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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.


Want to stay up-to-date on all the latest scrapbook news?

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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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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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