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.


Pretty fantastic

Children’s cards are something of a rarity for me but this one ended up being so much fun I might try them more often. I’ve had this gold embossed giraffe image sitting round for a while. The stamp, from Pink Ink Designs is called ‘giraffe’, no surprises there! It’s a large stamp so I cropped a bit of the neck off so it would fit on a 6×6 card.

I used Staedtler watercolour markers and papertrey ink cubes to watercolour the giraffe and the amethyst ink cube for the blended background. I decided on the stencil background after I’d finished watercolouring the giraffe so I cut a giraffe shaped mask and positioned it over the giraffe while I used blending brushes and the Paper Rose studio ‘fragments’ stencil.

The giraffe stamp set comes with a pair of glasses stamp but I went bigger and sparklier with a die cut from Penny Black. I embossed the purple glasses in clear sparkle powder first then clear gloss ultra high to seal the sparkle and make them shiny. The sentiment is from the PB set ‘perspective’. Pink Ink Designs has some beautiful big animal and fantasy stamps. They totally captured my imagination when I saw them. I’ve already shared a card with the dragon stamp and have one with a sea turtle still to come. Not my usual themes that’s for sure.

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No-line Watercolour with Karin brushmarkers

I’m happy to be teaming up with the Foiled Fox again to bring you some more Karin brushmarker experimenting, this time I put them to work on no-line watercolour. I was pretty sure they would do a good job and I wasn’t disappointed. I also discovered that Papertrey Ink’s ‘soft stone‘ ink works well as a base stamping ink for no-line watercolour. To begin I stamped the same Penny Black poinsettia poem stamp on two pieces of hot pressed watercolour paper. On the design above I used only three Karin brush markers (red 209, teal 377 and henna 105) When colouring the leaves I inverted the red marker tip to tip with the teal before colouring to create the more browny green you see on the leaves.

I painted the petals one by one as is usually the case with no-line watercolour and I used the Red 209 marker. I used a slightly different methods for each card. On the above panel I barely touched the marker to the paper in each petal then blended the ink with water to fill the petal. On the panel below I painted a petal with water first then added a dot or two from the marker which flowed into the wet area. The effect is similar but the petals are paler where I applied water first and marker second.

On the second card I used magenta 170, lush green 228 and sepia 074. Once again I did a bit of tip to tip colour blending for the leaves and berries. It takes a bit of trial and error plus some scrap paper for testing to get the right mix of colour when doing the tip to tip blends. After adding ink to a marker tip the first strokes of colour will be the most intense and as you continue to apply ink to paper the intensity will decrease as the colour returns to its original tone. Make sure you visit the Foiled Fox blog where I provide even more detail about today’s projects.

I used a textured shimmer green cardstock to create a die-cut frame for the card at the top of the post. It is easy to cut a narrow frame by using two rectangle dies from the Waffleflower A2 layer dies. For the second card I used mulberry cardstock to create a co-ordinating mat and stamped with both versafine clair tulip red & chianti to stamp the sentiment in a matching colour. When I don’t have the exact ink colour for a sentiment I try a combination of two inks, something a stamp positioner makes quite straight forward. I stamped the sentiment on the first card with my beloved memento northern pine ink. The sentiments are from Penny Black sets, Christmas feeling and frozen vista.

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Bethlehem scenes with Karin brushmarkers

I’ve continued to experiment with the Karin brushmarkers from the Foiled Fox, this time using them for watercolour backgrounds. These three backgrounds feature combinations of rosewood 272, cyan 207, royal blue 045 and black 030.

I tried different methods of applying the marker to the hot pressed watercolour paper and found that to achieve smooth transitions from one colour to the next it was better to touch the markers to wet paper. It still worked applying the marker first then the water but I prefer the very soft blends made when the paper was already wet. I don’t think I will often use the markers for backgrounds as it probably uses up ink at a faster rate but little scenes like the one above did not require much application.

The tiny star was masked by die cutting a star (PB Xmas tree border set) from frog tape (painter’s tape for delicate surfaces) then positioning it firmly on the panel before painting. I stamped the manger above in versafine clair nocturne once the panel was totally dry.

