Bold Blooms

How are you my friends? I am sharing here and over on the Foiled Fox blog today. If you are dealing with isolation or quarantine right now as most of us are you might be looking for some artsy craftsy ideas. The Foiled Fox not only features lovely projects by the owner, Shauna Todd, but also projects by many talented guest bloggers. Make sure you pop over to the Foiled Fox blog for some beauty and inspiration.

I’ve been doing some flower arranging, with stamps that is. The arrangements on today’s cards were made with Ink to Paper’s ‘bold blooms‘ stamps and co-ordinating dies. The card above was all stamped on a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper. The second card is a combination of stamped die cuts and stamping on a base panel.

When arranging elements on a panel like this I always stamp the largest images first so I inked the large round flowers in ‘harvest gold’ ink (all the coloured inks are Papertrey ink cubes) and rolled some ‘scarlet jewel’ ink around the edges. Before stamping I spritzed the stamp lightly, that’s what softens the blend between yellow and red ink.

To add leaves and small flowers I masked the three centre flowers with a post-it note and stamped stems and leaves to look like they were poking out from behind the yellow flowers. The leaves and stems are stamped in ‘ocean tide’ and ‘pinefeather’, the small flowers in ‘winter wisteria’ and ‘scarlet jewel’. I spritzed before stamping each time so I would get a softened look. The sentiment is from the same set; the large word is stamped in nocturne and embossed in clear, the smaller words are embossed in white on black cardstock and popped up.

This second card has a very similar arrangement not purposely but maybe because I found it easy to balance all the elements when they are in this layout. My co-ordinating dies are still joined together so I began by cutting the whole panel three times to have a group of shapes to choose from. Once cut, I stamped them with the same colour scheme as for the first card. Before I did any attaching of dies I stamped some background stems and little flowers and did a little splattering too. It took me a little while to arrange the die-cuts to my satisfaction then attached them in three layers: directly on the base panel, popped up on a low profile foam tape then finally a few flowers popped up with a higher profile foam tape.

The sentiment for this one is from another Ink to Paper set ‘tagged’ once again embossed in white on black.

Take care friends, whether you are isolated at home or out and about continuing to work in one of the many essential fields. I hope you are able to connect with others either by phone, computer or even by post. As always I love connecting with you in the comments below. Let me know how you are and what you are up to.

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Pinecones & joy

The pine needles and pine cone stamps I used for this card are from Darkroom Door and I love how realistic they are. The stamps are quite large and there are several sizes and shapes of cones which makes for lovely feature images and fillers as well. I used one pine cone stamp but two of the pine needle stamps and worked on hot pressed watercolour paper which had been splattered with masking fluid. If you look at the close up below you can see large white dots as well as tiny ones; they’re all made by the masking fluid.

I stamped the pine cone three times using a stamp positioner and four different brown distress inks. A spritz of water started the browns blending and I did a little blending with a paint brush as well.

I stamped the green pine needles with forest moss and evergreen bough distress inks and the fine needles in the background with iced spruce. I added some green splatter then some gold splatter using one of the gansai tambi starry colours. I used the ‘jumbo joy’ die from Penny Black to cut out the word joy from the stamped panel and cut three layers from shimmer gold cardstock as well so I could stack them up just a little offset so the gold peeps out on the side.

I stamped the rest of the Christmas carol lyric using a stamp from Ink to Paper’s ‘season of joy’ set and some gold embossing powder. The overall pattern may be a little messy but it reminds me of what I see if I look up into the branches of the very messy pine tree in my front yard, which is currently covered with snow but not gold splatter!

I have been blessed to receive some beautiful handmade Christmas cards in the mail this week and I am enjoying them on my window ledge. I hate to say it but as yet I have not sent a single one! As I’ve said before there are twelve days of Christmas so I haven’t run out of time yet!

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That Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy

If you went to Sunday School when I did you will probably know which song my title alludes to. Maybe you even sang the tongue twister verse as well! You will probably recognise some of these stamps from two posts I did last week. I can’t seem to leave them alone. For someone who usually doesn’t do much with the little bitty stamps I have certainly taken to these ones.

Today’s cards are once again one layer cards although they almost weren’t right at the end! I often say at my classes that I make the mistakes so you don’t have to! Should I have stamped the word Joy on both cards before I did anything else? Yes! But instead of doing that I die-cut masks of the letters using dies from the Ink to Paper ‘Season of Joy’ co-ordinating die set. I centred the masks on my card bases carefully with the help of my ‘stay-tion‘ magnetic board and then I stamped all over them.

