Grape Hyacinths

My garden seems to have lost its grape hyacinths; I used to have quite a few that would pop up year after year but I only saw a couple this year.

We had three days above 30°C last week so there is plenty happening in the garden. The crab apple is blossoming and the last of the daffodils are hanging on. I bought some annuals and started filling pots yesterday.

The stamp featured is from the Darkroom Door set ‘fine flowers vol 2’ designed by Godelieve Tjiskens. I inked the petals with seedless preserves and blueprint sketch distress inks then blended with water after stamping. The stems are rustic wilderness distress and the sentiment rustic wilderness archival.

Hope you are enjoying some colour in the world around you; perhaps you’re seeing warm tones if you are in the southern hemisphere.

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Fresh Spring

Now that May has arrived I feel it is the right time to post tulip cards. My one tulip is blooming and the tulip festival is a week away. I have used the Penny Black ‘fresh spring’ stamp on hot press watercolour paper with distress inks.

Sometimes I stamp then blend with a paintbrush after stamping. This time the blends from a spritz of water on the inked stamp were almost enough without adding anything. I did a little blending on a few tulips and a few leaves but some of the blends just happened so I let them be.

I inked the tulips with wild honey distress ink and added festive berries over the base of the petals with a marker. Same with the leaves but using rustic wilderness with added forest moss for depth and variation. I know the distress markers are discontinued but they are so useful for adding ink selectively I will keep using them ’til they give up! The sentiment is from the PB set ‘special sentiments’.

My friend Jan recently sent me some more floral inspiration pics so I have added the inspiration for today’s card below. Thank you Jan.

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Green Truck in the City

This little green truck card was made on request, and probably not a focal point I would have come up with myself. The end result however made me very happy and all but the kraft buildings and road sign were cut from gel prints.

I could have cut all the components from coloured cardstock but I chose instead to use gel prints and mixed the green and blue paints on the gel plate in order to match the green of the truck requested. I love the added texture a gel print gives. The sky is very textured because it was printed on my damaged gel plate. I use it mainly as a palette where I mix colours or roll off excess paint. I pull prints off it now and again during a session and the patchy blue and white print made a perfect sky. I don’t have a truck die but I did some mods to a van die-cut and ‘ta-da’ I had a little green truck on its way to graduation!

Would this be a good time to mention there are a couple of spaces left in next Friday’s gel printing workshop?

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2022 BuJo – May theme

It’s been a while since the last bullet journal feature. I gave the journal a break over April; I was in recovery and catch up mode. We have skipped to May which is the month of the tulip festival in Ottawa so the theme was an easy pick. Coloured pencils seemed to make sense too as I have been working with them a bit lately.

I drew all my calendar squares by hand purposely making them a little wavy with breaks and dots. The Penny Black clear stamp ‘springtide’ seemed to work with an outline theme so I stamped in jet black archival on each page then coloured with polychromos pencils.

For each tulip colour scheme I used at least two co-ordinating colours; for the yellow tulips I used four. I forgot that both Ranger archival inks and FaberCastell polychromos pencils are oil based so the first layer of pencil blending ended up dragging some black ink. As you can see it didn’t spoil the result but I probably should have stamped the outline in memento or distress ink.

I kept the titles simple with some hand drawn block letters. I know that to-do list is empty in the photo but believe me that is no longer the case! Visiting the Ottawa Tulip Festival will be on the list for sure!

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Pencil Daisies

When I stamped the PB ‘brilliant’ stamp for my recent pencil poppy card I also stamped several other outline stamps on kraft cardstock for pencil colouring. This stamp is called ‘daisy dream’ and is coloured with Karin pigment decobrush markers, white gouache and Faber-Castell coloured pencils.

In my recent pencil poppies post I referred you to the talented Debby Hughes for a video tutorial about colouring with gouache and coloured pencils. I used some of the same tips for this card but ended up using the Karin pigment brushmarkers as well. I coloured the petals on the flowers above with the gold marker. The effect was very similar to painting gouache first but easier because the marker brush tip did such a good job on those narrow petals. I painted the centres with white and the leaves with the Karin ‘leaf green’ marker before using coloured pencils to add details and shading to the flowers and stems. The glass vase is coloured with a white and two grey pencils.

I added some shading below and behind the vase, a white embossed sentiment and some white gouache splatter before attaching the panel to a white card base.

I now have three daffodils blooming in my garden so there should be at least 47 more coming! I did plant 50 daffodil bulbs a year and a half ago and they are supposed to multiply aren’t they?

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Pencil Poppies

Today’s pencil and gouache technique was inspired by a beautiful card recently posted by Debby Hughes. Debby did a video of her process so if you are interested you can pop over to her youtube channel and follow her directions like I did.

I used a different stamp, ‘brilliant’ from Penny Black but the other supplies and technique are the same as Debby’s. I stamped on kraft cardstock with pumice stone ink, painted inside the petals with white gouache then did all the colouring with Faber Castell Polychromos pencils.

