Parade of flowers

The flowers continue to bloom across my blog this week and it’s making me pretty keen for spring to arrive. Today’s poppies are as realistic and detailed as you are likely to see from me! A little different from my distress stain loose and watery florals.  I used a stamp positioner to stamp ‘parade of flowers’ in antique linen distress ink on cold pressed watercolour paper; because of the texture of the cold pressed paper I stamped a few times to guarantee a complete image.

All the painting was done with Dr Ph Martins Hydrus watercolours. When undiluted the colours are very vibrant so I put only a drop of each colour in a palette then added water. To keep the colour scheme muted and cohesive I limited my paint choices. The petals are painted with ‘deep red rose’ and the leaves and stems a mix of phthalo green, deep red rose and Venetian brown. The centres of the flowers are gamboge, with dark details added in ultramarine and Venetian brown.

I worked on one petal at a time painting first with water then dropping in some deep red rose paint. I blended the colour to the edges then added more paint if necessary to create shadow or deeper colour near centre of flower. While each petal dried I worked on a non-adjacent one. When all the petals were dry I added some more red here and there to create a bit more depth and when that dried I used a very fine tipped brush to paint veins on some of the petals. I wanted to stamp the sentiment on a matching panel so I painted diluted deep red rose paint on a scrap of hot pressed watercolor paper the die cut three tags using die from ‘gift card pocket’ set. With the stamp postioner I was able to stamp ‘With Love’ sentiment from ‘special wishes’ set on tags one at a time so when together they would over lap each other.

I wrapped twine around top of painted panel, attached the three sentiment tags over the top and attached the panel to a natural coloured card base.

Don’t forget to pop over to the ‘Sparkle with Us’ challenge hosted by The Foiled Fox and me. There is already some sparkly inspiration linked up but we’d love to see more.


Stamps: parade of flowers, special wishes

Die: gift card pocket

Paper: rough 100% cotton watercolour paper, hot pressed watercolour paper

Ink: antique linen distress ink, imperial purple versafine ink

Paints: deep red rose, gamboge, pthalo green, Venetian brown, ultramarine Dr Ph Martins Hydrus watercolors (soon to be available at The Foiled Fox)

Also: antique hemp twine


tulip bouquet

Here are some more blooms  to spur on the spring feelings. I worked on an abstract brusho background, one of the panels I mentioned back in an earlier post created with some sprinkled and spritzed brusho. I took my colour cues from the brusho and stamped the stems and leaves in forest moss distress ink and petals  in spiced marmalade.

Next I sprinkled very small amounts of gamboge brusho in the tulips and activated it with a damp brush. I did one petal at a time to stop them all just blending into the same shade. I made sure some areas stayed dark and others were more diluted and light. I did the same thing for the stems and leaves but used turquoise and olive green brusho.

The panel is cold pressed watercolour paper so there is some texture to it. Have you tried stamping over a brusho background? I enjoyed the way the brusho dictated the colour scheme for me but didn’t take over the whole panel.


Stamps: tulip bouquet, smile today!

Paper: cold pressed watercolour paper, neenah natural white

Inks: spiced marmalade distress ink, forest moss distress ink, olympia green versafine ink

Paints: gamboge, turquoise, olive green brusho

Tools: Stamping platform

Blossom branch video tutorial


I am happy to be sharing all manner of sweet spring goodness here and on the Penny Black blog this week. Starting the week is this gorgeous blossom branch stamp and a video tutorial. Blossom branch is a brushstroke stamp so I was after a hand painted look on my finished project. In my previous video I used distress stains applied to the stamp. For this project I worked with distress inks and markers, once again a water-soluble medium but in a format that can be applied with more accuracy than distress stains. The result is more detail on the final image.

I worked in a stamp positioning tool so I could add one or two colours at a time, three shades of green for the leaves and  several pinks for the petals. You can see my process in the video. At one point the camera cut out without me realising so you don’t see all the blending of petal. I used the same process for all the flowers though, so you can get the idea from all that was filmed. I included a tip for a quick matching envelope too.

