Echinacea Journal Page

I have echinacea or cone flowers growing happily in my garden and now happily in my almost finished 6″x 6″ art journal. A friend recently gave me a great big dictionary for cutting up so I ripped out the ‘book’ page and the ‘journal’ page and used them to cover the whole double page spread before I did anything else.

There were a few words I didn’t want covered up so when I was ripping then gluing I took care to keep them exposed. The word ‘boomerang’ appeared so I didn’t cover that one up even though it has nothing to do with this journal page. I am an Aussie after all. ‘Bookish, bookmark, bookshelf, bookworm, book-club and bookend are all visible, some of them highlighted. Somewhere in the gluing I lost the word ‘journal’ but ‘journey’ is still there.

I used a black all pencil to darken the edges of the torn pieces and softened it with water. I also added white gesso over the top to mute the background a bit. I should have done those two steps in the opposite order so the gesso didn’t reactivate the pencil. I blended some tea dye or possibly antique linen ink around the edges and then wished I hadn’t, after all I don’t have to vintagefy everything!

I cut the petals, cone, and green bits from different gel prints using a photo I’d printed out to guide me with the shape. After everything was glued down I used black, white and gold gel pens to add details and metallic paints on the cone details as well. I added white and gold splatter and a mix of washi tape and gel print circles dotted around the the place.

Hope you are surrounded by books and flowers…if you like them as much as I do!

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Amaryllis Bundle

This sweet amaryllis bundle is another new stamp from Penny Black. I kept things simple using the same technique used on the pinecone poetry card.

Keeping the stamp and watercolour panel in the stamp positioner I inked the stamp with a mix of distress inks and distress markers to colour the petals, stems and twigs. I worked one colour at a time so I could wipe ink off the stamp where I didn’t want it before stamping. The petals and bow are stamped and painted with saltwater taffy ink. The stems are a mix of mowed lawn and pine needles and the twigs are vintage photo and gathered twigs.

The panel was very clean and bright when I finished it so I decided to balance the amaryllis blooms with a strip of matching cardstock on the other side and stamp the sentiment to match the twigs.

Have you ever grown amaryllis? I have received them as Christmas presents twice and I could not believe how beautiful and big they were when fully open. One appeared to have shimmery petals. One also became too top heavy to hold itself up which was a sad discovery one morning.

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Pinecone Poetry

Yes it’s the height of summer round here so must be time for some Christmas stamping! I am a seasonal stamper as you know but when the first Christmas release comes from Penny Black I try them out straight away. It gets me started on my Christmas cards and shows you the new beauties that are available.

This large stamp is called ‘pinecone poetry’ and I have stamped and painted it with distress inks. The technique is one I have talked about many times and is made easier with the use of a stamp positioner. I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper inking the pine fronds and leaves with a mix of mowed lawn, pine needles and rustic wilderness distress inks. When it was time to paint the leaves I pulled ink from the stamping and picked up smooshed ink from my glass mat.

I used the same method for the pine cone inking with three different browns to vary the tones in the finished image. The berries are candied apple (I think) with a second addition of ink to give shadow to each berry. To complete the layout I stamped extra pine fronds and blended some green around the top left corner. I splattered gold paint over the design and added a sentiment in archival vintage photo ink.

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Gardens on gel prints

Another gel print post? Yes indeed, and no apologies. If you have tried gel printing you will know it is a little addictive. Today’s post features cards stamped with Darkroom Door flowers. Some are stamped on clean up sheets, others on gel prints. A clean up sheet is thick drawing paper I keep at the right of my gel plate for rolling excess ink off my brayer. As you can see in the panels above and below I can end up with some very colourful sheets.

I stamped flowers from the DD set’ ‘fine flowers vol 2” and the ‘mesh’ texture stamp in Ciao Bella Oceania ink. The ink is a pigment ink which stamps beautifully on gel prints and dries quickly so I don’t end up smudging it.

This deep red background is also a clean up panel. I am always excited to see landscapes or skies appear in an abstract print or clean up sheet. Those two strips of white added a hint of clouds to a very bold sunset! I stamped the silhouette flowers from the DD set, wildflowers vol 2.

