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.

(Compensated affiliate links from Foiled Fox, Scrap n Stamp and Ecstasy Crafts)

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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Blue Florals

I spent a little while painting florals the other day. My watercolour paints were on my table so I painted two precut card panels with a few blues. I started the flowers on both cards by putting five little dabs of paint in a circle then blending them out with a wet paint brush. After blending I added dots to the centres with black and yellow markers.

Both the bold and the soft florals looked ok but the leaves I’d added didn’t work. I set the panels aside, happy that I had practised but not planning to use either pieces. When I came back to them a day or so later I did some extreme cropping which took out the leaves I didn’t like and left me with some nice blends and a configuration which had some balance.

Even if I had not cropped them and put them on cards the exercise was worthwhile. Even after years of making, practising and learning I still have the niggling feeling that everything I work on should ‘work out’! I know it is unrealistic and I am getting better at spending time practising and playing just to grow and enjoy.

The pale blue ‘washy-er’ panel is my favourite but I love the colours in both. After cropping them I added them to an embossed panel (SU scripty) and popped up some Taylored Expressions sentiments over the top.

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Wintertide Blue

This beautiful ‘wintertide’ stamp from Penny Black is a scene in itself and the first time I stamped with it I didn’t add to it at all. This time I painted extra trees in the background for a bit more depth and atmosphere.

I began by punching a little circle mask from masking tape and placing it on the hot pressed watercolour panel. I wet the panel then painted a mix of dark blues and grey paint over some areas, leaving a few white patches. While the paint was wet I painted trees in the background which ended up with soft edges because I was working wet into wet. I sprinkled salt over the sky area and let the paint dry.

Once the paint dried I removed the salt and used a stamp positioner to stamp the ‘wintertide’ image in black soot and faded jeans ink. The little trees to the right of the feature tree were too small in comparison to the painted background trees so I painted taller trees over the top. I did a little blending of ink here and there but the stamp is so detailed with its branches and white space I tried not to fiddle with it too much. This will be the last post for 2021, I look forward to sharing projects, ideas and conversation with you here on the blog in 2022. Happy New Year!

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Watercolour Whale

I don’t make many cards for children so I’m sometimes at a loss for the right theme. The whimsical and beautiful animal stamps from Pink Ink Designs have helped me out several times, and not just for children. This one, simply titled ‘whale’ from their nautical series is lovely to paint or colour. Last time I used it I coloured with Faber-Castell polychromos pencils on kraft cardstock.

For this card I embossed with Brutus Monroe sterling embossing powder on hot pressed watercolour paper then painted with Sennelier watercolour paints. I painted the water first with a mix of blues, then the whale with my darkest blue mixed with some Paynes grey to darken it even further.

I’ve only seen whales up close once and that was not very close. My family went on a whale watching boat off the coast of Grand Manan Island and saw only a few whales but a beautiful sunset. My brother and sister-in-law see them regularly from their balcony!

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Carmine – No Line Watercolour Video

I hope you enjoy today’s no-line watercolour video. When I first saw this stamp I knew it would be perfect for the technique. There are a few little petals but most of the image is made up of open leaves and petals which are easy to see while painting. I used soft stone ink for the initial image on cold press watercolour paper and Sennelier watercolour paints for all the painting.

If you don’t always have a plan for the background you will see how I added one after all the painting was done. Take a look at the video below to see my process.

This is such a pretty stamp and might get inked up again soon to keep my stock of Christmas cards growing. I think it would look good embossed in white on a coloured background. Stay tuned!

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Floral Faves – Online Class

After months of work behind the scenes and a few weeks of hints here on the blog I am happy to open registration to my new online class FLORAL FAVES. As the name suggests this one is all about flowers; stamping them, painting them, arranging them (on paper) and turning them into card sized works of art.

Once again my videographer son Ben has filmed and edited while I have designed, uploaded and scripted the content on the Coursecraft platform.

I hope you are inspired to join me in pairing your floral stamps to work with watercolour techniques. Every project is taught through video along with downloadable instructions, photos, tips and complete supply lists. We will work with different styles of stamps including background, outline, silhouette and brushstroke. We will pair all the favourite stamps with all the favourite mediums; dye inks, watercolour markers and watercolour paints .

As summer unfolds I’m sure you will be spending plenty of time outdoors, maybe in your garden, but when you need a quiet creative hour or two I hope you will join me in creating some bright and beautiful floral cards.

