AI + Stencils Blue Edition

After success with one of my detailed stencils over an alcohol ink panel I tried a few more all with a mix of blue inks. The one above features the Darkroom Door crackle stencil over a mix of cloudy blue and stream inks.

There is also a little bit of salt sprinkled on the panel where the stencil did not make consistent contact. This technique is definitely not for the impatient among us!

I am still working on Grafix white craft plastic and often starting over the top of a panel that already had ink on it. All the card bases are Neenah solar white.

The stencil above is MFT geometric stars and I positioned it over a panel of denim and stream inks with some leftover copper as well. The ‘print’ is not very consistent but I like the way a distinct line is right next to a blurry pattern.

I finished this one off with a die from the Pinkfresh Studio ‘sending’ die set.

I worked with the DD mesh stencil a couple of times because it didn’t make consistent contact on my first attempts. I found if I taped it over the alcohol ink panel onto a piece of scrap cardboard I could bend the cardboard slightly to make sure stencil stayed pressed onto the wet alcohol inks. I just popped the piece in the right sized container to keep it bent while it dried.

This one is a mix of denim, cloudy blue, silver and a tiny bit of stream down in the right hand corner. I added a sentiment from the DD ‘tall flowers’ set.

As you can see my fascination with this technique continues. I did pick up a couple more detail stencils the other day for this very purpose. I will also give it a try with some watercolour paints and paper. I’m sure the result will be different as the watercolour paints soak in but I think there could be a pretty and subtle pattern. Stay tuned!

Supplies


Beauty of the Earth journal page

I have another double page spread in the 6″x 6″ journal today. Don’t tell the others but this one seems to be getting all the attention at present!

The pages in this journal are thick watercolour paper so I wanted to take advantage of that and use watercolour techniques. Most of the pages I have completed up until now have had a base layer of gesso or acrylic paint.

As you can see I taped the edges of the pages with tape before starting. I added some stamping in black here and there using a stamp from the Darkroom Door ‘number medley’ set. Next I used the DD ‘honeycomb’ stencil and modeling paste to add a texture strip from left to right down the centre of the spread. I added a small section bottom left also. Once the paste was dry I began painting colour around the honeycomb and across both pages. I spent a while doing this so as to see the blends and build up some depth of colour.

Other than some black stamping I used only three colours of distress ink, both spray stain and from the ink pads. I took care to keep some white space; sometimes I realise too late that I have colour all over the pages. I stamped some grasses in peeled paint archival ink so they would not dilute and broken china distress ink so they would dilute. I also stamped sections of the world map in rusty hinge. Although I loved the combo of peeled paint, rusty hinge and broken china I thought a bit of metallic shine would be nice so I added some wildflowers embossed in Brutus Monroe ‘penny’ powder.

With a copper coloured gel pen I wrote the first verse of ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’ in the lower right hand corner then added the embossed word ‘beautiful’. And of course there is some copper splatter to finish it off. This is a style and look I have been hoping to create so you’ll probably see a few more like this one.

Supplies


Fine Baubles

To make these cards I pulled out some gel printed paper and the Darkroom Door ‘fine baubles’ stamp set. I have a box of gel printed pieces longing to come out of the box and into the world.

Last year I resolved to make a few Christmas cards every month of the year but that didn’t happen. This year I have resolved no such thing and look what happened: two done already! I embossed the large baubles on the gel print panel in a gold powder which is slightly chunky; it’s not my usual gold but there is a whole jar of it and I am committed to using up what I have where possible. It worked well for these baubles because I needed it to stand out against the patterns of the gel prints. I cut the baubles out which, although simple, still counts as fussy cutting in my book.

I embossed three of the smaller baubles on the other end of the gel print and did not cut them out because in doing so I would have lost the pretty stars on the print. It was hard to capture the gold of the stars in the photo but it is subtle and pretty in real life and is not blue as it appears below.

