2021 BuJo – September theme

This was not the original plan I had for the September theme; I’d thought instead of doing apples. I sketched a few apples in preparation then realised I would want to have them on all my pages and that would take me half of September. I would then want to colour them in and that would take the other half of the month. I was already late on getting this done so….

…when short on time and want something pretty what do you do? You pull out one of your faves! ‘Nature Walk’ from Darkroom Door is definitely a fave and for a late summer theme it works beautifully.

I began each page design with a masked sun, blended in harvest gold ink. Next I masked either a straight or hilly base and blended fine linen for the background then stamped flowers and grasses in gold, kraft and chartreuse.

Life now includes a few more commitments so I decided to spread the month of September over a few pages with the middle one cut down narrower.

I also have a page for my work commitments, current projects, future projects, etc. The title is my attempt at a mixed up font. There are plenty of examples on the interwebs but I decided to make up this one out of my head. Not too bad for a first try. You would think it would be easy to do every letter a different way but even a mixed up font needs balance!

Hope you are feeling more balanced than mixed up! Have a great week.

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Honeycomb & Checkered

New stencils from Darkroom Door means new gel prints in my stack! I used greens, teal, beige and gold paints to print with the new honeycomb and checkerboard stencils. For the second card I used a mix of blue, beige, gold and coral paint for a rich print.

I used the stencil printing method demonstrated in this video and worked on printer paper with a 6″x6″ gel press.

After completing a fresh stack of gel prints I chose these two because of the beautiful mix of colours and textures. I pulled out Darkroom Door feather and wildflower stamps and stamped them over the top of the prints. I decided to emboss using co-ordinating versafine inks to make the images stand up a little over the print.

I chose sentiments from the DD sentiment strip stamp and embossed them to pop up over the stamped and printed panels.

Ever since I started gel printing with stencils I can’t get enough of the intricate detailed ones. These two new ones from Darkroom Door are very cool and create such great backgrounds!

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Artful August Circle Journal Page

Rachel Greig from Darkroom Door is hosting ‘Artful August’, a challenge to make something arty each day in August. She has provided 31 prompts and I am going to play along as often as I can. Circles was the prompt yesterday so I cut circles from a just few of the many gel print panels I have piling up. I used only gelprints done on rice paper and they cut and adhered very easily.

Once I had cut circles in different sizes from different gel printed panels I stamped flower silhouettes from several Darkroom Door sets. Before gluing the circles to the pages I painted the pages with a base of gesso + light brown paint and added some scribbly circles by tracing inside circle dies.

I glued the printed, stamped circles with matte medium both on the back of the paper and over the top to seal it. To add a bit more interest around the circles I blended antique linen ink through a homemade paper stencil.

The prompts in the challenge are very open and participants are encouraged to interpret them in any way and with any medium. If you are on instagram you can view the submissions by searching for #artfulaugust or #rachelgreigartfulaugustchallenge

As I participate in the challenge I will have simple experiments along with some completed projects like this one. The fun is simply playing with the prompts. In making today’s journal pages I was very happy to use some pretty scraps, experiments and clean up pages from gel printing sessions. There are always too many to turn into cards but each one has a unique texture and colour mix.

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Gel Printing with stencils + video

In recent gel printing sessions I have used some of my intricate stencils from Paper Rose Studio. This stencil, ‘little swirls‘ makes a particularly beautiful background. I’ve been printing on a 6″x6″ gel plate with a 6″x6″ stencil but I cut the print down to make a 4¼” x 5½” card.

I used stamps from Darkroom Door’s nature walk , butterflies and happy birthday sets. (all linked at the end of the post). The process for making this type of print is shown in the video below.

After any gel printing session I usually have quite a pile of prints, some become cards but I am hoping to use more in my art journal. I have to be a bit more adventurous in tearing and layering and turning them into more than just a patterned print.

The making of the background above is included in the video. To turn it into a birthday card I stamped ‘have fun’ directly on the print then popped up a sentiment strip on top. The words are stamped in Gina K obsidian amalgam ink using the Pink Fresh Studio ‘Heather’ lowercase alphabet set.

The making of the background below is also part of the video and you can see the mustard paint beaded on the surface of the gel plate making an allover pattern when printed. I didn’t necessarily want the beading but was happy when it ended up uniform. Paints of different brands perform differently on the gel press so experimentation is necessary to work out how much paint and which brands will give you the results you want.

