I have what I call a pile of possibility in my workroom consisting of panels that could be made into something. The smaller ones are housed in a shoebox; there are watercolour backgrounds, stamped and coloured panels, alcohol ink panels and hand painted experiments. This panel has sat in the box for years unstamped but looking very much like a sunset. I can’t remember whether it was painted with watercolour paints or swiped with watercolour inks. I imagine the pale centre circle was dabbed out with a brush or paper towel but I really can’t be sure.

I stamped the Penny Black ‘meadow’ stamp on the panel with peeled paint archival ink then coloured inside the leaves with zig clean color real brush markers. I added spots and dots to the flowers and sky with gel pens, a white, a gold and a copper.

I stamped a sentiment from the PB ‘enjoy builder’ set on a left over strip. Hope you can take some time to do what makes you happy this weekend. Here are a couple of suggestions. (wink)

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Good Day Bouquet

Good day bouquet is a pretty vase stamp from Penny Black. I used a strip of hot pressed watercolour paper and kept the deckled edge which is on the large sheets I buy then cut into smaller pieces for card panels and other projects. I smooshed uncharted mariner and lost shadow distress inks on my glass mat, diluted it with water then swiped the watercolour panel through the ink. There was a fine splatter of masking fluid on the panel which is most noticeable on the side of the vase.

I chose to use water-based brush markers to colour the stamp. As the distress markers are being discontinued I have been testing out alternatives for inking stamps. Water-based markers can be helpful in inking small areas on a stamp. For the flowers, leaves and stems I used Staedtler water-based markers; the pack I bought has 36 colours so I was able to use three different pinks for the flowers and a couple of greens for the stems. I used uncharted mariner for the vase and then later for the ‘time’ stamps I added to the background. When I ink my stamps with markers I spritz the stamp before pressing it onto the panel and sometimes blend the stamped image with water also. I inked the centres of the flowers with black, then after stamping used the small tip end of the black marker to add more detail.

To finish I added some water splatter which I dabbed away with a paper towel and some ink splatter because you know I love to splatter! If you are in Ottawa don’t forget you have the opportunity to pick up some crafty bargains this weekend at the Saturday garage sale, details below.

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Potted Pretties in Pencil

This is the new ‘potted pretties’ stamp from Penny Black; it is pretty isn’t it? Although I love the soft blends of loose watercolour I also find pencil colouring very satisfying too, especially on kraft cardstock.

I use Faber Castell Polychromos pencils and chose a dark and a light pink along with white for the petals, two greens for the leaves and a tan with white for the pot. Once I had almost finished I added some more shadow to the centre of some flowers and the shadows of the leaves with a dark burgandy pencil – a trick I learned from Kathy Racoosin, colouring wizard.

If no-line watercolour is more your thing then I am colouring the same image in that style too. I’ll post it on the blog soon.

Don’t forget to check out my new online course if you haven’t already. The discount TEAMBLOG10 is still valid for a 10% discount at checkout. Thank you to those of you who have joined already. I am excited to hear from or see some prints once you’ve had a chance to dive in!

And another event you might be interested in if you are local is the Community Paper Crafting Garage Sale on June 10.

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Gel Printing with the Strands stencil

A stencil gel print for you today. I created this distressed print on a large gel plate so I could pick up a card front and an envelope print at the same time. If you don’t have a large plate you could just use the same paint colours and stencil on a second print. Just in case you didn’t catch my news yesterday, my new online course Gel Print Journey is now available! (And there is a discount for blog readers TEAMBLOG10)

The stencil is called ‘strands’ and it is a digital design I created and have made available in the Echidna Studios etsy store. The bold print shown on the card above was made with copper, burgandy and purple paint so I chose a dark burgandy cardstock to cut dragonfly elements and a sentiment strip. Printing directly on the envelope is a easy way to co-ordinate with your card and I placed a sticker on the white envelope before printing to preserve white space for the address. I think I might make a video of this process because it’s quick and effective, a combination I like.

The pattern on the second card is very muted because it is a ghost print, the leftovers on the plate after I pulled the one above. I cover this technique in my new online class using a range of different stencils and colour combinations.

Even though ghost prints are often patchy I like using them for collage or backgrounds as I have here. The line between cream and grey ended up looking like a path or lawn and I just like the unique grungy texture.

The dies and stamps I used to finish the cards are all Penny Black, those dragonflies on the first card are some of the first dies I ever got and they’re still a favourite.

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Sun Kissed

These breezy flowers are from the new Penny Black release. The stamp is called ‘sun kissed‘ and I have stamped it twice on this card. I used both distress markers and ink pads to ink the stamp; I know the markers are being discontinued but while I have them I will keep using them.

I inked the flowers with barn door and worn lipstick, spritzed the stamp lightly then stamped on hot pressed watercolour. Often I follow this step by blending the ink on the petals with a damp paintbrush. I decided not to do that this time as I liked the soft ‘impressionistic’ look of the uneven coverage. I inked and stamped the stems with mowed lawn then added some fossilized amber to some of the flowers.

I added fine lines and dots to each flower head with a fine black marker then added a sentiment from the PB ‘Enjoy builder set’. The builder sets include one or two large solid stamps then a range of phrases or words to stamp adjacent to the large word. Once again I decided not to add any background blending or shading. I like the simple clean look of the stem and flowers on white and it gives me a chance to get to know the stamp before combining it with other stamps or techniques.

