Out the back door

Floral inspiration today but not the stamped and painted kind. I thought I would give you a glimpse of my backyard garden. I am not a knowledgeable or careful gardener but after years of working and learning the half circle garden is thriving and blooming.

I am not the only one who has put time into this garden. For the last couple of years my daughter has spurred me on by spending hours weeding and mulching. During past visits my dad has done plenty of digging and weeding also.

Several friends with expertise have guided me along the way.

It’s not fancy but it is pretty. My mother, an avid gardener would be surprised but pleased so see how much time I spend on this pastime.


Vintage Style Bookshelf + Video

This isn’t my first time stamping books with Darkroom Door stamps. This time I filmed the process so you could see how I made them look all old and vintagey!

The fun thing about the Darkroom Door ‘bookshelf’ stamp is its length (just under 12″) so I decided to wrap it around my cards for maximum effect. I worked on two cards at the same time giving them slightly different paint jobs and background finishing touches. Watch the video to see my process.

Because I inked the bookshelf stamp randomly the colours moved where they willed and left me with a mix of blues and browns. This second card has some extra scratches from the DD stamp of the same name.

The insides of the cards have random paint splotches here and there so I added paper inserts for a clean place to write a note. Now that I have made a wraparound card with this border stamp I might have to try it with the other DD one I own, ‘butterfly garden‘.

Thank you so much for your interest and discussion about the gel printing I shared last week. I really enjoyed the gel printing session which resulted in my last two videos and turning a few of the prints into cards and a journal page was very satisfying. Several of you mentioned wanting to get your gel plate out to try the techniques; I hope you do. I also hope you try this brown and blue vintage style on some of your own stamped projects. If you do be sure to let me know.

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Enjoy the Journey Journal page

This week I have shared a gel plate video and a series of cards made with prints and leftovers from that gel printing session. If you look closely at this journal page you will see a couple more prints put to use.

The Darkroom Door set, Nomad, recently arrived in my mailbox and the main reason I chose it was the pile of suitcases. I own one old suitcase which belonged to my grandmother; it houses the ‘dress up’ collection. It is not unlike the third one in the left hand stack. The stamp set also has a single suitcase, some passport stamps and two sentiments, one included on this page.

To add even more vintage-ness to the vintage suitcases I stamped them on a grid and striped prints from the gel printing session. I used corrugated cardboard to make the patterns on the gel plate originally. I stamped the suitcases in archival inks then added extra colour with distress inks and gel pens. To create the background I smooshed blueprint sketch distress inks on a piece of acetate, spritzed water over the ink then transferred it to the masked journal pages. With the blue protected I blended a brown base, also with distress inks. Over the top of the inking I added some impressions with the DD world map and scratches background stamps. To balance the suitcases I added the vintage car and sentiment on the right hand side.

Maybe these pages came from my longing to be out and about seeing new and old places, or a longing to be poking around antique and thrift stores. The latter will probably happen before the former.

Are you longing for a trip somewhere? Are you thinking near or far?

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Landscapes from leftovers

In my recent gel printing video I kept a piece of heavy weight paper off to the side for cleaning my brayer. I turned it around half way through the printing session so it ended up browns on one side and blue/grey/yellow on the other.

The colour and texture was too yummy to waste so I cut two rectangles which both spanned the centre or ‘horizon’ line of the large sheet. Because the panel above has a dark sky I punched a circle moon from another area and made it a night scene with the addition of black silhouette trees die-cut with the PB ‘into the woods’ die.

Not only is there plenty of visual texture in these panels the brayered paper is also very rough to touch. There is no trick to making these papers; I definitely don’t keep the clean up sheets every time but I find if I work with the same colours for a while and flip the sheet around when it has plenty of paint on it the combination of colour and texture can be beautiful.

The second card is more of a late afternoon scene. The colour of the sun is similar to what we saw two days ago when the sky was hazy due to bushfires in northwestern Ontario.

