I have been using my coloured pencils more often recently. For this card I used them to add finishing touches and details after I had painted the majority of the design with watercolours. I used my gansai tambi paints for the watercolour then polychromos pencils for the details. I even wrote down the numbers just in case you were interested but really you don’t need my choices you could just use your own favourites.

One thing I did which worked in my favour was limit my colour palette. I mixed colours I had already used rather than continually adding new ones. This helps with the cohesiveness of the finished panel. I started by stamping the ‘aviary’ stamp on hot pressed watercolour paper in versafine smokey grey. I painted the area surrounding the birdhouse first with blue and green paint. I kept it mainly blue and used a ‘wet into wet’ method, painting around edges first with water then adding paint. A medium sized brush that comes to a good point can help with this as there is a lot of space to cover but also some tricky areas to navigate. Also if your brush is too small or doesn’t hold liquid well you will be forever picking up more water or paint.

Once the background was dry I painted the flower pots in brown and added shadows with the blue I used on the sky. After that I painted the birdhouse, once again with the brown and blue then added black for some darker shadows and definition. I decided to limit the flowers to pink and purple painting the taller plant on the left with a diluted purple paint and the magnolia on the right with touches of dark pink blended out with water. I left the centre flowers to do with coloured pencil. I used the same green from the background to paint the leaves and a combination of colours already used to paint the birds.

I couldn’t decide on a colour for the foreground the pots are sitting on so I used the dirty paint water. It turned out to be a teeny bit on the purple side but mainly on the dirty side so it didn’t clash with anything else. I added shadows with black. With all the basic painting done I switched to coloured pencils to add fine details. I picked pencils that matched the paint colours and went over some outlines or added tiny details inside leaves and flowers.

Thanks for dropping by today.


Stamps: Aviary


Paints: Kuretake gansai tambi 20, 36, 57, 46, 63

Pencils: Faber Castell polychromos 108, 158, 188, 274, 136, 142, 141, 231, 101



Pencil tulips

I had fun with a few new techniques and products when creating this card. Those white spots on the kraft cardstock are not paint splats even though they look a bit like I spilt something on my panel. I sprayed some minc reactive mist onto a kraft panel then ran it through the minc with white foil. I realise I could have used white gesso or paint but the thing I like about the foiling in this instance is that it has no texture or bulk so stamping over it was easy.

I stamped the Penny Black ‘tulip bouquet’ stamp in the corner and part of a sentiment from the PB ‘choose happy’ set both in versafine onyx black ink then started colouring. Since I began teaching my pencil colouring technique class I have had pencils within reach most of the time. I grabbed a couple of prismacolor pinks, a green and a polychromos white to colour the tulips and leaves. The antique hemp twine seems to be popping up on quite a few cards too; it’s not too thick to knot or tie in a bow and it blends in with most colour schemes and especially kraft cardstock. To add a little interest to my white card base I gave it an all-over texture treatment by running it through the die-cutting machine several times with the new ‘rows of stitches’ die from Penny Black.

I really enjoyed reading the responses to my last card – the one with the clever black brusho design. Some of you have already experienced the joy of black brusho and others are now wanting to try it. I’d love to see your creations if you do try it; please leave me a comment or use the contact me option.


PB Stamps: tulip bouquet, choose happy

PB Die: rows of stitches

Ink: versafine onyx black ink

Paper: kraft

Pencils: prismacolor 925, 930, 911, polychromos 101

Also: minc reactive mist, white foil, minc

Good neighbours

After teaching some colour pencil classes I am feeling inspired to use my pencils more often. I especially like the look on black cardstock but it is trickier to get a good photo. I used my Faber-Castell polychromos pencils for this card paired with the ‘good neighbors’ stamp from Penny Black.

I embossed the stamp with platinum powder then used a selection of coloured pencils to fill all the images. I wanted the sentiment to add some more interest to the black panel so I die-cut the top of my image panel with one of the PB stitched edges dies, used the same die to frame the sentiment then cut a little strip again with the same die to complete the rectangle again at the top.

The sentiment is embossed in platinum and then all the panels are attached to a cream card base. A little larger than my usual, hence the side fold. I’m teaching a coloured pencil technique class in Toronto in April; you can find the details on my upcoming classes page.


Stamps: good neighors, spice of life

Die: stitched edges

Ink: versamark

Also: WOW metallic platinum superfine embossing powder, Faber Castell Polychromos pencils


I spent a large chunk of today working on a future class, not the projects (the most fun part), but the photography, editing, promotional blurb, etc. While doing that I got inspired to combine the technique from the class next week with the theme from the class next month and this quick card was the result. I haven’t done a one layer card in a while and I rarely work with kraft cardstock so it was fun to change gear a little. I stamped butterflies from the Darkroom Door set, ‘Butterflies‘ in versafine onyx black  and toffee inks then coloured the toffee one with coloured pencils.

