Rustic Birthday

I’ve been creating with Darkroom Door products over the weekend including the new ‘sketched alphabet’ set. I thought the sketched letters looked a bit like pieces of wood which set me thinking about branches and leaves, which made me think of the eucalyptus leaves in the DD ‘ leaves’ set which made me want to have the letters hidden among some leaves, which led to this card.

I can tell you it wasn’t a quick card to make. A fair amount of time was taken working out how I would make the concept work. On the back of this panel there is an unfinished attempt which helped me simplify my concept a bit. I stamped all the letters I was using on masking paper and cut them out. Then I stuck them out on the watercolour panel to get the spacing right. I removed a few of the masks and stamped some leaves in faded jeans and peeled paint distress inks, just a few which would appear to be in front of the letters. I stamped the leaves then, masked them and stamped and embossed the letters with versafine vintage sepia. Once the letters were embossed it wasn’t too hard to paint around them with bundled sage and stormy sky distress stains.

Once the background was dry I masked all the letters and leaves and stamped more leaves to fill the panel. I painted all the leaves in peeled paint, faded jeans and forest moss distress inks then added some splatter. After I removed the letter masks I decided to colour them in with a brown marker to make them stand out more. I blended some faded jeans around the edges of the panel to frame the design.

I was just about finished by this point but thought some gold splatter would be nice, which it was, but that led to gold edges on one side of all the letters. There were a couple more steps in there somewhere but you get the idea and I think I would be able to do it faster a second time!

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Oxide Leaves Video

There is no denying it anymore, autumn is in the air and on the trees and definitely in the cards. This week the weather has been lovely, the sun has shone and the frost warnings have gone. Can’t complain.

I really am a seasonal stamper; I’m inspired by what is going on outside in the world. With a few exceptions, like Christmas card prep, I like to stamp what I see in the garden and surrounds. The leaves on my trees are beginning to turn, nothing spectacular yet and nothing to rake (yay) but the signs are there. I chose oxide inks to blend several three coloured panels which I then cut up into leaves. The process and chit chat is all in the video below.

After the video was completed I looked at the wreath and decided it needed some brighter pops of colour and luckily I had some enamel dots which matched exactly. I added them before taking the photos below.

I really enjoy arranging all the elements on die cut cards like the two I’ve shared today but the gluing drives me a little crazy. Sometimes I use double sided adhesive but if the die cuts are not going to be sitting flat that doesn’t really work. If you have any suggestions for attaching fiddly little die cuts please leave them in the comments; I’d love to know. You might notice I try not to include much gluing in the video because it doesn’t make for very entertaining viewing.

I hope you are surrounded by some fall beauty where you are or perhaps enjoying some spring sunshine in the southern hemisphere.

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Sunflower journal page

I’ve dones some more experimenting in my art journal with Darkroom Door stencils and stamps. As with some of my previous pages I finished and wished I done a few things differently but on the whole I was happy with the bright, happy look.

I began by taping the edges of the double page with painter’s tape which helps keep the pages flattish and creates a clean frame for the design. I painted the pages with absorbant ground in case I wanted to do some watercolour techniques then, when it was dry I painted the top of the page with dylusions pure sunshine paint and the bottom of the page with a mix of dylusions lemon zest & blue lagoon.

I blended oxide inks through the new small sun stencil to make sunflowers, the small wildflowers stencil to make stems and extra flowers and the brick stencil to fill in background. I also traced inside the flower stencil with a black gel pen to make the flowers stand out a little more.

Although I worked mainly with stencils I filled the centre of the sunflowers with texture stamps, added extra leaves around the stems with a fern stamp from the ‘leaves’ set and stamped some script along the lower edge of the page. After adding all the different textures to the centre of the sunflowers, I wished I used the ticket one on all the flowers; it really does look the cutest.

I added splatters of black and white gessos over the panel and wrote the words of the ‘Irish Blessing’ along the sunflower stems. It was the line ‘may the sun shine warm upon your face’ that I thought fitted with the page but decided to include the whole blessing.

There is a collection of fabulous new stamps and stencils in the latest Darkroom Door release so pop over and check them out. You will be seeing more of them around here over the next few weeks.

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Gel print pumpkins

Despite what the title suggests this post isn’t about gel printing, it’s about using more dies on one card than I’ve ever done before. I tend to use dies sparingly, not because I don’t like them, but because they are usually called in to highlight or frame some watercolouring. This time the dies are the feature and I used some leftover pieces of gel printed paper for the pumpkins.

