OLS29 Christmas in July

OLS Christmas in July Heather Telford

I am hosting the One Layer Simplicity Challenge this month and the theme is ‘Christmas in July’. I know some of you make Christmas cards all year but I usually start around now and keep going until December! If you haven’t even thought about Christmas cards then perhaps this challenge will be a motivator. Perhaps you want to enjoy the summer sun and not think about December at all – that is totally fine too!

 Christmas in July Heather Telford

To make this one layer card I tore a piece of painter’s tape lengthwise into two strips and positioned them on my watercolour paper card base. I painted some blue along the torn tape edge and faded it to white. Keeping the tape in place I stamped a few trees in Memento Northern Pine ink and added a few dabs of black elegant writer pen. After stamping I painted over the tree to blend the ink. Northern Pine separates into brown and green when diluted which gives the foliage some variety in colour.

I’ve been reading a book called ‘The Non-Designer’s Design Book’ which has made me think about layout in terms of alignment, repetition, contrast and proximity. The book is concerned mainly with text documents like business cards, menus, ads, etc but the principles are relevant to art layout too. I found myself trying to apply what I’ve learnt when working out where my sentiment would go.


Stamps: Spread Cheer(PB)
Inks: Northern Pine Memento ink, Versafine Olympia green (Imagine Craft/Tsukineko)
Pencils & Pens: blue watercolour pencil (Faber Castell), elegant writer pen (Speedball)
Cardstock: Canson Moulin du Roy 100% cotton hot pressed watercolour paper

Love art poppies

Love art poppies Heather Telford

My inspiration for this panel came from my garden. I only have one colour of poppy in my garden, orange. I didn’t quite capture the colour; but it was a good colouring exercise. To create the collection of poppies I had to mask several times then stamp over my masks. Fortunately the cutting required for a mask of this poppy wasn’t too fussy!

love art poppies above Heather Telford

I used zig clean color real brush markers and worked with one orange, one yellow and one red. The colours remained bold and bright because I blended with very little water and just worked with a combination of red and orange or orange and yellow. The centres are purple and black. The background is also zig markers, a mix of blue and light green with water marks to break up the brightness and give a little texture.

love art poppies reflection Heather Telford

When I photograph my cards I sit them on a piece of glossy cardstock; I like the strong reflection I got this time.

 love art poppy close up Heather Telford

I fully intended to add a sentiment in that big empty space in the top right corner but didn’t notice I hadn’t until I was editing my photos. I will wait and see who I send it to and add a sentiment later.

Stamps: Love Art (PB)
Mediums:  Zig Clean color real brush markers(Kuretake) Versafine Onyx Black ink (Tsukineko)
Cardstock: Hot pressed Fabriano watercolour paper, Neenah Epic Black cardstock

Vintage Jubilance

Vintage Jubilance Heather Telford

More vintage flowers on display today with a slightly different technique to try. As with my previous vintage style watercolours (birdhouse, butterflies, tulips) I stamped the image in vintage photo distress ink. Other water based dye inks in brown would probably work but I like the ease with which I can dilute and spread the vintage photo ink or stain.

Vintage Jubilance 2 Heather Telford

After stamping, instead of pulling ink from the outline into the flowers and leaves, I pulled ink out into the background leaving the flowers and leaves white. The contrast of brown with white makes the flowers pop and look whiter than they would if they were not surrounded by colour. It is a simple technique you could try with any colour ink.

vintage jubilance closeup Heather Telford

I would love to hear if you try some ‘vintage style watercolour’. Thanks for dropping by.

Stamps: Jubilance (PB)
Inks:  Vintage Photo distress ink,Vintage Photo distress stain (Ranger)
Cardstock: Hot pressed Fabriano watercolour paper, brown cardstock

Folk Flower

folk flower Heather Telford

Having so many alcohol ink experiments on hand is helping with my resolve to try new layouts and sketches. The colours and patterns that appear almost magically when working with alcohol inks need little or no adornment. This panel was mainly aqua with some splotches of coral pink here and there until I added silver and scraped it across the panel with the coffee stirrer. I ended up with the rock formation style patterns which were kind of cool but the silver had taken over.

I played around with several ideas for using the panel including tossing it but finally settled on a layout inspired by this card on JJ Bolton’s blog. I chose the coral coloured cardstock for the die cut to bring out the few patches on the panel. The assembly of this layout did not go smoothly for me, (there is more than one reason I stick to the portrait gallery layout!) I cut a piece of light weight cardstock to stick behind the circle to keep everything together. When I ran my finger over the edge of the circle to press it firmly onto the backing, the silver ink smudged onto my clean white card base. I managed to transfer silver ink via my die cutting plates also. The metallic alcohol inks sit on the surface and therefore need some sort of fixative; (I have watched a tutorial about this just haven’t looked into whether I have the right fixative) Rather than make the same mistake three times I decided to polish the patterned circle with a paper towel as someone had done successfully in class to see how much silver would come off. I removed quite a bit which revealed more aqua and left the panel less smudgy. The rest of the assembly was more straight forward; I used ‘stick it’ adhesive on the back of the folk flower die cut and embossed the sentiment on black cardstock for contrast.

 folk flower side Heather Telford

When I visited JJ Bolton’s blog to look at her card layout I read about the clever wax crayon technique she used on her card…something to try another day.


