See you soon

Just popping in with a couple of cards carrying a couple of messages for you. I hope your new year is off to a good start; I am still enjoying the beauty of an array of Christmas cards sent from around the world, thank you my creative friends for brightening up the midwinter days.

I made today’s cards from a gel printed panel done several months ago. I can’t remember the paints but you can see there was definitely orange, aqua and black. The panel I cut up is shown below, most of it included distinct or faint stars made with the Darkroom Door small starry night stencil. Along one edge there were two very distinct feather prints made with real feathers.

I ended up cutting a square which included one feather, leaving me one for another project. I also cut a rectangle covered in colour and texture which became the base for die cut letters and stars. I chose gold cardstock and gold embossing powder to add some brightness and shimmer on top of the dark background featuring a ‘scripted bold sentiments’ stamp from Pinkfresh Studio, alphabet dies from MFT and nesting star dies from We R Memory Keepers. I popped up the letters and the stars on black foam which kind of makes them appear to be floating.

I wanted to let you know I am taking a short blogging break so I can devote some time to planning and prep. I will be working on projects to share with you over the coming months. Ideally I would have done this before I stopped for Christmas but that didn’t happen so I’m doing it over the next week or so. I have lovely ideas and projects floating round in my head, I have a little stash of stencils and stamps that haven’t been out of their packets and some new release products from Penny Black on the way.

It has been a while since I devoted time to gel printing, alcohol inks, stenciling and lettering so that’s on the list along with some more hand painting. I will be making some videos to share here on my blog and youtube channel. I have a new online class in the works also. So you see while it’s quiet on the blog it will be busy behind the scenes.

As always I am happy to answer questions and I’m open to requests or suggestions for new projects and videos. If you feel like diving into one of my online classes just click on COLOUR CLUES or WINTER WONDER to learn more. (Here is a discount code for COLOUR CLUES which will take 20% of the price until January 15, 2021 HTNY21 )

So take care everyone, I’m looking forward to sharing techniques and experiments, cards, journal pages, paintings and more here on the blog during 2021. See you soon…

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Reading Year journal page

I know 2020 was a very different year from what any of us imagined but I hope you are able to look back on it and see some new habits or achievements that please and encourage you. I’ve always been a reader but I have to admit I spent more time immersed in stories this year. I read physical books, listened to many audio books as I worked on art and in the last week read e-books on my new e-reader. I was hoping to reach 100 books but fell a little short with a total of 93 and three currently on the go.

It is highly possible that I had years as a child when I read more than 93 but I don’t know; I didn’t keep a record. I have this year’s books written in a bullet journal but I decided to record them on an art journal page as well. This is the second book filled spread in my art journal and who knows, there may be more.

I love the book spines stamp from Darkroom Door and this time stamped it across the pages instead of in piles. After I had coloured all the book spines with watercolour markers and pearlescent paints I drew a shelf underneath and then stamped the DD woodgrain stamp above and below the shelf of books in grey and brown distress inks. I added a few titles to book spines with gel pens then used a scribbly script to fill the surrounding area with all the rest of the books. It soon became apparent that there would not be room for author names so I just did book titles. Once I had filled the space I had to squeeze the last few in between lines. I splattered some black soot distress ink over the page before removing the masking tape and adding the hand lettered title.

I read mysteries, war novels, crime novels, literary fiction, comedy, romance, historical fiction and a thriller. There were books I didn’t care to finish so they are not on the list and there were a handful I read twice. I read several series; I do like a good series and I took pains to try and have them arrive in my library holds in the right order or close to it.

The book club I belong to did manage to meet this year, once indoors before the pandemic started then two more times, outdoors around a picnic table then, in late October, around a bonfire. We discussed ‘Where the Crawdad’s Sing’, ‘Small Great Things’, ‘The Lager Queen of Minnesota’ and ‘The River’. If you know of some good ‘book club books’ please let me know in the comments below. I have received helpful recommendations from you before which I’m looking forward to reading in 2021.

Happy New Year!

