Winter Garden

If you haven’t seen the incredible artistry of Peet Roeven you need to click over to her blog right now. Her attention to detail and precise fussy cutting is impressive. My card today is inspired by a recent card of Peet’s, mine is nowhere near as detailed as hers but I was able to show off this pretty ‘winter garden’ stamp in a circular setting just as she did. I never think of doing circle cards but the stamp is circular so it does make sense and Peet’s beautiful card nudged me to give it a try.

I worked on Koh-I-Noor Bristol Smooth Bright White Paper and embossed the image in platinum embossing powder. I was keen to see how the Zig clean color real brush pens worked on bristol as many artists prefer bristol to watercolour paper for the zig pens. The results were very pleasing the pens blend beautifully on bristol. I wanted pale pink flowers and tried light pink and tea rose then ended up using both for a blend from the slightly bolder pink to the paler tea rose. The berries I coloured with wine red, the rounded leaves with light green and the holly leaves with a blend of wine red and light green. I used brown for the pine cones and blended it with water for variation in depth. The needle leaves are olive green. The zig pens are very highly pigmented so a little goes a long way. I was able to colour the elements on the panel by applying a small about of ink then blending it to fill the space with a wet brush.

I die cut the image with a large circle die, used the next size up for the pale pink mat and the next size for two circles to form the card base. The back of the card base has a score line less than a centimeter (half inch) from the top so the card can be opened without the patterned panel having to bend at all. I also cut a very small margin off the bottom of the back panel so the card would stand upright on a small flat section. I embossed the sentiment from PB ‘Christmas Sentiments’ set, matted it then die cut with a circle die so it would line up with my circle panels.

What is the most unusual shape you have used for a card? I have to admit it is just about always rectangles and squares for me.

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Ruby Trill

Let me introduce you to ‘ruby trill’ a cardinal stamp from PB; isn’t he a beauty? I wasn’t sure about my colour choices when I started painting these holly leaves but by the time I had finished the whole panel everything seemed to work together. I kept my colour range small as I often do. First I stamped the bird and branch with antique linen so I could do some no-line watercolour. Before painting I stamped some of the leaves with pine needles distress ink so that I could blend the green ink with water as well as add extra if needed. I worked one leaf at a time and also dropped in some blueprint sketch ink for added depth. This is where I doubted my choice; the blueprint sketch looked too blue and I wondered if I should start again. I decided to keep going and painted the berries in candy apple distress ink and the branch in gathered twigs.

It wasn’t until I started painting the cardinal that the colours looked like they would work. I used the same candy apple distress ink to paint the cardinal but added shadows with the blueprint sketch and the gathered twigs inks. I know I keep saying this but the limited palette really does work! I added the brown on the tail and behind the wing and blue along the back and crest. As I had kept the stamp and watercolour panel in the stamp positioner I was able to ink the black area around the eye and stamp it before blending it with water and extra ink.

I had reference photos of cardinals on hand to check the colour of the legs and beak. Once all the painting had dried I re-stamped the body of the cardinal in candied apple to darken the details on the back and wings. At this point I had to decide whether I was adding a background or not. In the past I’ve ruined several focal images by adding a background around them. I decided I wanted a grey snowy look so I painted around holly with water and dropped in weathered wood distress stain as I went along. It was fiddly getting in and around the legs and leaves but it’s a loose cloudy look so no fussing about precision. While the background was still wet I inked just a few holly leaves and berries and pressed them onto the wet panel in a few places to look soft and shadowy. I dried everything before splattering some white paint over the whole panel and some black soot in the corners. Even though the mats look black in the photo they are actually teal and the little patterned strip behind is a PB snowflake paper in just the right grey/green colour.

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Snowy saplings

Every year I make some snowy forest scenes, with stamps that are old favourites and with new ones destined to be favourites. These trees are from a new PB set called ‘saplings’ and they are so easy to work with!. I placed my hot pressed watercolour panel in the stamp positioner and placed a hill shaped frisket film mask across the base of the panel where I wanted to preserve white space for the snow. I could probably have used a couple of layers of masking paper as I didn’t end up getting the panel very wet.

