Gingerbread Journal page

Six years ago I was given a delightful and incredibly thoughtful gift. Four friends I met through teaching card making classes gave me an art journal. It’s a large Dylusions 9″x11″, a very generous gift in itself.

The journal was just part of the gift. What amazed and touched me deeply was that these friends worked on individual pages in this journal far enough in advance to have completed four different spreads before they gave it to me. Each person completed a 2 or 3 page spread describing Christmas traditions they were familiar with.

I have in my journal pages about Polish and German Christmas traditions along with a description and illustration of Mummering in Newfoundland and a depiction of the carol, ‘I Saw Three Ships’. The depiction is set in Bass Strait with a view of a King Island lighthouse, a nod to my birthplace! I was speechless when I opened the gift and it still brings me joy whenever I look at it.

After Christmas that year I began two different spreads in the journal having decided it was to be filled with Christmas themed art journalling. Although I began soon after receiving the journal I didn’t finish a page until last week. I am embarrassed to have let it sit so long but in the interim I have completed many journal pages in other books and have ideas aplenty dancing around in my head – like sugarplums!

Gingerbread baking and decorating is a tradition for me and a fitting choice for my first Christmas spread. I started making gingerbread in Australia in 1995 after hearing a radio interview with Jill Dupleix whose recipe I use to this day, more often than not with gluten free flour now. This year I made several batches, a couple with friends on a Sunday afternoon where much mixing, cutting and decorating was enjoyed.

I used my own cookie cutters to trace the shapes onto watercolour paper painted with dark brown and light brown brusho. The background ‘check tablecloth’ I painted with a mix of Dr Ph Martin’s deep red rose and hansa yellow. The gingerbread shapes sat for years with pale white patterns on them and it was only this year after trying quite a few white paints and pens that I was able to make the patterns bolder with a posca paint pen.

I finally added the recipe, glued the cookies down and added a title using MFT little lowercase letters (I think they are retired now but they worked to look like little gingerbread letters).

So that is the story of a wonderful journal, four kind and generous friends and an adventure started in 2015 which I am happily continuing even though I made a very slow start.

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Woodsy Autumn

This new set, ‘Woodsy’ from Penny Black will be fabulous for winter scenes but before I put it to work in the snow I decided to create an autumn vista with the three trees.

Hoping to create the colour mass I see when the trees are at their best I pulled out a few brusho powders. I didn’t come close to the beauty outside right now but the brusho powders did not disappoint. If you have used brusho you will know they are unpredictable. I had a scene in mind and hoped the brusho would play its part.

First I stamped the three trees in ‘fallen leaves’ versafine clair ink and embossed in clear powder on hot pressed watercolour paper. To preserve the white tree trunks I used a clear embossing marker to cover the length of each trunk and embossed in clear powder again. With distress inks and blending brushes I blended speckled egg ink in the sky area and fossilized amber and brushed corduroy on the ground. I used simple post-it note masks to suggest hills and horizon.

Before sprinkling brusho over the panel I lay a paper mask over the sky at the top of the panel and ground at the bottom of the panel. I sprinkled sandstone brusho over the middle area then spritzed from 10″ inches above. I watched and waited as the colours began to appear and spread then added a little more brusho and water. I dried it with a heat tool before repeating the process. You have to be patient with brusho; if you add too much water too soon you will not have spots and dots of colour. Sandstone brusho is made up of several colours so I saw yellow, red, orange and brown appear, even a few blue dots too.

Once I had some nice patterns appearing I added a bit of yellow brusho and a tiny sprinkle of terracotta then left the panel alone while I ate lunch. After drying the panel thoroughly I blended more ink with the same post-it masks I had used at the beginning.

When I stopped I couldn’t decide if the scene was artsy or just messy. I set it aside and tried a few other approaches for a brusho autumn scene but kept coming back to this one, the messy, artsy, woodsy one!

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Daisy Delight

When I have a new line-art background stamp my first choice is usually to try emboss resist with brusho paint powders. This new background stamp from Darkroom Door is called ‘daisy delight’ and has plenty of loops and lines for trapping brusho.

I embossed the stamp in clear powder on hot pressed watercolour paper. With scrap paper spread under the panel I sprinkled brusho powder over the panel, both turquoise and sea green. I spritzed water over the brusho and sat back to watch the magic happen. As the brusho diluted I saw pockets of colour appear which were exactly what I wanted. You can see different shades of blue and green as well as a few pops of yellow. There were a few blank or pale sections so I sprinkled more brusho, spritzed more water and then waited again to see what happened. Once the paint was really soaking in I took a small brush and started filling some of the petals where the colour hadn’t reached all the edges. In a few places I took bold colour from a petal and used it to fill a petal somewhere else.

