Six years ago I was given a delightful and incredibly thoughtful gift. Four friends I met through teaching card making classes gave me an art journal. It’s a large Dylusions 9″x11″, a very generous gift in itself.
The journal was just part of the gift. What amazed and touched me deeply was that these friends worked on individual pages in this journal far enough in advance to have completed four different spreads before they gave it to me. Each person completed a 2 or 3 page spread describing Christmas traditions they were familiar with.
I have in my journal pages about Polish and German Christmas traditions along with a description and illustration of Mummering in Newfoundland and a depiction of the carol, ‘I Saw Three Ships’. The depiction is set in Bass Strait with a view of a King Island lighthouse, a nod to my birthplace! I was speechless when I opened the gift and it still brings me joy whenever I look at it.
After Christmas that year I began two different spreads in the journal having decided it was to be filled with Christmas themed art journalling. Although I began soon after receiving the journal I didn’t finish a page until last week. I am embarrassed to have let it sit so long but in the interim I have completed many journal pages in other books and have ideas aplenty dancing around in my head – like sugarplums!
Gingerbread baking and decorating is a tradition for me and a fitting choice for my first Christmas spread. I started making gingerbread in Australia in 1995 after hearing a radio interview with Jill Dupleix whose recipe I use to this day, more often than not with gluten free flour now. This year I made several batches, a couple with friends on a Sunday afternoon where much mixing, cutting and decorating was enjoyed.
I used my own cookie cutters to trace the shapes onto watercolour paper painted with dark brown and light brown brusho. The background ‘check tablecloth’ I painted with a mix of Dr Ph Martin’s deep red rose and hansa yellow. The gingerbread shapes sat for years with pale white patterns on them and it was only this year after trying quite a few white paints and pens that I was able to make the patterns bolder with a posca paint pen.
I finally added the recipe, glued the cookies down and added a title using MFT little lowercase letters (I think they are retired now but they worked to look like little gingerbread letters).
So that is the story of a wonderful journal, four kind and generous friends and an adventure started in 2015 which I am happily continuing even though I made a very slow start.
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I’ve been wanting to work with some of my new stencils and the CAS Mix Up challenge is currently a embossed stencil challenge so I got to work. I taped the Alexandra Renke ornament star stencil to a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper and started sponging some versamark ink through the stencil. I soon switched to just squishing the versamark ink pad directly on the stencil as that was faster. I embossed the star in clear powder then put the panel in a box so I could spray some stain over it without decorating myself or my desk.
I sprayed seedless preserves, faded jeans and speckled eggs distress stains over the panel from 20-30cm away and ended up with a pretty speckled panel. I wanted to make the spotted sprayed area transition from speckled to solid so I painted water over one edge then spritzed water next to the painted area which achieved my goal leaving some of the panel barely touched by water. It took quite a while to dry and impatient me did smudge some of the speckles but they are underneath the die cut letters now so no harm done.
I applied tape to the back of a piece of co-ordiating cardstock then cut the letters s,t,a,r out using the ‘Heather lowercase alphabet’ die set from Pink Fresh studio. I searched through my stamps and dies to find a sentiment I could alter to say ‘you’re a’ and ended up using part of a stamp from the MFT ‘Yay for You’ set stamped in versafine monarch ink.
When I was doing the spray over embossing step I realised this stencil is probably going to pair up with spray stains again in an art journal page, the speckled effect over the lacy star is just so pretty.
I’m excited to participate in a challenge again, it has been a while! There is still time to get involved if, like me you have stencils that are waiting patiently to be the star or even the background of a card.
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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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Today’s card and video feature two products made for each other: black watercolour paper and pearlescent paint. The black background makes the already beautiful shimmery paint even more vibrant.
I chose the MFT ‘loosely line flowers’ background stamp to fill a large black square of black coldpressed watercolour paper. The paper has some texture to it but that didn’t cause any problems when I stamped and embossed this very detailed stamp.
The video shows my process making this multicoloured card using the Coliro ‘earth’ and ‘ocean’ sets of pearlescent paints. The Foiled Fox introduced me to the Coliro sets and sent some my way and I’m so glad they did. The colours are beautiful and the combinations in the sets make me happy.
When I was planning the card and video tutorial I tried the technique with only colours from the ‘ocean’ set first. The result is in the card above. I think it’s lovely but I find the contrasts in the first card are even more eye catching. If you have some black watercolour paper be sure to try it with some pearlescent or metallic paints, powders or markers. Similarly if you have some metallic or pearlescent products you are wondering what to do with, get some black watercolour paper and have some fun.
Can you believe this is my twelfth video this year? That is definitely a record for me and the year isn’t even over yet. Hope you enjoy this one.
