Northern winter sky

northern blessings Heather Telford

Some times watercolour paint does the work for you. I added a few stamped branches to turn this pretty sky into a scene but really, the blended colours were almost enough by themselves.

northern lights blessings Heather Telford

I did have a basic plan but the blending was magic that happened when I walked away. I positioned a frisket film mask in the top right then sprinkled four colours of brusho on the panel of watercolour paper. Using a wet brush I blended the colours creating a hard edge at the bottom and adding water to the upper part of the panel. Once I had wet the whole upper area I tilted the panel so the colour blended from yellow to pink to purple and blue. At this point I had to go and teach a mini class so I was gone for an hour.

northern blessing close up Heather Telford

When I returned my panel was dry and all blended in the pretty pattern you see above – magic! I added the berry branches here and there, an extra shadow for a snow bank and a sentiment.


Stamps: Woodland Beauty, Nature’s Gifts, Festive Cheer (PB)
Ink: Versafine onyx black ink (Tsukineko)
Paper: hot pressed watercolour paper, Neenah epic black paper
Paint: Violet, ultramarine, crimson, yellow brusho powder

Birch and Brusho

birch and brusho Heather Telford

The tree stamp I have to share with you today is not technically a ‘tree’, it’s really a pair of trunks but it is oh, so versatile when creating trees for landscape scenes. I stamped it multiple times on this panel but you could just as easily stamp a single tree, a bent tree, or even some logs lying on the ground.

Before stamping I splattered a piece of watercolour paper with masking fluid, cut a hill shaped mask out of a post-it note and positioned it at the bottom of the panel. I stamped birch trees across the panel in versafine onyx black ink which is waterproof. To mask the trunks I painted masking fluid over all the trunks and let it dry. The next steps I did over a long period of time, not because I had to but because I wanted to let it dry naturally each time I added colour. With the trees and the ground masked I sprinkled a little leaf green and yellow brusho over the panel, spritzed it and let it dry. Later I came back and did it again but added some gamboge to the mix. I did this several times, always letting it dry in between. This allowed me to create patches of colour rather than the one big blend of green, orange and yellow I would have created if I had done it in one go.

fall birch trees Heather Telford

After all the panel dried I removed the masking fluid from the trees and added some brusho to the ground area. While it was still wet from spritzing I added a couple of grassy stamps with memento inks. The grasses blended into the damp paper. I waited until it was almost dry then stamped the same grasses again resulting in a bit more definition. To finish the scene I used some pigma micron pens to add thin twiggy branches between the trunks. Finally I removed the splattered masking fluid.

I wanted to add the sentiment without adding another layer but the colour of the grassy area was too dark. To lighten it I punched an oval out of frisket film then positioned the aperture piece over the watercolour panel so I could remove paint with a damp brush and a paper towel. The result was a lighter oval patch where I could stamp the one word sentiment in black.

 fall birch closeup Heather Telford

The two birch trunks in the Nature’s Silhouette set are going to be so handy for adding birch trees to cards for any season. I’ve already tried it on a winter scene which I will share another day.


Stamps:  Woodland BeautyNature’s Silhouettes, Grateful, Nature’s gifts (PB)
Paints:  Leaf green, yellow & gamboge Brusho powders (Colourcraft)
Inks:  Potter’s Clay, Cottage Ivy Memento ink (Tsukineko)
Cardstock: Moulin du Roy 100% cotton hot pressed watercolour paper
Also: masking fluid

Stamped wreath & swag

 stamped wreath Heather Telford

Last Sunday afternoon while sitting at the walk-in clinic waiting for my son to be seen I sketched a wreath and practised some lettering in a sketchbook. (He is fine, the doctor got him sorted and he was well enough to play basketball on Monday which of course was the real concern!) Once I returned home I was inspired to stamp a wreath and a swag using stamps from a couple of sets. I do own wreath stamps but wanted to see what I could come up with myself. For the wreath all the stamps came from the Nature’s Gifts set. To stamp the swag below I substituted smaller pinecones from the Winter Moments set.