Stamps:  Happy Snippets (PB)
Dies: Folk Flower (PB)
Ink: Alcohol inks,  Versafine ink (Ranger)
Paper: glossy photo paper, Neenah Epic Black 100lb cardstock, Neenah solar white cardstock, coral cardstock
Also: stick it adhesive, white embossing powder

Floral repeats

poppy repeat Heather Telford

I played with a couple of smaller floral stamps recently to make some clean and simple cards. I guess they could have been even simpler by stamping the flowers once but I still managed to keep plenty of white space. To create both cards I inked the stamps with memento markers, spritzed the stamp with water then stamped on watercolour paper. I did some extra blending on the poppies with a paintbrush and stamped repeat prints without re-inking, which explains the difference in colour intensity.

sunflower happiness Heather Telford

To stamp a group of three sunflowers I inked only part of the stamp each time so the flowers could nestle into each other without the leaves and stems getting in the way. The layouts are the classic black mat+black sentiment deal.

Stamps: PoiseSpecial ThoughtsSentiment Collection, Sunny (PB)
Inks:  Memento markers(Tsukineko)
Cardstock: Hot pressed Fabriano watercolour paper, black cardstock

True Love

rose triptych Heather Telford

In keeping with my resolve to mix up my card layouts a wee bit I have a triptych inspired card to share. I painted the roses on a piece of watercolour paper, added leaves and blue flowers (not sure what they might be) then decided to find some inspiration on my ‘sketchy’ pinterest board. I sliced my panel into three strips of the same width then trimmed the ends so each would be a different length. The sentiment fitted quite nicely in one of the white spaces. I stamped the sentiment once in green then over the top in blue which gave me the bluey-green I was after to match my paint. I think the colours are soft enough to join in with the ‘pastels’ challenge on Less is More this week.

Rose triptych side Heather Telford

I hope you are having a lovely day.


Stamps: Happy Snippets, (PB)
Ink: Alcohol inks (Ranger) Majestic Blue, Olympia Green Versafine inks (Tsukineko)
Paint: Sakura Koi watercolours
Paper: Heavy weight water media paper (Ken Oliver), Neenah SolarWhite 110lb cardstock, green cardstock


Layouts and sketches

blue celebrate Heather Telford

Recently I noticed how often my card designs involve a simple square or rectangle. Sometimes the panel is matted in black or a co-ordinating colour; other times it is popped up on the card base which creates a type of shadow mat. A matted panel with little embellishment is my most used layout. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the matted panel approach; I often try to create a mini painting so framing it seems like an appropriate way to turn it into a card. However, there are many clever card makers who never default to the square or rectangular layout; each new card features angles, diagonal lines, curves, cutouts and all manner of creative designs.  I’ve decided I need to mix things up a little in the sketch and layout area. Take the card above for example, the alcohol ink design reminded me of the ocean from beneath the surface with light above and bubbles all around. I really didn’t want to loose much of the blue pattern so I cut the sentiment out of the blue panel and popped it up. I like how it turned out but it was very much my usual style.

blue pattern Heather Telford

When I put this next card together I was working with a similar panel; the alcohol inks had done cool things creating a pattern I wanted to save if possible but not in yet another rectangular layout. By cutting a curve across the patterned yupo panel I was able to add some interest and bend a transparent sentiment stamp to hug the curve.

warm tones well done Heather Telford

Once again I wanted to retain most of this warm toned alcohol ink design so I chose a cool new border die with curves that created a contrast with the angles of the stenciled pattern.

circle hooray Heather Telford

I have a board on pinterest where I am saving inspiration for new layouts.   The card above was inspired by Paula Dobson’s bright happy card, pinned recently. Sketch challenges are another source of inspiration I hope to make use of more often. You may have noticed all the cards in this post were made from patterned panels, which of course, are easier to adapt to interesting layouts than pictures of real things! I may get adventurous and creative with my scenic or floral panels too, who knows?


Dies:  Celebrations, Border Edges (PB)
Stamps: Happy Snippets, Sweet Wishes
Ink: Alcohol inks (Ranger) Versafine inks (Tsukineko)
Paper: Yupo paper, Neenah SolarWhite 110lb cardstock, Neenah Natural white cardstock


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