Windswept

Today is officially the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere and the leaves are flying here on the blog. I am featuring another new stamp from Penny Black, aptly named windswept. It is a simple rubber cling stamp depicting a branch and loose leaves. On my card the leaves are flying across the whole front and back of the card.

I taped the hot pressed watercolour panel to my glass mat as I planned to spray the panel with both water and ink. I sprayed quickly and lightly with spiced marmalade, scattered straw, rusty hinge, wild honey, vintage photo and stormy sky distress sprays. I sprayed some water over the top to blend some of the inks then dried with a heat tool creating some watermarks as I did so.

Once the panel was dry I stamped the branch across the panel starting on the left hand side (which ended up being the back of the card) then overlapping as I moved across to the right. I used distress inks in the same colours as the sprays to ink the branch a couple of colours at a time.

Once the panel was completely dry I decided to add some more leaves but with gilding flakes. It is a while since I used gilding flakes so I did a quick youtube search and tried two different methods. I preferred the second method which was to stamp with the Tsukineko essential glue pad then press the flakes onto the image. Gilding flakes travel far and wide if you are not careful so I had the vacuum cleaner at my side. I used the Cosmic Shimmer ‘red blaze‘ gilding flakes which are a beautiful mix of red, golds, bronze and brown metallic flakes, perfect for autumn. I finished off the card with a sentiment from the PB ‘ever thanks’ set.

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Arbors in green

I can’t believe I am only just getting this beautiful tree stamp inked, especially considering my mantra, ‘you can never have too many tree stamps!’ This new stamp from Penny Black is called Arbors and I’m sure I will put it to use often. For its first inking I decided on keeping things traditional and green. We are just beginning to see grass appear here and there as the snow melts but no leaves yet.

Before I started stamping I put some speckled egg and rustic wilderness stain on my glass mat and diluted it with a few spritzes of water. I swiped a piece of cold pressed watercolour paper through the stains, dried it and then repeated the process to fill my background with blue and green.

With the stamp and panel in a stamp positioner I inked the foliage of the trees with dabs of crushed olive, mowed lawn and rustic wilderness distress inks. I spritzed the stamp lightly before stamping to get the inks mingling with each other. It took several applications to build up the coverage. After applying quite a bit of green I inked the trunks and branches with a ground espresso distress marker leaving the base below the trunks uninked so I could paint some hills in and around the trunks. To do this I spread brown ink from the trunks left and right then added diluted rustic wilderness stain and painted hill shapes across the panel. I checked to see what I was short on in my stash and added a thank you from the banner sentiments set in acorn ink.

I can’t wait to ink this one up in autumn tones, but I guess a few trees in blossom might be timely first.

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You’re a star

I’ve been wanting to work with some of my new stencils and the CAS Mix Up challenge is currently a embossed stencil challenge so I got to work. I taped the Alexandra Renke ornament star stencil to a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper and started sponging some versamark ink through the stencil. I soon switched to just squishing the versamark ink pad directly on the stencil as that was faster. I embossed the star in clear powder then put the panel in a box so I could spray some stain over it without decorating myself or my desk.

I sprayed seedless preserves, faded jeans and speckled eggs distress stains over the panel from 20-30cm away and ended up with a pretty speckled panel. I wanted to make the spotted sprayed area transition from speckled to solid so I painted water over one edge then spritzed water next to the painted area which achieved my goal leaving some of the panel barely touched by water. It took quite a while to dry and impatient me did smudge some of the speckles but they are underneath the die cut letters now so no harm done.

I applied tape to the back of a piece of co-ordiating cardstock then cut the letters s,t,a,r out using the ‘Heather lowercase alphabet’ die set from Pink Fresh studio. I searched through my stamps and dies to find a sentiment I could alter to say ‘you’re a’ and ended up using part of a stamp from the MFT ‘Yay for You’ set stamped in versafine monarch ink.

When I was doing the spray over embossing step I realised this stencil is probably going to pair up with spray stains again in an art journal page, the speckled effect over the lacy star is just so pretty.

I’m excited to participate in a challenge again, it has been a while! There is still time to get involved if, like me you have stencils that are waiting patiently to be the star or even the background of a card.

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A Day at a Time journal page

This page is in one of my Fabriano art journals. I’ve mentioned before that I have a love/hate relationship with these journals as the pages are not really meant for watercolour and I always want to do watercolour. I can’t bear to quit though because there are quite a few completed pages in the journals and I want to get to the end.