I began by splattering masking fluid on one large panel still in my cold pressed watercolour block. Next I painted the background blue for both designs (plus 2 more) using the Sakura Koi watercolor travel set. I just wanted soft edges on the blue so I added plenty of water and also removed some colour with a brush or paper towel. While the background was still wet I stamped some pine needles and let them bleed into the damp paper to create a very soft look. Then I walked away while it dried. Once it was almost dry I stamped the rest of the elements adding a little water here and there with a paintbrush to blend colours and soften the images. I added little red dots on the swag as berries then let it all dry before rubbing off the masking fluid. I decided against any sentiment but added red ribbon and mats to bring out the colour of the berries.

Stamped Swag Heather Telford

After finishing these two stamped panels I created another swag and wreath which I will share tomorrow. My method was similar but I painted them instead of stamping.

Thank you so much for your kind and enthusiastic response to my ‘Stamping the Stories’ collection. I really enjoyed creating each card and was thrilled to see you enjoyed them too.


Stamps:  Nature’s Gifts, Winter Moments (PB)
Inks:  Memento Espresso Truffle, Love letter, Rhubarb Stalk, Lady Bug, Northern Pine, Potter’s Clay, Northern Pine, Tuxedo Black ink pads and markers (Tsukineko)
Cardstock: Fabriano 100% cotton cold pressed watercolour paper, 
Also: Sakura Koi watercolours, Winsor & Newton masking fluid, red ribbon

Dried Grasses

Dried grasses Heather Telford

I have another wintry scene to share with you depicting a sunrise and some dried grasses in the snow. Now that I look at it again I realize the background is not unlike a bush fire scene. Not what I was aiming to create! Let’s just stick with snow shall we?

I masked the bottom snow banks with frisket film to keep them white while I painted the sky area using wet into wet techniques and distress stains. When the sky was almost dry I stamped the grasses, moved the snow mask, stamped some more grasses then spritzed so the colour would bleed a little. Even though grasses look brown and dried out in the winter, they often look very delicate and pretty against a snowy back drop, especially when they have a glistening layer of snow balancing on them. Everything is still green and blooming round here so I will try and post a few more summery cards before it’s all golden leaves and pumpkins!


Stamps:  Nature’s Gifts, Joyfilled (PB)
Inks: Vintage Photo, Walnut Stain distress inks & Ripe Persimmon, Scattered Straw, Tumbled Glass distress stains (Ranger)
Cardstock: Fabriano 100% cotton hotpressed watercolour paper

Glad Tidings

Glad Tidings Heather Telford

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and thank you for joining me here at “Bits & Pieces” during 2014. I am so grateful to have such encouraging and inspiring readers. Thank you for visiting, commenting, requesting, inquiring and praising. I love to hear from you and I am thrilled you find inspiration and ideas here on my blog.

I am excited about 2015; I have dreams and schemes for arting and crafting which I will certainly be sharing with you. December has been a busy month at our house so I have not had so much to share on this blog. I am over two-thirds of the way through my Dressember challenge wearing dresses and raising money for the International Justice Mission. I have been blogging about that on my other blog, Sentient.


Stamps:  Nature’s Gifts,  Prancers, Glad Tiding (PB)
Inks:  Scattered Straw, Victorian Velvet, Seedless Preserves, Chipped Sapphire distress stains(Ranger), Versafine Onyx Black (Imagine Craft/Tsukineko)
Cardstock: Neenah Epic Black 100lb cardstock, Fabriano 100% cotton hot pressed watercolour paper, Silver textured cardstock (Penny Black)
Also: Winsor & Newton masking fluid, white organza ribbon

Pine needles & cones

Pine Panel Heather Telford

This panel of pine cones and needles is one of the bits & pieces that was waiting to be turned into something. I made the panel quite a while ago so here is my best guess at how I did it. I splattered some masking fluid on watercolour paper then inked the pine cones with vintage photo distress ink spritzed them with water then stamped them on the panel. I did the same with the pine needles in, surprise, surprise, pine needle distress ink. At this point I may have painted a little tumbled glass stain around the needles and cones as a background. When the panel had partially dried I restamped sections of the pine cone for added definition. I switched to Memento Northern Pine ink to add some darker needles. When all was dry I rubbed off the masking fluid.