To get a soft image of the Bethlehem stamp I stamped it in chipped sapphire distress ink while the background was still slightly wet. On the panel above I took a wet paint brush and painted a hill shape across the lower part of the panel waited then painted another one even lower down. I didn’t need to add any ink the paint brush just dragged ink from the Bethlehem image. I popped up each panel with two pieces of cardstock, attached it to a white luxe card base then added sentiments from the Ink to Paper Be Merry Mini set.

The current Christmas card designs are looking minimal for two reasons, I still need quite a few cards and I like simple and elegant!

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Cabin by the lake

I’ve been trying to make some smaller panels and one layer cards over the last few days as I still need quite a few cards so how exactly did this happen!? Not smaller and not quicker but definitely satisfying. I was thinking about some of the scenic cards released by Penny Black this year and wanted to combine them into new scenes. I made the left side of ‘quietude’ + ‘cosy cabin’ + 1/3 ‘tannenbaum trio’ = a cabin by a frozen lake.

I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper with masking fluid splattered on it and began by stamping the small trees and horizon from the quietude stamp in iced spruce, forest moss and chipped sapphire. I blended over the trees with a paint brush but came back to them later to do more. I stamped the cozy cabin stamp next, forest moss and chipped sapphire on the trees, hickory smoke and black soot on the cabin. I remembered to colour inside the windows with a mustard seed marker before I got carried away with blending this time so it looks cozy inside. To add more trees behind the house I made a cabin post-it mask then stamped one of the tannenbaum trio stamps twice on the right hand side of the cabin.

Before adding the sky I made sure everything was dry then positioned a frisket film circle mask over the trees. I used speckled egg distress stain to paint the sky initially then when I had covered it all dropped in some chipped sapphire. Green ink did bleed out of the stamped trees but I kept a paper towel on hand to dab it dry before it could move too far.

The lake area is mainly iced spruce and stormy sky to keep it paler and frozen looking but I added chipped sapphire and forest moss at the bottom where the lake is in shadow behind the snowbank. The snowbank looked too large and stark in the left hand corner so I stamped just the tips of the branches from the single tree in the cozy cabin set to look like a bit of foreground foliage. ( hot tip for my Ottawa people, all three sets featured on this card are listed in the Crop A While online store, just saying…)

Quick update on Dressember: my card making friends keep pushing the fundraising total higher and I am so very appreciative. As I write this it has reached $1190.25. Thank you so much. Here is a photo from day 12 as I decorate gingerbread. Decorating the gingerbread is my favourite part of the process or maybe equal first place with eating it. This first batch unfortunately spread while baking to such an extent that the tree and mitten shapes were unrecognizable so the decorating was the only clue to what they were meant to be!

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Shimmer on grey

I saw a beautiful card by Dawn Wolesagle featuring shimmer paint on a dark grey base and decided to try my own. I know mine do not have the impact of Dawn’s card but I like the simplicity of design and colour on these one layer cards. I’m going to try the technique again with an even darker background.

I used the textured grey luxe cardstock from the Foiled Fox and combined outline stamps from the Penny Black set {heart Christmas} to make a design with versafine clair nocturne ink.

I painted the leaves in moss green pearlescent paint from the Coliro ocean set and the flowers with rose from the vintage set then switched to gel pens to fill the berries with gold and dot white around the designs.

The sentiments are both from the Penny Black merry up set stamped in Brutus Monroe alabaster ink and embossed in alabaster powder.

The fundraising total on my Dressember campaign page continues to grow thanks to friends near and far including many blog readers and class participants. Thank you so much for getting involved in the fight against human trafficking. To learn more about the work being done visit the Dressember blog

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From our house to yours

I’m excited to tell you about today’s card. I teamed up with the Foiled Fox to do some experimenting with Karin brushmarkers and I’m so glad I did. The Foiled Fox sent me the pack of 26 and I plan to try them out on my favourite watercolour techniques. Make sure you visit the Foiled Fox blog today to read more about my thoughts and process.

I worked on Fabriano hot pressed watercolour paper in a stamp postioner to complete this inviting little scene. I thought I would stamp in a pale ink and colour with the markers but I decided instead to ink with the markers directly on the stamps. It worked brilliantly. The Karin brushmarkers are water-based, ink filled markers with a nylon brush-like tip. Water-based means they blend with water. They are made and inkfilled in such a way that you can see the ink in the barrel and right to the last drop the colours will have full intensity. Nylon brush tips tend to be stronger than felt tips so I was willing to try inking the stamps directly keeping in mind that I did not want to damage the tips. The inks are highly pigmented and flow generously from the tip so I did not need apply much pressure as I inked the stamps gently with the sides of the nylon tips.

