Stockings from Narnia

This set is simply called Christmas Stockings, but I definitely think you might see one of these hanging over Mr Tumnus’ fire place or maybe in the Beaver’s lodge. I have watercoloured two of the stockings from the set of three digital stamp my daughter designed and uploaded to her etsy store, Echidna Studios.

I printed the image on watercolour paper then used Sennelier watercolours paints and a gold gel pen to fill in the design. I took a little more time on the stocking above painting all the curly fronds whereas for the one below I blended a blue and a green paint to fill the patterned stocking.

I attached both stockings to embossing folders, one with pine needles, the other bricks. I am very taken with embossing folders at present both for creating backgrounds and for making my own gel printing texture plates.

The handy dandy sentiments are from Taylored Expressions. At the beginning of my Christmas card making season I stamped the one stamp of 18 sentiments in a range of colours, cut them with the matching die and kept them in a little box which I have been able to reach into over and over. These two are among my last few Christmas cards but there will be more winter themed cards and Christmas thank you cards to come. My contents of my craft room are still spread around the house but I am making progress putting it back together!

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Ransom Alphabet cards

Darkroom Door recently released the ‘ransom alphabet’; it looks like letters cut from random newspapers or magazines. I decided not to cut my stamp into separate letters yet, so stamped it as one large stamp containing both alphabet, a few symbols and numbers 1-10. I embossed one sheet in gold powder and another in silver. I also stamped again on some small strips of cardstock to get the extra letters I needed to complete the greetings.

Both cards and alphabets are neenah solar white cardstock. I stamped a tree and star from the Darkroom Door ‘Brushed Christmas vol 1’ set then blended three greens over the card front using blending brushes. I spritzed water over the panel then blotted it with a paper towel to get a twinkly effect. A pearlized spray would have been even better but my workroom is upside down and inside out at present so locating the shimmer spray was asking too much!

I used the same process to create the ‘O Holy Night’ card but used a blue and a purple ink for the blended background. I wondered if the ransom alphabet was perhaps a bit too funsy for such a theme but then I remembered Mark 10:45, ‘the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I’m looking forward to putting this set to use in my art journal. I think it might be necessary to cut the rubber stamp into separate letters eventually but for now it is still one large stamp.

Darkroom Door has so much inspiration on their blog. They are currently featuring all the products from their new release one product at a time. So many styles, colour schemes and projects.

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Chipboard Decorations

I have been creating collage panels with my many gel prints lately, most for Christmas cards. The striped and patchworked collages looked so pretty I decided to try the process on Grafix chipboard.

I collaged on both sides and love the way they turned out. I made a video of the process then made more chipboard decorations in different colours.

I used a serious chipboard cutting die to cut the ornaments. It is from Sizzix and I was pleased to see how clean the cuts were. If you have a digital cutting machine you would be able to cut the chipboard into any number of shapes.

After cutting out the shapes I used a gold gel pen to add stitching lines and gold paint to coat the edges. A crop-a-dile made quick work of punching holes so I could add ribbon to the shapes.

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Just one more chapter

Just one more bookish card? Of course not; there will always be more bookish cards, especially as Darkroom Door keeps creating more bookish stamps! Today’s card, which of course can be sent to a fellow reader on any occasion, features the new ‘reading’ sentiment strip as a background wallpaper and as the sentiment. Darkroom Door has a range of sentiment strips each containing 9-10 sentiments. I could cut them up into individual stamps but I have kept them all as strips so I can stamp them all at once if I want to. I did so on today’s card to create a background in rusty hinge distress ink on watercolour paper. I painted water over the top of the stamping to blur it but you can still read most of the bookish mantras.

I also used the DD stamp ‘book spines’ to create my line up of books. I stamped it on three different gel prints and embossed each one in a different metallic ink. I cut up all the prints then rearranged the books to have green, blue, yellow and brown books across the shelf. Even though I chose random gel prints I love the way the texture of plastic lids and packaging has become aged leather on the book spines.

After attaching my books to the background I stamped just one phrase from the sentiment strip by masking above and below the words then added it to the card. A little shading along the top of the books give a bit of dimension.

This turned out to be the perfect card for today because I have been part of the Coptic Challenge at ‘The Handmade Book Club‘ this week. Today is the last day of instruction which covers sewing the book together. When I have completed my book I will post it on the blog. It is the second time I have participated in the five day challenge; both experiences have been very enjoyable and the instruction is fabulous.

So, read one more chapter and have a great weekend.

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Merry Berries

As I was stamping and painting this panel it hadn’t occurred to me that these berries are mistletoe and maybe shouldn’t have been red! The stamp is called Merry Berries from Penny Black and it’s stamped three times. I picked a red and a purple for the berries and a couple of greens for the leaves. I used both distress inks and distress markers to get everything inked.

With this many small leaves and berries I work in a stamp positioner and sometimes ink the stamp with one ink pad and then remove ink where I don’t want it. I stamp that first colour or in the case of the leaves, the mix of forest moss and mowed lawn and, because I had wiped ink off the berries, they will be unstamped (ideally!). I switched to markers to ink the berries, stamping a couple of times to build up shadow and depth. Once all the leaves and berries are inked I blend with a paintbrush and water to fill the shapes.

