangle punch, or if you want a different feel you can use a circle punch and cut it in half and string the pieces together.

Here is a layout I created with the new Jenni Bowlin banner stickers:

supplies: New Jenni Bowlin stickers and buttons, October Afternoon patterned paper from Thrift Shop line, Prima flowers and rhinestones, American Crafts pen, unknown trim, cardstock, and buttons

I went for a relaxed imperfect look to my banner, and I really like how these stickers come with little alphabet letters. The neutral colors will work well for a number of page subjects.

I look forward to seeing banners incorporated in more pages as these products hit the shelves. From every day occasions to birthdays, I can see a lot of possibilities here. Across the top, in the center, for titles, over a corner, at the bottom, or any other way you cut it – I am loving this new trend!

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May’s CHA Winter 2010 Favorites: Tools & Things

This is my final post on show picks and favorites, and you will find everything from mists to stamps to punches here. The items in this post are things that didn’t fall under papers, stickers, trinkets, or trims, and so I’m gathering them here. The ideas are endless; the possibilities limited only by imagination. There are a lot of items I really want to take a closer look at.

There are a number of notable releases that you will not find in this article such as Tim Holtz’s new Sizzix dies and machine; Tsukineko’s release of metallic staz-on inks; the Cricut Cake; Fiskars’ new line of scissors; new EK Success punches; and so much more.  Some items I don’t have images for, while others I felt would need a closer look (that I didn’t have opportunity to take at show) before giving my seal of approval. I see product reviews in my future here at Scrapbook Update, so you should be hearing more from me on products mentioned here and many others.

For now, let me show you my last batch of show favorites:

Sometimes it’s the little things that get me excited. This slow-dry medium from Ranger and Claudine Hellmuth will let me play with my acrylic paints even longer than before. That’s awesome news.

Melody Ross and GCD are hitting it out of the park with unique stuff. I heard these stamps described as similar to leather tools you used at summer camp to put your name on a belt. They are something you can use on leather, chipboard, and lots of other materials.

Here is a shot of more of the fonts available. I really can’t tell you which is my favorite because I want them all. They look like so much fun.

Ranger had a lot of amazing products worth mentioning, including this new black and white enamel accent set that took my breath away. Opaque, glossy, and dimensional, this is a product I’ve wished existed for a long time. Now I can add detail and accent to my projects without pulling out paint.

On first glance these artisan elements by Pink Paislee look like they are hard ceramic, but in reality they’re a bendable, flexible polymer that can be inked, spritzed, painted, and customized however you desire. I’m really looking forward to experimenting with them and seeing what I can do, and how I will be able to make them work for whatever color palette I’m working with.

Distress Ink is nothing new, but Tim Holtz has added twelve new colors and that is something to celebrate. They are wonderful colors and I look forward to writing about them in detail here at Scrapbook Update. (Stay tuned!)

Acrylic stamps continue to pop up in so many lines and I continue to love them. This set from the Dear Lizzy line at American Crafts will work well for any number of layouts and paper craft projects.

I’m not sure where to even start with Tattered Angels. They added in new colors to their classic glimmer mists and have products designed by Heidi Swapp that are noteworthy. They also added new products such as the chalkboard mists shown below. Their new releases were all outstanding and I’ve chosen three to highlight here. The chalkboard mists are hard to describe because they produce a creamy chalk like finish but they still have the sparkle and shine you’d expect from Tattered Angels. They are really something cool.

I’m excited about the glimmer glaze from Tattered Angels as well. I love that I can get a more controlled application than the glimmer mists but with the same beautiful sparkle and shine you’d expect.

The glimmer glam from Tattered Angels also has a really nice daubber in it and the glitter and sparkle is off the hook. Private Meadow was a favorite color, but honestly, I want a lot of these!

I have to fit this stamp from Pink Paislee in here too. I just love that they’ve come out with such lovely little stamps that go with their collections but also can be used with anything you like.

Tonic Studios has a new punch that is unique. At first glance I thought “oh, cute butterfly punch” but it’s not JUST a punch…

As you can see, the butterfly does not punch all the way out as a normal punch does, but you could cut it out if desired. I just love the butterfly being a part of the paper and it’s intricate wings lifting up with a contrasting color or pattern underneath.

This concludes my picks for Winter CHA 2010, but do stay tuned for trend articles, reviews, and much more. Now that I’m home from CHA my head is full of ideas and things to share with you. If you have any questions, comments, or want to share anything with me please feel free to leave a comment here or e-mail me at may@scrapbookupdate.com

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