Friday, May 18, 2018

Mod Podge Coupon Code

Photo borrowed from the Plaid Site.  @Plaid

Mod Podge by Plaid is a great product to craft with and since I am a big fan I thought I would let everyone know that Plaid is offering a special coupon on Mod Podge Products to celebrate National Mod Podge day.
Photo by Plaid

You can find a great assortment of products at the Plaid site but the coupon is only good from Friday, Mary 18 through Sunday, May 20th.  They coupon is for 40% off Mod Podge products with a $60 purchase.  I use a lot of the Plaid window painting products so it is pretty easy to get to the $60 dollar mark.  So if you are a fan of the product line, it is a good time to stock up.

Disclaimer:  I do not work for Plaid. I am not sponsored by Plaid. I just like their product line and wanted to share the discount code.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

A look at the Classes Offered at the California Pinners Conference

I recently attended the Pinners Conference in California where I got to take a great variety of craft classes, "Make & Takes", and learn about new products and companies.  When you attend the Pinners  Conference you have a choice of 5 different ticket categories which are:

1. General Admission for a price of  $8 which allows you to shop the floor for a day;
2. One day Expo Ticket for a price of $19 which includes two classes and the access to the show floor;
3.  One day Expo All Classes for a price of $29 which includes as many classes as you can fit (depending on class space availability) into your schedule and access to the show floor;
4. Two day Expo Ticket  All Classes for a price of $49 which includes as many classes which includes as many classes as you can fit (depending on class space availability) into your schedule and access to the show floor;
5.  VIP Pinner Pass for a price of $129 which includes as many classes which includes as many classes as you can fit (depending on class space availability) into your schedule and access to the show floor.

NOTE: The above prices were for the 2018 California Pinners Conference and may be different at other Pinners Conferences.

Below is a brief review of the classes that I took at the 2018 California Pinners Conference this last April. I pre-signed up for each class in advance so that I could assure myself a seat and also be able to pre-purchase the optional kits. Anyway, I love the various lettering styles of different artists.  Since there was a huge selection of classes at this show, I decided that I would take a few lettering classes at the conference from different people.  I thought this would be good way to be exposed to new ideas and techniques.  I also took some other crafting and painting classes but I will discuss the lettering ones first.

1)   The first lettering class I took was "Intro to Modern Lettering" which was taught by Marie Browning and sponsored by Tombow.

 You know Tombow has some fabulous pens and markers so it is not a surprise that they would have a class at the Pinners Conference to introduce their products to fans of lettering.  The class offered an optional kit for $20 which I purchased.  You can see the contents in the photo below. It was definitely a good value.

Anyway, Marie Browning taught us various ways to hold the pen to get different results. For those that were new to the Tombow pens,

Marie explained the two different brush tips on the pens and how they can be best utilized in lettering.

She also offered some great tips on how to do some color blending using the Tombow Markers and other interesting accents to make our lettering more colorful.  Maria also told us about some of the free down loadable practice lettering Sheets that are available at the Tombow site.  She included a discount code for future purchases in the kit.  If you follow Marie on Facebook, she lists discount codes and upcoming sale information for Tombow products, so follow her to learn more.

2) The second lettering class I took was "Intro to Modern Calligraphy" taught by Peggy Dean (The Pigeon Letters').

She had a very different style from Marie Browning.  Her focus was how to create a more consistent alphabet. She encouraged us to practice daily to improve our lettering style.  She also offered an optional kit for $25. You can see what is in the kit below.

The Ultimate Brush Lettering Guide in the photo was a separate purchase and features more ideas and tips. Again, I thought the kit was a good value because I can never have enough pens and brush markers.  I go through a lot of them when I practice.  She also has some fun free downloads on her site that include some lettering worksheets on her website.
They have cameras & Screens, so that we can see what the teacher is demonstrating.
3) The third lettering class I took was "Brush Lettering and Doodling" which was taught by Marie Browning. Now I know I already took a class from her but this was slightly different. This class also offered an optional kit for $20 which is in the picture below. The Tomboy Twin Tone markers can be found at Amazon.