The trees blend into the landscape somewhat as there is not a lot of contrast between the die cuts and the base. I used the PB ‘tall trees’ dies and cut them from the left over edges of the panel.

This is not the first time I’ve used scraps and scratch paper for cards and journal pages. This cityscape is made from gel printing masks and two of these cards are from a clean up sheet. Today I glued a large ‘clean up’ sheet into my art journal as a background for a future page. I don’t know what to do with it yet but I liked it too much to toss it away.

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Gel print backgrounds – stripes and grid

Yesterday I posted a gel printing video where I used both an egg carton and a piece of corrugated cardboard to add texture to my prints. I used a couple of the corrugated cardboard prints to make today’s cards.

You can see how I printed this panel in the video. To turn it into a card I used a couple of new stamps from Penny Black. I stamped the mountain stamp five times in browns and blue then inked the rushes with a brown and a blue ink. I love the way it looks like a sunset or sunrise because of the background print. It wasn’t something I tried to create but a possibility I saw when looking at the prints.

The print below was made with the same piece of corrugated cardboard pressed down on the gel press twice to create a grid pattern. You can see the process in yesterday’s video. I decided to stamp flowers on it as an experiment. I knew it might be too much pattern but I wanted to try. I stamped and embossed the Penny Black ‘companions’ stamp in versafine clair nocturne ink and it looked bold just as an outline.

By painting inside the flowers I was able to separate them from the background enough to make them a feature not a competitor with the very busy grid pattern. I used a couple of layers of pearlescent paint on the flowers but quite diluted pearlescent black on the leaves and jug.

Tell me what ‘recycled’ items you have used for gel printing. I am keen to print with ‘all the things’! To be honest gel printing is top of my list of techniques right now. I hope you enjoyed the two recent gel printing videos. I will definitely make more. Tomorrow I have a couple of cards made from the piece of cardstock I used to clean my brayer. I showed a glimpse of it at the end of the video.

See you soon.

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Gel Printing with recycled cardboard

I posted a video last week featuring gel prints with stencils. In today’s technique video I use cardboard found at home. One piece was the packaging for eggs and the other a piece of corrugated cardboard.

The huge snowballs falling in the card above were printed using the large circles on the egg carton. I could have done more on the gel plate with extra colour or texture but I kept it simple which works well behind the more intricate sleigh. You can see my process in the video below.

The card below also features a gel print background made with an egg carton but I pulled two prints on the one panel both with green and white paint and egg carton circles.

The card below also features a gel print background made with an egg carton but I pulled two prints on the one panel both with green and white paint and egg carton circles. I stamped leaves from the Darkroom Door stamp set, ‘carved leaves vol 1’ over the bokeh-like circle background. To get the right tones of green in the stamping I used both shady lane and rain forest versafine clair inks one over the top of the other. The sentiment is from the ‘happy birthday’ sentiment strip.

In the video I also made prints with a piece of corrugated cardboard pressing it down on the gel press once for a striped pattern and twice for a grid pattern. I’ve turned a couple of those prints into cards which will be on the blog tomorrow. I hope you try gel printing with some recycling you find at your place. See you soon.

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Fine Flowers

I put some new inks and stamps to work on this card. The flower is from the Darkroom Door set, Fine Flowers vol 2 designed by my friend Godelieve (Stamping Matilda). There are six flowers in the set so this is just the beginning of the fun.

The background colour is a newish ink, speckled egg distress. I splattered masking fluid on a piece of water colour paper, smooshed speckled egg on a glass mat then added water before pressing the watercolour panel into the ink to create soft blurry blue smudges. The flowers are stamped with another new distress ink, crackling campfire. It stamps as a warm red but dilutes to more of an orange as you can see on the petals. I stamped the flowers one at a time and blended the stamped ink to fill the petals. I inked the centres with a black soot marker which blurred into the orange. To make the centres more prominent I drew dots and squiggles with a black embossing pen then embossed in black powder.

