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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Alcohol ink gel print

I tried a technique this week that I’ve seen demonstrated by gel printing wizards but never tried myself. In some ways it’s not that different from making abstract alcohol ink patterns on yupo or craft plastic but I found that I ended up with more of a distressed look which is rather nice.

I started with a not entirely clean gel plate and three or four alcohol inks, I’m not sure exactly which ones I used as I was very much in experimenting mode. Obviously there was a green and some blues in there and in real life you can see I also had a silver. I dropped dots of the different colours on the gel plate added rubbing alcohol and blew it all around with the air blower. It dried quite quickly so it took several additions of inks and rubbing alcohol before I was happy with the coverage. Once the AI had dried completely I brayered white acrylic paint over the painted area and took a print on some white cardstock. You can see the usual overlapping patterns of alcohol ink blobs but also some white patches and ‘grazes’ from the acrylic paint.

I trimmed the panel and added a three layer PB die cut sentiment along with an additional sentiment strip. I will definitely be trying this technique again.

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See you soon

Just popping in with a couple of cards carrying a couple of messages for you. I hope your new year is off to a good start; I am still enjoying the beauty of an array of Christmas cards sent from around the world, thank you my creative friends for brightening up the midwinter days.

I made today’s cards from a gel printed panel done several months ago. I can’t remember the paints but you can see there was definitely orange, aqua and black. The panel I cut up is shown below, most of it included distinct or faint stars made with the Darkroom Door small starry night stencil. Along one edge there were two very distinct feather prints made with real feathers.

I ended up cutting a square which included one feather, leaving me one for another project. I also cut a rectangle covered in colour and texture which became the base for die cut letters and stars. I chose gold cardstock and gold embossing powder to add some brightness and shimmer on top of the dark background featuring a ‘scripted bold sentiments’ stamp from Pinkfresh Studio, alphabet dies from MFT and nesting star dies from We R Memory Keepers. I popped up the letters and the stars on black foam which kind of makes them appear to be floating.

I wanted to let you know I am taking a short blogging break so I can devote some time to planning and prep. I will be working on projects to share with you over the coming months. Ideally I would have done this before I stopped for Christmas but that didn’t happen so I’m doing it over the next week or so. I have lovely ideas and projects floating round in my head, I have a little stash of stencils and stamps that haven’t been out of their packets and some new release products from Penny Black on the way.

It has been a while since I devoted time to gel printing, alcohol inks, stenciling and lettering so that’s on the list along with some more hand painting. I will be making some videos to share here on my blog and youtube channel. I have a new online class in the works also. So you see while it’s quiet on the blog it will be busy behind the scenes.

As always I am happy to answer questions and I’m open to requests or suggestions for new projects and videos. If you feel like diving into one of my online classes just click on COLOUR CLUES or WINTER WONDER to learn more. (Here is a discount code for COLOUR CLUES which will take 20% of the price until January 15, 2021 HTNY21 )

So take care everyone, I’m looking forward to sharing techniques and experiments, cards, journal pages, paintings and more here on the blog during 2021. See you soon…

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Gel printed feathers again

Last year I did my first gel prints with feathers and I was thrilled with the detail in the prints. When I was gel printing with leaves a few months ago I did a few feather prints at the same time. It’s the same process.

The letters and word added to this feather print were cut from the same panel. I was working on my large gel plate and lifting the prints on A4 pieces of cardstock. The mustard/gold paint was over the whole print before I added dark turquoise paint to one end as I printed feathers.

I cut the letters for the word ‘sending’ with the ‘Heather lowercase’ dies from Pinkfresh studio. There are capital letter dies in the same style and co-ordinating stamps for both lower and upper case but I just bought the lowercase dies. Buying alphabet dies or stamps is quite the investment so I worked out what I would get the most use from and it was these pretty letter dies. I am way more likely to make words with all lowercase than with all caps. After I had ordered the dies I realised they were all double dies in that they cut a very narrow border around every letter which gives you a bonus delicate die cut letter which can be used as a border for the solid letter. Maybe you know all this but I was pretty happy to get double the letter fun.

I cut all the letters for the word ‘sending’ and arranged them on top of the feather panel but they did not stand out enough until I cut the same letters from shimmer gold cardstock so I could give each one the narrow border. I added double sided adhesive to the back before cutting the letters so it would be easy to attach them to the panel. I cut the word love from a teal section of the printed panel twice and layered them to make them stand out a bit more, the die is from the Pinkfresh phrase builder ‘sending’ set.

I’m very keen to get out my gel plates again but my to do list has other things on it right now. It’s fun to have a stack of prints to put to use in the interim.

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Gel print pumpkins

Despite what the title suggests this post isn’t about gel printing, it’s about using more dies on one card than I’ve ever done before. I tend to use dies sparingly, not because I don’t like them, but because they are usually called in to highlight or frame some watercolouring. This time the dies are the feature and I used some leftover pieces of gel printed paper for the pumpkins.