I attached gold cord behind the larger baubles as well as bows from cord too. The smaller baubles also got the bows but the cord is drawn with a gold gel pen.

No sentiments at this stage but that might change before I send them out in eleven months time!

Supplies


Butterfly Gold journal page

I have a new spread in the 6 x 6 art journal today though not a seasonal one this time. These pages include a couple of photos from a magazine along with some layering of stamped tissue paper, book pages, stamping and some transfers.

I began by stamping butterflies on white tissue paper in black archival ink then ripped up the paper before gluing it to the pages. I also ripped up some old book pages and accidentally ended up with a strip mentioning butterflies

Over the paper layers I painted with white gesso and acrylic paint before stenciling gold paint through the Darkroom Door honeycomb stencil.

I glued the butterfly photos down and painted over the edges to soften the transition from journal page to photo. I used a black fineline pen to sketch over some of the stamped butterflies and added random texture using the DD mesh stamp.

The page was almost finished at this point but the two butterfly photos were at opposite sides of the spread with a lot of space in between. A visit to Crop A While ended up helping me out. I wasn’t there looking for anything butterfly related but after talking about transfer sheets Carole showed me the Vintage Butterflies sheet from ‘Dress my Craft’ and I had the final elements for this page.

I had not used transfer sheets in a very long time, they work just like the temporary flag tattoos my children applied to themselves on Canada Day years ago. Unlike the temporary tattoos these ones should stay stuck rather than gradually looking rattier and scrappier over a period of weeks!

I used three of the transfer butterflies to create a visual path across the two pages then finished things up with quotes from the Darkroom Door ‘Wings’ set and of course some black, white and gold splatter!

Thank you for all the kind and generous messages about the cardinal card; it is always lovely to hear from you.

Supplies


Winter Tree art journal page

I continue to create and experiment in my 6×6 art journal, definitely inspired by the current season and view. When I started this page I had a technique in mind but no picture in my head of how it might turn out. I couldn’t be happier with the end result!

I am trying a range of techniques and methods in my art journals because that is what they’re for and because I have a series of workshops coming up this year (temporarily postponed until restrictions change). On this spread I started by layering and gluing torn papers on the pages. I pulled blue pieces from my considerable stash of papers, some old (Penny Black 6×6 packs) and some new (decorative rice paper) along with Dina Wakley printed white collage paper. After gluing the strips here and there I added modeling past through a stencil and let that dry.

Over the papers and paste I painted white gesso and then a couple of blues from Dina Wakley’s acrylic selection. You can see some of the patterns show through from the papers and in real life you can also see the texture from the stencilled paste. I added stamping in blue and white with Darkroom Door background stamps, ‘snow flakes’ and ‘French Script’.

I had started the page with a vague idea of adding a picture from a Christmas card or magazine. In choosing the tree picture you see included I fell down a rabbit hole of memories going through boxes of saved cards! I have saved cards since childhood and I was sorting and reading for quite a while. I didn’t open every single card but I found some adorable and hilarious cards made by my children and some I taught in school, I also found many sweet notes in cards from my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. The picture I chose of the single tree on a snowy hill was in a Christmas card from a sweet friend.

It is worth noting at this point that I didn’t plan this layout or have this card on hand when I started the painting so the colours did not match perfectly. You know how I feel about the matchy-matchy so I ended up adding paint to the sky around the tree to make the blue a bit more purply and less aqua. I also extended the scene by turning a white area that was already on the page into a clearly defined snowy hill. I used a white gel pen to add more foliage to carry the scene off the little square onto my page. I finished off the page with some die cut Penny Black snowflakes.

I know that is a lot of description that would be better understood with video footage but it didn’t happen this time. As I continue to make pages I will try to capture some of them on film.

Do you save the cards you are given? Do you put them to use making something new? Just wondering…

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Winter Wildflowers

The bright and beautiful flowers of spring and summer delight me as you know but so do those left standing through autumn and winter. On a snowy walk recently I was happy to see the brown tones that show up bold and contrasting against the snow. Queen Anne’s Lace closes up and dries out after summer but that makes it all the better to balance some snow like icing.