When creating a busy all over pattern it is important to stamp your elements in order of size, big ones like pinecones first and little ones like stars last. I failed to recognise that the letter stamps from the Ink to Paper ‘Season of Joy’ stamp set were the biggest elements of all. It still worked because I had my masks in place but lining up the letters inside the masked area at the end was a wee bit tricky. (Yay stamp positioner!) If I had stamped the letters then covered them with masks I would have had the same effect without the trickiness! Now you know, just in case you might try this fun exercise yourself.

It really is fun working with all the little foliage stamps from the ‘floral Christmas’ and ‘framing floral Christmas’ sets from Ink to Paper. I have now used them for wreaths, bands, circles, hanging swags and these ‘all over’ designs. Once again I used the Papertrey ink cubes along with a few distress inks and versamark just for the gold embossed stars.

I guess you can see I am sticking to my resolution of stamping envelopes at the same time as cards. These ones are ready to be packaged for this weekend’s ‘WALL CANDY Art Expo‘ in Ottawa. If you are in the area please come to Aberdeen Pavilion at Landsdowne and visit Liane and me at the Paper Duet booth. The Expo will be full of amazing art so you might get a little Christmas shopping done.

Of course if you are shopping for yourself you can find all the links below. Thanks for dropping by.

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One Layer Florals + Winners

I mentioned in my last post that I would be back with more cards featuring the ‘floral Christmas’ and ‘framing floral Christmas’ sets from Ink to Paper. These sets are so much fun to play with. Today’s cards are true one layers, I stamped straight on the neenah solar white card base and inside the card base, I haven’t done that in a while. But before I gab on about my cards you I’m sure you all want to know who the winners of the Holiday Traditions giveaway are! Thank you again for sharing your holiday traditions both on my blog and the Foiled Fox blog. We really enjoyed reading about traditions from around the world. Some were close to my family’s traditions others were totally new to me and had me intrigued. I am thrilled to announce that Pat Moore and Lois Hecksel are the winners of gift certificates to the Foiled Fox online store. Enjoy shopping ladies! (You will get an email from Shauna at the Foiled Fox with the details.)

I worked on these two cards side by side on my glass mat. I taped the second one down with post-it tape using the grid on my mat to get the tapes lined up so they would mask off a band across the card front. On this first card I just taped down a couple of corners to keep the card steady. The only time I used my stamp positioner was to add the sentiments at the end. For the card above and close up below I used an earthy colour scheme of greens, brown, red and pops of gold. I used Papertrey ink cubes ripe avocado, pine feather, dark chocolate, Americana and distress barn door. It made sense to start with the poinsettias as they were the biggest, next the larger leaf sprays and finished with the berries and little flowers. I added finetec gold paint over the berries on the green leaf sprays to add some shimmer and make the berries stand out. There are matching dies for these sets so I cut a poinsettia shape from a post-it note to do a little masking when I wanted to pop leaves behind.

For the second card I used a cool colour scheme keeping only the pine feathers green and adding scarlet jewel, ocean tides, dark indigo and delicata silver. I still worked from large elements to small and used a finetec shimmery pink ink to add berries to one of the leaf sprays. Finishing with a small stamp such as the flower (above) or the star (below) makes it easier to fill all the nooks and crannies with colour and pattern. As always it was satisfying to carefully pull back the masking tape to reveal a clean edge.

I have resolved to stamp matching envelopes at the same time I make my cards from now on and if I am adding something to the inside of the card I need to do that also while the inks and stamps are out. I have always known this makes sense but usually haven’t done it. I am currently prepping for a market in less than two weeks and have spent hours pulling out stamps to make matching envelopes for existing cards. Hopefully this new habit will stick.

The little sentiment is from Ink to Paper’s Just sentiments: Be Merry set, cute and sweet like the stamps.

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A couple of little wreaths

I am having fun with two sets from ‘Ink to Paper’. When I first saw the ‘floral Christmas’ and ‘framing florals’ sets I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them: a little wreath making! I also have in my hands some new inks from ‘Papertrey Ink’ so I put them to work on these two wreaths. So far I’m impressed but they will of course need to go through watercolour testing too!

Even though I didn’t need to I stamped both these wreaths on hot pressed watercolour paper, habit I guess. I drew a light pencil circle as a guide for the wreath above and used the pine circle stamp to start the wreath below. The stamps are all small enough to fit on a little acrylic block so I used that rather than a stamp positioner. On the pine cones above you can see that I didn’t get the second outline stamp lined up perfectly with the filler stamp, I actually like it a little offset as it looks like snow on the pine cone (something I now have in my driveway!) I stamped the berries in ‘Americana’ ink but then painted over the top with some shimmer red from my Finetec pearl set of paints. The red frame is also shimmer cardstock . To complete the card I added a little red bow and a sentiment banner popped up over the top.