Hope you have fun with this technique. See you tomorrow.


Stamps: blossom branch, choose happy
Inks: versafine vintage sepia, shabby shutters, crushed olive, peeled paint marker,
worn lipstick, abandoned coral, barn door marker, gathered twigs marker
Paper: hot pressed watercolour paper

Also: MISTI, gold signo gel pen

Airy thank you

More sparkle for you today. I’m hoping to inspire you to ‘Sparkle With Us’, and what I mean by that is join in the challenge I’m hosting with The Foiled Fox; you can read about it on yesterday’s post. If you like to add a little sparkle here and there on your projects this challenge is for you. If your projects are seriously sparkly then this is also the challenge for you. I chose foil to add the sparkle on this project and I used peel n stick toner sheets to make some ‘ready to foil’ die cut elements. The Foiled Fox shared these sheets with me and they made adding foiled details so easy!

I started by making an abstract background panel with brusho. (Have I mentioned how much I love brusho?) This panel features sea green and olive green brusho but you can see turquoise and orange showed up also. I spritzed a large panel of cold pressed watercolour paper then sprinkled the brusho over it and let it spread. I did a bit of tilting and spritzing and left the panel to dry. As it was a large panel I ended up cutting it into four smaller panels to be used on separate projects. I used two new dies, ‘airy’ and ‘so many thanks’ to cut a couple of leafy branches and a sentiment from the peel n stick toner sheet then ran them through the minc with gold foil. You can make your own toner sheets with a laser printer but they are not sticky on the back so I felt spoiled using these convenient adhesive ones. I peeled off the backing and stuck them on my brusho panel. It is tricky to photograph foiled projects but I think you can see the shine!

Hope you can ‘Sparkle With Us‘ this month.


Dies: airy, so many thanks

Paper: cold pressed watercolour paper, thermoweb deco foil peel n stick toner sheets

Paints: sea green, olive green brusho

Also: gold foil, minc

Sparkle With Us challenge

It’s time to put on your sparkly shoes, my friends, or at least your sparkly embellishments! I have teamed up with The Foiled Fox for a sparkly challenge that starts now.

I might have got a little bit carried away in choosing sparkly elements for my card. There is not much that doesn’t sparkle on this one. You can follow my lead and pull out all the sparkle or you can choose to feature just a little sparkle. Either approach will qualify you to enter the ‘Sparkle With Us’ challenge.

I used some lovely shimmer cardstock from The Foiled Fox and a whole bunch of gilding flakes. I know they can end up all over the place but I love the textured look of gilding flakes. Because there is some creasing and overlapping there is a lot of variation in the gold of the flakes. I also used gold embossing powder for my gold on gold on gold sparkly card. There are some step by step photos on the Foiled Fox blog so make sure you click on over.

I am excited to share some more sparkly inspiration over the next few weeks and hope to see your creations in the challenge gallery: you can get there by clicking the frog below.

Sparkly Supplies

Stamps: Penny Black banner sentiments set

Dies: swirling wings, triple banner die set

Cardstock: shimmer antique gold, neenah natural white,

Also: stick it adhesive, gold gilding flakes, gold embossing powder


Spring is in the air at Penny Black and is beginning to feel like it here in Ottawa too. The method for this card is exactly the same as shown in my lilac video tutorial This card was stamped with distress stains, one of my favourite mediums for creating a loose watercoloury look. I have used the distress stain daubers for years now to ink my stamps but you may have heard, sadly the daubers are being discontinued. Even though I have a healthy supply of daubers I decided to use the spray stains for this card instead just to see if I could get the same effects with a paint brush. It takes an extra step but it worked and the results made me just as happy. If you have the daubers you apply stain directly to the stamp. (I will just add that the daubers are still available at the Foiled Fox right now; I intend to keep using my daubers and refill them from the spray stain bottles. To do this I just carefully lever off the dauber top and pour in some stain then press the dauber top firmly back on.)