Before adding the embossed sentiment from DD ‘you are everything’ set I splattered speckled egg ink and also some water. At the risk of over dotting I also added white and black with gel pens. The stamp has its own little dots around it so adding a few more seemed fitting.

This watercolour technique is one featured in my Floral Faves online class and the colour choice is covered in my Colour Clues class. Both classes are self paced and filled with instructional videos and photo inspiration.

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Winter Garden art journal page

It’s been a while since I worked in my book themed art journal. As I looked over a table covered in gel prints I settled on two blue ones filled with pattern and paint. Both were on rice paper and sized 6″x6″ which is not big enough to cover the whole journal page. I decided to tear a rough edge on the bottom and glue the panels with space above and below.

The inspiration for the page is Kristin Hannah’s novel ‘Winter Garden’. I used Darkroom Door floral stamps to decorated the gel prints with blue flowers then added more stamping to the blue area and the white space at the bottom of the page.

Picking from a few themes in the book I stamped trees to represent the orchard, a suitcase to represent the escape from Leningrad, books from the library where the main character worked. I also used number, correspondence and snowflake stamps to complete the collage.

I am always in two minds about adding words to my pages and this time was no exception. Rather than a quote I just added the name of the novel and author. I used pigment and archival inks for all the stamping, white gesso around the edges and white ink and embossing powder to add the snowflake borders.

Have you read any Kristin Hannah? My book club considers ‘The Nightingale’ our best choice so far! We are always searching for good book club reads; if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments.

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Gel Printing with stencils + video

In recent gel printing sessions I have used some of my intricate stencils from Paper Rose Studio. This stencil, ‘little swirls‘ makes a particularly beautiful background. I’ve been printing on a 6″x6″ gel plate with a 6″x6″ stencil but I cut the print down to make a 4¼” x 5½” card.

I used stamps from Darkroom Door’s nature walk , butterflies and happy birthday sets. (all linked at the end of the post). The process for making this type of print is shown in the video below.

After any gel printing session I usually have quite a pile of prints, some become cards but I am hoping to use more in my art journal. I have to be a bit more adventurous in tearing and layering and turning them into more than just a patterned print.

The making of the background above is included in the video. To turn it into a birthday card I stamped ‘have fun’ directly on the print then popped up a sentiment strip on top. The words are stamped in Gina K obsidian amalgam ink using the Pink Fresh Studio ‘Heather’ lowercase alphabet set.

The making of the background below is also part of the video and you can see the mustard paint beaded on the surface of the gel plate making an allover pattern when printed. I didn’t necessarily want the beading but was happy when it ended up uniform. Paints of different brands perform differently on the gel press so experimentation is necessary to work out how much paint and which brands will give you the results you want.

I turned this background into another birthday card by embossing a car from the Darkroom Door Classic Cars vol 1 set along with a sentiment from the same set plus one from the Happy Birthday set.

I also filmed some gel printing with a few textured surfaces from the recycling box; I’ll be sharing that video soon.

I’d love to hear how you use your gel prints; I’m always open to ideas.

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Puppy’s Quilt in Pencil

More pencil on kraft cardstock, this time Faber Castell polychromos pencils and a black stamped image from the Colorado Craft Company. My first card with this stamp, ‘puppy’s quilt‘ featured watercolour and lots of blue. This time I have included more white which is always eye catching on kraft along with blue, green and burgandy.

A bonus when colouring an animal on kraft cardstock is using the light brown of the kraft as a colour in the fur or feathers. I have coloured the dog with white and grey but there are light tan areas that show through the shading.

I used archival jet black ink for the outline stamping, I like the way it dries quickly before I have a chance to smudge it! Having used both the inktense and the polychromos pencils on kraft I think I would say the inktense are a little brighter and chalkier, the polychromos more muted and creamier. Not sure how helpful that comparison is but you can compare the two looks if you go back to Monday’s floral card.

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