For this wintery image of dried stems against aged wood paneling I stamped the flower stems from Darkroom Door’s ‘nature walk’ first in brown archival inks so they wouldn’t blend when I worked on the background. I stamped the DD ‘woodgrain’ stamp over the top first in hickory smoke distress ink then a few more times adding black soot, forest moss and barn door distress inks. I blended as sparingly as I could to retain the texture of the stamp.

I added a sentiment from the DD ‘happy birthday’ set and now I am wondering if I can recreate the same aged wood effect on a journal page. This seems to be the way I roll at present; a journal page inspires a card then a card inspires a journal page.

By the way my Art Journal Adventure class has been postponed for now due to current restrictions here in Ontario but we will reschedule when possible. In the interim I will continue scheming and dreaming up themes and techniques!

Supplies


2022 BuJo – January theme

My plan for the new year was to take a different artistic route with my bullet journal themes but here I am with the same mask, stamp, blend approach. I still have fifty pages left in my current journal so I will continue in a similar style for now and make some changes when I switch to a new one.

I masked the edges of the page with painter’s tape for delicate surfaces but it was still a bit sticky for the smooth bullet journal page. I did press it on my clothes first but I think post it tape is a much better choice.

As well as a masked frame around the page I tore tape to mask snow hills across the page. I used the pinecones and needles from Darkroom Door’s ‘pine cones’ set and trees from the DD ‘majestic mountains’ set.

The inks are all distress inks (listed below) and you can see a bit of bleed through the paper. The juicier the ink the more likely it is to show through. None of the ink went right through the page so it doesn’t bother me or stop me from using the pages. I used a black fineline pen to rule the lines and letter the headings.

After a year using this particular dot journal I am still a big fan of the quality but havent’ settled on the best way to keep track of work projects past, present and future. I also want to come up with a workable chore tracker, not nearly as fun as the project tracking but necessary!

As I look at my ‘to do list’ page above I’m not so keen on the little trees to mark the list items; they look like tree shaped rain drops falling from a pinecone!

I’ll be setting up a new booklist for my 2022 reading and plan to put all the birthdays on one spread too. That won’t guarantee that I will remember to send greetings but it might help.

Supplies


Rustic Wreath

When I am designing classes, both online and in-person it can take many days and many samples before I settle on a collection of projects. This card is one that did not end up in a class but I love the rustic textured look of it.

I used two circle dies to cut a kraft ring as the base of my wreath. I stamped the background with the Darkroom Door ‘woodgrain’ stamp and a few brown inks. To create the holly leaves and berries I painted a few strips of watercolour paper with greens and also a strip of red then hand cut the leaves and punched out the berries. To fill out the wreath I used some Penny Black die cut twigs and berries in brown and gold.

The sentiment is from Taylored Expressions; I used the very handy stamp and die sentiment strips combo. My daughter joined me on Monday afternoon and we had fun decking the tree and living area. I now have a decorated wreath hanging over my fire place and greenery hanging either side of the front door.

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A Winner & some Chat

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on the Wreaths – Stamped & Painted online class launch post a week ago. It was lovely to hear from you. Thank you to all of you who have already registered in the class; I am delighted to have you making wreath cards with me. I used a random number generator to pick a winner from the comments left on last Monday’s post and the winner of a class registration is …

Jo Anna Grimsley

who wrote that she had completed her Christmas cards. YAY! and had never been done this early! Well done Jo Anna, you can now treat yourself with an online class. I will be in touch by email.

On Christmas Cards

I was interested to read that many of you had started Christmas cards, some of you don’t make holiday cards but prefer to send cards throughout the year. Several people make photo cards which I think is a great idea; I love to receive a family photo or scenic photo taken some time during the year. A few of you, like me decided to make Christmas cards throughout the year; I didn’t do that well actually so I have had to ramp up the process lately. Some of you keep it simple with a mass produced design but a few of you departed from that plan this year and have been making quite elaborate cards. Thank you so much for all your comments. I made my list yesterday and counted that I need 80+ cards. I spent the afternoon writing in all the ones that go to Australia; they need to be in the mail first.

