Gel printed feathers again

Last year I did my first gel prints with feathers and I was thrilled with the detail in the prints. When I was gel printing with leaves a few months ago I did a few feather prints at the same time. It’s the same process.

The letters and word added to this feather print were cut from the same panel. I was working on my large gel plate and lifting the prints on A4 pieces of cardstock. The mustard/gold paint was over the whole print before I added dark turquoise paint to one end as I printed feathers.

I cut the letters for the word ‘sending’ with the ‘Heather lowercase’ dies from Pinkfresh studio. There are capital letter dies in the same style and co-ordinating stamps for both lower and upper case but I just bought the lowercase dies. Buying alphabet dies or stamps is quite the investment so I worked out what I would get the most use from and it was these pretty letter dies. I am way more likely to make words with all lowercase than with all caps. After I had ordered the dies I realised they were all double dies in that they cut a very narrow border around every letter which gives you a bonus delicate die cut letter which can be used as a border for the solid letter. Maybe you know all this but I was pretty happy to get double the letter fun.

I cut all the letters for the word ‘sending’ and arranged them on top of the feather panel but they did not stand out enough until I cut the same letters from shimmer gold cardstock so I could give each one the narrow border. I added double sided adhesive to the back before cutting the letters so it would be easy to attach them to the panel. I cut the word love from a teal section of the printed panel twice and layered them to make them stand out a bit more, the die is from the Pinkfresh phrase builder ‘sending’ set.

I’m very keen to get out my gel plates again but my to do list has other things on it right now. It’s fun to have a stack of prints to put to use in the interim.

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Christmas Bush

Christmas Bush is a both a plant that grows in Australia and a new stamp set from Darkroom Door. This is my first project featuring the set but there will be more. I’m not sure if my parents ever had a Christmas Bush in their garden; I don’t remember one in any of my own gardens. I have just read about the plant and apparently it has white flowers which are not that prominent but the sepals grow large and red and they provide the drama.

I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper that I’d splattered earlier with masking fluid. I wasn’t wanting the look of snow; I know the Christmas bush blooms in summer. I wanted the white splatter to add some texture and variation to the design. I started by stamping one of the large sprays of flowers on the panel with plenty of water spritzed on both paper and stamp so it diluted and bled into the surrounding area. Once the background dried I stamped the flowers several times in festive berries and peeled paint distress inks.

Rather than mat the panel I used two Waffleflower A2 layer dies taped together to cut a narrow frame from red cardstock then embossed a sentiment from the ‘Christmas Bush’ set on the same cardstock.

I must admit it was the floral silhouettes that first drew me to this stamp set not the plan of making Christmas cards. Now that I have made one with the bold contrast of red and green I will be designing some more. My dad usually asks me if I’m going to make some Australian Christmas cards because I tend to make many wintery looking ones. Here is my first one for 2020 and it has an Australian theme, so that’s a good start.

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Blossom birthday

Even as my flowers fade and disappear I am still inspired to make floral cards. I’ve teamed up with the Foiled Fox today to share a blog post here and over there. If you are looking for all the creative process details pop over to the Foiled Fox blog. Today’s card features the C&9 ‘all the birthdays’ set again. It has only been in my house a week or so and already it has helped me out several times. Having one set with at least ten different ways to stamp happy birthday is a winner. There are probably more than 20 combinations when you look at all the separate word stamps and single letters in the set.

I wanted to combine a background image with a sentiment and ended creating my own background by repeat stamping with two stamps from the Concord & 9th ‘meadow blossoms’ set. Before heating the panel I stamped the word HAPPY from the new C&9 ‘all the birthdays’ set. I embossed with copper powder then coloured with ink from Papertrey ink cubes. The ink cubes are very juicy so I often smoosh them on my glass mat then pick up ink with a paint brush.

I filled the background with a grey zig clean color real brush pen and blended it with water. To complete the card I matted with with the dark blue cardstock I keep reaching for and finished the sentiment on a strip of the same blue. Having this new birthday set has got my birthday card production back on track. I have no excuses for not sending out birthday cards. Thank you Foiled Fox!

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Autumn lanterns

I have some dried Chinese lanterns in the corner of my workroom. They are lasting well, I’ve had them at least seven years, probably longer. A few have broken or fallen off the stems and the colour has faded so they are not the deep orange you see in the image on my card. I used Penny Black’s ‘flower lanterns’, ‘fragile beauty’ and ‘script background’ stamps to create this panel.