For this second wreath I stamped the pine circle stamp from the ‘ framing florals Christmas stamp set’ but I didn’t ink the whole circle. I left gaps which gave me spaces to stamp the pine cones. I used all ‘ink to paper’ inks again except for one twiggy element I stamped in golden glitz delicata. All the inks are listed below. Once again I finished off the wreath with a little bow and some gold shimmer cardstock.

The sentiments for both cards are from ink to paper’s ‘Be Merry mini’ set. Oh, and they both got the splatter treatment too.

Stay tuned because you will be seeing more from these sweet sets!

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Holiday Traditions – Christmas Carols

I am excited to tell you about another holiday tradition today. I have teamed up with the Foiled Fox to host a giveaway. All you need to do is leave a comment here on my blog or over on the Foiled Fox telling us about one of your holiday traditions. Do you do the ugly Christmas sweater thing or perhaps decorate your tree with vintage ornaments, do you head to the beach or the mountains or light the fire and cozy up at home? We would love to know!

Thank you again to those of you who have shared holiday traditions in the comments. Not surprisingly food was mentioned quite a few times. Another tradition that came up a more than once was carol singing and that’s what I’m going to share today. If you haven’t left a comment on my blog or the Foiled Fox blog yet please do, we would love to hear from you. Make sure you pop over to the Foiled Fox to read about Shauna’s sweet stocking tradition and see her lovely card.

Here in Canada we have a couple of carol singing traditions. Every December two or three days before Christmas there is carol singing in the park at the end of our street. If we already have snow and cold temperatures then we might be standing on the ice rink with a fire off to the side. On Christmas Eve we go to the carol service at our church, always ending with Silent Night during which we light individual candles.

Carols by candlelight in Australia is very different. Major cities like Sydney and Melbourne have a big event at a large outdoor concert venue with celebrities and all the bells and whistles. Thousands of people bring picnics and blankets and enjoy the concert and carols from early evening until after sunset when everyone lights candles if there isn’t a fire ban! I attended the big event occasionally, more often I attended a local ‘carols by candlelight’ with our church in a nearby park.

Today’s card features a sentiment from one of my favourite carols. I used the Ink to Paper ‘peaceful forest’ stamp set and stamped on hot pressed watercolour paper so I could blend the ink after stamping. I used distress pine needles, shabby shutters and hickory smoke inks, overlapping the trees so there would be some little bleeds from green to green to grey here and there.

I wanted the die-cut letters to match the trees exactly so I swiped ink across a scrap of watercolour paper then blended it with a wet brush. Once dry I used the ‘season of joy’ dies to cut the word and a stamp from the ‘season of joy’ stamp set to complete the first line of the carol. I used two layers of vellum so the letters and embossed words would stand out from the busy background. I added gold embossed stars and created a textured gold card base from Tonic cinnamon silk specialty cardstock.

Do you have a favourite carol? I have had a few over the years, Joy to the World, O Holy Night and my current fave, In the Bleak Mid-winter.

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Peaceful forest

Before I begin to chatter on about today’s card I want to thank all of you who left a comment under my Thanksgiving post. It was so lovely to hear from you; I really enjoyed your messages.

As I mentioned the other day every year I create new snowy forest scenes, often then include starry skies or the northern lights. This first card features a very easy way to make a ‘northern lights’ background for die cut trees, houses, reindeer, etc.

I picked three distress inks, the originals not the oxides but you could use the oxides for a slightly different look. I rubbed a cracked pistachio mini inkpad across a third of the hot pressed watercolour panel, then a blueprint sketch mini across another third (with some overlap) and finally a chipped sapphire mini across the remaining area. The panel looked like it had been roughly shaded with crayons or pencils. I then spritzed the whole panel so the colours would move and blend and used a paintbrush in a couple of places so the coverage was complete. I left the panel to dry leaning against a bottle so the ink drained down in patterns to give the look of the northern lights. The funky trees are cut using ‘peaceful forest’ dies from Ink to Paper. The snow banks I cut from a piece of cardstock with a craft knife in one continuous curvy stroke. I cut my curve with equal amounts of cardstock on each side so I could layer them and have a foreground and background snowy hill.

On the second card I began the same way and created my tricolour panel then die cut five trees from it and a little round moon. Once again I cut the hills by hand with a craft knife then layered them before tucking in the little trees all around.

Pretty easy-peasy wouldn’t you say. Just pick a few distress colours that would blend nicely, swipe them across your panel and add water!

The cute little sentiments are also from ‘Ink to Paper’ and there is a stamp set that co-ordinates with the tree dies but you will have to wait for another day to see that.