I dried the panel with a heat tool then trimmed it and did a test on a trimmed scrap to see if I would like black background in amongst the flowers. I went with it and coloured in the few areas that are not part of the flowers with a black Karin brushmarker. To finish the card I wrapped white/silver twine around it and popped up some embossed words from the new DD ‘you are everything’ set.

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Fern Border

I was looking through my pile of possibilities recently and found some lovely brusho panels I made quite a while back at a class taught by my friend The Crafty Cigale. Instead of using brusho watercolour powders on watercolour paper we worked on photo paper. I remember the process being so much fun that I kept on making panel after panel.

I’ve chosen two of the panels as borders for today’s cards. Initially I thought I would cut into the brusho panel using the Penny Black fern border die and I tried, but using the patterned print as a background showed it off better while still featuring the delicate shape of the fern fronds.

Before die-cutting the fern border I applied double sided adhesive to the back of the card front so once cut I could easily attach it to the patterned panel. The sentiments from the banner sentiments mimicked the curve of the border die so they were an obvious choice in two versafine brown inks

The card bases are Luxe White cardstock from Foiled Fox, which is a creamy colour with a soft pebbly texture. I’ll be back tomorrow with some more birch themed pages from my bullet journal. Thanks for dropping by.

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Sea Turtle

I’ve never been one to stamp or paint many animals so when I saw this stamp by Pink Ink Designs I surprised myself and the owner at Crop A While by snapping it up. I have to admit I’ve been intrigued by sea turtles over the last little while. There is a youtuber we watch pretty regularly who lives on the West Australian coast who often shares footage of sea turtles. They’re graceful in the water but pretty challenged when they make their way onto land to nest. And the baby turtles who have to fight their way to the ocean to survive, that is fascinating and nerve wracking to watch.

You will probably notice this sea turtle is rather unique with a patchwork shell. I have another one painted ready for a journal page where I ignored all the patchwork and tried to paint it more realistically. This one was fun however as I chose colours to fill all those little patterns.

The turtle is embossed in black on hot pressed watercolour paper. I added the background first by wetting the panel then sprinkling brusho over it. I can’t remember which brusho powder it was, maybe a blue and a green. I kept the strongest colour away from the turtle as much as I could with water and a paper towel but I didn’t need the turtle to be white; it was fine to paint over the brusho colour.

I used pearlescent paints to paint most of the turtle but there are areas just painted with brusho also. To co-ordinate with the pearlescent paint I matted with antique gold shimmer cardstock.

Hope your day is going swimmingly!

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Winter Wonder art journal page

After my son and I finished filming the stop animation intro for my Winter Wonder online class I didn’t know what to do with the painted background and all the die cuts we’d used. They lay on a tray still in their snowy formation for a few months gathering dust until I realised I could keep the scene if I transferred it to my art journal.

The initial spread was bigger than art journal page so I cut down the watercoloured background panel, cut new snowdrifts out of lighter weight cardstock and added ink blending to help them stand out. I saved the trees, sled, skis, mitts, snowflakes and bird all cut using the Penny Black dies listed below and glued them on. Yes the gluing almost finished me but I persevered and even glued the outline letters from Pink Fresh studio. I found that I do have a glue pen that works if you are patient and take note that enough glue if coming out.

If you haven’t scene the stop motion animation it is part of the promo for my WINTER WONDER class which teaches my methods for making cards with a northern winter theme. I’ll include the promo below just for fun and in case you’re new around here.

The scene shown in the journal page is mirrored outside right now; we have plenty of snow, we’ve been skiing and enjoying winter wonder all around us. Back in October-November when we filmed the class there was little to no snow!

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2020’s favourite posts

I looked through the stats for 2020 to see which posts were viewed the most. It is not necessarily an accurate indicator of favourites but it is fun to look back and see what appealed. I’ve included a link to the original post next to every photo. I’m featuring only cards I made and posted this year. Here they are in no particular order.

Back in January I used Darkroom Door stencils as a guide to paint watercolour backgrounds for silhouette stamping with DD stamps.

In February as I was preparing to teach a class using pearlescent paints on black watercolour paper I created this embossed and painted card. The class didn’t happen but the plan is still in my mind for either an online or in-person class hopefully some time in 2021.

This card and the next favourite feature the same Penny Black stamp and no-line watercolour technique. I used distress inks and markers for the watercolouring on this one.

Same stamp as shown above, Unforgettable from Penny Black but this time watercoloured with Arteza real brush pens.

This lilac card along with three other colour schemes featured the ‘lovely lilacs‘ stamp from Penny Black and there is a video tutorial as well.

Another video post once again with Arteza watercolour brush pens this time with Penny Black’s nature’s glory stamp.