After inking the PB birches in black and grey I blended them a little then covered them with masking tape before stamping the PB warm reception stamp bit by bit. I did the trees first, then the house, inking and blending to build up the whole scene. I explain the colours and technique in more detail over on the Foiled Fox blog. As I’d left it until the end to paint a sky I chose to clear emboss the warm reception stamp so it would resist ink when I added it all around the house and trees.

To finish it off I matted in a brownish red and added a little sentiment to look like it was tacked to the trees. Definitely stay tuned for more projects featuring the Karin markers.

Karin markers used: red 209, sepia 074, neutral grey 3 131, black 030, lush green, 228, arctic blue 264

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Tannenbaum Scene – video

Last week I posted a card and video made with stamps from the Penny Black tannenbaum trio stamp set. I filled the scene with trees on the previous project making more of a forest. Today’s card features a different colour scheme and a painted sky.

As often is the case for my winter scenes I started with a panel of hot pressed watercolour paper splattered with masking fluid. I painted the sky first and stamped the trees last but the video gives you all the details so here it is.

We had a decent fall of snow yesterday so it’s looking a bit more like the video around here now. What’s it like where you are?

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Wise Men

I have two more one-layer ink blended cards today created using exactly the same technique as yesterday’s cards. I masked the edges of the neenah solar white card front with painter’s tape then used blending brushes to build up colour to fill the inside space.

On both cards I placed a tiny circle post-it mask in the sky to be the star then blended the lightest colour over the whole panel. On the card above I started with antique linen distress ink; on the single wise man card below I started with speckled egg distress ink. Once the base colour was in place I positioned a hill shaped post-it note to mask the land area while I worked on the sky. On the card above I used worn lipstick then chipped sapphire. On the card below I blended pine needles followed by chipped sapphire.

For both cards I completed the sky blending then removed the tiny circle mask and blended over the top of the white dot so it would still be the brightest spot but without the crisp edges that would make it look too much like the moon.

Before removing the mask over the land area I stamped the Bethlehem stamp from PB lighting the way set along the edge of the mask in the lightest ink (antique linen or speckled egg). With the sky complete I placed the other half of the curved mask over the sky and removed the lower mask so I could blend the darker colours along the base of the design.

On the portrait oriented card I added one wise man from the PB three kings set in versafine clair nocturne ink while the tapes were still in place around the edges. On the card with three wise men I stamped one king with the tapes in place then removed the tapes to stamp two more kings overlapping the masked edge. I used sentiments from the PB set promise of hope.

I’ve mentioned my brother David’s videos a couple of times this year. He has created quite a few series since churches went online in March. Even though many churches are meeting in person again he is still creating short, thoughtful bible talks. You might be interested in his current series, God’s plan for Christmas. He is posting a new video everyday from Dec 1 -25 explaining the Christmas back story. There was nothing last minute about the birth of Jesus; it was planned from the beginning. As we prepare for a Christmas which will probably look a little different than usual you might enjoy taking a few minutes each day to think about the birth of Christ and what it means for us. You can find his God’s plan for Christmas series here

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Lighting the way

If you have been visiting my blog for a while you might remember I used to create a lot of cards using sponging techniques. I’ve been returning to those techniques lately but putting my blending brushes to work instead.

To create the one layer card above I masked off four sides of my neenah solar white card base then blended papertrey ‘berry sorbet’ ink over the panel. I switched to papertrey ‘Americana’ ink next but avoided blending the top middle area then finished the perimeter of the space with ‘enchanted evening’ ink which is a blue ink. Blending the dark blue over the brownish red made a dark brown, perfect for the night sky. I stamped the Bethlehem stamp from Penny Black’s lighting the way set in versafine clair nocturne ink.

The second colour scheme is also a combo of papertrey ink cubes: lemon tart, lilac grace, plum pudding and royal velvet. I finished both cards with a sentiment from the PB holiday snippets set and stars drawn with a white gelly roll pen. I enjoyed doing these so much that I looked through my stamps and did more with a different silhouette stamp set. I’ll have them ready to show you soon. I don’t know that the blending brushes are any quicker than sponging but I find them easier to use and the results are very smooth.

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