Christmas Bush

Christmas Bush is a both a plant that grows in Australia and a new stamp set from Darkroom Door. This is my first project featuring the set but there will be more. I’m not sure if my parents ever had a Christmas Bush in their garden; I don’t remember one in any of my own gardens. I have just read about the plant and apparently it has white flowers which are not that prominent but the sepals grow large and red and they provide the drama.

I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper that I’d splattered earlier with masking fluid. I wasn’t wanting the look of snow; I know the Christmas bush blooms in summer. I wanted the white splatter to add some texture and variation to the design. I started by stamping one of the large sprays of flowers on the panel with plenty of water spritzed on both paper and stamp so it diluted and bled into the surrounding area. Once the background dried I stamped the flowers several times in festive berries and peeled paint distress inks.

Rather than mat the panel I used two Waffleflower A2 layer dies taped together to cut a narrow frame from red cardstock then embossed a sentiment from the ‘Christmas Bush’ set on the same cardstock.

I must admit it was the floral silhouettes that first drew me to this stamp set not the plan of making Christmas cards. Now that I have made one with the bold contrast of red and green I will be designing some more. My dad usually asks me if I’m going to make some Australian Christmas cards because I tend to make many wintery looking ones. Here is my first one for 2020 and it has an Australian theme, so that’s a good start.

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Loosely lined florals on black

Today’s card and video feature two products made for each other: black watercolour paper and pearlescent paint. The black background makes the already beautiful shimmery paint even more vibrant.

I chose the MFT ‘loosely line flowers’ background stamp to fill a large black square of black coldpressed watercolour paper. The paper has some texture to it but that didn’t cause any problems when I stamped and embossed this very detailed stamp.

The video shows my process making this multicoloured card using the Coliro ‘earth’ and ‘ocean’ sets of pearlescent paints. The Foiled Fox introduced me to the Coliro sets and sent some my way and I’m so glad they did. The colours are beautiful and the combinations in the sets make me happy.

When I was planning the card and video tutorial I tried the technique with only colours from the ‘ocean’ set first. The result is in the card above. I think it’s lovely but I find the contrasts in the first card are even more eye catching. If you have some black watercolour paper be sure to try it with some pearlescent or metallic paints, powders or markers. Similarly if you have some metallic or pearlescent products you are wondering what to do with, get some black watercolour paper and have some fun.

Can you believe this is my twelfth video this year? That is definitely a record for me and the year isn’t even over yet. Hope you enjoy this one.

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What should I read next?

This book themed page has been in my mind for quite a while and that little open book stamp on the right side of the spread pushed me to make it happen. All the stamps are from Darkroom Door; I used ‘mini open book’ once, ‘book spines’ several times and the ‘scratches’ background stamp for the wall behind the books.

I have three art journals on the go and this one has a literary theme. I’ve done pages inspired by books and others inspired by quotes. I have a few started but not finished and several in my head.

I taped the edges of the double page spread before doing anything; it really helps keep the book open and stable while I work, it protects the other pages from paint and ink and I think it frames the finished design really nicely.

I embossed all the books on hot pressed watercolour paper in either gold or copper powder then coloured them with markers, distress stains and distress inks smooshed on my glass mat. I really just played with techniques until I had a good selection of colours and patterns. I stuck to jewel tones featuring dark green, bright blue, red and aqua. I’ve listed all the distress inks below. I also painted over the inking on a few books with Coliro pearlescent paints so they have a bit of shimmer.

I painted the background with ‘absorbant ground’ as I usually do when I want to work with liquid inks and water then I smooshed some ‘peacock feathers and ground espresso inks on a piece of acetate, spritzed it and dragged it across the page multiple times. That gave me some abstract colour but not enough so I used distress stain sprays in the same colours. After it dried I stamped the scratches background stamp a few times in ground espresso stain. When that dried I used a piece of tape to mask edges to sponge vertical lines across the pages.

Arranging the books on the page took a little while. I cut them all out first then cut some of the groups into smaller groups to play with the layout. Once I had it settled I glued them down and started adding titles and decoration with gel pens, embossing pens and embossing powder. I wrote quite a few of my favourites on the spines, nothing particularly new even though I have read some great new books lately. I guess they just haven’t stood my test of time yet. I have some empty spines left that I will probably fill another day.

I finished by balancing that open book on one of the piles and added the name of my favourite podcast, ‘What Should I Read Next?’ I get a large chunk of my book recommendations from Anne Bogel, the host of WSIRN. I could talk about books for several more paragraphs but if you’ve made it this far you’re a champion so I’ll save the book chat for another book themed project. I think there will be a spin off card from this journal page.

