Seedlings

If you are a plan ahead – plant ahead person then you might have some seedlings growing somewhere in your house or green house. These are the only seedlings I have at this point but I must say they are looking quite healthy.

This is a digital stamp designed by my daughter and available in her etsy store Echidna Studios. I printed it so that it just fitted on an A2 card front but I think it might be nice to print it larger and feature only one or two pots on a card front with the shoots and leaves coming off the edge of the panel.

I printed on hot pressed watercolour paper and used my Sennelier pan paints for all the colouring. I used a mix of greens for the greenery and a mix of blue and brown for the pots. I really like blue and brown combos these days, something that I wouldn’t have imagined a few years back.

The sentiment is from Simply Graphic’s ‘English Sentiments’ set; I like the handwritten look and the size of the words. I know I could be handwriting a few sentiments myself here and there but I always add the sentiment last and by that time I don’t want to mess up a otherwise completed card with a crooked or uneven sentiment. That being said I think I should try a few handwritten sentiments on upcoming cards…

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Old Stone Doorway

Isn’t this a sweet front path and door? It makes me want to head inside or wander around the garden. This digital stamp is another design by my daughter which is available in her etsy store, Echidna Studios. I printed it on Arches cold press watercolour paper. You know I generally use Fabriano hot press watercolour paper but I am trying to ‘use what I have’ so I pulled out the Arches for a change. I like how the texture of the paper adds texture to the front of the house.

Using my Sennelier watercolour paints I painted a wash of brown over the brickwork, blue over the door and grey for the stonework. I also mixed a bluey green for the hedges. Next I switched to watercolour pencils and added shading to the bricks and stones, coloured the leaves and painted from the tip of my pencils to make the window and door frames grey and the reflections light blue. The sentiment is from Simply Graphic and is stamped in prize ribbon sketch archival ink

I almost stopped a couple of times as I wasn’t happy with the colours I had chosen and the lack of detail in the washes. I did keep going though and it pulled together. One thing that helps is that I didn’t use too many colours and I like the way the watercolour fades away at the edges. There are little white patches where I didn’t touch up the painting and I think they work too in adding a highlight here and there. I have printed another one out because a red brick house might also be fun to do.

The designer of this stamp is coming over for dinner tonight so I will ask where this door is in real life…

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Mini Tree

Another festive (digital) beauty from my daughter’s etsy store, Echidna Studios. Do you recognise the inspiration for this little tree? You probably see them in the grocery store; it’s a little pot of rosemary, shaped like a tree. The design is available already decorated or in a set with separate tree and decorations. It is only a few days before Christmas so of course I am featuring the already decorated one!

I printed the tree on hot pressed watercolour paper and painted the paper wrapping and tree with Sennelier watercolour paints. Several people asked me about printing on watercolour paper. Up until recently I had no success; I would manually feed it into the printer but the ink would smudge off. A friend told me about the preferences settings when clicking to print and now I choose ‘manual feed’ and ‘heavyweight paper’ and no more smudging!

I switched to Finetec pearlescent paints and a gold gel pen to do the decorations so they have a little shimmer and shine to them. I reached into my little box of pre-stamped, pre-cut sentiments and pulled out one to suit the colours and the recipient. It’s a tall skinny tree (a bit like our family) so the card isn’t my usual size. It’s a 6¼” x 4″ olive green card base.

My life size tree is also decorated in red and gold this year. I always pick a slightly different colour scheme so this year all the red baubles came out, the tartan ribbon and the individual decorations in red, gold or wood. Do you change your colours from year to year?

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Winter tree

This sweet scene is based on a real tree and a real bench. It’s another design by my daughter and available as a digital stamp in her etsy store, Echidna Studios. I printed it twice on hot pressed watercolour paper. One image almost fills a 4¼” x 5½” card and the other is smaller leaving room to be framed by the snowfall embossed panel.

One of the nice things about digital stamps is the way they can be printed any size you want. I used Sennelier watercolour paints to paint the blue sky across the panel working my way around the bench but painting over the top of the tree. Once the sky was dry I painted the bench with brown and grey paint then the tree with black. Some of the branches are quite thin especially on the smaller version so I used a fine tip Pitt pen to colour them.

When the painting was all dry I coloured over the lights with a gold gel pen. Now that I have tried the image a couple of times I want to go more slowly and see if I can get those lights to glow a bit more. It is a calm pretty image but if I was trying to reflect the last few days of weather here in Ottawa both tree and bench would be covered in snow!

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Stockings from Narnia

This set is simply called Christmas Stockings, but I definitely think you might see one of these hanging over Mr Tumnus’ fire place or maybe in the Beaver’s lodge. I have watercoloured two of the stockings from the set of three digital stamp my daughter designed and uploaded to her etsy store, Echidna Studios.

I printed the image on watercolour paper then used Sennelier watercolours paints and a gold gel pen to fill in the design. I took a little more time on the stocking above painting all the curly fronds whereas for the one below I blended a blue and a green paint to fill the patterned stocking.

I attached both stockings to embossing folders, one with pine needles, the other bricks. I am very taken with embossing folders at present both for creating backgrounds and for making my own gel printing texture plates.

The handy dandy sentiments are from Taylored Expressions. At the beginning of my Christmas card making season I stamped the one stamp of 18 sentiments in a range of colours, cut them with the matching die and kept them in a little box which I have been able to reach into over and over. These two are among my last few Christmas cards but there will be more winter themed cards and Christmas thank you cards to come. My contents of my craft room are still spread around the house but I am making progress putting it back together!

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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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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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