These sweet and quirky flowers are from the My Favorite Things set, ‘fine line floral’. I’m sharing this card and process over on the Foiled Fox blog today and hope you will join me there.
There is a lot of fine line detail (as the name suggests) in the flower heads so they look good stamped with a detail ink. I decided to do some pencil colouring first but was able to add detail over the top with some stamping after all the colouring was done.
All three flowers are part of one stamp so I stamped in antique linen ink on kraft cardstock to do some no-line pencil colouring. I used inktense pencils which are water-soluble but can be used without water too. All the petals are coloured with a mix of white and a colour, blending the two with white to soften the transitions. I kept the panel in my stamp positioner the whole time I was colouring which made it possible to stamp the fine detail over the top. To add the fine detail I used distress markers and just shaded lightly on the stamp towards the base of the petals and at the top. I was pleasantly surprised to see how the detailed lines popped with just that extra bit of stamping.
I did some shading around the flowers to lift them a little and then added a sentiment from the MFT ‘Anything but basic friendship’ set with some twine to match the stems.
All the bits and pieces to create this card are available in the delightful Foiled Fox online store and their blog is overflowing with inspiration. See you over there!
This is a card which changed shape and style several times before it turned into the design you see above. The watercoloured flowers and the green stamped flowers are from the same MFT ‘magnolia blossoms’ set.
I almost didn’t keep making the video as I made mistakes and alterations but the point of the video was the no-line colouring not the card layout so I kept going. I used Gina K’s ‘barely there’ amalgam ink to stamp the flowers; the ink is a pale peach colour which almost disappeared with both the purple and the green watercolouring. I used Derwent Inktense pencils for the no-line watercolour shading an area lightly and minimally before blending the ink to fill the petal or leaf.
My initial layout for the painted panel involved both stamps from the set but you see in the video a series of unfortunate events caused me to slice up the first panel, add another flower and come up with the layout you see below.
One thing I didn’t initially plan was the simple green stamping behind the coloured panel but I’m glad I tried it. These stamps are definitely stunning when left uncoloured in their simple outline beauty.
I have teamed up with the Foiled Fox again to bring you these pretty purple blooms made with My Favorite Things, ‘magnolia blossoms’ stamp set. The set contains two stamps; I have used one, stamped three times. To hide one bloom behind another I stamped a mask first on masking paper. I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper, stamped in versafine clair nocturne and embossed in clear powder.
I painted both the sky and the flowers with Dr Ph Martin’s Hydrus watercolour paints. They are highly pigmented so I added a droplet of each colour to a palette then added water. I describe the whole process on the Foiled Fox blog today so pop over there to learn more and take a look around.
The sentiment is also from a MFT set, ‘brushstroke expressions’ stamped in nocturne and embossed in clear for a little shine. See that little pop of yellow in the centre of the blooms, it’s what I call a booster in my new ‘Colour Clues’ class. If you want to know more, click here.
These loosely lined flowers cover a large background stamp, new from My Favorite Things. I chose three colorburst powders and kept the painting loose and funky as well!
After embossing the large stamp on hot pressed watercolour paper in white I sprinkled cerulean blue, lemon yellow and terre verte powder sparingly on the panel. I tried to be a little strategic in my placement of the colours, as much as you can with something as unpredictable and airborne as a paint powder! I sprinkled blue in the half flowers, green and blue in the full flowers and yellow in the spaces. ‘Really?’, I hear you say! I know colorburst powders don’t always stay in their lanes but I was happy with all the pretty blends and patterns anyway.
There are some little anthers coming out of a few flowers which I coloured with a gold gel pen. I used three sentiments from another MFT set, ‘all about you’, embossed in white on black then popped them up down the side of my panel. You’ll be seeing more of this pretty stamp; it’s a fun one! Thank you Foiled Fox for sending it my way.
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!
What better subject for shimmer on black than a shiny little scooter. ‘The Ride’ is a PB rubber stamp. Once again I had trouble catching the real shine on camera but there is shimmer and shine in real life when the light catches it. I embossed with alabaster embossing powder from Brutus Monroe and made sure I kept the heat tool moving while I embossed so as to not buckle the craft plastic.
I used the new black craft plastic from Grafix to show off the little scooter and painted with pearlescent paints from the Finetec Artist Mica Watercolor Pearlescent paint set.
Painting on the craft plastic is very smooth and particularly straightforward with an embossed image. I also did some detail on the tires and black sections with a grey pencil but it was hard to capture that in my photo.
I wanted to highlight the little orange flowers so cut a mat and a sentiment strip from orange cardstock. The words are from the MFT ‘All About You’ set.