Bulb Basket

This sweet basket of Christmas balls not only makes a pretty card, it’s inspiration for a decorative arrangement in a few months time. The stamp is ‘bulb basket’ from Penny Black. I stamped it on hot pressed watercolour paper first in soft stone papertrey ink and then section by section with distress inks.

It is not clear in the photos but I used pearlescent paints to colour the balls so each one has a shimmer to it. The rest of the design is painted with a mix of distress inks and Sennelier watercolour paints. Once the painting was dry I added metallic tops to the Christmas balls with a gold gel pen. If you have this stamp or are planning to get it you might notice that there is a ribbon on the basket handle but no bow. The stamp features a bow but for the size of card I decided it was better to leave the bow loops unstamped.

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Echinacea Journal Page

I have echinacea or cone flowers growing happily in my garden and now happily in my almost finished 6″x 6″ art journal. A friend recently gave me a great big dictionary for cutting up so I ripped out the ‘book’ page and the ‘journal’ page and used them to cover the whole double page spread before I did anything else.

There were a few words I didn’t want covered up so when I was ripping then gluing I took care to keep them exposed. The word ‘boomerang’ appeared so I didn’t cover that one up even though it has nothing to do with this journal page. I am an Aussie after all. ‘Bookish, bookmark, bookshelf, bookworm, book-club and bookend are all visible, some of them highlighted. Somewhere in the gluing I lost the word ‘journal’ but ‘journey’ is still there.

I used a black all pencil to darken the edges of the torn pieces and softened it with water. I also added white gesso over the top to mute the background a bit. I should have done those two steps in the opposite order so the gesso didn’t reactivate the pencil. I blended some tea dye or possibly antique linen ink around the edges and then wished I hadn’t, after all I don’t have to vintagefy everything!

I cut the petals, cone, and green bits from different gel prints using a photo I’d printed out to guide me with the shape. After everything was glued down I used black, white and gold gel pens to add details and metallic paints on the cone details as well. I added white and gold splatter and a mix of washi tape and gel print circles dotted around the the place.

Hope you are surrounded by books and flowers…if you like them as much as I do!

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Pinecone Poetry

Yes it’s the height of summer round here so must be time for some Christmas stamping! I am a seasonal stamper as you know but when the first Christmas release comes from Penny Black I try them out straight away. It gets me started on my Christmas cards and shows you the new beauties that are available.

This large stamp is called ‘pinecone poetry’ and I have stamped and painted it with distress inks. The technique is one I have talked about many times and is made easier with the use of a stamp positioner. I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper inking the pine fronds and leaves with a mix of mowed lawn, pine needles and rustic wilderness distress inks. When it was time to paint the leaves I pulled ink from the stamping and picked up smooshed ink from my glass mat.

I used the same method for the pine cone inking with three different browns to vary the tones in the finished image. The berries are candied apple (I think) with a second addition of ink to give shadow to each berry. To complete the layout I stamped extra pine fronds and blended some green around the top left corner. I splattered gold paint over the design and added a sentiment in archival vintage photo ink.

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Gouache Hand Painted Wreath

I’ve been experimenting with gouache paint. I posted a few cards with gouache painted backgrounds early last month and now I have a painted wreath to share. The Foiled Fox kindly sent me the set of gouache and I have been practising colour mixing and painting very simple shapes and patterns. You can find me on the Foiled Fox blog today with more tips and tricks about this card.

Even though I am still a gouache newbie I decided to film the process for painting a simple wreath. I only used four different gouache colours, a green, a yellow, a red and white along with one pearlescent paint. In the video you will see the process and all the colours listed by name.

You certainly don’t have to use gouache on a black background but it does really pop! I think my next path of experimentation might be to use watercolour and gouache in the same project. On a slight side note, I don’t set out to do such tiny details; I can’t help myself. My art teachers in high school and college always told me to use bigger, bolder strokes!

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Vintage Style Bookshelf + Video

This isn’t my first time stamping books with Darkroom Door stamps. This time I filmed the process so you could see how I made them look all old and vintagey!