Registration is open now. Once registered you will have access to the introduction and supply pages. All the lesson content will be accessible on Wednesday May 26.

If you haven’t entered the giveaway yet click over to yesterday’s post.

Click here to register or find out more about FLORAL FAVES


Puppy’s Quilt

I created this sweet dog card for a friend to give her grand-daughter. You know it is unusual to see animals on my cards but this stamp had the perfect mix of watercolourable-quilt and not-too-difficult-to-paint dog. The colour scheme is all my own choice, no surprises there, but some of the technique was provided by the talented and prolific Sandy Allnock. When she created with this stamp she used the opportunity to teach how to paint a bold shadow. I decided not to add a bold shadow but just watching her paint the image was helpful. It made me realise there was absolutely no need to add more than one colour to each quilt square even though the fabric included patterns.

I stamped the image on hot pressed watercolour paper in versafine clair morning mist, a pigment ink which would not move when I added water and watercolour paint over the top. I used Sennelier watercolours for all the painting and to create a custom watercolour mat to frame the image also. I watched Sandy’s video more than once to help me paint the dog taking care to leave some areas bright white while the sections closer to the quilt were shadowy and grey.

The sentiment is from the Taylored Expressions ‘simple strips’ set stamped in versafine deep lagoon and cut with the co-ordinating simple strips die. If you haven’t seen the simple strips series from TE they are very clever; you get one large stamp with 18 different sentiments and one die that cuts them all into banner style strips. Very handy to have a bunch of strips on hand to add to cards. It isn’t noticeable in the photos but the blue watercoloured mat has some texture as I embossed it with the weathered embossing folder, also from Taylored Expressions.

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Birdhouse Blessings

This delightful scene is called ‘birdhouse blessings’ and it makes me want to have birdhouses and bird feeders scattered across my backyard. A few days ago my husband and I were doing what may well be our final outdoor workout of the year and watched chickadees and a cardinal flit back and forth from tree to hedge.

I worked on a hot pressed watercolour panel which I’d splattered with masking fluid (as per usual). I only just got my hands on some speckled egg distress ink and stain so that’s what I used for the background colour. It is a lovely colour and I’m very happy with the inky background. I smooshed ink on my glass mat, diluted it then swiped the panel through it to pick up colour.

I stamped the large stamp in antique linen then did some no-line watercolour with Sennelier watercolour paints. While painting those little leaves and berries I did wonder if I should have chosen watercolour markers instead of paint brush and paints but I was already committed, so me and my very small paint brush kept on painting. When I finished painting all the elements I used speckled egg distress stain to darken the edges of the panel and frame the little scene. When I removed the masking fluid there were pretty little snowflakes over the whole panel.

I painted the little star in gold and debated whether I would add a gold frame as well. Decided in the end I liked it just the way it was. (psst a little bird wants to tell you ‘Winter Wonder’ is coming!)

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Books & Tea

Ever since I created a ‘what should I read next?‘ art journal page I’ve been wanting to do a similar design on a card featuring the Darkroom Door ‘mini book’ and ‘book spines’ stamps. This time a teacup joined the party.

What is more delightful than a cup of tea and a good book? Maybe a cup of tea with another book lover?

I stamped the book spines stamp three times in hickory smoke archival ink on a piece of hot pressed watercolour paper (which had been splattered with masking fluid). I set out both my Sennelier watercolour paint palette and a Finetec pearlescent set to paint the books. I mainly used the Sennelier paints but added drops and swipes of pearlescent paints here and there for interest.

Once the paints dried I used a handful of gel pens to add decoration to the book spines. I decided not to add titles (there is other pressing work to be done after all) just patterns. I removed the masking fluid, blended tea dye and vintage photo ink around the edges then splattered some vintage photo ink over the panel.

The mini book is stamped in versafine vintage sepia and then stamped with a script stamp from the DD ‘correspondence’ set and a sentiment stamp from DD ‘classic motorcycles’. The teacup from DD ‘cup of tea’ set is embossed in gold powder then painted a pale rose. I fussy cut both the book and the cup (I know – I’m surprised too). The book panel is matted in cream then attached to a grey luxe card base. I attached the mini book and teacup to hang over the edges of the panel ever so slightly.

Right now I would love to curl up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea but I am editing my next online class! I am very excited to get it finished for you as it has a seasonal theme which might interest you right about now.

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