Vintage collage card

A friend commissioned me to make a ‘vintage’ themed card recently and I happily pulled out a bunch of Darkroom Door stamps to do so. You can see the pocket watch stamp managed to feature three times but the French script, global postmarks, and gerberas also contributed. I stamped, blended and painted with two brown tones of distress ink, two blues and a black. (all the supplies are listed below)

To begin I smooshed some speckled egg and antique linen distress inks on a glass mat, added water swiped the panel through the diluted ink. After that the gerbera background stamp became part of the base layer in speckled egg distress ink. I layered the other stamps over the top in tea dye and antique linen inks and blended some speckled egg ink through the DD diamonds stencil. Of course there is splatter, watermarks and extra blending to darken the edges. To add a dimensional feature I die cut several stems of flowers with the Penny Black ‘shall we dance’ die, some are from watercolour paper, some from tan cardstock and a few from paper painted with salty ocean ink and stamped with the DD gazette stamp.

Almost finished, I added a strand of twine around the base and tied some tiny tags on with stamped PB sentiments on them and some little wooden stars I found. I was pretty happy with all this vintageness but decided to risk some gold paint. I splattered and added it to the tiny stars and heart, the flower centres. Where it worked best though was unevenly painted along the edges of the square panel. You probably can’t even see it clearly but it ended up being one of my favourite parts of the card.

By the way there are yummy new stamps on the Darkroom Door website. You will see them here soon, a few are winging their way here as you read this! Have a great day.

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Stockings are hung

When I was making knitted panel cards a few weeks back I thought I should create a knitted stocking card at the same time. I also decided to try and make at least one, but hopefully more than one Christmas card each month. Usually I don’t feel like making Christmas cards after Christmas but I’m happy to right now so I made this little stocking and hung it by the chimney with care.

I stamped the Darkroom Door knitting pattern in versafine clair ‘glamorous’ ink, embossed in clear powder then painted over it with festive berries distress ink. I cut out a stocking with one of the Penny Black Christmas Stocking dies. To fill the stocking I cut foliage from watercolour paper using the PB layered wreath set then coloured the die-cuts with festive berries, pine needles and ground espresso distress inks. The stocking needed a bit more trim so I cut out a white cloud shape to and blended some brown ink around the edges.

To create a chimney I used a stencil and a stamp from Darkroom Door, the woodgrain stamp for the mantle and brick wall stencil for the bricks. I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper for both so I could blend distress inks and add watermarks. I stamped the wood with ground espresso archival ink so it wouldn’t blend then painted and blended ground espresso, black soot and rusty hinge distress inks over the top. I blended the same three distress inks through the stencil then spritzed some water over it before lifting the stencil. I blended some of the bricks with a paintbrush and added some black soot splatter.

The mortar around the bricks looked too white so I blended antique linen ink over the whole panel and used some to blend above the mantel too. To finish of the card I added a gold bow and a sentiment from the DD Christmas sentiment strip stamp.

So that’s one Christmas card done so far in 2021! Do you make Christmas cards all year?

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A Day at a Time journal page

This page is in one of my Fabriano art journals. I’ve mentioned before that I have a love/hate relationship with these journals as the pages are not really meant for watercolour and I always want to do watercolour. I can’t bear to quit though because there are quite a few completed pages in the journals and I want to get to the end.

I began this spread with some inspiration pages open on my Pinterest ‘journal‘ board but no real plan; I was after a look but didn’t have a theme. I rarely use my distress stain sprays as sprays; I usually paint with them but this time I taped the edges of the pages then put the book in my recycle paper box and sprayed with vintage photo, faded jeans and wild honey spray stains. I then sprayed some water but as I mentioned, this paper doesn’t act like watercolour paper so the stains didn’t blend and move.

Next I added some texture with modelling paste through the Darkroom Door diamonds & handwritten script stencils. Once that dried I blended round the edges of the pages with faded jeans, vintage photo, wild honey and black soot distress inks which highlighted the added texture. I was happy with my chosen colours but still didn’t know what the focus should be. I coloured some strips of sheet music and added Darkroom Door ‘plaid’ and ‘sheet music’ stamping here and there.

Initially I wanted to use the pocket watch and the teacups so I stamped them in vintage photo and swiped them through diluted inks to pick up colour as well as adding colour with a paint brush. Once they were painted and cut out I clear embossed the clock face three times with high gloss embossing powder to look like glass and used normal clear embossing powder for the cups.