Just to mix things up a bit I pulled out memento inks for this project. There was a time when I used memento inks on every project and they are still within reach of my work table. The ‘Morocco’ browny orange is a beautiful colour so I started with that and used potter’s clay, olive grove, bamboo leaf and espresso truffle, some inkpads, some markers. I was very happy to see the ink pads are juicy as ever.

Memento inks don’t always blend once on the watercolour paper so I blend with a spritz of water to the stamp before stamping. I also smoosh some ink on my mat and pick it up with a brush if I want to add depth to a very specific area. I added some details with a gold gel pen after I had built up the lanterns and leaves with ink.

You can see some of my favourite ‘finishing touches’ on this panel: a script stamp, splatter and ink blended edges. I added two strips of co-ordinating cardstock as a half frame then balanced them with the sentiment from PB ‘banner sentiments’.

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Blue Dragon

I’ve had this Pink Ink Designs dragon stamp for a quite a while and even started a couple of watercoloured panels with it but I was inspired to finally complete a card for an eight year old I know.

I did the stamping and embossing ages ago so I can’t remember if it is platinum or silver embossing powder. I used a mix of watercolour markers and finetec shimmer paint to colour the dragon then some distress ink to add shading and swirls to the edges. The wing is made from two stamps, the main body of the dragon plus an extra extension of wing. I have attached the extension with a little blue brad so it can fold in when the card fits goes in an envelope. I framed the design with a piece of dark blue metallic cardstock I bought from Crop A While along with matching envelopes.

I first saw this stamp at Crop A While, my local scrapbooking store and fell in love with it straight away. I remember my friend and store owner, Carole being quite surprised that I would even take a second glance at a dragon stamp and then from the same brand, a sea turtle stamp. I admit it is a bit out of character for me. The initial appeal of this dragon stamp set was to make an art journal page with it. It hasn’t happened yet but the design has been simmering in my mind for a while now.

Crop A While has an online store, curbside pick up and in-store shopping available right now and the owners, Tom and Carole are happy to help you with orders, just phone or email them.

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Enjoy

I paired the new DD ‘sketched alphabet’ with leaves again, this time from the set ‘fine leaves’ which have a hand drawn sketch style of their own.

I had left over ink on my glass mat the other day after creating a dramatic sky in greys and blues. Rather than waste the ink I swiped a piece of watercolour paper through it picking up as much as possible and spritzing with water to move the ink around. The watercolour panel already had masking fluid splattered over it hence the white dots over the finished design.

I stamped the letters first in hickory smoke archival ink then covered a couple with masks I made for a previous card before stamping leaves from the fine leaves set in iced spruce and stormy sky. I filled most of the panel with leaves and painted them with both ink colours. I added some ink splatter and then coloured the letters with a blue watercolour marker to help them stand out a bit more. I stamped one of the sentiments from the DD ‘baby sentiment set’ to complete the card. I think this one could have several uses, maybe retirement, new house, new job or the like.

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All the Birthdays

I made a short stack of birthday cards yesterday with a new Concord & 9th set, ‘All the Birthdays’. I pulled out several prints from earlier gel printing sessions and chose some which would work as panels for birthday cards.

On the card above I used ranger blue embossing powder and the card below versafine tulip red was the perfect match for my printed background.

Some were printed using the petite set A gel presses so they were already shaped as squares. Others I cut from larger prints. I used stencils and lace to make the prints and a range of acrylic paints.

One of the stamp combinations from the C&9 ‘all the birthdays’ is a pair of stamps that overlap to spell ‘happy birthday’; there are outline stamps that frame the solid letters also. That is what I used on the card below with gold and brown inks then clear embossing powder.

I also added some texture to a few of the card bases or mats with embossing folders and stencils.

The printed panel below included such pretty blues and purples I wanted to match them in the sentiment so I stamped with archival dusty concord and faded jeans then, before the ink dried embossed in clear powder.

The card below features rose gold embossing powder; it looks a little darker than expected on this panel, maybe because of the depth of colour in the print.

I really enjoyed pairing sentiments from the C&9 set with my leftover gel prints. I did have some embossing challenges though; I’m just not an embossing champion. Stray powder, over heating, underheating, even when I use a powder tool and preheat the heat tool I still make mistakes. This lot took me all afternoon but I am very happy with them and I’m pleased to have boosted my birthday card stash. Now if I can just remember to send them…

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Autumn Grove

As I mentioned last week; I’m a seasonal stamper which shows in today’s card. I’ve included some inspiration pics taken on a walk last weekend not far from where I live.

