Beautiful Birch – three blues

This bluer than blue sky looks different in person than on my computer screen. I am sure it will look different wherever you view it too. Let me tell you though that I used three pretty blue distress inks to paint around the Penny Black ‘beautiful birch’ stamp.

I stamped the tree stamp in archival black ink so it wouldn’t bleed once I started painting diluted blue inks all around it. I splattered masking fluid on the watercolour paper to represent snow and added a circle mask cut from masking tape. You add the mask after you have stamped the tree.

I did all the blue painting with the inks listed below and let the panel dry before adding shading and shadow on the tree trunks with weathered wood, hickory smoke and black soot distress inks. I decided against a sentiment because I didn’t want to cover the blues but I can always add one later or just inside the card.

Hope your skies are blue today!

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Watercolour decorations

There are some delightful new Christmas themed dies from Penny Black and sneak peaks have started of more to come. I love the ‘stocking stuffers‘ die set which features the stocking, trim and various bits of foliage. I used one watercolour panel to create this stocking card and the decorated bauble below uses jumbo bauble and foliage from stocking stuffers.

As you can probably tell from the mottled look of the watercolour panel I sprinkled salt over a wet panel coloured with distress inks. When you sprinkle salt over a wet panel you can achieve different results depending on how coarse the salt is.

The trimmings for both the bauble and the stocking were cut from shimmer cardstock in silver and quartz. The stamped message on the bauble is from the PB shine God’s glory set using versafine clair paradise ink.

The card bases and embossed panels are Neenah solar white cardstock embossed with TE sheet music and Spellbinders plaid company. All the links are below.

Today’s cards are similar to the cards we will be making in my October Collage Christmas card workshops in Ottawa. Click over to the Classes page to learn more and register.

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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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Collage behind Hibiscus and Bluebird

One of my favourite techniques when art journaling is to create a collage background from gel prints, patterned papers, stamping, stencilled texture and paint. Sometimes I know what focal elements I will add over the top, other times I wait to be inspired by the completed collage.

When creating this collage spread in the 6″x 6″ art journal I used gel prints and patterned papers in neutral tones: pale green, beige and browns. I did some stamping with Darkroom Door and Penny Black stamps on kraft paper and over the top of the collage. The focal point is an image from the front of a greeting card. As is sometimes the case, the back of the card featured a smaller version of the same art. I used both on my pages along with some handmade printed paper from a friend. I was very happy with the way the colours worked together and was happy to save and use a card sent by a dear friend. ( I cut the artist’s name from the card and added it to my page.)

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Two for One

Recently I had some fun making simple watercolour backgrounds to turn into cards. I worked on watercolour paper as large or larger than my basic card fronts so I would have the option of using the whole panel or a section of it. Today’s cards are a 2-for-1 combo because the negative panel is just as pretty as the floral piece.

You can see on the negative panel I painted loose stripes of colour, picking up distress inks from a glass mat with a wide brush. Some blending of colour occurred adding interest to the simple stripes.

I also embossed the card base above with the ‘weathered’ embossing folder from Taylored Expressions. Very simple cards but handy to have for any occasion.

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Poinsettia corners

Penny Black does not disappoint when it comes to floral stamps – spring, summer, fall and winter. This winter poinsettia arrangement is a new one from the recent winter release. In order to create a balanced no-line watercolour design I stamped on the top left and lower right hand corners in soft stone ink. I used a combination of distress inks and Sennelier watercolour paints to add colour to the outline stamp.

I used one red paint for the petals, painting a soft layer then adding depth and shading by adding more of the same colour. For the berries I used the same red but added some purple so there would be variation but still in the same ‘family’.

I thought about adding some background shading but was so happy with the clean design I decided not to risk it. Instead I found a sentiment to fit neatly into the space between the floral sprays and stamped in green ink to co-ordinate.

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Snowy Settlements – one blue

You can find me and this study in blue on the Foiled Fox blog today. Recently I received the new uncharted mariner distress ink from the Foiled Fox and, as expected, I love the new blue. I decided to work with only the new ink for this card and see what tones I could get as I diluted the ink. You will probably see different depths of blue depending on the device with which you view this post but in real life the blues range from pale sky blue to deep teal blue.

This stamp is a lovely winter scene from Penny Black called ‘snowy settlement’. I stamped on hot pressed watercolour paper and painted the sky first with diluted uncharted mariner ink. While the ink was wet I sprinkled salt over the area which resulted in patterns once dry. When the sky was dry I painted over some of the village images with water so I could spread the ink a little and add variation to the trees and buildings. I finished the card with a sentiment from the PB ‘jolly snippets’ set also stamped in the same blue.

Make sure you pop over to the Foiled Fox to browse their inspiring blog and lovely store.

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Winter Gem

This lovely pinecone stamp is a new one from Penny Black called ‘winter gem’. The stamp has one pinecone plus groups of needles but I stamped it several times to fill my card front. The way I oriented the pine cones makes it look a little breezy with all the needles pointing to the left. I have a large and not very attractive pine tree in my front yard. It drops things all. year. round! There are always needles on the lawn, driveway and flower beds and most of the year there are pinecones too. It isn’t a tidy tree.

The one time the pine tree looks beautiful is after a fresh snowfall when all the snow is balancing on pinecones, needles and branches. For this panel I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper with masking fluid splattered over it before starting. I worked in a stamp positioner and inked the pinecone with three browns. I spritzed the stamp with water before stamping and spritzed again after before stamping a second generation image. I decided to stamp the pinecone a couple more times on the edges of the panel. I used a slightly wet paintbrush to blend the browns on the pinecones and touched up some of the pine needles also with a fine tip paintbrush.

Once the panel dried I blended speckled egg ink around the pinecones. Because there was masking fluid spots all over the panel little white dots of snow appeared after the masking fluid was removed.

Penny Black has come out with a few clever sentiment dies which pair a large word with a one sided outline. I cut the outline from the stamped panel but it looks fresh and snowy if you cut the outline from white cardstock and place it at the base of the your panel. My word is cut from dark green cardstock but looks black; it’s always the way with dark colours in my photos.

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Holly Days

Today’s simple fresh card showcases some new dies from Penny Black. I chose solid colour cardstock, some shimmery, to create this little garland but I know I will use these dies again with gel prints or patterned papers.

It is a little hard to tell in the photo but I have red shimmer, quartz shimmer and silver shimmer cardstock along with matte green for the leaves. The dies are from three new PB sets, holly-days, stocking stuffers and jumbo bauble. The card design is clean and simple but I added texture to the background with a spellbinders plaid embossing folder.

I finished off the card with one of the new little sentiments from the PB ‘jolly sentiments’ set. I think I have mentioned before how much I like little sentiments so a whole new set of them is exciting.

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Amaryllis Bundle

This sweet amaryllis bundle is another new stamp from Penny Black. I kept things simple using the same technique used on the pinecone poetry card.

Keeping the stamp and watercolour panel in the stamp positioner I inked the stamp with a mix of distress inks and distress markers to colour the petals, stems and twigs. I worked one colour at a time so I could wipe ink off the stamp where I didn’t want it before stamping. The petals and bow are stamped and painted with saltwater taffy ink. The stems are a mix of mowed lawn and pine needles and the twigs are vintage photo and gathered twigs.

The panel was very clean and bright when I finished it so I decided to balance the amaryllis blooms with a strip of matching cardstock on the other side and stamp the sentiment to match the twigs.

Have you ever grown amaryllis? I have received them as Christmas presents twice and I could not believe how beautiful and big they were when fully open. One appeared to have shimmery petals. One also became too top heavy to hold itself up which was a sad discovery one morning.

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