On the first card I built up a background for the gel print pumpkins with a row of die cut trees and then a die cut picket fence. Each pumpkin is two layer as the original cardstock used for printing was light weight. I tried to find prints in pumpkin colours and found a couple of blue/greens, some goldy browns and a pale orange; I didn’t have a strong orange in the pile. The fact that one of the prints had stars on it was definitely a bonus.

On the second card I stacked two leaf pattern die cut panels to create a textured background then layered the pumpkins on top of that. All the background die cutting and card bases are either luxe textured white cardstock or a cheap cold pressed watercolour paper that I thought was luxe textured white until I placed them side by side and had to rearrange things a bit.

All the dies are listed and linked below and I made two messages with the same ‘golden delight’ sentiment stamp. I know I have other sentiments for thanksgiving but I can’t go past this one. For the cute little sign by the pumpkin patch I stamped one word, masked, then next word, masked and then the last one and wonder of wonders, it worked first go!

The layering and adhering of dies was a labour of love because I am just not great at the whole fiddly nature of gluing die cuts. When I imagined the card in my head it was way more intricate than either of these but it’s important to know your own limits and sometimes quit while you’re ahead!

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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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Parsley, sage & mint

As I hoped I fitted in some gel printing the other day. I picked leaves from my garden and experimented to see which would give me a good print. It also took me some trial and error to get the amount of paint right too.

I brayered titanium white, ultamarine blue and hooker’s green onto my circle gel plate then lay down the back of the leaf on the paint. I lay white cardstock over the top and taped one edge of the cardstock to my table before lifting it to see the print. Without untaping the cardstock I removed the leaves and lay the cardstock back down to take another print, that which was left by the leaf.

I know some extra visuals, even a video might be more helpful than a description so I am working towards that goal. Gel printing can be rather hit and miss for me so I haven’t done any filming yet.

I decided to use all three prints on the one card so cut a piece of snowbound textured cardstock 10⅞ ” x 4¾” and scored it at 3⅝” and 7¼”. I die cut each print using a 3¼” square die and attached them directly to the textured card base. I stamped ‘Thank you’ from PB ‘million thanks’ set on white in peeled paint archival ink then embossed ‘for your help’ from the same set in white on green then cut it out with an oval punch to make a tab on the side of the card.

This card is for my daughter who has put hours or work and loads of enthusiasm into our garden this year. It’s looking good and we have high hopes for the tomatoes, brussel sprouts and cantaloupes still growing!

Join my online class COLOUR CLUES to create card sized works of art!

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Old gel print, new card

I am getting closer to doing some satisfying gel printing but this card was made from a previous gel printing session. You can probably tell the texture on this panel was from a piece of corrugated cardboard. So simple and effective.

There is definitely some leftover paint printed on this panel. Leftovers are a feature of gel printing I really like. I usually print and print without cleaning the plate so the leftovers, often on edges or corners appear in subsequent prints.

I stamped the large and small cone flowers from the Darkroom Door ‘carved flowers’ set first in white ink then offset in black before embossing in clear powder. White ink is very sticky so when I stamped on top of it the stamp lifted some of the white ink off. It was necessary to wipe the stamp each time and restamp in black to build up a solid black layer. After embossing I used the large six square grid die from Waffle Flower’s color combo set to cut my panel into squares. I popped them up on foam on a 6″x4.25″ card base.

The sentiment is the DD ‘majestic mountains’ set and reminds me that not all adventures have to be in person or in the outdoors right now, although I am missing that. I am enjoying the adventure of creating with new and old friends through my online class. (yes maybe this is another shameless plug, but it’s true!) As I see what class members are creating I am inspired and encouraged to be ‘in class’ with friends even while I can’t be in class in person.

And I am sure new gel printing is imminent; I want to print fresh leaves and maybe petals from my garden so stay tuned.

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Almost a gel press card

I have been waiting for some time to get the gel press out again and it has finally happened. A gel press session needs a decent amount of time and space otherwise I barely remember what to do before I have to pack up again. I find when I am working with the gel press my first prints or ‘pulls’ are very uninteresting as I get back into the process and build up some interesting colour and texture on the gel plate. That was definitely the case yesterday when I got started. The squares above did not come from a gel print. I cut them all from the cardstock off to the side where I was cleaning off my brayer!

Maybe you can guess from the squares that I was using dark blue, dark green and deep violet acrylic paint. The reason most of the squares look softer and more pastel is because I also used white paint each time I rolled some colour onto the plate. I may not use any of the gel prints I made yesterday but the scrap sheet for cleaning my brayer was perfect for making a card inspired by ‘Dear Paperlicious’. I am often inspired by Joan; I’m sure you will be too if you take a look at her blog or instagram. Her cards are clever and cool, just like her!

I cut all my squares using one of the dies from the Waffle Flower color combos die set then popped them up on craft foam and added a sentiment from MFT. Hopefully you will see some actual gel printing in the days to come but until then don’t discount the usefulness of a pretty piece of scrap paper!

Don’t forget to check out my new online class about cards, colour and making pretty things!

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