On the seventh day of Christmas

That’s right I have a Christmas card for you. I totally subscribe to the twelve days of Christmas deal; I am in no hurry to take down decorations or make resolutions. When I look at this card though, I realize it could definitely work for the new year. We woke up to a very merry & bright scene as the world is once again covered in white! Both these stamps are favourites of mine as they will be useful year round and of course, they feature trees!

No watercolour paints or techniques were used in this card, I know, it’s a bit of a departure but I love the crisp images I was able to get stamping on bristol cardstock. I stamped the winter woodland stamp with memento London fog ink on bristol then switched to versafine clair rainforest ink to stamp the ‘before the snow’ tree  and the sentiment in the foreground. I matted with a co-ordinating green cardstock then a white cardbase.

I made a couple of these cards but might make a few more in preparation for next Christmas or even change the foreground image to make them suitable for year round. It’s a quick but effective design inspired by the beautiful work of Julia of Derkleineklecks blog.

Happy New Year! Thank you for spending time here on the blog with me this year; I look forward to sharing more projects in 2020. How about the neatness of that 2020; I like it!

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Winter Woodland

You know I love tree stamps so when this beauty from Penny Black appeared I had all sorts of plans for it. My first inking was to create these peaceful scenes to share here and on the Foiled Fox blog. The background stamp is called ‘winter woodland’ and the foreground stamp is from an older set ‘spread cheer’.

Both these cards were made on smooth bright white bristol cardstock which shows off the detail of the tree stamp beautifully. I made an improvement the second time I made this card so I will share my ‘better method’ with you here. I suggest stamping and embossing the child and sled first, that way any inking and blending done after will be resisted because of the embossing. When I tried just stamping in black after blending the sky there was a difference in the blackness of the child image because of the blended ink underneath.

After stamping the foreground image I positioned a torn post-it note mask over lower portion of the panel and stamped the winter woodland stamp in hickory smoke versafine ink.  I love the different trees in this image; it is so like the scenes around here. I punched a small circle from masking paper and positioned it over the trees to make a moon. I used Papertrey ink and blending brushes to do the sky and a trick I learned from Jennifer McGuire. Doing blending on a glass mat makes sense because the ink you waste by starting off the panel is on the glass mat and can be picked up by the brush and transferred to the panel. I started by blending a strip of scarlet jewel ink along the horizon of one panel and an even smaller section of harvest gold ink on the other panel. I kept the blending light around the moon in blueberry sky ink and darker around the edges.

After I removed the moon mask and then horizon mask I repositioned the torn edge lower down to add some more snow banks with a pale layer of ink still in the blending brush. I finished the cards with a sentiment from PB ‘merry up’ in hickory smoke ink. Make sure you click over to the Foiled Fox blog for more tips about this card plus a blog full of inspiration from other designers.

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Snowy saplings

Every year I make some snowy forest scenes, with stamps that are old favourites and with new ones destined to be favourites. These trees are from a new PB set called ‘saplings’ and they are so easy to work with!. I placed my hot pressed watercolour panel in the stamp positioner and placed a hill shaped frisket film mask across the base of the panel where I wanted to preserve white space for the snow. I could probably have used a couple of layers of masking paper as I didn’t end up getting the panel very wet.

I inked one or two trees at a time with different combinations of the following distress inks: chipped sapphire, broken china, mowed lawn, peeled paint. Before I stamped I lightly spritzed the stamp so the colours would blend nicely. I moved the panel a couple of times and moved the stamps so I could get a decent row of trees at different heights. I sponged a bit of broken china ink along the top of the mask to create a shadow behind the snow bank then moved the mask to stamp a tree in front. I then moved the mask twice sponging both times to get another couple of snowy hill shadows to appear behind the trees and a blue sky.

To create the ‘snow’ in the sky I gently splattered and strategically dropped some water on the distress sponging. The distress inks react with water so after the droplets had sat for 30 seconds I dabbed them with a paper towel which left white watermarks. To finish off I linked two stamps from the PB ‘Merry Builder’ and stamped them in majestic blue versafine ink.

Despite the appearance of a snowy scene on the blog today I am happy to report it has been sandals weather this week. Yay!

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Autumn wreaths

Much as I hate to admit it, things are beginning to feel distinctly autumnal. I don’t have any autumn wreaths to hang at home but if I did I think I would like one a bit like this, soft colours and delicate leaves.

I worked in my stamp positioner to create this panel on hot pressed watercolour paper but I think you could easily do it with the stamp on an acrylic block, it might even be faster. I started by tracing a circle on my panel with a pencil. Using the circle as I guide I positioned the branch stamp from Penny Black’s new ‘All Natural’ set so the base stems were on the circle. I inked with rusty hinge, stamped, moved the stamp around the circle a little, stamped in bundled sage, moved it again, stamped in frayed burlap and then repeated until I was all the way around the circle. I used a small watercolour brush to blend inside the leaves adding extra ink when necessary. I love the combination of colours; frayed burlap is new to my collection and I like the way it gets along with the other two inks. Once the blended ink was dry I stamped just a section of the berry stamp around the centre of the wreath in gathered twigs distress ink then blended it to fill the berries.

