Beautiful Birch – three blues

This bluer than blue sky looks different in person than on my computer screen. I am sure it will look different wherever you view it too. Let me tell you though that I used three pretty blue distress inks to paint around the Penny Black ‘beautiful birch’ stamp.

I stamped the tree stamp in archival black ink so it wouldn’t bleed once I started painting diluted blue inks all around it. I splattered masking fluid on the watercolour paper to represent snow and added a circle mask cut from masking tape. You add the mask after you have stamped the tree.

I did all the blue painting with the inks listed below and let the panel dry before adding shading and shadow on the tree trunks with weathered wood, hickory smoke and black soot distress inks. I decided against a sentiment because I didn’t want to cover the blues but I can always add one later or just inside the card.

Hope your skies are blue today!

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Watercolour decorations

There are some delightful new Christmas themed dies from Penny Black and sneak peaks have started of more to come. I love the ‘stocking stuffers‘ die set which features the stocking, trim and various bits of foliage. I used one watercolour panel to create this stocking card and the decorated bauble below uses jumbo bauble and foliage from stocking stuffers.

As you can probably tell from the mottled look of the watercolour panel I sprinkled salt over a wet panel coloured with distress inks. When you sprinkle salt over a wet panel you can achieve different results depending on how coarse the salt is.

The trimmings for both the bauble and the stocking were cut from shimmer cardstock in silver and quartz. The stamped message on the bauble is from the PB shine God’s glory set using versafine clair paradise ink.

The card bases and embossed panels are Neenah solar white cardstock embossed with TE sheet music and Spellbinders plaid company. All the links are below.

Today’s cards are similar to the cards we will be making in my October Collage Christmas card workshops in Ottawa. Click over to the Classes page to learn more and register.

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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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Two for One

Recently I had some fun making simple watercolour backgrounds to turn into cards. I worked on watercolour paper as large or larger than my basic card fronts so I would have the option of using the whole panel or a section of it. Today’s cards are a 2-for-1 combo because the negative panel is just as pretty as the floral piece.

You can see on the negative panel I painted loose stripes of colour, picking up distress inks from a glass mat with a wide brush. Some blending of colour occurred adding interest to the simple stripes.

I also embossed the card base above with the ‘weathered’ embossing folder from Taylored Expressions. Very simple cards but handy to have for any occasion.

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Poinsettia corners

Penny Black does not disappoint when it comes to floral stamps – spring, summer, fall and winter. This winter poinsettia arrangement is a new one from the recent winter release. In order to create a balanced no-line watercolour design I stamped on the top left and lower right hand corners in soft stone ink. I used a combination of distress inks and Sennelier watercolour paints to add colour to the outline stamp.

I used one red paint for the petals, painting a soft layer then adding depth and shading by adding more of the same colour. For the berries I used the same red but added some purple so there would be variation but still in the same ‘family’.

I thought about adding some background shading but was so happy with the clean design I decided not to risk it. Instead I found a sentiment to fit neatly into the space between the floral sprays and stamped in green ink to co-ordinate.

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Snowy Settlements – one blue

You can find me and this study in blue on the Foiled Fox blog today. Recently I received the new uncharted mariner distress ink from the Foiled Fox and, as expected, I love the new blue. I decided to work with only the new ink for this card and see what tones I could get as I diluted the ink. You will probably see different depths of blue depending on the device with which you view this post but in real life the blues range from pale sky blue to deep teal blue.

This stamp is a lovely winter scene from Penny Black called ‘snowy settlement’. I stamped on hot pressed watercolour paper and painted the sky first with diluted uncharted mariner ink. While the ink was wet I sprinkled salt over the area which resulted in patterns once dry. When the sky was dry I painted over some of the village images with water so I could spread the ink a little and add variation to the trees and buildings. I finished the card with a sentiment from the PB ‘jolly snippets’ set also stamped in the same blue.

