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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2021 Bullet journal – an intro

New Year, new journal. I started a bullet journal/dot journal in 2018 and used it off and on for the last three years. I created some pretty spreads with coloured pens and carefully planned layouts but also some loosely organised lists and scribbled reminders. I used it for meal planning, book logging, exercise records and blog planning. I switched between different coloured pens and went through a phase of adding old magazine pics to my layouts. There were lists of cards sent and received, chore lists and notes about craft products waiting to be used in projects. I abandoned it for months at a time and came back to it with new ideas. It was handy and it gave me a chance to work out how a bullet journal could work for me.

The first journal was a Fabriano dot journal which was a great size and price; it sat flat and had pages you could easily remove (a plus and a minus). My new dot journal is a little more upmarket; it is a Dingbats notebook from the Earth collection with a hard cover, sewn binding, slightly heavier weight dotted paper, numbered pages and a few designated key and index pages at the beginning. The fact that is is my favourite colour with an embossed image symbolising the Great Barrier Reef on the front is just a bonus. It has two ribbon bookmarks and a pen holder on the side.

After learning from my first bullet journal experience I plan to use the new one as both a planner and a recorder. I already have pages ruled up to log books read in 2021. I’ve created a chore list to keep track of when I last cleaned this or that part of my house. My exercise log is up to date with days I’ve done boot camp, x-country skiing, walking or running. Those are all pages for the whole year. I’ve also designed and started using some January pages I will share with you next weekend. I’m hoping to post bullet journal pages on Saturday or Sunday starting today with my 2021 title page.

You know what it’s like when you have a brand new notebook or journal; it can be nerve wracking to make a mark on the first page. I decided to keep it simple so I wouldn’t mess it up. I sketched the numbers in pencil, went over them with a dark blue Stabilo fine 0.4 marker then used the same marker for the circles and lines. To add colour I punched circles from a post-it note and used it as a stencil to blend through with a range of archival inks. Safe and simple for my first page.

I will be trying different inks and markers through the year as I try to keep the bleed-through to a minimum. You can see some of the design through the back of the page so it will be interesting to see how other products compare.

I would love to hear if you are keep a bullet journal (BuJo), dot journal or something similar. There are thousands of inspirational designs and ideas out on the interwebs; I’ve spent more time than I should browsing through instagram and pinterest. If you have some hot tips or tried and true techniques please let me know. If you’ve never heard of bullet journaling, don’t worry, I’ll be back with cards on Monday!

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All the Birthdays

I made a short stack of birthday cards yesterday with a new Concord & 9th set, ‘All the Birthdays’. I pulled out several prints from earlier gel printing sessions and chose some which would work as panels for birthday cards.

On the card above I used ranger blue embossing powder and the card below versafine tulip red was the perfect match for my printed background.

Some were printed using the petite set A gel presses so they were already shaped as squares. Others I cut from larger prints. I used stencils and lace to make the prints and a range of acrylic paints.

One of the stamp combinations from the C&9 ‘all the birthdays’ is a pair of stamps that overlap to spell ‘happy birthday’; there are outline stamps that frame the solid letters also. That is what I used on the card below with gold and brown inks then clear embossing powder.

I also added some texture to a few of the card bases or mats with embossing folders and stencils.

The printed panel below included such pretty blues and purples I wanted to match them in the sentiment so I stamped with archival dusty concord and faded jeans then, before the ink dried embossed in clear powder.

The card below features rose gold embossing powder; it looks a little darker than expected on this panel, maybe because of the depth of colour in the print.

I really enjoyed pairing sentiments from the C&9 set with my leftover gel prints. I did have some embossing challenges though; I’m just not an embossing champion. Stray powder, over heating, underheating, even when I use a powder tool and preheat the heat tool I still make mistakes. This lot took me all afternoon but I am very happy with them and I’m pleased to have boosted my birthday card stash. Now if I can just remember to send them…

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Pumpkin Season

This lovely blue wheelbarrow filled with pumpkins is one of the new autumn products from Penny Black. It’s called ‘pumpkin season’ and I paired it with an older PB scenic stamp, ‘homeward’.

I worked on the wheelbarrow first while keeping it in my stamp positioner. I stamped the barrow in faded jeans archival ink, the base in hickory smoke archival and the pumpkins in fossilized amber archival. That gave me a base print to add to with distress inks which I could blend with water and a paintbrush. Still with the stamp in the positioner I inked different section with distress ink cubes and markers to build up the colours bit by bit. Once I was sure I didn’t have to stamp any more on the barrow I removed the panel, stamped the barrow on masking paper and masked the barrow in order to finish my scene.