The last two cards are made from gel printed panels not clean up sheets but are very distressed. The print I pulled and cut up to make a couple of garden cards include plenty of distressed texture from a printing session including a little bit of text.

There was some blue in the print so I chose a co-ordinating ink to add the large grassy stamp from the DD ‘nature walk’ set. I’ve said it before it is a favourite set which I reach for again and again. I think I used versafine clair paradise ink.

I was crafting with a friend when I made these two cards and she had a tiny butterfly punch so the card below features a few co-ordinating butterflies. I haven’t seen many butterflies in my garden this year but there have been plenty of bees in the day and fireflies at night.

None of these cards have sentiments on them at this stage, I like to have blank cards on hand to use for any occasion. Thanks for dropping by today; I know it’s been quiet around here lately. I plan to be back soon with more projects and inspiration.

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Art Journal variations on a theme

The three journals featured in today’s post are getting quite full. One contains only projects completed during my art journal adventure workshops and the other two have a mix of workshop pages and other experiments and explorations. I have enjoyed art journalling for years but in the last twelve months it has captured more of my interest. Possible techniques or layouts continue to pop into my head waiting for a chance to be tried in the newer 6″x 6″ Ranger journals or the 6″x 9″ Fabriano journals I started years ago.

Sometimes I design a page especially with the art journal adventure in mind. Other times I look through the journals and decide to feature a technique, theme or mixed media material. By the time I have tried the page once or twice then completed fresh ones during the workshops I have four or five pages made with the same theme or technique. I am not keen to make the same thing more than once so I am always thinking about different ways to approach each page.

The five spreads featured today started with the one below (featured in more detail in a previous blog post). The technique remained the same for at each workshop, but the shapes, colours and layout varied from one session to the next.

Of course not only are my pages different from each other but every page in the class is unique and I am always inspired by the colour choices, additional elements and different approaches each participant takes. Inspiration abounds. Can you tell I am enjoying myself?

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Dancing on gel prints

I have a couple more cards incorporating gel prints today. This first one is made with a clean up sheet; maybe you can recognise the criss cross of brayer marks on the paper. When I stamped the PB ‘butterfly garden’ stamp over the background it was a bit too delicate to show up well. Highlighting petals and wings with a white gel pen worked to keep the design subtle but still noticeable.

I cut the gel print to fill the card front and added a sentiment from the Paper Rose Studio ‘so extra’ sentiment strips.

The gel print below has a delicate blue pattern over bronze made when the paint separates on the gel plate before you get a chance to take a print. I used a bronze print to pull the blue paint which had separated evenly over the whole plate. You can’t tell from the photo but the bronze has a metallic sheen to it.

I cut flowers from navy cardstock using the Penny Black ‘shall we dance’ die to complete a card I can use for any occasion.

The Penny Black sale continues at The Foiled Fox so if you have a wish list, take a look.

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Die-cut gel print florals

If you are thinking that’s an unusual choice of colours, patterns and textures, you’re right, but it actually makes me quite happy. This is the only layered flower die cut I have of the this type; I don’t generally do layered die cuts. It’s from Penny Black and it appealed to me because of the little buds rather than the complex flower. I know the idea of these dies is to layer in shades of the same colour going from light to dark in the layers. Instead I grabbed one of my gel printing clean up sheets which was covered in black, blue, green, pink, red and purple sections. The texture is from the brayer which I clean off on a thick sheet of paper when I’m gel printing.

In keeping with the combination of colours and texture I decided to go for an unusual background also and attached the flower and buds to a card-base embossed with the a Taylored Expressions chicken wire pattern. I won’t be surprised if you find it a bit odd but I just can’t help reaching for gel prints and this odd scrappy combo makes me smile. By the way, those little black dots in the centre, I added them myself; they aren’t part of the original die.