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2020’s favourite posts

I looked through the stats for 2020 to see which posts were viewed the most. It is not necessarily an accurate indicator of favourites but it is fun to look back and see what appealed. I’ve included a link to the original post next to every photo. I’m featuring only cards I made and posted this year. Here they are in no particular order.

Back in January I used Darkroom Door stencils as a guide to paint watercolour backgrounds for silhouette stamping with DD stamps.

In February as I was preparing to teach a class using pearlescent paints on black watercolour paper I created this embossed and painted card. The class didn’t happen but the plan is still in my mind for either an online or in-person class hopefully some time in 2021.

This card and the next favourite feature the same Penny Black stamp and no-line watercolour technique. I used distress inks and markers for the watercolouring on this one.

Same stamp as shown above, Unforgettable from Penny Black but this time watercoloured with Arteza real brush pens.

This lilac card along with three other colour schemes featured the ‘lovely lilacs‘ stamp from Penny Black and there is a video tutorial as well.

Another video post once again with Arteza watercolour brush pens this time with Penny Black’s nature’s glory stamp.

Now this one is a little different, pencil colouring on kraft cardstock, again with a video. 2020 has definitely seen me create the most videos!

This one is also one of my favourites so it is nice to see it as a reader favourite too. It is the second post in the top ten to feature the lovely lilacs stamp from PB.

I’m happy to see one of my hand painted pieces in the favourites. This is a brusho & cling wrap painting I did after watching a CeeCee Creations video.

Another video post made the top ten, this one featuring die cut distress oxide painted leaves. This is the only one not featuring flowers.

This one just missed out on the top ten so I’m adding it here at the end because I think it might be my favourite of the year. It’s a brusho and cling wrap panels that made me think of hydrangeas so I turned the random patterns into massed flowers.

Thank you for dropping it to read my posts this year. I love sharing the details of my cards, journal pages and creative adventures. In a year when face to face interactions have been limited I have been encouraged over and over by the comments and conversations here on my blog.

It has been my best year ever for producing you tube videos and also the year I fulfilled a long time dream of producing online classes. Again thank you for your support in those endeavours.

I’m looking forward to sharing more creative pursuits on the blog with you in 2021, there will be watercolour and stamping (of course!) but also alcohol ink art, gel printing, lettering and journaling. I hope you are safe and well where you are and pray that 2021 will be a year of health and happiness for you.


Pretty fantastic

Children’s cards are something of a rarity for me but this one ended up being so much fun I might try them more often. I’ve had this gold embossed giraffe image sitting round for a while. The stamp, from Pink Ink Designs is called ‘giraffe’, no surprises there! It’s a large stamp so I cropped a bit of the neck off so it would fit on a 6×6 card.

I used Staedtler watercolour markers and papertrey ink cubes to watercolour the giraffe and the amethyst ink cube for the blended background. I decided on the stencil background after I’d finished watercolouring the giraffe so I cut a giraffe shaped mask and positioned it over the giraffe while I used blending brushes and the Paper Rose studio ‘fragments’ stencil.

The giraffe stamp set comes with a pair of glasses stamp but I went bigger and sparklier with a die cut from Penny Black. I embossed the purple glasses in clear sparkle powder first then clear gloss ultra high to seal the sparkle and make them shiny. The sentiment is from the PB set ‘perspective’. Pink Ink Designs has some beautiful big animal and fantasy stamps. They totally captured my imagination when I saw them. I’ve already shared a card with the dragon stamp and have one with a sea turtle still to come. Not my usual themes that’s for sure.

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Shimmer trees

The pearlescent paints and black watercolour paper are still on my work table so I’ve continued to experiment with them. To create this little scene I taped all four sides of a square panel with painter’s tape to mask off the area in the centre. The surface of the black watercolour paper is very soft and likely to lift when tape is removed so I press the tape against my clothing before using it so it is less tacky and when it comes to removal I heat it with a heat tool as I slowly peel it off.

I painted the snowy ground and circle moon first with silver pearl from the Finetec Artist Mica set of 12, then the foliage of the trees with blue green, moss green and midnight blue from the Coliro Ocean set of 6. The tree trunks are chocolate from the Coliro Earth set. I finished by dotting stars over the sky with Sakura gelly roll pens then wrote the words ‘thank you’ with a very fine nib and the same moss green pearlescent paint.