I turned this background into another birthday card by embossing a car from the Darkroom Door Classic Cars vol 1 set along with a sentiment from the same set plus one from the Happy Birthday set.

I also filmed some gel printing with a few textured surfaces from the recycling box; I’ll be sharing that video soon.

I’d love to hear how you use your gel prints; I’m always open to ideas.

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Crossword

Darkroom Door added four new background stamps to their line up recently and I’ve shown you ‘handwoven‘ and ‘daisy delight‘ in previous posts. Today I have three very different cards featuring the ‘crossword’ background stamp.

On this first floral card I have used the crossword stamp as a background. I stamped it on scrap first with versafine clair morning mist ink then on a panel of watercolour paper to get a pale grey image adding interest behind the silhouette flowers stamped in different distress inks. I used the same grey ink to stamp words from the ‘you are everything’ set to pop up along the bottom of the panel.

In this second card the stamp functions as both a background and a crossword (of sorts). Although the stamped image is a solvable crossword which comes with printed clues in the packet I have populated it with coffee themed words to work on my coffee themed card. I feel like coffee and the crossword is not an uncommon past time. I stamped the background with fallen leaves versafine clair ink and stamped the sentiment and coffee cup in the same ink on a gel printed panel. I added some blending and ink splatter in both brown and gold before popping up the coffee and sentiment over some gold cord.

Although it took some time to stamp the background and foreground images the hardest part of the coffee card was definitely finding and arranging coffee themed words in the crossword!

My last card reminds me of the riddle, “what is black and white and red all over?” A newspaper!

Get it?

“Read all over!”

On both the second and third cards I used bristol cardstock for sharper stamped images as I wasn’t adding any water or waterbased inks. I stamped a strip of three different DD background stamps, blended the edges and attached them to a red panel then used the ‘alphabet medley’ set to stamp the words in versafine satin red ink. I’m thinking I can use this card for any exciting occasion and stamp another sentiment inside which is more specific.

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Vintage layers

Today’s cards developed bit by bit over a week or so. I worked on flower panels one day, middle layers another day, let them sit a few days, searched for ribbon another day and finally a week later put them together still adding stamping, splattering and blending right up until I called them finished!

I featured the silhouette floral stamps from the new Darkroom Door ‘you are everything’ set. There are four floral stamps along with eighteen word stamps I mentioned in a previous post. The flowers above are stamped on cold press watercolour paper with papertrey inks. I used pale peony and pure poppy on the petals and olive twist on the stems. I spritzed lightly before stamping then blended further with a paintbrush on the paper. I used the same technique on the purple flowers in the second card but worked on hot pressed watercolour paper.

For the vintage and collage details on the card I above I used olive twist and fine linen inks to add painted areas, stamped text, splatter and blending with a brush.

The flowers above are stamped in pale peony, royal velvet and olive twist and I stuck with fine linen and royal velvet as the inks on the layered areas also.

I’ve listed all the stamps I used to add texture and interest to the floral panel and the layers underneath. You can see some of my favourite ‘filler’ stamps including French script and global postmarks. I also splattered water and white paint for some watermarks and subtle blots!

To finish both cards I punched a couple of holes in the top to thread some fabric through. I didn’t have a cream silk or sheer ribbon so I ripped some strips of what might be silk but I can’t remember. The ripped edge worked fine with my vintage layered look.

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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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Gel Print Leaves video

Last week I posted a card featuring gel printed leaves from herbs I grew. I tried to explain my process but a few of you wished for a video so I picked some more leaves and had some fun printing them.

I used two different methods in the video, the leaf printed in yellow at the top of the page uses a two step method. The blue + green leaf above uses three steps and has one technique layered over the other technique.

I think the part of gel printing that gives me most inconsistent results is the way I apply ink. I’m getting better but I still get unwanted lines from the edge of the brayer. That wasn’t so evident on these prints as I was working on little gel plates called ‘petites’ from Gel Press.

I did a bunch of prints for this video on the square and the circle ‘petite’ plates as shown on the top cards. For the ‘slimline’ card I used three of the square prints but die-cut them smaller so I could fit them side by side on a 8¾” x 3¾” card.