When I first stamped the ‘brilliant’ poppy stamp I used Papertrey ink soft stone ink which is my current favourite for no-line watercolour techniques. It stamped well on the kraft cardstock but when I looked at it ten minutes later it had faded quite a bit. It would be fine for someone whose eyesight is perfect but mine is not so I stamped in pumice stone distress which gave me a bit more contrast.

Debby’s technique included painting the petals in white gouache then colouring over the top. I hadn’t tried it before but I will do it again in the future. It worked very well and took the place of my previous method which was colouring in white pencil first then adding colours over the top before blending again in white. Painting with gouache first gave me a base which happens to also be a nice matte surface to colour over. I finished the design with some white gouache splatter as Debby did. So basically I am saying, ‘ do what she did!’ Thank you Debby for a great technique tutorial.

The polychromos pencils I used were: white, medium flesh, medium cadmium red, raw umber, emerald green, pine green, naples ochre and walnut brown.

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Fresh Bouquet

My Karin markers have been a bit neglected lately so I brought them out to work with the cute cup of flowers stamp from the PB ‘fresh bouquet’ set. I worked in a stamp positioner on hot pressed watercolour paper. First I inked the flower centres with the gold marker, next the blue petals with cyan, leaves with grass and berries with rosewood.

I used a paintbrush and water to pull ink from the stamping to fill the petals and leaves working loosely but taking care not to blend much from one ink to the next. Blue and yellow make green as you know and I didn’t want the petals or centres turning green.

Adding a sentiment was a bit tricky. The cup of flowers stamp comes with a large and lovely sentiment but it would have covered too many flowers. I need birthday cards at present so I stamped the little ‘happy birthday’ from the PB ‘how sweet’ set in paradise versafine clair ink and then wondered where to place it. It is rare that I will place a sentiment right in the middle of a card but it just seemed to work this time.

I have some beautiful tea cups, some from my mother, my nanna and my grandma. I rarely use them because I like a large mug of tea. Perhaps I could occasionally put a few flowers in one, once I have more than two tiny flowers in my garden.

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Dragonfly on text

All the coloured sections of this pretty dragonfly are inlaid between the outlines of the cream die-cut! Does it look the same as if I had just glued the cream die-cut over the top? Yes, I’m afraid it does. Perhaps if gel print had been on cardstock the same thickness as the dragonfly it might have been more noticeable. Lesson learned.

One branch of my current gel printing obsession is image transfer. In the past I have tried it mainly with high contrast photos of people but it works with text as well so I added interest to this blue, gold and red print with some black magazine text. I notice now as I stare at the screen the random line across the panel makes it look a little like an ocean view.

While I was painstakingly inlayaing every little bit of dragonfly wing I was listening to the audio book version of The Salt Path, a memoir with many references to ocean views, cliffs, weather and unexpected encounters. The author and her husband hiked the South West Coast path in the UK in rather traumatic and totally unexpected circumstances. I found the whole account fascinating and heartrending in places. By the end I had google maps open so I could see where the path was taking them.

Once again the photos don’t show the shimmer of the finished project. The sand coloured foreground is actually gold paint so there is shimmer spreading half way up the panel. Can you see why I love gel printing?

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Pods & Wings

The background of today’s card is another gel print featuring a gorgeous Lavinia stencil called ‘pods’. You can’t see in the photos but in real life there is some shimmer on the print as I used silver paint along with blue, green and white.

Over the print I added a green and a white wreath die cut from Penny Black. It is part of the new ‘soaring’ set which also includes four butterflies. The background called for dragonflies rather than butterflies so I die cut three from the ‘flutters’ set, an oldy but a goodie.

As I spent a chunk of time yesterday listening to Ann Voskamp’s book ‘One Thousand Gifts’, the joy sentiment seemed like a good match for the design.

I was watching a Julie Balzer book club discussion on youtube today as I worked and she mentioned how addictive gel printing is and how if you haven’t tried it you must (48 minute mark)! She called it the one tool that has changed her life! So I will again shamelessly plug my upcoming gel printing workshops and hope you will join me in this addiction!

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Fresh Pansies

Pansies seem to be a happy flower don’t you think? This is the new ‘pansies’ stamp from Penny Black stamped twice on cold press watercolour paper.

In my previous post I asked what colour suggestions you had for irises. Jan in Oregon sent me some beautiful photos she has taken over the years featuring some stunning irises, so the inspiration file has definitely been topped up. She also sent a few photos of pansies, tulips and daffodils as they are the next flowers to be featured here on the blog. The photo below was my inspiration for today’s card. I ended up with more purple petals than white as I didn’t have time for negative painting but I was still inspired and delighted by Jan’s photo.

I stamped with distress inks then filled the petals with brusho watercolours using the same method I used recently for the irises. I used shaded lilac, mowed lawn and fossilized amber to stamp the outline then violet brusho and a mix of leaf green and moss green for the leaves and stems.

I used a purple marker to draw the lines coming out from the centre of the flowers, blended some mowed lawn around the stems and finished with a sentiment from the PB ‘love big’ set.

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