I am really glad I signed up for it because she offered some great tips in the class and her techniques were really helpful.  I have a hard time with doodles but by the end of the class, I was able to recreate the more simple designs and learn how to combine them with my lettering projects.

4) The fourth and last lettering class was "Modern Brush Lettering Workshop" taught by Shelly Kim (Letters by Shell). She also offered an optional kit for $25 which included some workbook pages, pens other tools.  The Tomboy Fudenosude Brush pens can be found on Amazon.
She sells other kits on her Etsy page.  The photo below shows what came in the kit.

Shelly Kim had a completely different approach to lettering and focuses on the harder letters.   This was really helpful to me because I have been struggling with letters like "K".  She gave us tips on how to hold the brush pens and markers at certain angles to get the best line thickness when working on a curve.

Those tips were so helpful.  I am so glad I took so many different lettering classes because I feel they really helped me on my lettering journey.

5) The fifth class I took was Botanical Line Drawing" which was taught by Peggy Dean (The Pigeon Letters').  I mentioned before that I struggle with line drawing and this class was completely focused on that.  Peggy Dean offered an optional class kit for $20. You can see the contents of this kit in the photo below.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this class.  Peggy Dean has a very relaxed teaching style that makes it fun to learn new skills.

6)  The sixth class was ""Say It On Your Wrist with a Personalized Metal Stamped Bracelet" taught by  - Brittani Willnauer from @kansascitykreations (on Instagram) using Impress Art tools to make personalized metal stamped bracelets.   I choose to purchase the optional class kit which was $35.00.  As you can see in the picture below, we got a really good selection of supplies for that amount of money.

I had priced some of these metal stamping supplies at Michaels and Hobby Lobby and found the kit to be a great value for me. We used a different hammer than the Impress Art tools that I really liked.  I have small hands and this hammer worked better for me.  Although I will still probably purchase the Impress Art Texture hammer in the future, even though it is awkward for me to hold on to well.  I really like the Impress Art brand and their tools, especially the selection of fonts they offer to use with metal stamping.

Warning: I should warn you if you take a similar class at your local Pinners Conference, this class is noisy.  We are pounding on metal so if you have sensitive hearing, you might want to wear some ear plugs.

This was a really fun class.  We shared some tools which actually was a great idea because I got to talk and meet some fun ladies.  Also, Brittani was such a good teacher and shared some really great tips with us on the various types of metal blanks we can buy and how you have utilize the tools to get the desired results on the various sizes of blanks and styles.  She also gave us tips on using other supplies to help us be more creative while staying within a budget making these bracelets. If you don't have time to make your own personalized metal pieces, Brittani does have an Etsy store where she personalizes items.

7) The seventh class I took was “Coffee Sleeve” class from Tandy Leather. Tandy Leather offered several classes at the California Pinners Conference.  I took the This class gave me the opportunity to make a personalized coffee sleeve for myself. The class kit was free.  As you can see in the picture below, it offered us most of the supplies we needed to complete the kit.

The Tandy Leather people also provided us with tools to share during the class to make it a bit more personalized.  These are some of the more popular metals stamps that people start with. In the photo below, you can see how my table partner used them to finish her piece.

It came out fabulously.

   It was such a fun class and I learned some great techniques and some new tips from the instructors.

I also had a chance to craft with my friends during the class too.

I have used Tandy Leather products since high school to make personalized gifts and some cosplay pieces. This is such a great company and they work hard to keep their products affordable.  Additionally, the quality of their tools is great.  Anyway,  they also had some fun “Make and Take” projects at the booth that you can see on my "Make & Take" post from the show.
Rachel Straus from Wood Burn Corner

8)  The next class I took was " Intro to Wood Burning" offered by Rachel Straus from Wood Burn Corner.  I had stopped at her booth before the class.  It was so inspiring to see all the cool things that she wood burns.  I never really got into wood burning before and I had not realized just how fun and creative it can be.