The little white dots on the leaves are the result of splattered masking fluid on the hot pressed watercolour paper. I splatter the masking fluid on several panels of watercolour paper ahead of time and let them dry so I can grab one when I need one. When all the stamping and painting is completed and dry I rub the masking fluid off with my fingers or with adhesive eraser. To finish the card I stamped a sentiment from the PB ‘promise of hope’ set.

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Let’s Skate

Don’t let that blog post title trick you. I won’t ever be the one saying, “Let’s Skate”! I will happily say, “Let’s make cute cards with skates on them.” My less than stellar skating experience ended when my children became proficient and I realised I didn’t have to get out on the ice and wobble around any more.

These lovely skate dies are from Penny Black and I was thrilled when I saw them. I have been using them in the Christmas card class I’ve been teaching but decided to make a few vintage looking pairs with various pieced layers. Quite unusual for me to piece layers but I do like how they turned out. On card above I filled them with die-cut foliage.

Both pairs of skates are popped up on snowflake backgrounds printed then foiled from my daughter’s snowflake designs available in her Etsy store. I printed the file on kraft paper on my laser printer then foiled in white on the piece above and Brutus Monroe silver foil on the design below.

The vintage style cream colour I used for the boot is a gel print, black cardstock for the heel, silver for the blade and some burgandy for the trim. Fiddly but worth it in the end.

These skates look really cute cut from patterned or collaged paper too. Not cute enough to make me want to skate though!

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Christmas Elegance

You might recognise the type of background I used for today’s card. It is one of my gel printing clean up sheets. I think this one looks a bit like plaid. I used the Penny Black ‘Christmas elegance’ die to cut the tree from the panel and splattered with gold paint.

I attached the die cut panel to an embossed piece of white cardstock, also plaid. The sentiment is a little tricky to see; I think it might have been better to stamp it in navy ink rather than emboss those tiny words. All in all the card is simple and elegant and I like that combination!

By the way I have updated the classes page with my final in-person class for the year. I wish I could tell you the new online class is also ready! I’m working on it!

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Stay Cosy

Today is the perfect day for a ‘stay cosy’ message. Overnight the snow started falling and the world is white once more. I guess that lovely long autumn wasn’t going to last forever!

This card came together quite easily as I had some of the elements left over from other projects. The background is made from a digital stamp designed by my daughter (Echidna Studios on Etsy). I printed the snowflakes on kraft paper with my laser printer then foiled with white white foil. I love how delicate and pretty they are.

The sleds, skis and cosy winter clothes were left over from previous years and I had stored them with the dies just in case. They are all cut from painted watercolour paper. I hand cut the snow drifts from linen textured paper and added the sentiment from the PB ‘jolly snippets’ set.

Hope you stay cosy today!

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Snowfield

I have teamed up with the Foiled Fox today to bring you this snowy scene. It’s all one big beautiful Penny Black stamp called snowfield. The PB scenic stamps are fun to combine with each other or just add a few elements to but I generally stamp them first all by themselves. I like to get to know the stamp because a scenic stamp often has foreground, middle ground and background elements. In order to use watercolour techniques with them I need to work out what part of the stamp I should ink first.

In a snowscape it is also important to think about which parts of the panel need to stay untouched by ink or paint so they can look like fresh white snow! If you pop over to the Foiled Fox blog you will find my step by step process described. I used both water soluble (distress inks) and waterproof (archival inks) on this scene. I blended several colours on the fence posts so those were stamped with distress inks. The details on the trees are very fine so I used archival inks for a solid print along with some distress which I could blend over the larger trunk and branches to fill the silhouette shape. Of course the sky and snow is all done with distress inks because I wanted to add water so I could blend and dilute.

When painting shadows around snowy areas it is sometimes hard to keep all the white areas white; that is where a paint pen, gel pen or some white paint can come in handy for touching up at the end. You can even add paint splatter at the end rather than masking fluid at the beginning if you like.

I hope you take some time to visit the Foiled Fox blog; they have a world of inspiration waiting for you.

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Winter Berry Beauty

A few weeks back I inked this stamp in autumn colours which reflected what I was seeing outside my window. I promised to do a more wintry version and here it is. Once again I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper with masking fluid splatters over it. I kept the panel in the stamp positioner so I could work on the red berries and green leaves separately avoiding too much bleeding of green into red and vice versa.

I used fired brick, barn door and aged mahogany to get variety in the berries. I inked, stamped then blended with a damp paintbrush. The leaves are a mix of forest moss and peeled paint. When I had finished stamping and painting the leaves and berries I noticed how much ‘masking fluid’ splatter was not covered in ink. If I don’t paint or stamp over it there is less of the falling snow effect on the finished panel. Rather than paint around the berries I used blending brushes to add shabby shutters distress ink on the left and broken china on the right. I also stamped a bit of music background in peeled paint.

The sentiment is from the PB Christmas feeling set and the finished card is a little larger than my usual at 6.25″ x 4.5″. I did a count of completed Christmas cards the other day and found I am further ahead than I thought. How are you progressing. What is your goal? Just curious…I’m aiming for around 100 and the Australia bound ones need to get in the mail soonish!

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