To brighten up the centre of the double page I ended up spreading white absorbent ground over the strips of sheet music and out towards the edges. Then began the longish process of turning the page into a composition. After much rearranging I realised that the tower of teacups and the pocket watch need a third element so I tried a floral piece then just a single shelf (stamped with DD woodgrain background stamp) and finally realised the ‘book spines’ stamp would probably work again. Honestly I’m not trying to put that stamp in every single journal page. Even with the books it still took a while to balance the layout and come up with some words. I finally decided on ‘one day at a time’ stamped on the shelf with the DD alphabet medley stamps. As Vicky Papaioannou often does on her amazing art journal pages, I finished with both black and white splatter then removed the masking tape before gluing down my elements.

It’s nothing like my initial inspiration photos on Pinterest but it did give me some good practice at adding texture and layers to my art journal, two things I don’t find easy. I only have one of my art journal pages on youtube as there is so much humming and ha-ing as I work out what I want. If I cut out the pondering parts is an art journal page process something you’d like to see in a video?

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See you soon

Just popping in with a couple of cards carrying a couple of messages for you. I hope your new year is off to a good start; I am still enjoying the beauty of an array of Christmas cards sent from around the world, thank you my creative friends for brightening up the midwinter days.

I made today’s cards from a gel printed panel done several months ago. I can’t remember the paints but you can see there was definitely orange, aqua and black. The panel I cut up is shown below, most of it included distinct or faint stars made with the Darkroom Door small starry night stencil. Along one edge there were two very distinct feather prints made with real feathers.

I ended up cutting a square which included one feather, leaving me one for another project. I also cut a rectangle covered in colour and texture which became the base for die cut letters and stars. I chose gold cardstock and gold embossing powder to add some brightness and shimmer on top of the dark background featuring a ‘scripted bold sentiments’ stamp from Pinkfresh Studio, alphabet dies from MFT and nesting star dies from We R Memory Keepers. I popped up the letters and the stars on black foam which kind of makes them appear to be floating.

I wanted to let you know I am taking a short blogging break so I can devote some time to planning and prep. I will be working on projects to share with you over the coming months. Ideally I would have done this before I stopped for Christmas but that didn’t happen so I’m doing it over the next week or so. I have lovely ideas and projects floating round in my head, I have a little stash of stencils and stamps that haven’t been out of their packets and some new release products from Penny Black on the way.

It has been a while since I devoted time to gel printing, alcohol inks, stenciling and lettering so that’s on the list along with some more hand painting. I will be making some videos to share here on my blog and youtube channel. I have a new online class in the works also. So you see while it’s quiet on the blog it will be busy behind the scenes.

As always I am happy to answer questions and I’m open to requests or suggestions for new projects and videos. If you feel like diving into one of my online classes just click on COLOUR CLUES or WINTER WONDER to learn more. (Here is a discount code for COLOUR CLUES which will take 20% of the price until January 15, 2021 HTNY21 )

So take care everyone, I’m looking forward to sharing techniques and experiments, cards, journal pages, paintings and more here on the blog during 2021. See you soon…

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2020’s favourite posts

I looked through the stats for 2020 to see which posts were viewed the most. It is not necessarily an accurate indicator of favourites but it is fun to look back and see what appealed. I’ve included a link to the original post next to every photo. I’m featuring only cards I made and posted this year. Here they are in no particular order.

Back in January I used Darkroom Door stencils as a guide to paint watercolour backgrounds for silhouette stamping with DD stamps.

In February as I was preparing to teach a class using pearlescent paints on black watercolour paper I created this embossed and painted card. The class didn’t happen but the plan is still in my mind for either an online or in-person class hopefully some time in 2021.

This card and the next favourite feature the same Penny Black stamp and no-line watercolour technique. I used distress inks and markers for the watercolouring on this one.

Same stamp as shown above, Unforgettable from Penny Black but this time watercoloured with Arteza real brush pens.

This lilac card along with three other colour schemes featured the ‘lovely lilacs‘ stamp from Penny Black and there is a video tutorial as well.

Another video post once again with Arteza watercolour brush pens this time with Penny Black’s nature’s glory stamp.

Now this one is a little different, pencil colouring on kraft cardstock, again with a video. 2020 has definitely seen me create the most videos!

This one is also one of my favourites so it is nice to see it as a reader favourite too. It is the second post in the top ten to feature the lovely lilacs stamp from PB.

I’m happy to see one of my hand painted pieces in the favourites. This is a brusho & cling wrap painting I did after watching a CeeCee Creations video.