I hope you give this a try, it’s quite satisfying and addicting once you get going!

….And did I mention I now have an online class called COLOUR CLUES?…

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Clover journal page

Are you wondering if I’m repeating myself? Didn’t I post this a few days ago? Indeed, I posted something similar on Monday, a card featuring the new ‘warm wishes’ set from Darkroom Door. At the end of the post I mentioned that I’d like to transform the design into a journal page…so I did!

I kept my colour scheme with the addition of more green and added a few extra stamp images and a bit of texture. I used a Fabriano ‘Venezia’ art journal, with drawing paper not watercolour paper. The weight of the paper is decent but if I’m going to be spritzing and adding water and ink I paint a layer of absorbant ground on both pages first.

I began by inking up the clover stamps with worn lipstick, aged mahogany and peeled paint markers, spritzed them so the ink started blending on the stamp then stamped randomly across the pages. I spritzed the images lightly so the ink moved and softened and also dabbed colour and water away with a paper towel. I inked the number/account book stamp from ‘number medley’ set with stormy sky distress stain and stamped it randomly around the pages. After stamping I spritzed the images so the ink spread, diluted and ran across the page. I dabbed some of it dry but left other bits to make watermarks. I also splattered the stain around with a paintbrush. Once the first layer of stamping was dry I switched to stormy sky distress ink and a blending brush to add colour to all the page edges. Also on the dry page I added a bit of texture by applying modeling paste through the DD stencil, ‘crackle’. The crackle was not very obvious but showed up a bit more after I added more stamping.

At this point I considered the background complete and started on the more distinct stamping. As I was working in the journal I couldn’t place it in the MISTI so I placed my ‘staytion’ magnetic board under the left hand page and added some acrylic blocks underneath the board to balance the left side of the journal with the right. I used an acrylic block to stamp all the clover and positioned a stampa-ma-jig against the block a couple of times just in case I didn’t have a complete image. I was able to do touch ups with a paintbrush and extra ink if the stamping was too pale.

I wanted some clover-ish leaves to stamp around the flowers so I grabbed a stamp from the DD ‘wildflowers vol 2’ and stamped foliage all around in peeled paint and forest moss inks. I added some green splatter too because journal pages always need splatter! At this point I was almost finished but I wanted a little more blue on the page. Rather than add more of the number stamp I used a very delicate floral stamp from ‘nature walk’ in faded jeans archival ink so I would have fine detailed lines that wouldn’t blend or blur. To balance mass of colour at the base of the pages I added more blue across the top edges. The blending brush was going to take too long so I swiped the ink pad over the edges and some water droplets also.

My journal is nowhere near full but it has become bulky with uneven pages because some have been glued to each other, others have been collaged. When I started the journal I glued pages together for sturdiness because that was what Vicky Papaioannou did and Vicky is an art journal wizard! She doesn’t always do that any more and neither do I because some of the pages just don’t want to be joined to each other, it makes it difficult to open them or flatten them. If you are an art journaller I would love to know if you prep your pages in some way so they can take a bit of water and liquid ink.

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing how a card inspired a double page spread; I definitely enjoyed working on the large scale with less pressure to keep things neat and contained!

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Warm Wishes

Hot off the presses and ironically cold out of my mail box here are some brand new stamps from Darkroom Door. Rachel Greig creates incredibly artistic stamps and these new flowers are no exception. The feature image and sentiment on today’s card are from the new set, ‘Warm Wishes’ which contains five flower stamps and eight sentiments.

I decided not to watercolour them this time (but you know I will), instead I chose a crisp pigment ink so you would see the incredible detail of the flower head. I created a background by stamping some fave florals from DD ‘nature walk’ and ‘wildflowers vol 1’ in memento London fog ink. It is a light enough grey to show up but not take over. On the card above I stamped the feature flower from ‘warm wishes’ in versafine clair ‘shady lane’ ink and added the sentiment in the same colour.

Both the stamped panel and the card base are neenah solar white cardstock and the panel is popped up on a piece of foam to create some subtle framing.

Make sure you pop over to the Darkroom Door blog for more inspiration with the new ‘warm wishes’ set. And check back here too because I’ll be giving these stamps the watercolour treatment very soon!

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