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Hollyhock Heaven Indeed!

This is the stamp I didn’t know I’d been waiting for until I saw it in the new Penny Black release! Hollyhocks are such beautiful flowers. I don’t have any in my garden so obviously I need some on my cards!

As usual I worked in the stamp positioner with hot pressed watercolour paper. I first inked the centres of the open flowers with a dark red zig clean color brush marker, spritzed with water and stamped. Next I inked the stems and leaves at the top of the image with a green zig marker and stamped. I used saltwater taffy distress ink to ink all the flowers wiping ink off where I could see there were leaves. This is a bit of a tricky step but a bit of green in the wrong place can usually be diluted and dabbed off with paper towel. I blended all the petals with a paintbrush pulling the dark red ink into the paler pink. When stamping the lower leaves with mowed lawn distress ink the fence ended up green so I went over that with some hickory smoke ink and a paintbrush. When I was sure the flower petals were dry I added yellow to the centres just like my reference photo. To finish I splattered some green and taffy ink, added a little greeting from the PB ‘how sweet!’ set and tied some twine to fit in with the little fence.

Isn’t this stamp a stunner? I can’t wait to try other colours and pair it with other florals.

Now back to my gel printing class; it’s not going to publish itself!

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Gel Print Mandala Thank You Card

Gel printing continues to entice and delight me. This brown and burgandy print was done with a mandala mask from The Crafter’s Workshop; it’s called ‘beaded mandala’.

This print is a good example of the bonuses you pick up when you don’t start with a perfectly clean gel plate. If you look closely you can see some tiny remnants of text from an image transfer as well as the more obvious grey leftovers. I chose burgandy for the stacked PB diecut ‘thank you’ because there are some patches that look more burgandy than brown.

This technique with stencils is one of my favourites and is included in my upcoming online class Gel Print Journey. I am excited to be talking about it again despite the months that have passed since I began. I am back on it and excited to release it soon!

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As you know I have recently been featuring some designs from my daughter’s etsy store Echidna Studios. They are available as digital stamps/cutting files. What I haven’t mentioned is that some of the designs in her store are designed by me! She has just added a batch of digital images that I designed as stencils but they can also be printed. The circle masked on the card above and the half circle on the second card are from a digital set called ‘turning‘. The beauty of digital designs is that they can be cut or printed in any size. I cut both stencils from Grafix matte duralar using my cricut.

I blended three distress inks through the stencil onto neenah solar white cardstock then added the PB delicate daisies die-cuts and a PB sentiment.

To create the half turn stenciled card I worked on Grafix white craft plastic with three alcohol inks. I dropped isopropyl alcohol and alcohol inks on the panel then dropped the stencil into position. I tried to be patient so the inks would dry and give me a complete impression of the stencil. I did help it along with an air blower and managed not to lift it too early! I splattered a little isopropyl over the top for extra interest.

Once again I finished the card with black elements: the PB daisies and a sentiment strip from Paper Rose Studio. I hope you visit Echidna Studios store and check out the designs there. I will be featuring more in the weeks ahead. See if you can guess which of the stamp sets I designed, they are different from my daughter’s very realistic style. If you are on IG we would love you to follow Echidna Studios there too. And if you do happen to be on Instagram check out Gina Ferrari and see if you recognise anyone among her portraits.

By the way, a while back I showed a sneak peak of a squares stencil I had designed and cut. You can see I used it on the card below and in the video here. The stencil is called skewed squares and it is now available as a digital file in the Echidna Studios store.

Thanks for dropping by today. I hope the sun is shining where you are; it is peeping through the clouds here.

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Birthday Window

I’m a guest on the Foiled Fox blog again today featuring my first card with the new PB set, ‘window’. The window and the ivy are two separate stamps which makes them quite versatile. I wanted to try them together though so I worked in a stamp positioner with hot pressed watercolour paper.

I stamped the ivy first in two greens because a range of greens definitely makes foliage look more realistic. I also added some brown for the stems. As I wanted the ivy to hang over the window and shutters I had to either mask the ivy or do some partial stamping. I did partial stamping, wiping ink off the very top of the window for the first impression then adding ink bit by bit to fill out the sections not obscured by the ivy. Once I had outlines stamped it was easy to use a paintbrush to fill out the rest of the wood around the leaves.

I used a mix of grey and brown for the window frame and speckled egg for the glass and side of the house adding some lines with a marker to suggest paneling. There are more details on the Foiled Fox blog so make sure you visit and say hi.

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Hats Off

As you know I don’t often stamp, draw or paint people but these cute stamps featuring hats called to me and I decided to feature them in a grid pattern, Brady Bunch style. I taped the small Darkroom Door ‘mixed boxes’ stencil to hot pressed watercolour paper to provide the grid. Working in a stamp positioner I stamped the three hatted women in the large boxes and the sentiment from the same set in the small right hand box using Gina K’s obsidian amalgam ink.

I painted the women in their hats first using Albrecht Dürer watercolour pencils, some colouring directly on the paper and some picking up paint from the tip of the pencil. As I had kept the stencil taped to the panel I was able to blend lost shadow distress ink in the spaces to frame the faces.

I’m thinking ‘hats off to you!’ might be a congratulatory sentiment. How would you use a card like this with that jaunty little phrase?

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