Oh, and one more thing, please feel free to leave book recommendations in the comments; I’d love to hear your favourites.

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Double Embossed

At the risk of losing you I have to begin this post by directing you to the beautiful inspiration for this card. Just pop over to the wonderful blog of Anna-Karin Evalddson to see her double embossing. There is so much texture in her card. When I first saw it I was sure it was heat embossed and then dry embossed because the surface looked so 3D. Anna-Karin did a video of her process, which I watched then immediately went and made the card above. I often see cards which inspire me and I save or tag or pin them for another time; rarely do I immediately act on the inspiration.

I didn’t achieve the 3D effect that Anna-Karin did but I like the play of double embossing and the unusual combination of colours and embossing powders. I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper, embossing the ‘dotted fusion’ stamp from PB first in a mix of ‘sandcastle’ & ‘potting soil’. (supplies linked below). I moved the panel a little to one side then embossed again in a cream embossing powder.

To colour the panel I pulled out my distress stains, not the sprays, (but they would work) the daubers. I hardly ever reach for them now as they are no longer available so I don’t want to taunt you with something you can’t have. I still really like the daubers for applying a strong liquid ink in a confined space. In this case I dabbed them on the glass mat, spritzed some water and swiped the embossed panel through the colours (aged mahogany, peeled paint and old paper). Anna-Karin just used distress inkpads and her results were amazing.

To keep with the circle/dotty theme I stamped a word from PB ‘huggable’ set on a circle, matted on a circle and put the card together. Oh and there is splatter too, no surprises there.

that’s a booster colour scheme btw, if you do my online class you will hear about that! 😉

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Loosely Lined Flower background

These loosely lined flowers cover a large background stamp, new from My Favorite Things. I chose three colorburst powders and kept the painting loose and funky as well!

After embossing the large stamp on hot pressed watercolour paper in white I sprinkled cerulean blue, lemon yellow and terre verte powder sparingly on the panel. I tried to be a little strategic in my placement of the colours, as much as you can with something as unpredictable and airborne as a paint powder! I sprinkled blue in the half flowers, green and blue in the full flowers and yellow in the spaces. ‘Really?’, I hear you say! I know colorburst powders don’t always stay in their lanes but I was happy with all the pretty blends and patterns anyway.

There are some little anthers coming out of a few flowers which I coloured with a gold gel pen. I used three sentiments from another MFT set, ‘all about you’, embossed in white on black then popped them up down the side of my panel. You’ll be seeing more of this pretty stamp; it’s a fun one! Thank you Foiled Fox for sending it my way.

Join my online class COLOUR CLUES to create beautiful eye-catching cards!

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Parsley, sage & mint

As I hoped I fitted in some gel printing the other day. I picked leaves from my garden and experimented to see which would give me a good print. It also took me some trial and error to get the amount of paint right too.

I brayered titanium white, ultamarine blue and hooker’s green onto my circle gel plate then lay down the back of the leaf on the paint. I lay white cardstock over the top and taped one edge of the cardstock to my table before lifting it to see the print. Without untaping the cardstock I removed the leaves and lay the cardstock back down to take another print, that which was left by the leaf.

I know some extra visuals, even a video might be more helpful than a description so I am working towards that goal. Gel printing can be rather hit and miss for me so I haven’t done any filming yet.

I decided to use all three prints on the one card so cut a piece of snowbound textured cardstock 10⅞ ” x 4¾” and scored it at 3⅝” and 7¼”. I die cut each print using a 3¼” square die and attached them directly to the textured card base. I stamped ‘Thank you’ from PB ‘million thanks’ set on white in peeled paint archival ink then embossed ‘for your help’ from the same set in white on green then cut it out with an oval punch to make a tab on the side of the card.

This card is for my daughter who has put hours or work and loads of enthusiasm into our garden this year. It’s looking good and we have high hopes for the tomatoes, brussel sprouts and cantaloupes still growing!

Join my online class COLOUR CLUES to create card sized works of art!

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New Black Craft Plastic

Introductions are necessary, I have a new crafting surface to share with you. Opaque black craft plastic has just been released by Grafix and I found it to be a perfect base for pearlescent paint. It was tricky to photograph but I think you can see the shimmer in the both the paint and the gold card base. Here is a video of my process.

The craft plastic also comes in white which I’ve used successfully with alcohol inks. I can’t wait to try the new Ranger Alloy inks on the black.

Grafix gave me the opportunity to try the black craft plastic and I had fun with the alcohol inks and paint markers as well as the pearlescent paints shown here. I’ll be sharing more projects in the future and I will be asking my favourite stores if they can carry this new product.