I inked one or two trees at a time with different combinations of the following distress inks: chipped sapphire, broken china, mowed lawn, peeled paint. Before I stamped I lightly spritzed the stamp so the colours would blend nicely. I moved the panel a couple of times and moved the stamps so I could get a decent row of trees at different heights. I sponged a bit of broken china ink along the top of the mask to create a shadow behind the snow bank then moved the mask to stamp a tree in front. I then moved the mask twice sponging both times to get another couple of snowy hill shadows to appear behind the trees and a blue sky.

To create the ‘snow’ in the sky I gently splattered and strategically dropped some water on the distress sponging. The distress inks react with water so after the droplets had sat for 30 seconds I dabbed them with a paper towel which left white watermarks. To finish off I linked two stamps from the PB ‘Merry Builder’ and stamped them in majestic blue versafine ink.

Despite the appearance of a snowy scene on the blog today I am happy to report it has been sandals weather this week. Yay!

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Creamy poinsettias

Lately I have been die-cutting poinsettias from all sorts of different cardstock. I have a poinsettia Christmas card class coming up so I’ve been playing around with lacy paper, shimmer paper, kraft paper and watercolour paper with plans to also cut up some pretty plaid paper. These two cards feature a lovely cardstock called ‘Ivory WorldWin twist’ which is a smooth ivory cardstock on one side a lace texture on the other side. I bought it at Crop A While, my local scrapbooking store. The lacy side is almost spiderwebby but in a delicate pretty way not a ‘look what’s behind the filing cabinet’ way.

The card bases are neenah cream cardstock, and so is the sentiment strip and the PB ‘diamond cut’ behind the poinsettias. I used the PB ‘layered poinsettia die set’ for this trio of poinsettias; I like the size which makes it possible to fit three on a card front. (two more cards with these dies here and here) The PB jolly holly die cuts are a dark gold cardstock. I didn’t pop anything up on dimensional tape as it was getting pretty dimensional anyway with seven layers! That must be some kind of a record for me. I used glue for the flowers, narrow double sided tape for the diamond frame and stickit adhesive on the back of the holly.

The second card features the same cardstocks but a new PB poinsettia stamp ‘scarlet season’ which has both solid and filigree flowers. I cut them once again from the lacy cardstock and layered them over a funky rectangle die from ‘Ink to Paper’ and added the PB ‘joy’.

I’m not sure if it is the lacy paper or the colour combo but these cards have a bit of a retro look to them. I think these designs would be pretty with patterned vellum too.

As always the supplies are linked below; I have added a second affiliate with my Canadian readers in mind. The store is Scrap ‘n’ Stamp in BC. If you buy through my affiliate links from either Foiled Fox or Scrap ‘n’ Stamp there is no extra cost to you but I receive a commission.  Thanks for dropping by today.

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Golden Delight

I decided to let the colorburst paint powders do the colouring for me on this cute little wreath from Penny Black. I embossed the wreath in gold on hot pressed watercolour paper and embossed the sentiment at the same time.

I sprinkled four colours of Ken Oliver’s colorburst powders over the embossing then spritzed with water and watched the colours emerge and spread. I helped them out a little with a paintbrush so paint filled every nook and cranny. Once the panel was dry I die cut the wreath and trimmed the sentiment to the right size then cut a wreath from adhesive backed foam also to pop up the watercoloured one. Before I attached the wreath to the card base I looped some gold embroidery thread back and forth around the wreath letting the adhesive hold it in place.

The woodgrained card base not only has texture it also has a little bronze shimmer to it. I bought it from my local scrapbooking store but you could get the same effect with a woodgrain embossing folder.

Feeling grateful, thankful and blessed to be part of this encouraging and inspiring community.

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I’ve been playing with the alcohol inks again!

Last weekend I spent Saturday creating with alcohol inks while learning from Kathryn Kanadian who was in Ottawa teaching a couple of classes. Kathryn is a wonderful teacher and I now have a few new tricks to try and techniques to practice. This lavender panel was created with dots of ink on an applicator; I used passion purple, rich gold (Pinata) and  juniper (Ranger) along with some blending solution or isopropyl alcohol. I dabbed the applicator all over the craft plastic for quite a while and added blending solution and more ink when needed. The gold ink didn’t move much but the other two colours created a lot of pattern. These delicate flowers which look a little like lavender are cut with PB ‘tall flowers’ dies. The sentiment from the PB ‘special sentiments’ set I stamped with dusty concord archival ink. I had a section of the patterned panel left over so I was able to die cut some more flowers to pop inside the card. You can be sure I put stick-it adhesive on those panels before I cut such skinny flowers out.