This second card has a bit more elegance. I used the PB ‘whisper’ die to cut flowers from a gel printed text transfer. The text is from a recipe page in a magazine so you might be able to pick out the word cinnamon if you look closely. The dark mat looks black but is actually dark blue to co-ordinate with the gel print. I’ve used the same die to cut both blooms but used only a portion on the right hand side.

Do you use layered dies? Do you blend the cardstock with inks or pick co-ordinating cardstock? Or perhaps you go for random colour combos like I did!

By the way, Foiled Fox is having a Penny Black sale, so pop over and have a browse.

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Off to School journal page

Some of you might recognise the artwork on this journal page. I have saved calendars, magazines, greeting cards and diaries over the years and now that I am creating collages and journal page spreads they are coming into their own. Quite a few years back I saw a calendar featuring covers from Good Housekeeping magazines of the 1920’s and 30’s. I thought the covers were delightful and bought two of the calendars. I enjoyed it during the year then tucked it away for future inspiration.

The calendar images are larger than the 6″x 6″ pages in the journals I am currently using so I chose a painting where I could cut out components and create a smaller scene. I cut the two children and the dog and glued them onto a collaged and painted background. I used floral paper mainly around the edges, blue paint for the background. The fence and cobble stone path were created with texture paste through a stencil. I used a few different Darkroom Door stamps to add vintage details across the page.

I did have to do more fussy cutting than I usually care to but these sweet images were worth it. Once they were glued down I used a black marker to go round the edges of the cut outs and immediately smudged the ink with my fingers or a damp brush. It’s a technique I have seen Vicky Papaioannou do many times on her journal pages. I used a white gel pen to add highlights, another trick from Vicky.

If you want to see what the original artwork by Vernon Thomas, just search good housekeeping magazine with the date I have added to the bottom left corner of my page.

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Alcohol Ink + Masks

I’ve played with stencils and alcohol inks before so it wasn’t much of a stretch to try the same with masks. Masks are basically stencils without any frame around them. The ones I used for today’s cards are homemade from Grafix white craft plastic (also known as white opaque dura-lar).

I used the Sizzix ‘artsy stems’ dies to cut flowers from craft plastic. I also used craft plastic for the alcohol ink panels. I first tried this technique when making bookmarks for a Grafix video tutorial. I used the same funky die-cuts and alcohol inks so check out the video below for the process.

One thing I really like about working with Grafix craft plastic and matt dura-lar (in the final card) is that you can emboss on it. I make sure I preheat the heat tool so I can quickly activate the embossing powder. The craft plastic doesn’t melt or warp if you keep the heat tool moving.

All the sentiments are from Darkroom Door sets (linked below) two were embossed and the other stamped with a new ink from Ciao Bella. It took a while to dry on the craft plastic but I am impressed with the solid matte look once dry.

You can see on this last card I had to come up with a way to attach the semi transparent matte dura-lar to the coloured panel underneath. I didn’t want to use tape which would show so I poked a couple of holes through both layers and sewed the panels together with some silver cord.

All the alcohol ink panels are attached to white card bases embossed with embossing folders for some subtle texture and interest.

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Herbal Thank yous

I have teamed up with the Foiled Fox again to bring you some sweet herbal die-cuts. The little stems are from Simply Graphic. The coriander stem is a single die; the thyme and the rosemary are in a pack together.

Both cards have a fairly neutral colour scheme with the contrast coming from the turquoise cardstock and the mulberry (which looks brighter in real life)

I used ink and stamping to create a ‘ribbon’ across the base of the beige panels. I masked the area then blended ink on one card and stamped text on the other.

The twine details continue the neutral theme and the panels are attached to white cardbases.

There are more details on the Foiled Fox blog and more lovely nature dies from Simply Graphic in their store. I hope you pop over and enjoy a browse in both blog and store.

Now a post including two herb themed cards would not be complete without some chit chat about my herb pots would it? I have three large galvanized tubs for my herbs and the crop is growing very well. Despite the slow start to summer I have had oodles of basil along with oregano, rosemary, parsley, lavender, sage, mint and Thai basil. I picked enough basil for a homemade pesto the other night and was very proud of myself!

Let me know if you make any favourite recipes with homegrown herbs.

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