On the first card I built up a background for the gel print pumpkins with a row of die cut trees and then a die cut picket fence. Each pumpkin is two layer as the original cardstock used for printing was light weight. I tried to find prints in pumpkin colours and found a couple of blue/greens, some goldy browns and a pale orange; I didn’t have a strong orange in the pile. The fact that one of the prints had stars on it was definitely a bonus.

On the second card I stacked two leaf pattern die cut panels to create a textured background then layered the pumpkins on top of that. All the background die cutting and card bases are either luxe textured white cardstock or a cheap cold pressed watercolour paper that I thought was luxe textured white until I placed them side by side and had to rearrange things a bit.

All the dies are listed and linked below and I made two messages with the same ‘golden delight’ sentiment stamp. I know I have other sentiments for thanksgiving but I can’t go past this one. For the cute little sign by the pumpkin patch I stamped one word, masked, then next word, masked and then the last one and wonder of wonders, it worked first go!

The layering and adhering of dies was a labour of love because I am just not great at the whole fiddly nature of gluing die cuts. When I imagined the card in my head it was way more intricate than either of these but it’s important to know your own limits and sometimes quit while you’re ahead!

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Falling Leaves

Falling Leaves is a new transparent set from Penny Black, part of the ‘Autumn Extraordinaire’ release. I made a random pattern with most of the little leaf stamps by embossing them on a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper. I taped the edges of my panel before I started and was able to keep a clean frame around the patterned area.

I arranged the leaves on the panel and embossed with versamark and potting soil powder. To add colour I started with just two brusho powders, gamboge and olive green sprinkled sparingly here and there over the leaves. After spritzing with water the colours started to move and fill the leaves and surrounding area but the gamboge diluted to pale orange and yellow so I added some brilliant red brusho to create a few more pops of colour. Most of the colour placement was random but I did move some around with a paintbrush.

Once the design was complete I dried it, removed the tape and cut the panel with a rectangle die. I stamped the lovely sentiment from ‘golden wreath on a banner die cut then looked at my cardstocks to choose a base colour. I ended up with a lovely metallic brown wood textured piece which worked exactly how I thought it would. Then I wondered, did I make a very similar autumn card with this cardstock last year? Yes, yes I did.

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Pumpkin Season

This lovely blue wheelbarrow filled with pumpkins is one of the new autumn products from Penny Black. It’s called ‘pumpkin season’ and I paired it with an older PB scenic stamp, ‘homeward’.

I worked on the wheelbarrow first while keeping it in my stamp positioner. I stamped the barrow in faded jeans archival ink, the base in hickory smoke archival and the pumpkins in fossilized amber archival. That gave me a base print to add to with distress inks which I could blend with water and a paintbrush. Still with the stamp in the positioner I inked different section with distress ink cubes and markers to build up the colours bit by bit. Once I was sure I didn’t have to stamp any more on the barrow I removed the panel, stamped the barrow on masking paper and masked the barrow in order to finish my scene.

With the panel back in the positioner and the barrow masked I stamped the ‘homeward’ scenic stamp over the top with ground espresso, spiced marmalade, barn door , peeled paint and wild honey inks. I blended the grass area immediately after stamping so I could extend the ground with peeled paint ink to fill the space around the wheel and base of the barrow.

I built up the colour of the tree with repeat stampings spritzed with water. Once the stamping and blending was complete I painted some shadows under the barrow with peeled paint ink and added some extra definition to the pumpkins with watercolour pencils. I blended the sky around the tree with stormy sky ink and a blending brush.

We harvested most of our tomatoes yesterday even though they are still green so now I am looking up green tomatoes recipes. The fried ones sound appealing (just like in the Fanny Flagg book) and a zucchini and green tomato relish could be good too.

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The Good Life with pumpkins

Even though I am in denial about summer ending my card making would disagree. I have seen leaves changing colour and there is a nip in the air. I’m not against autumn; I know everyone loves it, I just don’t like to see summer go! This little autumn scene combines the Penny Black stamps, ‘the good life’ and ‘pumpkin patch’.

I worked in the stamp positioner for this one and there was masking involved too. I lightly stamped just the barn first, cut a mask for the roof then stamped an extra tree behind the barn. I also painted the back field in peeled paint and wild honey before returning to the trees and barn. I used the ink, stamp & blend process to build up the scene. I made sure I didn’t stamp the fence or track leading to the barn as I was planning to stamp something in the foreground. It turned out to be pumpkins which also needed to be masked before I added the fence and track.