The panel of browns and gold below came together as Kathryn was encouraging us to experiment with blending solution to move the ink. I used more than I usually would and was delighted with all the variation of colour I achieved, the dotted patterns and the splotches of gold here and there. I used ginger, espresso (Ranger) and rich gold (Pinata). Kathryn had samples of her wonderful work including a coffee themed card that inspired this one.

I used the Concord & 9 ‘simple serif’ alphabet dies to cut the letters from antique gold cardstock and framed the panel in antique gold also.

The daisy panel was a bit of a breakthrough for me as I had only made landscapes with alcohol inks by accident or trial and error in the past. With the introduction of a stylus and alcohol ink brushes I was able to paint some daisies and splatter a rain shower over the top of them.

I began by creating a green background with the help of some isopropyl alcohol and green ink (not sure if it was meadow or pesto??)  I used a stylus to dot the centres of the flowers in copper and pitch alcohol inks (Ranger) then I used a brush to paint petals around the centres and stems and grass at the base. The splatters of isopropyl alcohol pulled the composition together.

Although it looks black the cardstock framing the panel is actually dark green. I embossed a little sentiment from the PB ‘family sentiments’ set in white powder.

I created a few more panels during the class which hopefully I will turn into cards soon. Thanks Kathryn for a wonderful class.

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Autumn Bliss

This card is one of those rare ones where the end result is very close to the dreamed up idea.

I started by masking a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper with tape. I taped it into the stamp positioner using the grid lines as guides to get it straight and, wonder of wonders, it actually ended up straight. I stamped the pumpkins from the PB ‘autumn bliss’ set in Gina K’s jet black amalgam ink. I bought the amalgam so I could compare it to my current fave black, versafine clair nocturne. The amalgam stamped well and dried quickly but I didn’t find it superior to the versafine clair.

I wanted bold bright colours and wondered which of my watercolour mediums would give me that result. I settled on my Dr Ph Martin’s Hydrus liquid watercolours. They are definitely bold and bright! Of course they can be diluted for a softer look but I was happy to make the most of their vibrancy. Even though I put barely a drop of each colour on my palette I still ended up with more than I needed. I tried to limit my colour scheme by mixing some of my own colours. I started with gamboge and brilliant cad red for the middle pumpkin and painted all but the flowers. I then mixed the gamboge with the brilliant cad red for the left hand pumpkin and again painted all but the leaves. It was very tricky avoiding the leaves especially before I realised that I had my reading glasses on instead of my stronger ‘art glasses’. Sadly my art glasses are becoming my reading glasses so in the new year I am hoping to get some new ‘art glasses’ to help me see and paint all the fiddly bits. The right hand pumpkin is brill cad red and Venetian brown.

With my art glasses on I painted all the leaves and stalks with a green made by mixing gamboge with ultramarine. The flowers on the middle pumpkin I painted in a diluted deep red rose/ultramarine mix. I added little dots of gold to the right hand pumpkin using finetec pearlescent ink then used a rosy colour from the same set to add shimmer to the flowers. If I did the pumpkins again I think I would paint them one solid colour first with a little shadow and shading then use the pearlescent inks over the top to add all the flowers and leaves. The pearlescent inks are opaque and would not have let the underneath colour show through.

After all the pumpkin decorating, I painted the background with ultramarine. If you have masked with tape before you will know how satisfying it can be to peel back the tape to reveal crisp straight edges and also how frustrating when some paint has seeped underneath. Well, again, wonder of wonders, no seepage! Now, the last wonder of wonders is really the biggest. I occasionally do my own calligraphy sentiments, more often than not it does not end up straight, neat or the right size so I end up cutting the painted panel off and attaching it to a whole new panel in order to get rid of the messed up sentiment. This time I ruled my pencil lines, practiced the sentiment on a scrap, wrote it in pencil on the panel and finally wrote it with pointed pen in a mix of ultramarine and pearlescent ink. The next step was key; I have messed it up in the past. I left the room and went and had my lunch, that way I was not tempted to erase the pencil before the writing was dry, dry dry! I used one of those nifty battery operated erasers to gently erase all the pencil and then did a happy dance!

I hope you don’t think I am overdoing it in my satisfaction with this card, I know it’s nothing out of the ordinary, it’s just that it could have gone wrong in quite a few places but happily it didn’t.

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