Scooter

If you have visited the Penny Black blog lately you will have met Scooter; that’s her on the right. The Scooter release features a pup and her friends. The real life Scooter was part of the Penny Black family and now there is a range of stamps featuring her real and imagined activities. Penny Black is donating a portion of the proceeds from Scooter stamp set sales to Muttville a senior dog rescue program.

Unaccustomed to painting cute critters like Scooter it took me a while to get in the groove. For this little scene featuring stamps from the Puptastic set I stamped the outline images in papertrey soft stone ink then watercoloured with Karin brushmarkers. The sky and grass is also diluted ink from the Karin markers.

To complete the card I stamped the sentiment from the same set on a label cut with a tag from the PB ‘gift card pocket’ die set, tied it with twine and popped it up on dimensional tape.

Thank you for all your kind words about my garden pics. It really has become a relaxing pastime for me. I think because it is finally under control I can enjoy working on a patch for a short time or strolling around trimming off deadheads. It is no longer just about weeding!

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Landscapes from leftovers

In my recent gel printing video I kept a piece of heavy weight paper off to the side for cleaning my brayer. I turned it around half way through the printing session so it ended up browns on one side and blue/grey/yellow on the other.

The colour and texture was too yummy to waste so I cut two rectangles which both spanned the centre or ‘horizon’ line of the large sheet. Because the panel above has a dark sky I punched a circle moon from another area and made it a night scene with the addition of black silhouette trees die-cut with the PB ‘into the woods’ die.

Not only is there plenty of visual texture in these panels the brayered paper is also very rough to touch. There is no trick to making these papers; I definitely don’t keep the clean up sheets every time but I find if I work with the same colours for a while and flip the sheet around when it has plenty of paint on it the combination of colour and texture can be beautiful.

The second card is more of a late afternoon scene. The colour of the sun is similar to what we saw two days ago when the sky was hazy due to bushfires in northwestern Ontario.

The trees blend into the landscape somewhat as there is not a lot of contrast between the die cuts and the base. I used the PB ‘tall trees’ dies and cut them from the left over edges of the panel.

This is not the first time I’ve used scraps and scratch paper for cards and journal pages. This cityscape is made from gel printing masks and two of these cards are from a clean up sheet. Today I glued a large ‘clean up’ sheet into my art journal as a background for a future page. I don’t know what to do with it yet but I liked it too much to toss it away.

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Gel Printing with recycled cardboard

I posted a video last week featuring gel prints with stencils. In today’s technique video I use cardboard found at home. One piece was the packaging for eggs and the other a piece of corrugated cardboard.

The huge snowballs falling in the card above were printed using the large circles on the egg carton. I could have done more on the gel plate with extra colour or texture but I kept it simple which works well behind the more intricate sleigh. You can see my process in the video below.

The card below also features a gel print background made with an egg carton but I pulled two prints on the one panel both with green and white paint and egg carton circles.

The card below also features a gel print background made with an egg carton but I pulled two prints on the one panel both with green and white paint and egg carton circles. I stamped leaves from the Darkroom Door stamp set, ‘carved leaves vol 1’ over the bokeh-like circle background. To get the right tones of green in the stamping I used both shady lane and rain forest versafine clair inks one over the top of the other. The sentiment is from the ‘happy birthday’ sentiment strip.

In the video I also made prints with a piece of corrugated cardboard pressing it down on the gel press once for a striped pattern and twice for a grid pattern. I’ve turned a couple of those prints into cards which will be on the blog tomorrow. I hope you try gel printing with some recycling you find at your place. See you soon.

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Bird’s eye view

This cute bird on a branch stamp is new from Penny Black and is called ‘bird’s eye view’. We recently installed a new bird feeder in our backyard. It is on a shepherd’s hook metal pole to discourage the squirrels. The feeder itself has the anti-squirrel spring mechanism which closes access to the seed when something as heavy as a squirrel lands on it. You can probably guess what I’m going to say next; squirrels are wily creatures as are chipmunks! I can say that no adult squirrels have successfully fed directly from the feeder, they hang around underneath and eat what falls to the ground. We have seen a smaller squirrel climb the pole and lean over to take seed from the feeder without putting weight on it and a chipmunk that is light enough to sit on the feeder and stuff it’s face happily!

I know from experience you win some and lose some with feeders and I am enjoying the cardinal couple, the chickadees and the sparrows that are popping in. I think we’ve seen a finch or two but not certain.