Now this one is a little different, pencil colouring on kraft cardstock, again with a video. 2020 has definitely seen me create the most videos!

This one is also one of my favourites so it is nice to see it as a reader favourite too. It is the second post in the top ten to feature the lovely lilacs stamp from PB.

I’m happy to see one of my hand painted pieces in the favourites. This is a brusho & cling wrap painting I did after watching a CeeCee Creations video.

Another video post made the top ten, this one featuring die cut distress oxide painted leaves. This is the only one not featuring flowers.

This one just missed out on the top ten so I’m adding it here at the end because I think it might be my favourite of the year. It’s a brusho and cling wrap panels that made me think of hydrangeas so I turned the random patterns into massed flowers.

Thank you for dropping it to read my posts this year. I love sharing the details of my cards, journal pages and creative adventures. In a year when face to face interactions have been limited I have been encouraged over and over by the comments and conversations here on my blog.

It has been my best year ever for producing you tube videos and also the year I fulfilled a long time dream of producing online classes. Again thank you for your support in those endeavours.

I’m looking forward to sharing more creative pursuits on the blog with you in 2021, there will be watercolour and stamping (of course!) but also alcohol ink art, gel printing, lettering and journaling. I hope you are safe and well where you are and pray that 2021 will be a year of health and happiness for you.


Daisy & Dahlia

This bunch of flowers is a single large stamp from the Colorado Craft Company and I’m over on the Foiled Fox blog today describing how it inspired me. It’s called ‘daisy & dahlia’ and it is from the ‘big and bold’ collection.

For this square card I chose autumn tones, because despite that sprinkle of snow we had last week it is definitely still autumn. I used Papertrey ink cubes which are very juicy and blend well with water after they’re stamped on watercolour paper.

I used one of the inks from the floral panel to stamp a bold birthday square with one of the stamps from Concord & 9th’s ‘all the birthdays’ set.

On my second card I used a similar colour scheme but threw in the contrast of purple paint. I embossed the stamp on a rectangular panel with platinum embossing powder then sprinkled four different colours of brusho powder strategically on the panel.

If you have used brusho powders at all you will know you can’t really be very strategic; it goes where ere it will! I still ended up with a red flower, an orange flower and a purple flower but my favourite bits are the ends of the petals that ended up multicoloured.

Once again I chose stamps from the C&9 ‘all the birthdays’ set to create a purple sentiment band trimmed in quartz shimmer cardstock.

An idea I have yet to try with this big beauty is to stamp it in one colour to highlight the detail of the design. Make sure you pop over to The Foiled Fox for more details and tips on these cards and techniques.

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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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Painting atmosphere

I’ve done some more playing with watercolours and clingwrap. Quite a lot of playing actually; it’s addictive. I don’t even remember if the panel above was painted initially with brusho powders or pan watercolours or both. I do know I started with a large piece of cold pressed watercolour paper taped to a glass mat. I wet the panel then added the paint and let it move around and blend a little before I placed the cling wrap on top. I did remember to take a photo of the panel after it had dried and I’d removed the cling wrap. The card above which looks a bit like some hydrangea flowers was painted on the bottom right corner below.

The butterfly card below was made from the top left corner of the large panel and the flower card was made from the top right corner. I did work on the bottom left corner but didn’t end up liking what I’d made.

For the butterfly card I used a stamp from Darkroom Door ‘wings’ set and stamped it on the panel in blueprint sketch distress ink. After stamping I blended the ink plus some pearlescent paint from a finetec palette to fill the butterfly’s wings. It’s not obvious in the photo but the wings shimmer.

Once the butterfly was dry I did some water stamping using a fern stamp from the DD ‘leaves ‘ set.

The flowers are from the DD ‘tall flowers’ set and were stamped in festive berries, mowed lawn and wild honey distress inks. I also added gold paint to the flower centre. You can see some more water stamped ferns and some second generation stamping with the flowers also. The little circles on all three cards were made just by adding some droplets of water, letting them sit on the panel then dabbing them up with a paper towel.

The card above with the purple flowers doesn’t feature any stamping, the patterns made by the cling wrap made me think of a hydrangea flower head so I painted a bunch of little flowers using a purple watercolour pencil to draw centres then a paintbrush and water to blend the pencil into petals. While the petals were still wet I used the pencil again to add some darker areas in the centres.

The red shape on the left hand side looked a bit like a flower so again I used a watercolour pencil to add a bit more colour and followed the lines left by the cling wrap.

Whether painting or stamping over the panel, I love the patterns and play of light and dark in the background; I think it creates atmosphere. Have I finished with this technique now I hear you ask? No, definitely not. Have you tried it?

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