The fun thing about the Darkroom Door ‘bookshelf’ stamp is its length (just under 12″) so I decided to wrap it around my cards for maximum effect. I worked on two cards at the same time giving them slightly different paint jobs and background finishing touches. Watch the video to see my process.

Because I inked the bookshelf stamp randomly the colours moved where they willed and left me with a mix of blues and browns. This second card has some extra scratches from the DD stamp of the same name.

The insides of the cards have random paint splotches here and there so I added paper inserts for a clean place to write a note. Now that I have made a wraparound card with this border stamp I might have to try it with the other DD one I own, ‘butterfly garden‘.

Thank you so much for your interest and discussion about the gel printing I shared last week. I really enjoyed the gel printing session which resulted in my last two videos and turning a few of the prints into cards and a journal page was very satisfying. Several of you mentioned wanting to get your gel plate out to try the techniques; I hope you do. I also hope you try this brown and blue vintage style on some of your own stamped projects. If you do be sure to let me know.

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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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Rose Dance on black

Today’s rosy card features just a portion of the Penny Black rubber cling stamp, ‘rose dance’. I’ve been creating with this stamp for a couple of days, coming up with different ways to use it. It is quite a large stamp, 6″ x 4″ but you don’t need to use the whole stamp on a card. I used only a section to create an embossed white border on a square panel of black watercolour paper.

I painted the outline design with Finetec Mica Pearlescent watercolours; I didn’t spend much time being detailed or doing blending because the pearlescent on black is very pretty without too much fussing. I wish you could see the shimmer a little better in the photo but trust me it is there in real life.

I embossed a sentiment from the PB special sentiments set in Brutus Monroe alabaster ink and popped the panel up on two pieces of black cardstock to lift it above the card base. And you might have noticed I remembered to make a matching envelope this time.

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Sea Turtle

I’ve never been one to stamp or paint many animals so when I saw this stamp by Pink Ink Designs I surprised myself and the owner at Crop A While by snapping it up. I have to admit I’ve been intrigued by sea turtles over the last little while. There is a youtuber we watch pretty regularly who lives on the West Australian coast who often shares footage of sea turtles. They’re graceful in the water but pretty challenged when they make their way onto land to nest. And the baby turtles who have to fight their way to the ocean to survive, that is fascinating and nerve wracking to watch.

You will probably notice this sea turtle is rather unique with a patchwork shell. I have another one painted ready for a journal page where I ignored all the patchwork and tried to paint it more realistically. This one was fun however as I chose colours to fill all those little patterns.

The turtle is embossed in black on hot pressed watercolour paper. I added the background first by wetting the panel then sprinkling brusho over it. I can’t remember which brusho powder it was, maybe a blue and a green. I kept the strongest colour away from the turtle as much as I could with water and a paper towel but I didn’t need the turtle to be white; it was fine to paint over the brusho colour.

I used pearlescent paints to paint most of the turtle but there are areas just painted with brusho also. To co-ordinate with the pearlescent paint I matted with antique gold shimmer cardstock.

Hope your day is going swimmingly!

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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.


Shimmer trees

The pearlescent paints and black watercolour paper are still on my work table so I’ve continued to experiment with them. To create this little scene I taped all four sides of a square panel with painter’s tape to mask off the area in the centre. The surface of the black watercolour paper is very soft and likely to lift when tape is removed so I press the tape against my clothing before using it so it is less tacky and when it comes to removal I heat it with a heat tool as I slowly peel it off.

I painted the snowy ground and circle moon first with silver pearl from the Finetec Artist Mica set of 12, then the foliage of the trees with blue green, moss green and midnight blue from the Coliro Ocean set of 6. The tree trunks are chocolate from the Coliro Earth set. I finished by dotting stars over the sky with Sakura gelly roll pens then wrote the words ‘thank you’ with a very fine nib and the same moss green pearlescent paint.

I hope you are having a relaxing few days as the year winds down. We are back in lockdown in Ontario so life is very quiet; I’m continuing to get the word out about the Dressember Campaign. My fundraising total has grown to $1962.10 and tomorrow, December 29 is a matching day, so if you’d like to donate, tomorrow is a great day to do it. Donations in Canada will be matched up to $50, 000 starting at 9am PT on Tuesday Dec 29.

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