I hope you are having a relaxing few days as the year winds down. We are back in lockdown in Ontario so life is very quiet; I’m continuing to get the word out about the Dressember Campaign. My fundraising total has grown to $1962.10 and tomorrow, December 29 is a matching day, so if you’d like to donate, tomorrow is a great day to do it. Donations in Canada will be matched up to $50, 000 starting at 9am PT on Tuesday Dec 29.

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Pearlescent wreath

I remembered after watching Kristina Werner’s final holiday card series video that I hadn’t done anything Christmassy with my black watercolour paper and pearlescent paints. Also it’s been a while since I hand painted anything.

This simple wreath was painted with pearlescent paints from two Coliro sets, ‘earth’ and ‘ocean’. I began by tracing round the inside of a roll of tape with a white pencil to give myself a circle guide. I painted leaf shapes in bluegreen, Tibet gold, bronze and red from the two sets then drew tiny stems and berries with a gold gel pen.

I had some red pearlescent cardstock from Crop A While which matched the paint exactly and I’m also going to paint some leaves on a black envelope before I send this card out to a Dressember donor. Thank you for keeping the fundraising total growing. The total is now passed my original goal of $1500 and I am hoping to get to $2000! We did a little more magic editing earlier this week to keep the campaign interesting! Check it out on IG or pinterest

God bless you all this Christmas and thank you for your support and kindness through this year. Connecting with you here on the blog has been a highlight for me when most interactions have not been possible. Take care everyone.

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No-line Watercolour with Karin brushmarkers

I’m happy to be teaming up with the Foiled Fox again to bring you some more Karin brushmarker experimenting, this time I put them to work on no-line watercolour. I was pretty sure they would do a good job and I wasn’t disappointed. I also discovered that Papertrey Ink’s ‘soft stone‘ ink works well as a base stamping ink for no-line watercolour. To begin I stamped the same Penny Black poinsettia poem stamp on two pieces of hot pressed watercolour paper. On the design above I used only three Karin brush markers (red 209, teal 377 and henna 105) When colouring the leaves I inverted the red marker tip to tip with the teal before colouring to create the more browny green you see on the leaves.

I painted the petals one by one as is usually the case with no-line watercolour and I used the Red 209 marker. I used a slightly different methods for each card. On the above panel I barely touched the marker to the paper in each petal then blended the ink with water to fill the petal. On the panel below I painted a petal with water first then added a dot or two from the marker which flowed into the wet area. The effect is similar but the petals are paler where I applied water first and marker second.

On the second card I used magenta 170, lush green 228 and sepia 074. Once again I did a bit of tip to tip colour blending for the leaves and berries. It takes a bit of trial and error plus some scrap paper for testing to get the right mix of colour when doing the tip to tip blends. After adding ink to a marker tip the first strokes of colour will be the most intense and as you continue to apply ink to paper the intensity will decrease as the colour returns to its original tone. Make sure you visit the Foiled Fox blog where I provide even more detail about today’s projects.

I used a textured shimmer green cardstock to create a die-cut frame for the card at the top of the post. It is easy to cut a narrow frame by using two rectangle dies from the Waffleflower A2 layer dies. For the second card I used mulberry cardstock to create a co-ordinating mat and stamped with both versafine clair tulip red & chianti to stamp the sentiment in a matching colour. When I don’t have the exact ink colour for a sentiment I try a combination of two inks, something a stamp positioner makes quite straight forward. I stamped the sentiment on the first card with my beloved memento northern pine ink. The sentiments are from Penny Black sets, Christmas feeling and frozen vista.

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Bethlehem scenes with Karin brushmarkers

I’ve continued to experiment with the Karin brushmarkers from the Foiled Fox, this time using them for watercolour backgrounds. These three backgrounds feature combinations of rosewood 272, cyan 207, royal blue 045 and black 030.