The white paint over the card front is part random splatter of copic opaque white pigment and part sigma white gel pen dots. The sentiment is from the DD set, Happy Birthday. I am always keen to participate in Kathy Racoosin’s 30 Day Coloring Challenge but never manage it on all thirty days. Today’s colouring did not take long, which is what she suggests, and it was fun to squeeze it in.

Dressember update

As we are over half way through December I thought I’d give you an update on Dressember. If you didn’t see my post earlier in the month I am participating in a campaign raising funds to end human trafficking. The campaign is called Dressember and participants all round the world commit to wear a dress every day of December while raising funds  and awareness about the fight against modern day slavery.

We are now three weeks into Dressember and I have worn a dress every day. It doesn’t have to be a different dress, some advocates challenge themselves to wear the same dress all 31 days. The first week of December was relatively mild for Ottawa but it has since got cold, cold, cold. I am wearing my dresses but often with sweaters and woolly tights.

I have been very encouraged by the support I have received from the cardmaking community. Blog readers and instragram followers have donated to the cause, as have friends I know through my classes. Thank you so much! I am approaching my goal of $1000 but I’m not there yet. If you would like to donate to this worthy cause please click this link to go to my campaign page.

I have been sending one of my cards to each donor (if they share their address with me privately) and it has been exciting to send them locally to Ottawa and Toronto, to several locations in the States, to North Wales and to Melbourne, Australia.

I don’t often include people in my cards, the skin colour gives me trouble. I decided to sidestep that problem on these cards by keeping the girls black and white so it’s all about the dresses! The top dress was painted with purple brusho; I painted on a separate piece of watercolour paper then cut it out and attached it over the black stamped image. I also gave dimension to her necklace and bracelet with nuvo drops. The second dress is coloured with Faber-Castell polychromos pencils then given some shimmer with a clear wink of stella pen. It isn’t obvious in the photo but the fur trim is embossed with diamond white embossing powder to make it sparkly.

They’re simple cards I know, but I’d be happy to own either of those dresses.


Stamps: hello gorgeous, relax & enjoy

Paper: neenah solar white, hot pressed watercolour, purple cardstock

Ink: stazon jet black, versafine imperial purple, versamarker

Paint: brusho purple

Pencils: Faber Castell polychromos
Also: WOW diamond white embossing powder, clear wink of stella pen

Adorned Abode

When I was working with brushos on my impermeable craft mat recently I swiped a piece of watercolour paper through some blue paint just to clear it up. I set it aside to dry then decided it would make a suitable background for this sweet little birdhouse scene. Even though I used hot pressed watercolour paper it still has some texture so I used my stamp positioner to stamp the scene several times in versafine ink. I pulled out my polychromos pencils to do the colouring. As I was adding colour over a blue background, I wanted the opacity of the polychromos rather than the transparency of watercolour pencils. I used several browns for the birdhouse, red, white, black and grey for the bird, two greens for the leaves then switched over to gel pens. The berries are coloured with red, the snowflake decorations with silver and a bit of snow here and there with a white gel pen. In a few places I had obscured the black stamping with my colouring so I used a black micron pen to redraw some lines.

I wavered on adding a sentiment then decided not to cover any of the picture or fill the one bit of blank space. I’ll put a greeting inside instead. I finished it off with two mats and stamped an envelope to match.

This stamp is part of the new Be Merry release from Penny Black which is now available in their online store. Check out the Penny Black blog for details on their giveaway.


Stamps: adorned abode (PB)
Paper: hot pressed watercolour paper (Fabriano) epic black cardstock (Neenah) textured red cardstock
Ink: onyx black versafine (Tsukineko)
Pencils: Polychromos pencils (Faber Castell)
Pens: white Kirarina WiNK (Kirarina) silver, red hybrid metallic (Pentel), black micron pen

Pencil colouring

Sun flowers Heather Telford

I continue to grab opportunities to participate in the 30 day colouring challenge and have once again used the new “glee” stamp from Penny Black.  I used a combination of brusho and liquid metals on my earlier card; for this one I pulled out my Faber-Castell polychromos set. I blended pencil with pencil rather than use a liquid blender or blending pencil. I chose two browns for the centre of the flowers, a yellow and two burgandies for the petals and two greens for the leaves. To blend pencil with pencil I generally colour with my lighter shade first then over the top with my darker shade and then blend again with the lighter shade. Once all my colouring was done I shaded lightly around all the images with a purple pencil. I chose purple because it is opposite yellow on the colour wheel; positioning contrasting colours next to each other helps to make them stand out more  than they would otherwise. I stuck with the purple-gold combo when I added a mat and a sentiment,

sun flowers detail Heather Telford


Stamps: Glee, Words of Kindness (PB)
Ink: Versamark ink, Versafine onyx black (Tsukineko) 
Pencils: raw umber, burnt sienna, dark cadmium yellow, middle cadmium red, dark red, earth green yellowish, olive green yellowish, purple violet (Faber Castell)
Paper: hot pressed Fabriano watercolour paper, gold and purple cardstock
Also: gold embossing powder