I used the same sentiment for both cards, it’s from another new and cute PB set called ‘golden delight’. I stamped both times on a little tag from the PB ‘a pocket full’ die set. To finish off the card I wrapped some twine around the panel, added a bow and popped the tag on top.

For the second card I grabbed another stamp from all natural and used the same process but needed a leaf mask cut from post-it note a couple of times where the leaves would have stamped over previous ones. This little stamp has both leaves and berries as well as a curved stem which just happened to conveniently match the curve of my traced circle. I used the same technique of blending the leaves and berries after stamping with forest moss and aged mahogany distress inks.

Both cards requested the splatter treatment and the second card wanted a olive green mat as well.

Hope the days are warm and sunny where you are.

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Little gardens

Today’s little garden cards contain unusually small die-cuts (for me) but I had fun arranging them and love the results. While I was putting these together I had Jill Foster’s video using the same die sets on pause in front of me so I could get inspiration from all her ideas. Make sure you check out Jill’s video; she includes plenty of tips and tricks and cool layouts.

There are three ‘little garden’ sets that co-ordinate well and between them there are oodles of leaves, flowers, pots, hanging baskets and fixtures to choose from. I chose a limited palette of black, kraft and a blue/green patterned panel for all four cards. My patterned panel was a shaving cream marbled panel so I was able to get variation in colour without having to change cardstock.

My garden box, a garden and hanging planters die sets are all still joined together so I cut everything from kraft, black and patterned then proceeded to create vignettes.

Once I had an arrangement that looked balanced I used my marvy jewel picker and lawn fawn glue tube to get everything attached to cream cardstock. The jewel picker saved my arthritic thumb joint; picking up little things is not good for it!

As you might imagine I still had plenty of little elements to spare after three cards and I remembered the ‘art deco window’ and ‘window treatment’ dies I had so I arranged another couple of pots inside the window and beside the patterned curtains.

I ruled some lines on the kraft card base to make it look like wood panels on the side of a house. The window frame dies cuts a window that opens on each side which is a cute touch.

This last simple scene is created with elements from the ‘garden box die set’ along with leftovers from ‘a garden’ and ‘hanging planters’ sets.

All the sentiments are stamped in versafine clair nocturne ink and taken from the ‘grateful sentiments’ and ‘sending thanks’ sets.

I had fun creating these little scenes despite the ‘fiddliness factor’ being a little higher than I am used to. I love the end result with the strong contrast between black, cream, kraft and blue/green pattern.

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Shimmer poppies

I’ve been enjoying some pencil colouring lately, especially on ‘Stardream’ shimmer paper. (this background is stardream lapis lazuli) Working on a  dark background requires a different approach but the results can be quite eye catching. I stamped a few of the ‘wonderland’ poppies from Altenew on blue shimmer cardstock with antique linen distress oxide ink. The oxide ink ends up looking almost white on such a bold background.

My pencils are Faber Castell Polychromos but you could use whatever coloured pencils you have on hand. With a dark background it helps to lay down a light base of white before adding colours over the top. I chose two pink pencils plus a white to colour the petals and blended from white on the petal edges to dark pink at the petal base. I preserved the stamped lines where I could but occasionally coloured over them and did what repairs I could with my white pencil. I used a bright green pencil for the stems and sepals and a tiny spot of yellow in the centre of the lowest poppy.

As always it is hard to capture the shimmer of the paper on camera but I think you can see a bit of it in each photo. I stamped and embossed the sentiment on the panel but made a patchy job of it so I stamped it on cream cardstock and cut it out with the avery elle sentiment dies that are never far from my side these days! I popped the sentiment up on dimensional tape and added the panel to a cream card base.

I love that sentiment and hope you all stay awesome today, my friends!

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Loose watercolour florals video

I have a video for you today showing my process in making this simple floral card with a loose watercolour look. The foliage is from the Altenew set ‘leaf canopy’ and the flowers are from the Concord & 9th set ‘fine line florals’ (the same set I featured in a journal page last week). The flower stamp is very detailed with fine lines covering the whole stamp. Because I wanted a loose watercolour look I spritzed water on the inked stamp which meant I lost most of thefine lines. I do like the way a few of them remained giving the petals a slightly transparent look.


I tried the ink, spritz and stamp method a few times before creating this panel because it was easy to add too much water and end up with a splodge rather than a flower. The experiments only took a little time and a few pieces of watercolour paper so definitely not a waste.

In this close up you can see some of the texture of the cold pressed watercolour paper. Although I often use hot pressed I still reach for cold pressed at times because the rough texture adds interest particularly when using solid or semi solid stamps like these ones.

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