Mushrooms & Pods

I often combine my gel prints with stamping and on this card there is a bit of brand matchy-matchy which really works for a whimsical look. The print is a ghost print made while filming my new class Gel Print Journey. There is a surprising amount of paint and pattern on this ghost print; sometimes they are a lot more ghostly!

The gel print was made with the Lavinia stencil ‘pods’. Last week when stamping with a friend I was able to pair the background with some Lavinia stamps. I don’t own any…yet but I did enjoy the fun of arranging little scenes with their pretty silhouettes.

If you are not familiar with the world of ghost prints or stencil prints or even gel printing, check out my new online course. The TEAMBLOG10 discount is available until the end of May so now is a great time to join me.

(Compensated affiliate links from Foiled Fox, Ecstasy Crafts* & Scrap n Stamp)

*if you visit the Lavinia products at Ecstasy Crafts make sure you use the heathertecs10 discount code at check out

Printed & Stamped

Now the grass has turned green I am looking forward to gel printing with fresh plants again. I have used some dried ones over the winter and also some I purchased but nothing beats pulling a few grasses, leaves or flowers from the yard to print immediately. On the card above and below I pressed grasses into blue paint on a gel plate, removed the surrounding paint with paper then picked up the whole print with white and yellow.

To turn the printed panel into a card I added stamping with Darkroom Door stamps in a collage style with a dark blue ink and attached the paper print to the card base with double sided adhesive sheets.

I used the same process to create another collage card adding stamping over a feather gel print. The Darkroom Door fine detail stamps once again add to the grungy printed background.

I left the cards blank to be used for any occasion. As you can see in both cards, the gel print isn’t the main feature, nor is the stamping; it’s the combination of grungy background and stamped elements that make these work for me. Depending on the size of the gel printed sheet it is usually possible to add a co-ordinating strip of the print to the envelope as well.

There are lessons on gel printing with grasses and feathers in my soon to be released online Gel Printing Journey class; I can’t wait to invite you in!

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The World is a Garden

Do you recognise this set? It is the Darkroom Door ‘Eyes’ set I featured on a journal page a couple of weeks back. For this journal page I used a smaller pair of eyes and also one eye from the closed eye stamp so I could create a ‘wink’!

The background is stamped loosely with four bright distress inks and the DD ‘daisy delight’. When I say stamped loosely I was not looking for complete images so I inked sections of the stamp with a couple of inks then stamped on the journal page. I did the same again with a different pair of inks until I had filled both pages. Because distress inks react so well with water and my pages are cold pressed watercolour paper it was easy to blend the petals with a wet paintbrush. Where the inks overlapped I got some nice blends; there were a few muddy blends but overall look is of a garden bed of daisies which is what I wanted.

No surprise that I did not have the whole design planned out from the beginning so I had to work out the best way to add the eyes without disturbing the very dilutable flowers I had already watercoloured. I ended up stamping them on tissue paper and gluing them down with a gluestick so as to not add more liquid to the background. I also stamped the large letters for the quote on tissue paper using the DD ‘sketched alphabet’ stamp set. Having the eyes and the words stamped on tissue made it easy to play with the arrangement until I was happy with it. The smaller words making up the quote I wrote by hand with a black marker.

The quote is from ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett, a book I enjoyed reading as a child and a parent.

Just a quick question for you, did you try reading the quote straight across the two pages or did you see it went down the left then up to the right? Just wondering because I didn’t even think of both options when I was laying it out.

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Hats Off

As you know I don’t often stamp, draw or paint people but these cute stamps featuring hats called to me and I decided to feature them in a grid pattern, Brady Bunch style. I taped the small Darkroom Door ‘mixed boxes’ stencil to hot pressed watercolour paper to provide the grid. Working in a stamp positioner I stamped the three hatted women in the large boxes and the sentiment from the same set in the small right hand box using Gina K’s obsidian amalgam ink.

I painted the women in their hats first using Albrecht Dürer watercolour pencils, some colouring directly on the paper and some picking up paint from the tip of the pencil. As I had kept the stencil taped to the panel I was able to blend lost shadow distress ink in the spaces to frame the faces.

I’m thinking ‘hats off to you!’ might be a congratulatory sentiment. How would you use a card like this with that jaunty little phrase?

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Darkroom Door Eyes

Are you surprised to see a face on one of my projects? This journal page spread was definitely outside my comfort zone but I am very happy I persevered and brought it to completion. The page began with the new ‘Eyes’ stamp set from Darkroom Door and a pile of gel prints. There are eight pairs of eyes in the set in a couple of different sizes. I chose to stamp the eyes on a pale gel print done with oxide inks and the DD background stamp ‘flower garden’. To help me draw the rest of the face around the eyes I found a magazine face with similar size eyes and that gave me the right scale and placement as I completed the head and features.

Although I like the idea of adding hair I decided to do that on a future project and used some textured wrapping from a bunch of flowers instead. The bright pink helped me choose other gel prints to complete the background collage. You might not see them all but DD background stamps and stencils are featured on most of the torn collage pieces.

I embossed the Spanish tiles background stamp on a bright pink gel print, tore it up for collage and attached a strip to cardstock so I could cut earrings. I also used gold embossing when adding the words. I alternated phrases from the DD ‘you are everything’ set with the new DD ‘made for you’ set.

I worked in my new handmade journal which is 7″x7″. Once I had the facial features pencilled in I went over them with marker then added shading with coloured pencils. I also stenciled some stars over the collage and embossed in gold to give the whole spread more unity. The pink turban was a bit of a challenge which ended up looking a bit more like a swim cap than a turban but you get the general idea don’t you?