Another video post made the top ten, this one featuring die cut distress oxide painted leaves. This is the only one not featuring flowers.

This one just missed out on the top ten so I’m adding it here at the end because I think it might be my favourite of the year. It’s a brusho and cling wrap panels that made me think of hydrangeas so I turned the random patterns into massed flowers.

Thank you for dropping it to read my posts this year. I love sharing the details of my cards, journal pages and creative adventures. In a year when face to face interactions have been limited I have been encouraged over and over by the comments and conversations here on my blog.

It has been my best year ever for producing you tube videos and also the year I fulfilled a long time dream of producing online classes. Again thank you for your support in those endeavours.

I’m looking forward to sharing more creative pursuits on the blog with you in 2021, there will be watercolour and stamping (of course!) but also alcohol ink art, gel printing, lettering and journaling. I hope you are safe and well where you are and pray that 2021 will be a year of health and happiness for you.


Sunflower journal page

I’ve dones some more experimenting in my art journal with Darkroom Door stencils and stamps. As with some of my previous pages I finished and wished I done a few things differently but on the whole I was happy with the bright, happy look.

I began by taping the edges of the double page with painter’s tape which helps keep the pages flattish and creates a clean frame for the design. I painted the pages with absorbant ground in case I wanted to do some watercolour techniques then, when it was dry I painted the top of the page with dylusions pure sunshine paint and the bottom of the page with a mix of dylusions lemon zest & blue lagoon.

I blended oxide inks through the new small sun stencil to make sunflowers, the small wildflowers stencil to make stems and extra flowers and the brick stencil to fill in background. I also traced inside the flower stencil with a black gel pen to make the flowers stand out a little more.

Although I worked mainly with stencils I filled the centre of the sunflowers with texture stamps, added extra leaves around the stems with a fern stamp from the ‘leaves’ set and stamped some script along the lower edge of the page. After adding all the different textures to the centre of the sunflowers, I wished I used the ticket one on all the flowers; it really does look the cutest.

I added splatters of black and white gessos over the panel and wrote the words of the ‘Irish Blessing’ along the sunflower stems. It was the line ‘may the sun shine warm upon your face’ that I thought fitted with the page but decided to include the whole blessing.

There is a collection of fabulous new stamps and stencils in the latest Darkroom Door release so pop over and check them out. You will be seeing more of them around here over the next few weeks.

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Virtual Coffee

I posted a coffee themed card using the Darkroom Door ‘coffee time’ set recently which prompted a request for a pack of coffee themed cards. These ones are on their way to Australia, and were made with the addition of the word ‘virtual’ because, well, you know why. I rarely do multiples and when I do they are never exactly the same. This time I did four of one colour scheme with the cup and saucer stamp from Darkroom Door’s ‘coffee time’ set and then four more in a different colour scheme a little more like my original coffee card featuring the take out cup from the same set.

The nice thing about making multiples is starting with a large panel to create the background. I used hot pressed watercolour paper for both sets and splattered masking fluid over the panel first. I like the addition of some random white spots and shapes from a masking fluid splatter but often I wish I’d done more when I remove it from the finished project. To create the cards above I smooshed ground espresso, salty ocean and crushed olive distress inks on my glass mat. I spritzed water over the inks until they were spread over a large area then placed the watercolour panel over the top and moved it around to soak up random coloured patterns. When I turned the panel over there were blotches of each colour along with blends and blank areas. I did some further spritzing and picking up of colour until I was satisfied with the coverage. Once the panel was dry I cut it into four pieces and used both the DD handwritten script and brick wall stencils to add pattern in the same three distress inks. I used blending brushes to apply the ink which gave me soft blends that faded away into nothing at the edges.

Next I add coffee cups and coffee stains in ground espresso ink. I blended ink inside the cup on some panels but on others I added more ink outside the cup to darken the negative space. It is hard to describe my process with the cups as I did each one differently and kept playing with the three inks until I was happy with the results. On a couple of the panels I added a partial print of the world map stamp. With all the artsy stuff done I just needed to add the ‘virtual coffee’ label. The word ‘coffee’ is part of one of the word stamps from the set so I masked, stamped and embossed then wrote the word ‘virtual’ above and embossed that. I was interested to see I could write the words with a papermate flair pen and then if I covered it with clear embossing powder straight away I could get the shiny embossed effect. I do have clear embossing pens but it is impossible to see what I’ve written with a clear pen!