To create this vintage themed card I limited myself to a brown and blue colour scheme. The browns are tea dye, antique linen and vintage photo distress inks; the blues are speckled egg distress ink plus the arctic blue and cyan Karin brushmarkers. First I smooshed tea dye and speckled egg inks on a glass mat, diluted them with water then swiped a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper through the inks. Once the background was dry I stamped the ‘bird’s eye view’ image on the panel with antique linen and kept the panel in the stamp positioner while I added darker ink by applying distress marker to the stamp where I needed darker browns and black.

I painted the leaves in both tea dye and speckled egg inks and did the same with the bird before adding vintage photo ink to the wing, tail and legs. Once the bird was finished I felt the speckled egg blue was not deep enough so I used the blue Karin markers to add ink directly to the paper then blended with a paintbrush.

To add to the vintage look I blended around the edge of the panel with vintage photo ink then dropped splats of water here and there to create watermarks. I also stamped the PB script stamp which never fails to add some vintage charm. I hunted through my dies to find a pretty foliage die that mimics the shape of leaves and cut both bronze and cream pieces to attach to the left of the panel. Continuing the vintage theme I stamped a partial sentiment on a little tag and tied it to the panel with twine. Yes, of course there is also some ink splatter.

Let me know if you have successfully deterred squirrels from you backyard bird feeders; I’d love to hear your techniques.

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Fern Border

I was looking through my pile of possibilities recently and found some lovely brusho panels I made quite a while back at a class taught by my friend The Crafty Cigale. Instead of using brusho watercolour powders on watercolour paper we worked on photo paper. I remember the process being so much fun that I kept on making panel after panel.

I’ve chosen two of the panels as borders for today’s cards. Initially I thought I would cut into the brusho panel using the Penny Black fern border die and I tried, but using the patterned print as a background showed it off better while still featuring the delicate shape of the fern fronds.

Before die-cutting the fern border I applied double sided adhesive to the back of the card front so once cut I could easily attach it to the patterned panel. The sentiments from the banner sentiments mimicked the curve of the border die so they were an obvious choice in two versafine brown inks

The card bases are Luxe White cardstock from Foiled Fox, which is a creamy colour with a soft pebbly texture. I’ll be back tomorrow with some more birch themed pages from my bullet journal. Thanks for dropping by.

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Vintage collage card

A friend commissioned me to make a ‘vintage’ themed card recently and I happily pulled out a bunch of Darkroom Door stamps to do so. You can see the pocket watch stamp managed to feature three times but the French script, global postmarks, and gerberas also contributed. I stamped, blended and painted with two brown tones of distress ink, two blues and a black. (all the supplies are listed below)

To begin I smooshed some speckled egg and antique linen distress inks on a glass mat, added water swiped the panel through the diluted ink. After that the gerbera background stamp became part of the base layer in speckled egg distress ink. I layered the other stamps over the top in tea dye and antique linen inks and blended some speckled egg ink through the DD diamonds stencil. Of course there is splatter, watermarks and extra blending to darken the edges. To add a dimensional feature I die cut several stems of flowers with the Penny Black ‘shall we dance’ die, some are from watercolour paper, some from tan cardstock and a few from paper painted with salty ocean ink and stamped with the DD gazette stamp.

Almost finished, I added a strand of twine around the base and tied some tiny tags on with stamped PB sentiments on them and some little wooden stars I found. I was pretty happy with all this vintageness but decided to risk some gold paint. I splattered and added it to the tiny stars and heart, the flower centres. Where it worked best though was unevenly painted along the edges of the square panel. You probably can’t even see it clearly but it ended up being one of my favourite parts of the card.

By the way there are yummy new stamps on the Darkroom Door website. You will see them here soon, a few are winging their way here as you read this! Have a great day.

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Faith & floral journal page

I know it is not spring yet, in fact it is still very winter where I am; we’ve had some of our coldest days and nights just in the last few days. Maybe because it’s so cold now is a nice time to muse about spring.

Sometimes I have a plan for a journal page, other times I work it out as I go along. To begin this one I painted absorbant ground on the journal double page. It is a base preparation a bit like gesso which makes the paper act a little more like watercolour paper. I should probably just switch to a journal with watercolour paper pages but I stubbornly want to keep adding to the this one.

Once the base dried I stamp the Penny Black ‘springtime sigh’ stamp in one corner then coloured with Arteza real brush pens. The colouring is not precise, the surface doesn’t react the same as watercolour paper but I found blending with very little water gave me the most control.

I stamped first with Gina K skeleton leaves amalgam ink which I have used for no-line watercolour in the past but it remained too distinct on the journal page so I switched to antique linen which worked a bit better. I restamped and coloured springtime sigh several times then decided I wanted fewer little flowers to colour! I switched to the new Penny Black ‘illustrious’ stamp which co-ordinated well. I don’t know for sure but I wonder if both stamps were drawn by the same artist, the scale and style is similar.