I will be using the eyes again both to practice drawing faces and as elements in future journal pages. I hope you are enjoying seeing the new stamps from Darkroom Door; they are always full of the artistic magic and clever ideas of Rachel Greig.

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Made for You

Some stamps old, some stamps new and some cardstock blue is the approach I took with these sweet new label stamps. I pulled out a textured gel print on rice paper and stamped flowers from a couple of favourite floral sets from Darkroom Door.

I used Ciao Bella chiascuro ink pads, the colours are deep but muted and worked beautifully with the paint colours in the gel print. Because rice paper is somewhat transparent I adhered the panel to a piece of aqua cardstock which made the print look bluer. I used the same cardstock to stamp the two phrases from the new DD ‘made for you’ set of label stamps.

The original gel print was done on a 9″x11″ gel plate so there was enough print for two cards and some extra strips on the envelope flaps

I think I have made cards a bit like this before. I love pairing DD silhouette flowers with gel prints. When I think about it, this gel print didn’t ‘work’ as far as the technique was concerned. I was using a wallpaper sample which textured swirls on it and they did not appear at all, I just got the scaly texture you can almost see. That’s the beauty of gel printing. Just because they don’t do what you expect doesn’t mean they are not usable.

The label stamps I’ve used as sentiments were probably designed to go on handmade items such as sewing or perhaps the back of a card. I decided they worked just as well as a message on the front of a card ready to send to someone dear to me.

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Cars, Bikes and birthdays

You’ve seen me use the ‘this way’ stamp behind a trio of butterflies and a classic car as well as featured on a journal page. It reminds me a little of tire tread so I have paired it again with some vehicles. For this motorbike card I masked the edges of a cream panel and stamped ‘this way’ and ‘brushed stars’ in antique linen distress ink.

After removing the masking tape I added one of the motorcycles from the classic motorcyles set in black along with a little happy birthday. I haven’t masked edges like this in a while but it makes it easy to make a simple but eye catching one layer card. You could fill the masked area with any stamping you wanted then add a bold black image over the top.

I also used ‘this way’ in the vintage style watercolour background of this card. I combined, the arrow pattern of ‘this way’ with postage stamps and world map. There is also splatter and a torn edge to keep the background looking aged. I stamped the DD vintage card on teabags and added stitching and word labels to complete the card.

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Lighthouse Journal Page

This journal spread was a joy to make. It combines so many of my favourite things. A few weeks back I posted about a new handmade art journal. This is it and these are the first pages I’ve completed. I didn’t work on the very first page; I leave that for later, so this is a few pages in. The pages are cold pressed watercolour paper so I taped the edges and created a watery blended background with distress inks smooshed on a piece of acetate then pressed onto my pages. I added more ink with a paintbrush and stamped the Darkroom Door world map stamp into the wet ink. I wasn’t trying to create sky or land or anything in particular I was just working randomly with blues and browns.

Once the background dried I used stamps from another favourite, the DD ‘global postmarks’ set, again stamped in blue and brown but archival ink, not distress, so it wouldn’t dilute and blur.

On an extra scrap of watercolour paper I picked up some smooshed and diluted ink then dried it before stamping the new ‘word labels’ stamps so I could cut them out and arrange them over the page.

If you have been visiting my blog for a while you will have seen the lighthouse stamp before. The lighthouse is in Norah Head, on the central coast of NSW, not far from where my father lives and the Darkroom Door premises. I have visited there several times and climbed the lighthouse with my dad. You can probably see now why I chose the word labels I did. The lighthouse and the ‘this way’ arrows are stamped on tissue paper. This allowed me to move them around to work out exactly where I wanted them. The blurry world map stamping worked as a ‘reflection for the lighthouse image so that’s where it ended up.

When I am adding stamped tissue to a page I gently tear around the edges with the help of a damp paintbrush. For the lighthouse I cut carefully around the walls and light then painted white paint on the back of the tissue so it would not be transparent. Of course I splattered some water and some gold paint to complete the page.

As this was the first time I had used my new journal I was interested to see how the cold pressed watercolour paper worked. Nothing soaked through the paper to the other side and I took care to dab up liquid from the centre seam so there was not much bleed through there either. The 7″ x 7″ size gave me a little more room than the 6 x 6 journals I have been working in but wasn’t so large as to be overwhelming.

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Do red cars go faster?

I mentioned on Friday that Darkroom Door has a new release available now and shared a butterfly card. For this bold two toned card I used the same narrow ‘this way’ stamp but in hickory smoke ink. I completed the background with the brushed stars texture stamp then added bright red elements on top.

The labels are from a new DD stamp set ‘word labels’. The set includes 27 different words which will be brilliant for cards and journalling. The cool car is from the ‘classic cars vol 1’ set. I embossed it with versafine satin red ink then added shading with candied apple distress ink.

We had a red car once which I rather liked but not long after buying it we up and left for Canada so had to sell it again!

Make sure you check out the new release from Darkroom Door it is full of style and originality. You’ll be seeing more of it in the weeks to come.

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Birthday butterflies

Darkroom Door has just released an amazing new collection of stamps so I will be showing off a few of them in the coming weeks. The narrow arrow stamp named ‘this way’ motivated me to pull out the brusho powders. Brusho is wonderful when used with embossed patterned stamps where the paint crystals can get trapped. I used both ultramarine and emerald green brusho on this card.

I embossed the ‘this way’ stamp in white powder on hot presssed watercolour paper then sprinkled brusho on top and spritzed water from above to get the colours activated. I also painted the black embossed butterflies with brusho but was a bit more strategic in my paint blending.

I popped some gold cord behind the butterflies and tucked a tiny DD birthday sentiment in as well. This slim border stamp is very versatile and in future posts I will be sharing how I used it with cars, motorbikes and a lighthouse!

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