Rachel Straus's wood burning class offered an optional kit for $50.  The kit was really cool. It included:
  • Walnut Hollow Versatool wood burner
  • a hand full of different types of wood
  • an embossing tool
  • a Tombow sand eraser
  • graphite paper
  • washi tape
  • Tany Leather sanding block
  • A Wood Burn Corner tote bag
  • and some of her original designs (drawings) to try.
Her class was not a hands-on class but more of an information class.  I think a roomful wood burners would have been a slight bit dangerous.  I got a lot of new information from her class on how to use the different tips.  Additionally,  she really went into detail over the different types of wood and some tips on working with them to get great results.  This was truly an informative class and I was so glad I took it.

 9) On Saturday I took a "Card Making with Kits" sponsored by Spellbinders.  They included a free card kit with these class that was amazing.  You can see the kit in the photo below.

The kit contained:
  • card stock paper
  • stickers
  • ribbon
  • ephemera
  • glue dots
  • some card stock quality die cuts
  • a die set that pretty cool
  • and more.  The value of this kit exceeds $35 

I am including some pics of the sample card and some of the cards others made in class. This was also a really fun class to take.

Tip: it might be a good idea to bring your scissors, glue and pencils to class (if you live locally because you cannot bring scissors onto plains anymore).  

Since some folks were from other states, they did lend out scissors and paper cutters but we did have to share between 90 to 100 people. So it took a while to complete the card. Thankfully, I did bring my own emergency crafting kit but most people did not and wished they had.

10) On Sunday I went to the second "Card Making with Kits" sponsored by Spellbinders.  This class also included a free card kit that was amazing.  You can see the kit in the photo below.

The color scheme on this kit was black, gold and white. It was so different from the Saturday kit.  The kit also
  • card stock paper
  • stickers
  • ribbon
  • ephemera
  • glue dots
  • some card stock quality die cuts
  • a die set that pretty cool
  • and more.  The value of this kit exceeds $35

 11) I also took the "How to Stock Your Bar at Home & Secrets to Making the Perfect Cocktail" taught by Mandy Lanefeld.

This class did not have a kit.  The presentation room was filled with folks who were having a great time.  The information Many shared with us was great.

I like to make Mocktails (substituting Kombucha instead of alcohol) and I got plenty of great ideas for using the Stirrings products to make future fun Mocktail drinks.  Mandy Landefeld has a great personality and made us laugh so much.  She also had Instagram contests during the class and I got to win a blue tote with some Margarita salt in it.  It was really cute and the salt is perfect to use for Mocktails.

It is pretty easy to fill up your schedule with classes back to back.  Luckily, there is an app to help with figuring out my schedule and logging which classes I am taking.  It was really easy to use and a real help in keeping on schedule for all my classes.

 Personally, I really wanted to attend the Kombucha making class but I needed to have a few hours free to shop and check out some of the fun booths at the show.  I did not get to attend it but I hope they offer one at the next Pinners Conference.

The classes I signed up for were included in my VIP Pinners ticket.  I choose to purchase the optional kits but I could have easily brought my own supplies from home.  I have to compliment the creators of the Pinners Conference for offering such a great selection of classes and for the really wonderful staff. The Pinners staff were so kind and helpful.  It was such a fun event and I can't wait to attend next year.

Disclaimer: I am not associated with Pinners. I purchased my tickets and kits with my own hard earned cash.  These opinions are my own and may vary from someone else. 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Whimsy Planner Meetup Review

I have attended a lot of meet ups over the last three years and the Whimsy Planner Meetups in Carlsbad, California are one of my favorites to attend because they usually include a tutorial/ project, a cute handmade gift tag that can be used for my memory book, a snack, beverages and use of the crafting equipment that Michelle sets up for us to use.

If you haven't experience a "Whimsy Planner Meetup"  by Michelle Ledesma Hill, you have been missing out.  Michelle currently charges $10 for her meet ups.

This fee includes the use of planner and crafting tools, a DIY Project, and more.

She provides beverages and a snack. Everyone is encouraged to bring a some snacks to share.  I usually bring a large veggie tray with dip (from Costco) to keep me on my diet and help me avoid some of the fabulous sweet treats that are usually there.
The cool shimmery travelers notebooks are made by 
Of course, everyone brings their planners to work on. It is pretty cool to see the various types of planners that people use.  Travelers Notebooks with monthly and weekly inserts are getting more and more popular.  I took my Leather Quill Travelers Notebook which holds both my water color supplies and my weekly insert so I could work on both.