When stamping the ‘illustrious’ stamp I was able to ink most of the stamp with Arteza real brush pens which cut down on the colouring. I still used antique linen ink on the large open leaves then blended with a marker to shade the leaves. When I had almost framed the double page spread I switched to the PB ‘tranquil buds’ stamp to add some lavender.

Next came the tricky stage when I had to decide what was happening with the empty area of the journal page. Writing, stamping, hand lettering or empty space were all options. I decided a bit of ‘filler’ in the shape of a text stamp would be nice and instead of the large script one I often use I chose the smaller typed text stamp from the PB ‘footnotes’ set. I stamped it here, there and everywhere in old paper ink, often spritzing with water before stamping so it just stamped a blurry pattern. I also added splatter then chose a phrase from the new PB ‘inspirational sentiments’ set.

Is that cute notebook die-cut covering a failed stamping attempt? Yes it is but I’m quite happy with that because the notebook page looks sweet. I cut it with a die from the PB ‘a pocket full’ set. I love how this page turned out even though I had no idea at the beginning it would progress this way. That’s the beauty of a journal page.

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Freshly cut flowers

I’ve teamed up with the Foiled Fox again to share a post on their blog. If you pop over there you can read all the process details for this floral card featuring a stamp and a die from Penny Black.

This stamp is called Fresh Cut and it is a rubber cling stamp of five long stem roses. I did some masking and partial stamping to fill the corner of my panel with eleven orange roses. I guess I should have added one more to have a dozen!

You might recognise the background style on this card; it is inspired by some of Jill Foster’s amazing cards for Penny Black. Because all those roses make the panel a little busy I separated the stacked die-cut words from the roses with a piece of vellum, just to make it easier to read. Don’t forget to visit the Foiled Fox blog today for all the details and while you are there browse awhile for more inspiration.

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Flower truck…is coming

Not my usual style, you know I don’t often take the cute route (pun intended) but this little truck really appealed to me. As I worked on this card and looked through my dies for flowers I realised I could also turn it into an icecream truck or a pumpkin truck and maybe a postal delivery truck.

My initial plan was to die cut everything from kraft cardstock except for the flowers but once I’d done the truck and flowers I decided to add more colour with a picket fence and some clouds on a bright blue background. I used a blending brush to add ‘brushed corduroy’ distress ink around all the pieces of the truck and ‘mermaid lagoon’ around the blue panel. I’ve listed all the dies below; as you can imagine the fiddliness factor on this card was high but I persevered and the satisfaction factor is also high.

I haven’t added a sentiment but feel that it could be good for many occasions so I will wait and see. I’d be happy to see a truck bursting with flowers in my driveway right about now when everything is covered in snow.

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2021 BuJo – February pages

We are still in the thick of winter here in Canada so I chose a northern lights theme for my February journal pages. Like last month I masked a shape and did all the blending inside the shape. This time I masked a square and positioned a hilly mask to create a horizon. I used Papertrey Ink cubes and makeup brushes to blend the sky.

After blending a bold blue, green and purple sky I moved the horizon mask lower to lightly blend a snowbank shadow then positioned a die-cut mask for a deer and blended blue, then black through that. I did film the process just to give you an idea. It’s portrait orientation for instagram and it is 4x normal speed but you can see the steps.

Below are a couple more February pages completed using the same theme. As you can imagine the combination wish list and to-do list took a lot of ink blending which ended up being visible through the paper on the next page. Maybe they bled through because I used more ink on this page for greater depth of colour or maybe these inks are juicier than distress inks; I’m not sure but you can see the bleed through if you look at the February calendar page in the next photo. I’m not too worried about the bleed through, once I have recorded things on the calendar page it will be less obvious I imagine.

I used Stabilo point 88 finelines for the lettering once again but do intend to try some other pens I have on hand (confession – I have many types of pens and markers on hand!)

Last month I did a modified version of the traditional 7 x 6 grid for the January calendar page and a separate habit tracking page. This month I combined the calendar and habit tracker on a list style page. I will record any appointments and outings (you know, the exciting ones like the grocery store) on the left hand side and note down what we cooked, how much water I drank and whether I took all my vitamins on the right hand side. Do you struggle to drink enough water each day? I am the worst in my family but I have become much better since I put a reminder app on my phone. I also am quite good taking my supplements at breakfast but not so good the rest of the day!

I have a couple more pages to get done for February which I hope to share next week. Thanks for dropping by. Let me know if you are a bullet journal user; I’d love to hear what you use it for.

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