Make sure you pop over to the Foiled Fox to browse their inspiring blog and lovely store.

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Winter Gem

This lovely pinecone stamp is a new one from Penny Black called ‘winter gem’. The stamp has one pinecone plus groups of needles but I stamped it several times to fill my card front. The way I oriented the pine cones makes it look a little breezy with all the needles pointing to the left. I have a large and not very attractive pine tree in my front yard. It drops things all. year. round! There are always needles on the lawn, driveway and flower beds and most of the year there are pinecones too. It isn’t a tidy tree.

The one time the pine tree looks beautiful is after a fresh snowfall when all the snow is balancing on pinecones, needles and branches. For this panel I worked on hot pressed watercolour paper with masking fluid splattered over it before starting. I worked in a stamp positioner and inked the pinecone with three browns. I spritzed the stamp with water before stamping and spritzed again after before stamping a second generation image. I decided to stamp the pinecone a couple more times on the edges of the panel. I used a slightly wet paintbrush to blend the browns on the pinecones and touched up some of the pine needles also with a fine tip paintbrush.

Once the panel dried I blended speckled egg ink around the pinecones. Because there was masking fluid spots all over the panel little white dots of snow appeared after the masking fluid was removed.

Penny Black has come out with a few clever sentiment dies which pair a large word with a one sided outline. I cut the outline from the stamped panel but it looks fresh and snowy if you cut the outline from white cardstock and place it at the base of the your panel. My word is cut from dark green cardstock but looks black; it’s always the way with dark colours in my photos.

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It’s all about the sky

I recently returned to a favourite technique for a couple of card classes. We made a bunch of watercolour backgrounds ready to be turned into cards. This background is one of my favourites. I love the blends and the hint of a sun-kissed hill which just happened as I swiped my watercolour paper panel through smooshed ink.

The pale splats are from splattering water onto a distress ink background then dabbing it up with paper towels. The silhouette flowers are once again from the beautiful darkroom door set, wildflowers vol 1. Often I would use a larger panel or even cover the whole card front. I created this background on a larger panel but trimmed it down to use the best part. That’s why I usually work on watercolour panels larger than I need. By the way we have seen some beautiful skies lately, hope you are catching some too.

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Blooming Blue Again

I’m still having fun with PB ‘blooming’ stamp. Once again I used blue inks but this time the combo was chipped sapphire and blueprint sketch. When blended I got blues and purples but not the pinks that seedless preserves provided. If you read my last post you might remember I unintentionally ended up with brown centres. This time I made sure I inked with fossilized amber and wild honey to create yellow centres.

I worked in the stamp positioner to make this panel and did all the green and blue inking and stamping first. I left the centres un-inked so I could add them after the petals were stamped, blended and dry. I don’t mind some blending but I didn’t want the blue and yellow to get too close and blendy because that would mean green centres. Once the yellow centres dried I used a black gel pen to add stamen.

I wanted to gussy this one up a little but still keep the clean look so I used a small piece of organza ribbon across the base of the panel then stamped on a banner die cut and tied it on with twine.

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Blooming Blue

Here is another take on the PB stamp ‘Blooming’. Last week I posted a card with a blended background, brown outline stamping and painted petals. For today’s card I stamped with distress inks which I then blended into the petals.

My original plan was to have yellow centres not brown; I guess I got distracted. After inking the petals randomly with chipped sapphire and seedless preserves I added some ground espresso ink to the centres, spritzed the stamp and stamped on hot pressed watercolour paper. With the spritz of water the inks blend a little; with a paint brush I do the rest of the blending adding more ink if needed. That top flower got more brown than I would have liked but I was still happy with the overall blends.

Finishing touches include defining the centres with the bullet tip of the distress marker and adding white dots with a gel pen. The sentiment is from the PB set ‘so thankful’. I have a few more in this little series of watercolours with PB’s large outline floral stamps so I’ll see you back here soon.

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