Mini Tree

Another festive (digital) beauty from my daughter’s etsy store, Echidna Studios. Do you recognise the inspiration for this little tree? You probably see them in the grocery store; it’s a little pot of rosemary, shaped like a tree. The design is available already decorated or in a set with separate tree and decorations. It is only a few days before Christmas so of course I am featuring the already decorated one!

I printed the tree on hot pressed watercolour paper and painted the paper wrapping and tree with Sennelier watercolour paints. Several people asked me about printing on watercolour paper. Up until recently I had no success; I would manually feed it into the printer but the ink would smudge off. A friend told me about the preferences settings when clicking to print and now I choose ‘manual feed’ and ‘heavyweight paper’ and no more smudging!

I switched to Finetec pearlescent paints and a gold gel pen to do the decorations so they have a little shimmer and shine to them. I reached into my little box of pre-stamped, pre-cut sentiments and pulled out one to suit the colours and the recipient. It’s a tall skinny tree (a bit like our family) so the card isn’t my usual size. It’s a 6¼” x 4″ olive green card base.

My life size tree is also decorated in red and gold this year. I always pick a slightly different colour scheme so this year all the red baubles came out, the tartan ribbon and the individual decorations in red, gold or wood. Do you change your colours from year to year?

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Holly Flourish 2 for 1

This isn’t the first 2 for 1 card combo I have posted. A few weeks back I did a similar thing with a striped watercolour background. Today’s cards are cut from gel printing clean up sheets. When gel printing I have a heavy weight art paper to the right of my gel plate where I roll off excess paint from the brayer. I cut this yellow, red and blue panel from one of those sheets.

The pretty Penny Black die is called ‘holly flourish’ and, as you can see fills a card front nicely. I have used the cut out below and splattered both negative and positive panels with gold paint. The cardstock is Neenah solar white and I added a gold cord detail to the card above.

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Bulb Basket

This sweet basket of Christmas balls not only makes a pretty card, it’s inspiration for a decorative arrangement in a few months time. The stamp is ‘bulb basket’ from Penny Black. I stamped it on hot pressed watercolour paper first in soft stone papertrey ink and then section by section with distress inks.

It is not clear in the photos but I used pearlescent paints to colour the balls so each one has a shimmer to it. The rest of the design is painted with a mix of distress inks and Sennelier watercolour paints. Once the painting was dry I added metallic tops to the Christmas balls with a gold gel pen. If you have this stamp or are planning to get it you might notice that there is a ribbon on the basket handle but no bow. The stamp features a bow but for the size of card I decided it was better to leave the bow loops unstamped.

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Echinacea Journal Page

I have echinacea or cone flowers growing happily in my garden and now happily in my almost finished 6″x 6″ art journal. A friend recently gave me a great big dictionary for cutting up so I ripped out the ‘book’ page and the ‘journal’ page and used them to cover the whole double page spread before I did anything else.

There were a few words I didn’t want covered up so when I was ripping then gluing I took care to keep them exposed. The word ‘boomerang’ appeared so I didn’t cover that one up even though it has nothing to do with this journal page. I am an Aussie after all. ‘Bookish, bookmark, bookshelf, bookworm, book-club and bookend are all visible, some of them highlighted. Somewhere in the gluing I lost the word ‘journal’ but ‘journey’ is still there.

I used a black all pencil to darken the edges of the torn pieces and softened it with water. I also added white gesso over the top to mute the background a bit. I should have done those two steps in the opposite order so the gesso didn’t reactivate the pencil. I blended some tea dye or possibly antique linen ink around the edges and then wished I hadn’t, after all I don’t have to vintagefy everything!

I cut the petals, cone, and green bits from different gel prints using a photo I’d printed out to guide me with the shape. After everything was glued down I used black, white and gold gel pens to add details and metallic paints on the cone details as well. I added white and gold splatter and a mix of washi tape and gel print circles dotted around the the place.

Hope you are surrounded by books and flowers…if you like them as much as I do!

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Pinecone Poetry

Yes it’s the height of summer round here so must be time for some Christmas stamping! I am a seasonal stamper as you know but when the first Christmas release comes from Penny Black I try them out straight away. It gets me started on my Christmas cards and shows you the new beauties that are available.

This large stamp is called ‘pinecone poetry’ and I have stamped and painted it with distress inks. The technique is one I have talked about many times and is made easier with the use of a stamp positioner. I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper inking the pine fronds and leaves with a mix of mowed lawn, pine needles and rustic wilderness distress inks. When it was time to paint the leaves I pulled ink from the stamping and picked up smooshed ink from my glass mat.

I used the same method for the pine cone inking with three different browns to vary the tones in the finished image. The berries are candied apple (I think) with a second addition of ink to give shadow to each berry. To complete the layout I stamped extra pine fronds and blended some green around the top left corner. I splattered gold paint over the design and added a sentiment in archival vintage photo ink.

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Gouache Hand Painted Wreath

I’ve been experimenting with gouache paint. I posted a few cards with gouache painted backgrounds early last month and now I have a painted wreath to share. The Foiled Fox kindly sent me the set of gouache and I have been practising colour mixing and painting very simple shapes and patterns. You can find me on the Foiled Fox blog today with more tips and tricks about this card.

Even though I am still a gouache newbie I decided to film the process for painting a simple wreath. I only used four different gouache colours, a green, a yellow, a red and white along with one pearlescent paint. In the video you will see the process and all the colours listed by name.

You certainly don’t have to use gouache on a black background but it does really pop! I think my next path of experimentation might be to use watercolour and gouache in the same project. On a slight side note, I don’t set out to do such tiny details; I can’t help myself. My art teachers in high school and college always told me to use bigger, bolder strokes!

