I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I don’t think I read it as a child; it was later when training to be a primary school teacher, reading all the classics and designing lessons and such. I am not that keen on animal books but this one is a delight; Ratty and Mole are such appealing characters. I read it to my children from a beautifully illustrated edition (Michael Hague once again) given to me by my Nanna on my 21st birthday. Some of the double page illustrations are incredible watercolours which surprise you with their intricate details.
I initially had the boat moored by the river bank with no Ratty and Mole in it but my daughter said I had to put them in. I did not have any suitable stamps so I had to paint them myself. Unlike the talented Sandy Allnock I do not find animals easy to paint or colour, let alone draw! I found an E. H. Sheppard illustration to assist me and did my best. I’m glad the moon is behind them; they are legitimately dark and shadowed. I realise the boat is backwards; I was so caught up in adding Ratty and Mole I put the oars in the wrong hands, ahem, paws!
Anyway, back to the beginning, I started by painting the river then positioned a large circle mask cut from frisket film before painting the sky. I removed the mask and stamped the foliage and spritzed it so it would bleed a little into the surrounding area. I let everything dry before I painted the boat and its inhabitants. I think the sentiment was just the right one for Ratty and Mole.
What are your favourite fantasy books? Do you even enjoy fantasy? Books about other worlds and magic lands have always intrigued me. I know Wind in the Willows isn’t another world or a magical tale but the animals do talk and go messing about in boats so you do have to use your imagination a little bit.
Stamps: Sprigs, Friendship (PB)
Inks: Forest Moss, Crushed Olive, Peeled Paint distress (Ranger), Versafine Spanish Moss (ImagineCrafts/Tsukineko)
Cardstock: Fabriano 100% cotton hot pressed watercolour paper, Neenah Classic Crest Natural White 110lb smooth
Also: Gansai Tambi paints, Grafix extra tack frisket film
My husband and I both have February birthdays which meant hot summer days for the first 35 years of our lives. Now we celebrate in the bleak mid-winter!
For his birthday card this year I have gone with the warm tones of summer for inspiration. I managed better with this card than the anniversary card; I wrote in it and gave it to him before posting it here on the blog. To create this scene I started by flicking masking fluid onto my small watercolour block. Even though this isn’t a wintery scene some little flecks of white add interest and dimension to the scene. After the masking fluid dried I wet the whole panel and painted the trees and reflections in the distance, the sky and the water with brushes. In the foreground I stamped several stamps from the ‘sprigs’ set onto the wet paper and let them bleed into the surrounding area. When the paper dried a bit I stamped a couple more sprigs which stayed more distinct. I die cut a tag and splashed some of the same colour over it before adding a sentiment and ribbon.
Stamps: Sprigs , Sprinkles & Smiles (PB)
Creative Dies: Tagged (PB)
Inks: Dried marigold, forest moss, frayed burlap, crushed olive distress inks (Ranger) Versafine Spanish Moss (Imagine Crafts/Tsukineko)
Cardstock: Fabriano hot pressed watercolour paper, Olive green cardstock & ribbon
I had a card idea in my head yesterday and I did several trials and variations with the stamps from the transparent set ‘Sprigs’ but my original idea did not end up working. I set the experiments aside and designed a totally different card. Today when I looked at yesterday’s experiment I came up with the card you see above. The problem with the panel before I die cut dragonflies and a sentiment out was that is did not really have a focal point. The colours were pretty and some of the watercolour effects were pretty (others were messy) but it all looked too similar. By cutting the dragonflies to reveal the blue cardstock behind, the focus is taken away from the watercolour panel and transferred to the bold images and letters. I could have just as easily popped dragonflies on top but I like the cut-away look. The features I liked in the original panel are no longer trying to be the stars, they work better as back up. Next time you cast aside a stamped panel because it’s not working the way you thought consider whether it just needs to be in the background and let another element take centre stage.
To create the panel I inked up three of the ‘sprigs’ stamps with a mix of blues and greens. I inked each stamp with one colour using a large stamp pad then added another colour with a marker. I spritzed each stamp, stamped them on watercolour paper then, when I had stamped all the images, spritzed the paper.
I can’t always turn my experiments into finished cards, often the watercolour panels just get turned over so I can use the other side. Sometimes I wonder if the recipients of my cards ever see the backs of some of my panels, hopefully the adhesive holds and the rejected side stays hidden!
Stamps: Sprigs (PB)
Creative Dies: Deco Frame, Flutters (PB)
Inks: Nautical Blue, Teal Zeal, Cottage Ivy, Bamboo Leaves Memento ink (Imagine Craft/Tsukineko)
Cardstock: Fabriano hot pressed watercolour paper, Blue cardstock