I stamped the PB ‘birches’ first in nocturne ink on hot pressed watercolour paper then embossed them in clear. I masked them with tape then, stamped PB ‘winter’s forest’ in Papertrey ‘cocoa bean’ and ‘dark chocolate’ ink then, while still in the stamp positioner stamped again with versamark ink so I could emboss in clear powder.

With all the trees embossed I started painting dabs of autumn toned inks around the trees and on the forest floor. The inks are listed below. Once I had the look of autumn leaves around the branches and scattered on the ground I used a white gel pen to draw back in the little birch branches I had accidentally painted over.

I stamped words from PB ‘family sentiments’ and cut them out with a speech balloon die which was exactly the right size. I matted the whole panel in brown then popped up the sentiment on a couple of pieces of cardstock.

The colours are lovely around here right now and there are still plenty of leaves on the trees. We had an enormous tree removed from our yard earlier in spring so it will be interesting to see if the leaf collecting is a little easier this year. We still have four big trees plus others over the fence daring to drop their leaves in our yard too!

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Loosely lined florals on black

Today’s card and video feature two products made for each other: black watercolour paper and pearlescent paint. The black background makes the already beautiful shimmery paint even more vibrant.

I chose the MFT ‘loosely line flowers’ background stamp to fill a large black square of black coldpressed watercolour paper. The paper has some texture to it but that didn’t cause any problems when I stamped and embossed this very detailed stamp.

The video shows my process making this multicoloured card using the Coliro ‘earth’ and ‘ocean’ sets of pearlescent paints. The Foiled Fox introduced me to the Coliro sets and sent some my way and I’m so glad they did. The colours are beautiful and the combinations in the sets make me happy.

When I was planning the card and video tutorial I tried the technique with only colours from the ‘ocean’ set first. The result is in the card above. I think it’s lovely but I find the contrasts in the first card are even more eye catching. If you have some black watercolour paper be sure to try it with some pearlescent or metallic paints, powders or markers. Similarly if you have some metallic or pearlescent products you are wondering what to do with, get some black watercolour paper and have some fun.

Can you believe this is my twelfth video this year? That is definitely a record for me and the year isn’t even over yet. Hope you enjoy this one.

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What should I read next?

This book themed page has been in my mind for quite a while and that little open book stamp on the right side of the spread pushed me to make it happen. All the stamps are from Darkroom Door; I used ‘mini open book’ once, ‘book spines’ several times and the ‘scratches’ background stamp for the wall behind the books.

I have three art journals on the go and this one has a literary theme. I’ve done pages inspired by books and others inspired by quotes. I have a few started but not finished and several in my head.

I taped the edges of the double page spread before doing anything; it really helps keep the book open and stable while I work, it protects the other pages from paint and ink and I think it frames the finished design really nicely.

I embossed all the books on hot pressed watercolour paper in either gold or copper powder then coloured them with markers, distress stains and distress inks smooshed on my glass mat. I really just played with techniques until I had a good selection of colours and patterns. I stuck to jewel tones featuring dark green, bright blue, red and aqua. I’ve listed all the distress inks below. I also painted over the inking on a few books with Coliro pearlescent paints so they have a bit of shimmer.

I painted the background with ‘absorbant ground’ as I usually do when I want to work with liquid inks and water then I smooshed some ‘peacock feathers and ground espresso inks on a piece of acetate, spritzed it and dragged it across the page multiple times. That gave me some abstract colour but not enough so I used distress stain sprays in the same colours. After it dried I stamped the scratches background stamp a few times in ground espresso stain. When that dried I used a piece of tape to mask edges to sponge vertical lines across the pages.

Arranging the books on the page took a little while. I cut them all out first then cut some of the groups into smaller groups to play with the layout. Once I had it settled I glued them down and started adding titles and decoration with gel pens, embossing pens and embossing powder. I wrote quite a few of my favourites on the spines, nothing particularly new even though I have read some great new books lately. I guess they just haven’t stood my test of time yet. I have some empty spines left that I will probably fill another day.

I finished by balancing that open book on one of the piles and added the name of my favourite podcast, ‘What Should I Read Next?’ I get a large chunk of my book recommendations from Anne Bogel, the host of WSIRN. I could talk about books for several more paragraphs but if you’ve made it this far you’re a champion so I’ll save the book chat for another book themed project. I think there will be a spin off card from this journal page.

Oh, and one more thing, please feel free to leave book recommendations in the comments; I’d love to hear your favourites.

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