If you know your distress inks you could probably make some pretty accurate guesses as to the line up used on this panel. I added a bit of pencil colouring to the pumpkins and some little leaves along side them.

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Pencil Florals

These sweet and quirky flowers are from the My Favorite Things set, ‘fine line floral’. I’m sharing this card and process over on the Foiled Fox blog today and hope you will join me there.

There is a lot of fine line detail (as the name suggests) in the flower heads so they look good stamped with a detail ink. I decided to do some pencil colouring first but was able to add detail over the top with some stamping after all the colouring was done.

All three flowers are part of one stamp so I stamped in antique linen ink on kraft cardstock to do some no-line pencil colouring. I used inktense pencils which are water-soluble but can be used without water too. All the petals are coloured with a mix of white and a colour, blending the two with white to soften the transitions. I kept the panel in my stamp positioner the whole time I was colouring which made it possible to stamp the fine detail over the top. To add the fine detail I used distress markers and just shaded lightly on the stamp towards the base of the petals and at the top. I was pleasantly surprised to see how the detailed lines popped with just that extra bit of stamping.  

I did some shading around the flowers to lift them a little and then added a sentiment from the MFT ‘Anything but basic friendship’ set with some twine to match the stems.

All the bits and pieces to create this card are available in the delightful Foiled Fox online store and their blog is overflowing with inspiration. See you over there!

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Fields of Gold

This card was inspired by @jenny_illustrations a watercolour artist I follow on instagram. She painted her scene but I used a selection of Darkroom Door stamps and some wet into wet techniques.

I worked on a panel of hot pressed watercolour paper splattered with liquid frisket. I wasn’t necessarily wanting the look of snow, more the interest or vintage look of little dots over the panel. It could be snow, an early snow or a first snow but that is not something I am thinking about right now. Not for a minute am I wishing summer away, I would never do that. Summer is definitely my favourite season and it is still officially summer for another 18 days!

But back to the card. I taped it down to my glass mat which I also used as a palette where I squished my distress inks to provide me with ink to paint with. I spritzed the whole panel with water then painted weathered wood and faded jeans distress ink in the sky then tea dye and gathered twigs distress ink in the foreground. It was not meant to be gathered twigs; the lid said ‘fossilized amber’! The lid was wrong but the colour, surprisingly worked maybe even better than amber would have giving me a gradation from light to dark brown.

While the whole panel was wet I stamped the large mountain stamp from DD ‘majestic mountains’ in faded jeans ink then, after a pause, the small trees from the same set in ‘hickory smoke’ then. after a longer pause, in ‘black soot’ ink. I used a small floral stamp from DD ‘wildflowers vol 1’ to stamp and restamp flowers in the foreground, first in ‘tea dye’ then in ‘gathered twigs’. I dried the panel rather than wait and finished it off with tea dye and gathered twigs splatter.

I was pleased to see my taping sealed the edges well resulting in no leaks. I am trying a different painter’s tape so it scored points on this project. I’m not sure why but this panel needed to be a side fold card. It has a little sentiment from DD ‘nature walk’ that says ‘ walk through the wildflowers’; you might not be able to read it but the recipient will.

I’ve done very few scenic cards lately so I enjoyed the process and result. I am pondering my next online class… scenic cards or Christmas cards? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.

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No-line watercolour Magnolias -video

This is a card which changed shape and style several times before it turned into the design you see above. The watercoloured flowers and the green stamped flowers are from the same MFT ‘magnolia blossoms’ set.

I almost didn’t keep making the video as I made mistakes and alterations but the point of the video was the no-line colouring not the card layout so I kept going. I used Gina K’s ‘barely there’ amalgam ink to stamp the flowers; the ink is a pale peach colour which almost disappeared with both the purple and the green watercolouring. I used Derwent Inktense pencils for the no-line watercolour shading an area lightly and minimally before blending the ink to fill the petal or leaf.

My initial layout for the painted panel involved both stamps from the set but you see in the video a series of unfortunate events caused me to slice up the first panel, add another flower and come up with the layout you see below.

One thing I didn’t initially plan was the simple green stamping behind the coloured panel but I’m glad I tried it. These stamps are definitely stunning when left uncoloured in their simple outline beauty.

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