I began this spread with some inspiration pages open on my Pinterest ‘journal‘ board but no real plan; I was after a look but didn’t have a theme. I rarely use my distress stain sprays as sprays; I usually paint with them but this time I taped the edges of the pages then put the book in my recycle paper box and sprayed with vintage photo, faded jeans and wild honey spray stains. I then sprayed some water but as I mentioned, this paper doesn’t act like watercolour paper so the stains didn’t blend and move.

Next I added some texture with modelling paste through the Darkroom Door diamonds & handwritten script stencils. Once that dried I blended round the edges of the pages with faded jeans, vintage photo, wild honey and black soot distress inks which highlighted the added texture. I was happy with my chosen colours but still didn’t know what the focus should be. I coloured some strips of sheet music and added Darkroom Door ‘plaid’ and ‘sheet music’ stamping here and there.

Initially I wanted to use the pocket watch and the teacups so I stamped them in vintage photo and swiped them through diluted inks to pick up colour as well as adding colour with a paint brush. Once they were painted and cut out I clear embossed the clock face three times with high gloss embossing powder to look like glass and used normal clear embossing powder for the cups.

To brighten up the centre of the double page I ended up spreading white absorbent ground over the strips of sheet music and out towards the edges. Then began the longish process of turning the page into a composition. After much rearranging I realised that the tower of teacups and the pocket watch need a third element so I tried a floral piece then just a single shelf (stamped with DD woodgrain background stamp) and finally realised the ‘book spines’ stamp would probably work again. Honestly I’m not trying to put that stamp in every single journal page. Even with the books it still took a while to balance the layout and come up with some words. I finally decided on ‘one day at a time’ stamped on the shelf with the DD alphabet medley stamps. As Vicky Papaioannou often does on her amazing art journal pages, I finished with both black and white splatter then removed the masking tape before gluing down my elements.

It’s nothing like my initial inspiration photos on Pinterest but it did give me some good practice at adding texture and layers to my art journal, two things I don’t find easy. I only have one of my art journal pages on youtube as there is so much humming and ha-ing as I work out what I want. If I cut out the pondering parts is an art journal page process something you’d like to see in a video?

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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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Cozy Cabin video

This cute cabib is another new stamp from Penny Black; the set is called ‘Cozy Cabin’ and it includes this tree shadowed cabin plus an extra tree not shown on this card. Once again I enjoyed bringing this scene to life with splattered masking fluid and distress inks.

I used a stamp, paint, stamp, paint process to build up the colour and definition of the cabin. I had my glass mat at hand so I could smoosh inks then pick up colour with a paintbrush.

When we go cross country skiing in Gatineau Park we come across cabins that look a little like this. There are several scattered across the park for the use of skiers, complete with a wood stove, tables and benches so we can warm up, eat our snacks, and rest a little before heading back out in the snow.

I’m in no hurry for the snow to come but I do have new skis and boots after years of hand-me-downs so the pressure will be on this year to make good use of them!

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Enjoy

I paired the new DD ‘sketched alphabet’ with leaves again, this time from the set ‘fine leaves’ which have a hand drawn sketch style of their own.

I had left over ink on my glass mat the other day after creating a dramatic sky in greys and blues. Rather than waste the ink I swiped a piece of watercolour paper through it picking up as much as possible and spritzing with water to move the ink around. The watercolour panel already had masking fluid splattered over it hence the white dots over the finished design.

I stamped the letters first in hickory smoke archival ink then covered a couple with masks I made for a previous card before stamping leaves from the fine leaves set in iced spruce and stormy sky. I filled most of the panel with leaves and painted them with both ink colours. I added some ink splatter and then coloured the letters with a blue watercolour marker to help them stand out a bit more. I stamped one of the sentiments from the DD ‘baby sentiment set’ to complete the card. I think this one could have several uses, maybe retirement, new house, new job or the like.

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What should I read next?

This book themed page has been in my mind for quite a while and that little open book stamp on the right side of the spread pushed me to make it happen. All the stamps are from Darkroom Door; I used ‘mini open book’ once, ‘book spines’ several times and the ‘scratches’ background stamp for the wall behind the books.

I have three art journals on the go and this one has a literary theme. I’ve done pages inspired by books and others inspired by quotes. I have a few started but not finished and several in my head.

I taped the edges of the double page spread before doing anything; it really helps keep the book open and stable while I work, it protects the other pages from paint and ink and I think it frames the finished design really nicely.