During each meet up, Michelle offers a fun DIY project that is themed in accordance to which ever holiday may be coming up.  The last one I attended was just before St. Patricks day (March 2018), so ours had a very green theme.  Michelle also made us each a really cute name tag which you can see in the photo below.

There is also the usual gift exchange with the value depending on the limit set by Michelle.  In addition to the the gift exchange, there is usually a swap.  If you have never attended a planner meet up, they usually hold swaps which are items that vary in value.  Most attendees make their swaps  which can be pins, pens, stickers and planner clips.   I like to have a variety of items to swap, because I do tend to run into the same people at these events and want to swap items that they do not already have.  For  the last swap I offered a choice of charms, felt planner clips or a fun travelers notebook dangle. I enjoy collecting the swap items I receive because I have found that they can be unique, as well as functional.  There are so many creative people who are into planner meet ups so the type of items swapped can truly vary. Below is a sample of some of the swap items I received.

The other reason to attend the planner meet ups is that I find that I meet some of the nicest people.

It is also fun to see all the different planners and their uses.  I have one friend who had a planner that
she uses only to plan sewing projects.  It is pretty cool how she lays out her projects.  Another friend uses her planner for budget planning and grocery shopping.  Her planner is an insert because she likes to switch them out each month to keep it from getting too thick.  The "Whimsy Planner Meet Up" is a lot of fun and located in Carlsbad California (very near the outlets).

The price of each of the planner meet-up is incredibly reasonable  at $10.  It is a very casual atmosphere and they are held in an outdoor tent so there is plenty of room for everyone to layout out their planning supplies and work on their planners.

It is also a fun way to meet new people.

Note: I learned a great lesson at this particular meet up from an established artist.  I tend to bring too much stuff (supplies) and always end up not using them.  She explained the best way to get stuff accomplish is to set small goals.  She was right. Now I think about what I want to work on and bring only the supplies needed to do that.  I found that I am taking a lot less supplies with me to these meet-ups and getting more accomplished.  I still find time to meet new people and chat.  Also, I am not sponsored nor associated with Whimsy or Polkadot Studios.  I just love her "Whimsy Planner Meet ups" and the "Whimsy Weekend" crafting weekends.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My review of the Wind Chime Studio Stencils and Tutorial

The "Wind Chime Studio" stencils are made of 7 mil thick plastic that is perfect for a variety of crafts which include card making, painting, decorating planners, and airbrushing.  The plastic is see-through which makes it easy to work with.  The plastic stencils are also very flexible which makes it perfect for using them to  airbrush makeup.  Nancy Ibsen, the owner of Wind Chime Studio,  sent me a couple to test out and see if they would work for my particular projects.

Test 1 - Koi Fish Painting:

The first stencil I tested was the Two Part Koi Fish Stencil.  The outline stencil offers the outline and the actual Koi fish cut out which can be used as a mask for various painting techniques. Part 2 of the stencil set is the Koi fish detail stencil.  Nancy Ibsen, the owner of Wind Chime Studio has included two square registrations on the plastic stencils that can be used to properly line up the detail stencil over the Koi Fish outline stencil.  If you look that the photo below, you can see the two registration squares.
The two alignment squares before lining up.

You just have to line them both up, so that one is perfectly matched up to the other (see photo below).  Then tape them down so that they do not move.
The squares should be perfectly aligned before using the detail stencil.
Koi Fish Painting Tutorial


  • Canvas
  • Bright colored paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Stencil Tape
  • Koi Fish Stencil and the "Botanical Stencil"
  • Black Pigma Ink Brush Pen
  • Glitter glue or glitter gel pens

Step 1:
Take the cut-out part of the two part Koi Fish stencil (you will find the fish inside the outline stencil or it might be lose in your package).  Tape down the Koi fish cut-out and paint around it.  I used removable tape on one side of the fish to hold it in place.  If you don't have removable adhesive, you can always just hold it in place while painting around it.  This step allowed me to have a clean white base to make sure the Koi Fish colors were not mixed with the outer colors.  One you finish painting around the stencil, remove the cut out before the paint dries to avoid streaking the paint.