On Markers

When I mentioned distress markers being discontinued several people commented on their disappointment with the way distress markers dried out faster than other markers. I have found that to be so with the bullet tip of the distress markers but haven’t noticed it so much with the brush tip which is what I usually use. Although I have Tombow markers I tend to forget them. I used several in the wreaths class and found them to be good as new so they are not drying out while they wait for me to choose them! For a while now I have been using the Staedtler watercolour brushmarkers and they also feature in the new class. I am enjoying them and there is a nice range of colours in the set of 36. I found them at Michaels, and with a coupon the price was not bad. I am going to do some side by side comparisons with markers and will let you know what I find.

On Handmade Books

When I posted about my first handmade book (well, first since making big storybooks with 1st graders) the other day a few of you mentioned the need for yet more supplies. I don’t own any book making supplies but I had a long spike tool from an eyelet hardware set, I think a Stampin’ Up purchase from years ago; I also have a crop-o-dile which can punch holes of a certain size. I had the stiff board backs from paper pads stashed away along with plenty of patterned papers. I had embroidery thread and linen twine which, once I bought the beeswax, worked to sew my book signatures together. I had a metal ruler and utility knife and the bone folder from my scorboard. So you see you might have most of what you need. All I bought was the beeswax and the course which was $10. I’m not receiving any affiliate income from the maker of the course; I just loved it, that’s all!

On Artsy Podcasts

I listen to a lot of podcasts on a range of topics. Over the last year I have added several art podcasts to my line up. I have been a fan of Julie Fei Fan Balzer’s Adventures in Arting podcast for years. She hosts it with her mother and they chat with each other and often have a guest to interview. It covers a whole range of art pursuits and art related topics. If card making is your artistic outlet or you are an Altenew fan you might enjoy Jennifer Rzasa’s podcast Craft Your Life. She also interviews guests and the latest was the wonderful Jennifer McGuire.

Another art themed podcast I thoroughly enjoy is Laura Horn’s Art podcast. She and her photographer husband talk all things art related and include interviews from time to time as well. Every single time I listen I am inspired or motivated. It is worth listening just to enjoy their accents. I have also been encouraged and learnt a lot from Art Juice with Louise Fletcher and Alice Sheridan. They include interviews, chats about the artistic process as well as the business side of things. (again the accents are a bonus). One more recommendation is Izzy & Gina in Stitches. Izzy Moore and Gina Ferrari are machine embroidery artists but their art is not limited to fibre, like me they have a range of artistic pursuits. Their conversations always encourage, inform and amuse. Do you have any art related pocasts you can recommend?

Thank you for your continued interest and support; I will be back with a card video next time. Take care.


Checkered Bookmarks

For a change and because I’ve seen a few beautiful stamped and painted bookmarks lately, I decided to make a few of my own. My preference is always a very flat bookmark. I have had fancier bookmarks over the years with layers and lace but I like the book to close nice and flat over the bookmark. These ones are one layer of hot press watercolour paper without even the raised surface of embossing.

I taped a piece of watercolour paper to my glass mat using washi tape and the grid on the mat to keep the tapes even as they divided the panel into three strips. I blended distress inks through the Darkroom Door small checkered stencil onto the panel, two colours for each strip then blended more ink to fill the spaces. I chose a different theme for each bookmark but used reading quotes from the Darkroom Door ‘Bookworm’ set for each one. (all the stamps and inks are listed below)

After painting over all the images with distress ink I used a black pen to darken the edges and a white gel pen to add highlights and dots.

I am always keen to hear book recommendations so feel free to leave them in the comments. Last time I asked several readers suggested authors who were new to me that I ended up reading and enjoying.

Supplies

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