I embossed all the books on hot pressed watercolour paper in either gold or copper powder then coloured them with markers, distress stains and distress inks smooshed on my glass mat. I really just played with techniques until I had a good selection of colours and patterns. I stuck to jewel tones featuring dark green, bright blue, red and aqua. I’ve listed all the distress inks below. I also painted over the inking on a few books with Coliro pearlescent paints so they have a bit of shimmer.

I painted the background with ‘absorbant ground’ as I usually do when I want to work with liquid inks and water then I smooshed some ‘peacock feathers and ground espresso inks on a piece of acetate, spritzed it and dragged it across the page multiple times. That gave me some abstract colour but not enough so I used distress stain sprays in the same colours. After it dried I stamped the scratches background stamp a few times in ground espresso stain. When that dried I used a piece of tape to mask edges to sponge vertical lines across the pages.

Arranging the books on the page took a little while. I cut them all out first then cut some of the groups into smaller groups to play with the layout. Once I had it settled I glued them down and started adding titles and decoration with gel pens, embossing pens and embossing powder. I wrote quite a few of my favourites on the spines, nothing particularly new even though I have read some great new books lately. I guess they just haven’t stood my test of time yet. I have some empty spines left that I will probably fill another day.

I finished by balancing that open book on one of the piles and added the name of my favourite podcast, ‘What Should I Read Next?’ I get a large chunk of my book recommendations from Anne Bogel, the host of WSIRN. I could talk about books for several more paragraphs but if you’ve made it this far you’re a champion so I’ll save the book chat for another book themed project. I think there will be a spin off card from this journal page.

Oh, and one more thing, please feel free to leave book recommendations in the comments; I’d love to hear your favourites.

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Rustic Birthday

I’ve been creating with Darkroom Door products over the weekend including the new ‘sketched alphabet’ set. I thought the sketched letters looked a bit like pieces of wood which set me thinking about branches and leaves, which made me think of the eucalyptus leaves in the DD ‘ leaves’ set which made me want to have the letters hidden among some leaves, which led to this card.

I can tell you it wasn’t a quick card to make. A fair amount of time was taken working out how I would make the concept work. On the back of this panel there is an unfinished attempt which helped me simplify my concept a bit. I stamped all the letters I was using on masking paper and cut them out. Then I stuck them out on the watercolour panel to get the spacing right. I removed a few of the masks and stamped some leaves in faded jeans and peeled paint distress inks, just a few which would appear to be in front of the letters. I stamped the leaves then, masked them and stamped and embossed the letters with versafine vintage sepia. Once the letters were embossed it wasn’t too hard to paint around them with bundled sage and stormy sky distress stains.

Once the background was dry I masked all the letters and leaves and stamped more leaves to fill the panel. I painted all the leaves in peeled paint, faded jeans and forest moss distress inks then added some splatter. After I removed the letter masks I decided to colour them in with a brown marker to make them stand out more. I blended some faded jeans around the edges of the panel to frame the design.

I was just about finished by this point but thought some gold splatter would be nice, which it was, but that led to gold edges on one side of all the letters. There were a couple more steps in there somewhere but you get the idea and I think I would be able to do it faster a second time!

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Butterfly mail

I started today’s card by creating a colourful watery background with distress stains smooshed on my glass mat. ( I am still using up my distress stain daubers but the spray stains will work just as well). I let the panel dry then added some water droplets which sat for thirty seconds before I dabbed them off with a paper towel to create pale watermarks.

To create the collage like background I inked Darkroom Door stamps with both distress stains and distress inks (salty ocean, mustard seed, crushed olive, broken china and hickory smoke). Some stamps I inked then spritzed with water, others I stamped then spritzed the panel with water and dabbed away colour with a paper towel. To create the collage background I used the new sets ‘global postmarks’ and number medley along with ‘French script’ background stamp. The butterfly stamp is from the ‘wings’ set and was stamped three times. I didn’t re-ink between impressions but I did spritz with water so each butterfly is paler than the previous one.

I swiped some of the same inks onto a scrap of watercolour paper before stamping the sentiment from the ‘warm wishes’ set and popping it up decorated with a bit of mustard cord.

Darkroom Door has some beautiful collage stamps but if you want to make your own collage prints then the recent global postmarks and number medley are perfect. Make sure you check out the rest of the latest release and all the inspiration on the blog.

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