Step 2:
Tape down the outline stencil. Paint the Koi fish with some peach and orange paint to create the Koi Fish base color (or use any color you like).  Allow the paint to dry before you do step 3.

Step 3:
Take the detail stencil and place it on top of the outline stencil.  Once you line up the registrations, tape the stencil down to keep it from moving.  Use a darker color paint to add the detail to the Koi Fish.  Remove the stencils and allow the paint to dry. Don't forget to clean the stencils.

Step 4:
Add more details to the picture by using the "Botanical Art Nouveau Stencil".  This is a single stencil so you don't need to worry about lining up any of the registrations.  Just decided where you want the plants to be and tape it down before painting.  Once you finish painting the plants, remove the stencils and allow the paint to dry.

Step 5:
Add any additional detail you may want to the painting.  I decided to out line the flowers with colored markers.  I also added some glitter glue to parts of the fish to make it look more dimensional.

Hobonichi Weeks decorated with the Cherry Blossom Stencil

Test 2 - Planner Decorating:

I use a Hobonichi planner which is made of Tomoe River paper.  The Tomoe River paper is 52 gsm which is great for Fountain Pens but can be tricky when using stickers.  The planner I used last year got pretty thick from all the stickers and washi tape I added to it. Since then,  I have been searching for a way to decorate the pages without adding so much bulk.  I was interested to see if I could add designs and color into my Hobonichi planners without the added bulk by using the Wind Chime Studio stencils in my Hobonichi Weeks planner.  I decided to test the "Cherry Blossoms" stencil from the Wind Chime Studio collection".

I taped the Cherry Blossom stencil down using stencil tape.  Since the paper on my Hobonichi is so thin, I removed some of the adhesive from the tape by putting it on my hands then removing it.  The oil from my skin made the tape less sticky and less likely to tear the Tomoe River paper.

I used the Tim Holtz Ranger Distress Inks and the blending tool to blend the color onto the paper. I wanted to be able to write over the design, so I decided to stick to light colors.  I began to add the Tim Holtz Ranger Distress inks one at a time.   Since the stencil is so thin, the application went smoothly.  I love how I was able to achieve these results.

After I had stenciled on the inks, I added some details using the Sakura Pigma Micron Ink Pens.  I love how they came out.  I could have left the flowers as they were without the black ink outlines and it would have been great too.  By not adding dark colored inks, I did not lose any writing space on my pages.  I use the Hobonichi Weeks, the Hobonichi Techo, and the Jibun Techo which all have the same wonderful thin paper.  I love that I will be able to use this stencil line in all of them and be able to decorate them without losing writing space nor making the pages too thick.

My daughter demonstrating make-up airbrushing techniques to other students.

Test 3 - Air Brushing Make Up:
My daughter has done school events where she needed to air brush a lot of kids in a short period of time. She always needs an assortment easy to use stencils that allow her to cover a large area of the forehead or face.  We decided to test out the "Milky Way Stars" stencil and see how well it would work for these type of events.  Since the plastic that these stencils are made from are fairly thin, this makes them very flexible.  She was able to bend them to use for airbrushing makeup onto skin.

Since she usually has so many kids to do, she tends to stick to one color per person.  Then after airbrushing the makeup on, she usually accents the design with some glitter (specially made for using in make up applications).  She used the "Milky Way Stars" stencil for a onstage demonstration at school and she found that this stencil worked great for her.

Nancy Ibsen sent me a note to let me know that she will be creating some smaller stencils that will be easier to use for airbrushing makeup.  We enjoy applying fantasy makeup (fairies, witches, etc) for Halloween and Comic Con and stencils make it so easy to do various effects with the airbrush. I can't wait to see what new airbrushed makeup stencils she releases.  Makeup stencils can be expensive and I found the prices at the Wind Chime Studio Etsy store to be really reasonable.   If you are interested in seeing more of her designs, you can find her at

Note:   I was not paid to do this review.  Nancy Ibsen sent me some of her stencils for me to test out and review.