I also did four more cards with the takeaway cup stamp using much the same technique and a peeled paint/scattered straw/dusty concord colour scheme. I added a few stamped coffee beans to these ones; the ‘coffee time’ set is a very cool collection of stamps.

Thanks for joining me for ‘virtual coffee’ today. I hope your week is off to a good start.

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Coffee with a friend

Are you missing the coffee shops? I’m sure you are missing your friends and perhaps you are missing coffee with friends. This one is for a friend of mine who loves her coffee!

I began with a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper and splattered a few drops of masking fluid over the whole thing. Once the masking fluid was dry I sprinkled sandstone brusho on my glass mat, spritzed the brusho with water and swiped this panel through it. It took a few swipes before I had an orange and brown abstract background. I added some dark brown brusho on one side and spritzed that to make it blend and spread a bit. Once I’d dried that I blended through the new Darkroom Door ‘handwritten script’ stencil with rusty hinge oxide ink.

At this point the panel was very much just an abstract background so I stamped the cup from DD ‘coffee time’ in gathered twigs distress ink and blended the stamping with some water and extra ink. The set also has a coffee cup stain stamp so I added that here and there, spritzing it to make it blurry. I stamped some postmarks from the ‘global postmarks’ set because I can’t help myself.

Unfortunately the coffee cup did not stand out enough from the background and the background itself looked incomplete. DD world map stamp and blueprint sketch distress ink came to the rescue. I stamped the world map several times on the panel in gathered twigs ink and then, to break up the orange and brown monopoly, I added some blueprint sketch ink in just a few places. I found some blue cardstock that matched the blue and stamped ‘friendship’ and ‘you’re the best’ from the DD ‘friendship’ strip of sentiments to finish the card. Oh, and I added a thin strip of brown cardstock separating the blue from the patterned panel.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on this panel; it is just the thing for my friend who I will enjoy a coffee with again one day.

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Classic car

I have some mixed media goodness for you today. I know it’s pretty flat and doesn’t involve any fibres or other funky textured things but it is mixed media and currently my favourite mixed media option – gel printing. I spent a day with a friend a few weeks ago, and we printed up a storm on our gel presses. This is one of my backgrounds patterned with Darkroom Door stencils then stamped with DD stamps.

The textures in the background were made with the DD small stars stencil, diamond stencil and some corrugated cardboard. This background was cut from a bigger panel and I chose a section that had a pop of yellow in the corner; it’s only a small thing but it provides some contrast and leads the eye from left to right.

Once I’d trimmed my panel I stamped one of the cars from ‘classic cars vol 1’ in versamark ink and embossed in white. The background is so busy I needed to do something to make the car stand out a bit more so I coloured it with a white pencil which softened the area inside the stamped car just enough to make a difference. I added numbers from the new ‘number medley’ set in black so they would subtle but noticeable. The sentiment also from ‘classic cars’ set is embossed on a strip of the gel print then matted in white and popped up on some foam tape.

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Global Postmarks et al

The new Darkroom Door global postmarks set features on today’s cards, and if you look closely you can see I chose several Australian postmarks but there are different shapes and sizes from all over the world. It is a very cool set and once again these cards have made me want to create an art journal page.

I’ve had my gel press out after quite a break and I’m hooked again. In any one session I always end up with some duds and some winners but the more I print, the more I like what I;m printing. One of the lessons I learnt in my latest session was the beauty of restricting my paint colours. You would think I would know that by now considering how often I restrict myself to a limited palette when watercolouring.

The prints I turned into today’s cards were made with a turquoise, dark blue, gold, beige and purple palette. The first card was just beige, gold, turquoise and a bit of dark blue left on the gel press from the previous print. To create patterns in the print I used Darkroom Door stencils and stamps.

I won’t go into my gel printing process because there are videos aplenty that will show you. I brayered acrylic paints onto the press and used the new ‘brick wall’ stencil along with the diamonds and starry night stencils. I also pressed the mesh background stamp and the wavy line postmark stamp into the paint before pulling a print.

After pulling the prints I used black archival and black versafine clair inks to stamp the flowers, sentiments and dragonfly. I stamped several of the global postmark stamps in mermaid lagoon archival ink and tiny numbers from the new ‘number medley’ set lightly in black.

The flowers on the square card are from DD ‘tall flowers’ and are stamped in nocturne versafine clair then embossed in clear powder. The black stamping on the larger card is black soot archival ink. I tried popping up the sentiments from the ‘warm wishes’ set but it didn’t look right, the beauty of a monoprint is that it looks like it has depth and texture even though it is a single layer.

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