Rather than dob stain on the stamp with the dauber I sprayed some stain into a palette and painted it on to the ‘lilacs’ stamp with a watercolour brush. I used bundled sage and forest moss on the leaves and seedless preserves and dusty concord on the petals. There are some pale lilacs in the background; I stamped them first by painting stain (bundled sage and seedless preserves) onto the stamp and stamping it on a wet piece of hot pressed watercolour paper. I just stamped randomly to spread some colour around then pressed a paper towel over the panel to remove excess water and colour. I dried the panel completely then transferred it to my stamping platform so I could stamp one colour at a time. I painted  seedless preserves stain on the stamp first and stamped onto my panel. Without cleaning the stamp I added some dusty concord to a few areas on the stamp and stamped again. The stain blended both on the stamp and on the paper. I cleaned the stamp and used the same technique for the leaves, bundled sage first then forest moss in a few areas to create shadow and depth to the image.

To add another couple of flowers I repeated the process described above after repositioning the panel. I added a sentiment from the new ‘grateful heart’ set with imperial purple versafine ink.

Thanks for dropping by and thanks for all your encouragement.



Stamps: lilacs, grateful heart
Distress stains: bundled sage, forest moss, seedless preserves, dusty concord
Ink: versafine imperial purple ink
Paper: hot pressed watercolour

Also: MISTI or stamping platform

Peacock Feathers

I decided to try a couple of methods for colouring a peacock feather stamp, my first experiment with the ‘Feathers’ set from Darkroom Door. I look forward to trying all of them eventually but the gorgeous colours of the peacock feather prompted me to pick that one first.The colouring on this first card was zig clean colour real brush markers directly on the stamp. I used the stamping platform so I could add one colour at a time. I blended the centre a little with a brush to get solid colour then spritzed the stamp with interference gold pearl-ex spray and stamped over the marker image. This gave everything a little shimmer and blended the colours into each other a bit. My pearl-ex spray is homemade; I add a small amount (about 1/8 tsp into a small spritzer filled with water). I stamped ‘thanks’ over the feather with majestic blue versafine then embossed with clear powder. The border panel looks black but is actually blue to co-ordinate with the centre of the feather and the sentiment.

My second colouring method was brusho. I spritzed the stamp with the same gold pearl-ex spray then stamped on hot pressed watercolour paper. I dropped a tiny amount of ultramarine brusho at the top of the feather, also a little turquoise then olive green down the shaft of the feather then stamped again to activate the brusho with pearl-ex spray. I embossed a birthday sentiment in gold and framed the panel in gold shimmer cardstock.

My final colouring method was with Sakura Koi colouring brush pens. I kept the stamp in the stamping platform so I could ink then stamp a colour at a time. The Sakura pens are very bright so I thought they were a good match for the gorgeous colours of peacock feathers.

Once again I stamped the colours one or two at a time so I could keep the centre of the feather distinct. Once I had stamped both feathers I spritzed the gold pearl-ex spray over the whole panel which ended up doing two things: the barbs softened to look a little ‘hairy’ and the droplets of spray created a pattern of watermarks over the ‘eye’ of the feather.

I ended up using majestic blue versafine ink again to add a sentiment from ‘botanical script’ set and cut a mat  in the same colour. This card also has a slight shimmer to it so I added a gold cord for a finishing touch.


Stamps: Happy Birthday, Thank you, Feathers, Botanical Script

Inks: Versamark, Majestic Blue Versafine

Markers:  Zig clean color real brush markers, Koi Coloring Brush Pens

Paint: Brusho (ultramarine, turquoise, olive green)

Paper: hot pressed watercolour paper, blue cardstock, gold shimmer cardstock

Also: stamping platform, gold embossing powder, clear embossing powder, gold cord, pearl-ex interference gold spray