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Creamy poinsettias

Lately I have been die-cutting poinsettias from all sorts of different cardstock. I have a poinsettia Christmas card class coming up so I’ve been playing around with lacy paper, shimmer paper, kraft paper and watercolour paper with plans to also cut up some pretty plaid paper. These two cards feature a lovely cardstock called ‘Ivory WorldWin twist’ which is a smooth ivory cardstock on one side a lace texture on the other side. I bought it at Crop A While, my local scrapbooking store. The lacy side is almost spiderwebby but in a delicate pretty way not a ‘look what’s behind the filing cabinet’ way.

The card bases are neenah cream cardstock, and so is the sentiment strip and the PB ‘diamond cut’ behind the poinsettias. I used the PB ‘layered poinsettia die set’ for this trio of poinsettias; I like the size which makes it possible to fit three on a card front. (two more cards with these dies here and here) The PB jolly holly die cuts are a dark gold cardstock. I didn’t pop anything up on dimensional tape as it was getting pretty dimensional anyway with seven layers! That must be some kind of a record for me. I used glue for the flowers, narrow double sided tape for the diamond frame and stickit adhesive on the back of the holly.

The second card features the same cardstocks but a new PB poinsettia stamp ‘scarlet season’ which has both solid and filigree flowers. I cut them once again from the lacy cardstock and layered them over a funky rectangle die from ‘Ink to Paper’ and added the PB ‘joy’.

I’m not sure if it is the lacy paper or the colour combo but these cards have a bit of a retro look to them. I think these designs would be pretty with patterned vellum too.

As always the supplies are linked below; I have added a second affiliate with my Canadian readers in mind. The store is Scrap ‘n’ Stamp in BC. If you buy through my affiliate links from either Foiled Fox or Scrap ‘n’ Stamp there is no extra cost to you but I receive a commission.  Thanks for dropping by today.

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Ready to bloom

These lovely  blooms are new from the Stamp Market and I’ve paired them with the Stamp Market floral background stamp. I experimented with some new to me cardstock and my Catherine Pooler inks to create this design. The cardstock is bristol smooth from Koh-I-Noor and even though this is only my first card with it I am impressed. As you can probably see I subjected it to a decent amount of water. I didn’t flood it but I did spritz each solid stamp before stamping all the petals so the paper had to be able to take a little water. It didn’t respond in the same way as watercolour paper does but it did let the water sit on top and blend as it dried rather than soaking through the instant it got wet. This made it possible for me to get some blurs, blends and watermarks on each flower.

I stamped all the outline stamps first, the larger ones in juniper mist and the smaller ones in daydream CP inks. I then stamped the matching solid stamps in the same colours but spritzed each stamp before pressing it down to fill the outline shape. I love the watermarks and variation of shades I achieved by doing this. I’m not sure if there is a recommended order for stamping outline and fill stamps but I think I have more success when I try to put the filler inside the outline rather than the other way round. As you can see they aren’t exactly lined up but that was intentional.

I stamped little centres on the flowers and embossed in silver powder then cut them all out with the co-ordinating dies. I arranged them to flow across a white panel but decided I wanted a little bit of non-distracting interest in the background panel. Clear embossing the ‘flower background’ stamp was enough, it looks a bit like a white damask table cloth. I glued the dark flowers directly to the background panel and popped the lighter flowers up on dimensional tape. The little sentiment is from the Ink to Paper set ‘tagged’.

Have a beautiful weekend.

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Poppy background watercoloured

I did not plan to post this stamp two days in a row but it was there on the desk within reach and you have to admit it is perfect for no line watercolour because the outlines are so clear. So, instead of working on my to do list I painted on this card.

I stamped on hot pressed watercolour paper with antique linen distress ink for a pale but easily seen outline image. I decided to use my sennelier watercolours because they are lovely to work with. I used a red, a yellow, and a green. To make brown I mixed the red and green, then to make the black I added more red and green. The green I used for the stems and buds was not straight from the pan I mixed in a little red first to make it more olive toned. Once again I was happy with the results from sticking to a limited palette. You can definitely try the same approach with whatever watercolours you have on hand. If your green is a little bright, as mine was, add in a bit of red.

I painted the petals one at a time with diluted red and while each was wet I added more red where I wanted depth or shadow. I paid attention this time to whether I was painting buds or pods. I painted the buds with green blended into red and painted the pods in browns. I added a little of the mixed green to my yellow before painting the poppy centres and used my red+green=almost-black to paint the little black dots around the poppy centres.

After all the painting was done I added a bit more shading and veins on petals with polychromos coloured pencils.

I decided to use another of the lovely little sentiments from my new Ink to Paper ‘tagged’ sentiments set. To achieve a matching olive green on the sentiment I stamped with versafine clair shady lane ink but I stamped on a scrap first so I could get a pale ‘second generation’ print.

I hope you see how versatile this stamp is; it worked beautifully with the loose distress stain watercolour and the more precise no-line watercolour. I have an idea for a third look too.

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