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Vintage Style Bookshelf + Video

This isn’t my first time stamping books with Darkroom Door stamps. This time I filmed the process so you could see how I made them look all old and vintagey!

The fun thing about the Darkroom Door ‘bookshelf’ stamp is its length (just under 12″) so I decided to wrap it around my cards for maximum effect. I worked on two cards at the same time giving them slightly different paint jobs and background finishing touches. Watch the video to see my process.

Because I inked the bookshelf stamp randomly the colours moved where they willed and left me with a mix of blues and browns. This second card has some extra scratches from the DD stamp of the same name.

The insides of the cards have random paint splotches here and there so I added paper inserts for a clean place to write a note. Now that I have made a wraparound card with this border stamp I might have to try it with the other DD one I own, ‘butterfly garden‘.

Thank you so much for your interest and discussion about the gel printing I shared last week. I really enjoyed the gel printing session which resulted in my last two videos and turning a few of the prints into cards and a journal page was very satisfying. Several of you mentioned wanting to get your gel plate out to try the techniques; I hope you do. I also hope you try this brown and blue vintage style on some of your own stamped projects. If you do be sure to let me know.

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Gel print backgrounds – stripes and grid

Yesterday I posted a gel printing video where I used both an egg carton and a piece of corrugated cardboard to add texture to my prints. I used a couple of the corrugated cardboard prints to make today’s cards.

You can see how I printed this panel in the video. To turn it into a card I used a couple of new stamps from Penny Black. I stamped the mountain stamp five times in browns and blue then inked the rushes with a brown and a blue ink. I love the way it looks like a sunset or sunrise because of the background print. It wasn’t something I tried to create but a possibility I saw when looking at the prints.

The print below was made with the same piece of corrugated cardboard pressed down on the gel press twice to create a grid pattern. You can see the process in yesterday’s video. I decided to stamp flowers on it as an experiment. I knew it might be too much pattern but I wanted to try. I stamped and embossed the Penny Black ‘companions’ stamp in versafine clair nocturne ink and it looked bold just as an outline.

By painting inside the flowers I was able to separate them from the background enough to make them a feature not a competitor with the very busy grid pattern. I used a couple of layers of pearlescent paint on the flowers but quite diluted pearlescent black on the leaves and jug.

Tell me what ‘recycled’ items you have used for gel printing. I am keen to print with ‘all the things’! To be honest gel printing is top of my list of techniques right now. I hope you enjoyed the two recent gel printing videos. I will definitely make more. Tomorrow I have a couple of cards made from the piece of cardstock I used to clean my brayer. I showed a glimpse of it at the end of the video.

See you soon.

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Handwoven

Today’s cards feature the new ‘handwoven’ background stamp from Darkroom Door it two quite different ways.

To create this first card I inked the handwoven stamp with blue and green papertrey ink cubes, spritzed the stamp then pressed it on hot pressed watercolour paper. The result was some green areas, some blue areas and some pretty blended areas where the inks overlap. The blue-green background created a pretty pattern as it was and I could have just added a sentiment and called it complete but I decided to take the risk of adding some flowers. I would understand if you wish I had left it flower free because it is a busy panel but I like the look of a patterned geometric roof or canopy over the flowers.

The flowers are from the new DD set ‘you are everything’ as are the words. The words in this set are great; there are eighteen negative space words that can be stamped and cut out to make countless sentiments. I embossed both the flowers and the words to give them more prominence over the busy background.

The second card I am planning to use as an Easter card. Filling the spaces of the handwoven pattern with pearlescent paint reminded me of a stain glass window so I looked through my sentiments and found this one in the DD ‘Christmas bush’ set and decided it works for many occasions, including Easter. I stamped the handwoven stamp on black watercolour paper in versamark then embossed in clear powder before painting all the little spaces with Coliro paints and a fine point brush. It did take a while and I didn’t do it in one sitting as the fiddliness factor was high!

I matted both the patterned circle and the sentiment in gold shimmer cardstock and embossed the front of the card base using the ‘subtle’ embossing folder from SU.

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Vintage collage card

A friend commissioned me to make a ‘vintage’ themed card recently and I happily pulled out a bunch of Darkroom Door stamps to do so. You can see the pocket watch stamp managed to feature three times but the French script, global postmarks, and gerberas also contributed. I stamped, blended and painted with two brown tones of distress ink, two blues and a black. (all the supplies are listed below)

To begin I smooshed some speckled egg and antique linen distress inks on a glass mat, added water swiped the panel through the diluted ink. After that the gerbera background stamp became part of the base layer in speckled egg distress ink. I layered the other stamps over the top in tea dye and antique linen inks and blended some speckled egg ink through the DD diamonds stencil. Of course there is splatter, watermarks and extra blending to darken the edges. To add a dimensional feature I die cut several stems of flowers with the Penny Black ‘shall we dance’ die, some are from watercolour paper, some from tan cardstock and a few from paper painted with salty ocean ink and stamped with the DD gazette stamp.

Almost finished, I added a strand of twine around the base and tied some tiny tags on with stamped PB sentiments on them and some little wooden stars I found. I was pretty happy with all this vintageness but decided to risk some gold paint. I splattered and added it to the tiny stars and heart, the flower centres. Where it worked best though was unevenly painted along the edges of the square panel. You probably can’t even see it clearly but it ended up being one of my favourite parts of the card.

By the way there are yummy new stamps on the Darkroom Door website. You will see them here soon, a few are winging their way here as you read this! Have a great day.

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