I tried different methods of applying the marker to the hot pressed watercolour paper and found that to achieve smooth transitions from one colour to the next it was better to touch the markers to wet paper. It still worked applying the marker first then the water but I prefer the very soft blends made when the paper was already wet. I don’t think I will often use the markers for backgrounds as it probably uses up ink at a faster rate but little scenes like the one above did not require much application.

The tiny star was masked by die cutting a star (PB Xmas tree border set) from frog tape (painter’s tape for delicate surfaces) then positioning it firmly on the panel before painting. I stamped the manger above in versafine clair nocturne once the panel was totally dry.

To get a soft image of the Bethlehem stamp I stamped it in chipped sapphire distress ink while the background was still slightly wet. On the panel above I took a wet paint brush and painted a hill shape across the lower part of the panel waited then painted another one even lower down. I didn’t need to add any ink the paint brush just dragged ink from the Bethlehem image. I popped up each panel with two pieces of cardstock, attached it to a white luxe card base then added sentiments from the Ink to Paper Be Merry Mini set.

The current Christmas card designs are looking minimal for two reasons, I still need quite a few cards and I like simple and elegant!

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Cabin by the lake

I’ve been trying to make some smaller panels and one layer cards over the last few days as I still need quite a few cards so how exactly did this happen!? Not smaller and not quicker but definitely satisfying. I was thinking about some of the scenic cards released by Penny Black this year and wanted to combine them into new scenes. I made the left side of ‘quietude’ + ‘cosy cabin’ + 1/3 ‘tannenbaum trio’ = a cabin by a frozen lake.

I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper with masking fluid splattered on it and began by stamping the small trees and horizon from the quietude stamp in iced spruce, forest moss and chipped sapphire. I blended over the trees with a paint brush but came back to them later to do more. I stamped the cozy cabin stamp next, forest moss and chipped sapphire on the trees, hickory smoke and black soot on the cabin. I remembered to colour inside the windows with a mustard seed marker before I got carried away with blending this time so it looks cozy inside. To add more trees behind the house I made a cabin post-it mask then stamped one of the tannenbaum trio stamps twice on the right hand side of the cabin.

Before adding the sky I made sure everything was dry then positioned a frisket film circle mask over the trees. I used speckled egg distress stain to paint the sky initially then when I had covered it all dropped in some chipped sapphire. Green ink did bleed out of the stamped trees but I kept a paper towel on hand to dab it dry before it could move too far.

The lake area is mainly iced spruce and stormy sky to keep it paler and frozen looking but I added chipped sapphire and forest moss at the bottom where the lake is in shadow behind the snowbank. The snowbank looked too large and stark in the left hand corner so I stamped just the tips of the branches from the single tree in the cozy cabin set to look like a bit of foreground foliage. ( hot tip for my Ottawa people, all three sets featured on this card are listed in the Crop A While online store, just saying…)

Quick update on Dressember: my card making friends keep pushing the fundraising total higher and I am so very appreciative. As I write this it has reached $1190.25. Thank you so much. Here is a photo from day 12 as I decorate gingerbread. Decorating the gingerbread is my favourite part of the process or maybe equal first place with eating it. This first batch unfortunately spread while baking to such an extent that the tree and mitten shapes were unrecognizable so the decorating was the only clue to what they were meant to be!

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Shimmer on grey

I saw a beautiful card by Dawn Wolesagle featuring shimmer paint on a dark grey base and decided to try my own. I know mine do not have the impact of Dawn’s card but I like the simplicity of design and colour on these one layer cards. I’m going to try the technique again with an even darker background.

I used the textured grey luxe cardstock from the Foiled Fox and combined outline stamps from the Penny Black set {heart Christmas} to make a design with versafine clair nocturne ink.

I painted the leaves in moss green pearlescent paint from the Coliro ocean set and the flowers with rose from the vintage set then switched to gel pens to fill the berries with gold and dot white around the designs.

The sentiments are both from the Penny Black merry up set stamped in Brutus Monroe alabaster ink and embossed in alabaster powder.

The fundraising total on my Dressember campaign page continues to grow thanks to friends near and far including many blog readers and class participants. Thank you so much for getting involved in the fight against human trafficking. To learn more about the work being done visit the Dressember blog

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