With the panel back in the positioner and the barrow masked I stamped the ‘homeward’ scenic stamp over the top with ground espresso, spiced marmalade, barn door , peeled paint and wild honey inks. I blended the grass area immediately after stamping so I could extend the ground with peeled paint ink to fill the space around the wheel and base of the barrow.

I built up the colour of the tree with repeat stampings spritzed with water. Once the stamping and blending was complete I painted some shadows under the barrow with peeled paint ink and added some extra definition to the pumpkins with watercolour pencils. I blended the sky around the tree with stormy sky ink and a blending brush.

We harvested most of our tomatoes yesterday even though they are still green so now I am looking up green tomatoes recipes. The fried ones sound appealing (just like in the Fanny Flagg book) and a zucchini and green tomato relish could be good too.

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Blooming Tulips

I just can’t stop serving you up three colour panels. This one is made up of green, purple and blue. Once again I used distress inks because if you’re blending, distress inks are always a good choice. In my last post I mentioned how I used archival inks along with the distress inks to give me a base image to stamp and paint over. I used archival ink on this card also but in a different way. It is so convenient having some archival inks in distress colours.

I began with a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper and pressed both the peeled paint and the seedless preserves ink pads down on my glass mat. I then spritzed a generous amount of water over the inks to dilute and spread them out. I swiped my watercolour panel through the ink then dabbed with a paper towel and dried with a heat tool to make a soft background for my stamped image.

With my stamp in the MISTI I inked the leaves in peeled paint distress ink and the tulips in seedless preserves. I added dabs of salty ocean ink to both the leaves and flowers, spritzed the stamp and stamped on the panel. I then blended with a paint brush which resulted in some variation of colour in leaves and tulips where the blue ink mixed with the main colours. I love how easy it was to get some variation with the salty ocean ink. Blue is a base colour for making green and purple so I knew it would blend nicely with both inks. With the panel still in the MISTI I was able to ink the tulips with dusty concord archival and the leaves with peeled paint archival ink and stamp some of the detail over the top of the blended colour. I used a black soot distress marker to darken the centre of the open tulip. To fill out the design a bit I did some masking and some partial inking to add another leaf and flower on the left hand side of the panel.A little stamp surgery on the thank you stamp from the PB ‘grateful sentiments’ set made it possible to have one word above the other tucking around the flowers.

If you have a recent three colour card on hand pop over to the challenge on the Foiled Fox blog and link it up. I would love to see it!

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Love’s glow

Here’s another new beauty from Penny Black. This one is a large rubber cling stamp called ‘love’s glow’. I’ve stamped it with a mix of archival and distress inks then added some die-cut extras on the corner. I think I might have gone a little over board with the splatter at the end but not enough to make me give up on the floral. There is a lot of shaded detail in this stamp so it is very helpful to stamp it in a medium to dark colour first on a scrap of paper so you can have the image off to the side while adding colour to your project. Before I started stamping I splattered some masking fluid on the hot pressed watercolour panel so the finished design would have some white dots here and there. You could use white paint at the end to get a similar effect. I used my MISTI so I could work on the oranges and reds separate from the green.

I stamped the flower first in archival spiced marmalade ink, it is one of the colours Ranger has recently brought out in mini archival packs. I learnt this trick from Jill Foster, just one of many tricks I have learnt from her! By stamping the flower first in archival I have an image on my paper that I can watercolour over but it will not be diluted and lost as I add water. Because I was using similar colours in distress inks the initial archival ink does not stand out as different. When I inked the stamp initially with archival ink I wiped any of the spiced marmalade that ended up on the leaves. To achieve the blended red and orange tones in the petals I inked and stamped the flower again in wild honey and festive berries distress inks. I then used a damp brush to blend the colours in the petals using my reference photo to help me when necessary.

I followed the same process for the leaves stamping them first in archival peeled paint, then again in forest moss distress ink which I blended with water and a paint brush. I added definition to the centre with a black marker. Once the panel was dry I painted shabby shutters ink around the flower after first pressing my shabby shutters inkpad onto my glass mat and adding some water. I splattered with festive berries, forest moss and black soot ink. I trimmed the panel down to a square then die cut a square mat of olive green cardstock with the stitched square die.

To finish off the card I added some green die cut leaves; I think these leaves might be from the first die sets I ever received from Penny Black. I’ve used them over and over. I cut a sentiment banner with one of the ‘triple banners’ set and trimmed one end so it could align with the mat. The sentiment is from the Best Mom set but I did some partial stamping to get only half the words on my banner.

I hope you are having a great Monday. I just want to remind you there is a sale happening at Foiled Fox all the long weekend and a ‘Color Trio challenge’ continuing until May 30.

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