I trimmed it a little and matted it with brown and then tried to think of a background that would add interest but not compete with the panel itself. I tried embossing the needles and cones from the “Nature’s Gifts” set on the card base in a pearl powder. The powder is very pretty and I will try it again on another project but it didn’t work for this one. I ended up with no more pattern on the card base that the stripes of repeated sentiments. Keeping it clean and simple qualifies it for the Less is More challenge this week to be ‘Christmassy’.


Stamps:  Nature’s Gifts Winter Magic (PB)
Inks:  Tumbled Glass distress stains & Pine Needle, Vintage Photo distress ink(Ranger), Memento Northern Pine, Versafine Vintage Sepia (Imagine Craft/Tsukineko)
Cardstock: Neenah Avon Brilliant 110lb cardstock, Fabriano 100% cotton hot pressed watercolour paper, Sticks & Stones mix & match paper (Penny Black)
Also: Winsor & Newton masking fluid


Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon dark Heather Telford

The lovely foliage stamps in the new Penny Black release are perfect for creating stamped landscapes. There are some new transparent sets as well as a couple of slapstick cling stamps that I will use winter, spring, summer and fall.  Both these cards are very simple in design using only one foliage stamp to suggest the landscape.

The card above was a “no card left behind” project as it didn’t go quite as planned. I decided to paint a watercolour moon inside a negative mask cut from frisket film. The aperture was wider than the moon you see above. After I had painted the moon in golden orange distress stains I dried it completely (or so I thought). I swapped the negative mask covering the moon for the circle mask which left the rest of the sky to be painted in darker tones. When I started painting the darker distress stains onto the paper the colours seeped in under the mask. They didn’t spread over the whole moon just around the edges. When I removed the mask it did not look like a realistic moon any more.  To save my scene I cut a smaller moon mask, stuck that over the watermarked moon then  sponged a darker sky around it to cover the seepage. I finished the scene by stamping the branches from “Nature’s Gifts” several times across the bottom and tying on a little tag.

Having learnt from experience I placed the mask on dry unpainted watercolour paper for the panel below. I painted the sky with distress stains and there was no seepage. (I will do more experimenting with the frisket film and let you know what I discover) When I removed the mask the moon was too white and flat so I painted and sponged some pale yellow and brown ink around it until it looked more realistic. I stamped the gorgeous etched branches across the base in black to complete my scene.

Both cards are around 5 inches square so I have been having fun with a friend’s envelope maker making custom envelopes out of pretty designer paper in my stash from long ago.

These cards make me think of one of my favourite songs, Helpless, by Neil Young. It’s the line, Yellow moon on the rise that keeps popping into my head. I have liked that song for many years. Little did I know as a teenager back in Australia I would one day live in Ontario (also mentioned in the song) and see Neil Young in concert twice. Do you ever get inspired by songs or performers?  I know Ardyth has a thing for David Bowie but I’m definitely more of a Neil Young girl!

Harvest Moon light Heather Telford


Stamps: Natures Gifts, Etched BranchesSpecial Wishes (PB)
Inks: Ripe Persimmon, Spiced Marmalade, Mustard seed, Vintage Photo, Antique Linen distress stains &  Wild Honey, Spiced Marmalade, Vintage Photo, Black Soot distress inks(Ranger) 
Cardstock: Neenah Natural White 110lb, Fabriano 100% cotton hot pressed watercolour paper, rust cardstock