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You are nothing short of amazing

I got together with some friends a while back for a crafting afternoon, seems like an age ago now! While there I stamped the two panels you see here. For a while they were forgotten as I was working on other projects then I fiddled around to create two quite different cards. The basic technique is the same for both panels and involves stamping and restamping without reinking in between impressions. The card above began as a vintage looking panel stamped in antique linen ink. I smooshed some antique linen distress ink on my glass mat, spritzed with water then swiped my panel through it to pick up inky stains. I dabbed some areas with paper towel which makes them dry a more yellowy colour. I partially inked the Penny Black script background stamp in antique linen and stamped on one side.

Once the background was dry I used the PB stamp, ‘exhilaration’ to stamp some coloured flowers. I inked the flowers with a Papertrey Americana ink cube and chipped sapphire distress ink then the stems with a gathered twigs distress marker. I wiped ink off the stamp in some areas so the image would be patchy on purpose, spritzed then stamped on the panel. I did both the left hand side and right top corner then, without cleaning the stamp spritzed it again and stamped paler images which immediately appear to be in the background. I stamped a sentiment on an ‘antiqued’ scrap in versafine vintage sepia ink, added a twine bow and popped it up on some foam tape.

Now that I have described my process for the first card you can probably see that I used the same technique for the blue card but only used one colour, Papertrey ink ‘blueberry sky’. I didn’t start by making a vintage style background, I just jumped right on in with the first stamping. I spritzed  the stamp and did another print, then another and one more very pale one and that was it! I added some splatters but nothing more to this pretty blue panel. It was very quick and probably took longer to find a matching cardstock. Once I found a co-ordinating blue I stamped part of a sentiment from the PB ‘sentiment’ set and embossed in alabaster powder. I finished the sentiment by stacking three die cut ‘amazings’ from the PB OMG die set.

I love this technique for adding depth and dimension to flat stamped panels. I have a video coming next week demonstrating a similar process so stay tuned!

Thanks for visiting here today, I hope you are safe and well where you are and thanks again if you are on the front lines taking care of health, food and safety needs. You are nothing short of amazing!

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Shimmer floral

The fun continues around here with pearlescent paints and black watercolour paper. I just wish the photos would show better how pretty the shimmery paints are.  The Foiled Fox sent me some yummy new paints from Coliro, I used the ‘ocean’ and the ‘vintage’ sets for this card. I also tried out the ‘penny’ embossing powder from Brutus Monroe. It is a copper colour which worked nicely with the paints I chose. I embossed part of the Penny Black ‘floral medley’ stamp in one corner of my black watercolour paper panel then flipped the panel and moved the stamp around a little before stamping more flowers on the other corner. I paired up a couple of stamps from the PB ‘strength’ sentiment set to emboss a sentiment in between the florals.

Coliro (or Finetec) paints are full of shimmer and look amazing on dark paper but can also be used on light or white paper for more subtle effects. I have painted them on neenah black cardstock before, the colours looked great but I like the way watercolour paper gives me more flexibility with blending from dark to light. When attempting light and dark areas on black paper I have to think about the direction of my blending. On white watercolour paper I paint strong colour then blend it with water to decrease the intensity and so end up with a lighter area. On dark paper I paint an area in bright pearlescent paint and then dilute it with water to get a darker or shadow area. Shading isn’t really necessary of course, the colours look great painted as solid sections without shading.

To finish off the card I die-cut a frame from copper coloured shimmer paper. I have two frame dies from the PB ‘square frames’ set still linked together so I get a plain frame when I run the two decorative dies through the machine together.

I am teaching a ‘Watercolour on Black’ workshop in Ottawa at the end of March where we will be playing with these lovely shimmer paints and creating stamped and painted panels that really shine. Click over to my upcoming classes page for more details.

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Pink poinsettia poem

I have a less traditional colour scheme for you today featuring pink and purple on this pretty poinsettia stamp from Penny Black. I wasn’t set on being non-traditional when I started but it headed that way as I progressed. I started by smooshing tumbled glass and blueprint sketch distress stains on my glass mat, adding water then swiping a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper through it to create a soft background. Once it dried I used my stamp positioner to stamp and emboss the ‘poinsettia poem’ stamp in silver embossing powder.

I smooshed papertrey ink cubes onto my glass mat to use as watercolours and painted the flowers in scarlet jewel and royal velvet, the leaves in pine feather and the berries in winter wisteria. I used a gold gel pen to colour the centres. The card is not quite so bold as the photo suggests but even so I wanted some light and bright features alongside the painted panel so I framed it in silver and added some die cut holly to the white card base.

In keeping with my resolve I stamped inside the card and on the envelope with winter wisteria ink and add the sentiment in the same.

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