Poppy birthdays

 

When I pulled out the MFT ‘poppies background’ stamp my intention was to do some loose watercolour with splashes and dabs here and there. As you can see I didn’t manage that; I stayed inside the lines. It was not a fiddly job though, painting this panel. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to get it done. I put the stamp in the stamp positioner along with a piece of cold pressed watercolour paper. Using the papertrey ink cubes I was able to ink the flowers in ‘scarlet jewel’ and the buds, stems and pods in ‘ripe avocado’. If the inks ended up on the wrong section I either wiped it off or let it be because a little green in the flowers or red in the stems doesn’t matter.

I blended one petal at a time which sounds time consuming but they are large petals so it wasn’t bad. As I finished blending the ink into one petal I picked up a little bit of ‘blueberry sky’ ink and dropped it into the wet petal at the inner edge. When I came to the poppy centres I got mixed up and did the centres black and the surrounding dots in yellow so to fix it I went over the yellow with little black dots then went over the black center with a gold gel pen to turn it yellowish! Adding a sentiment took me an age, not because it was too fiddly but because I couldn’t decide how to arrange it and my embossing game was definitely off. I ended up with ‘you’ from Pink Fresh ‘phrase builder: you’ set overlaid with a sentiment from MFT ‘YAY for you’ set.

The second panel definitely involved more slap dash watercolouring but I still managed to stay inside the lines. I stamped the whole image in distress peeled paint which blends very easily with water. As I wanted some depth of colour in the centres of the flowers I smooshed faded jeans and chipped sapphire distress inks on my glass mat and picked up ink to paint shadows on the petals. I inked up the centres of the poppies with a chipped sapphire marker then chose a dark blue (not black) cardstock to die-cut the letters for the sentiment.

The die-cut letters got a little lost when placed straight on the busy background panel so I attached them to a piece of vellum first. To line them up I perfectly magnets held the vellum in place on my Wendy Vecchi magnetic board and, because it was vellum I was able to see a whole grid of lines to get them straight vertically and horizontally. I was pretty happy with this arrangement and might just have to do all my sentiments on vellum to experience the same satisfaction! I put ‘stick it’ adhesive on the back of the dark blue cardstock before I cut the letters so I would not have to deal with glue or tiny bits of tape for each letter. That would not have given me any satisfaction at all!

Even though green poppies are a bit of an oddity I think that one ended up being my favourite.

In other news make sure you pop over to the Penny Black blog to enter their giveaway; you have until March 1. I will be sharing plenty of new PB product in the weeks to come.

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Dragonfly Blue

I don’t often use patterned paper on my projects but when I saw these Alexandra Renke designs from The Foiled Fox I wanted to make ALL THE THINGS and cover them with this paper! To be honest I just wanted to stick pieces of this ‘autumn dragonfly’ paper on the front of cards and call them done! The blue background is beautiful; the dragonflies are delicate and pretty and there are little gold lines here and there. What more do you need on a card front?

I did add a few of my own touches to the cards in the end but I might still make dragonfly paper card fronts which are simple and unadorned. Because of the little bits of gold here and there on the dragonfly wings I chose gold cardstock and embossing powder for my added elements. I swiped a versamark along edges of the dragonfly panels then embossed them with gold powder.

I used a co-ordinating Alexandra Renke paper on both card fronts. It’s called ‘autumn wild dark blue’ and it looks like a painted page. I popped up the dragonfly pieces on foam and added a gold embossed sentiment plus letters or words die cut from gold shimmer cardstock. I used the PB …birthday die paired with part of a sentiment from PB ‘good wishes’ set. I did all the lining up of panels with the help of the Wendy Vecchi art staytion. The board is metallic and has a magnetic ruler which can hold a panel in place while lined up with the grid lines on the board. It has saved me quite a bit of time and fidddling!

I think this paper would look good as a notebook cover and maybe as the background for an art journal page. What do you create with your prettiest papers?

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Roses on black

Today’s cards are my first experiment with black watercolour paper. I have already learnt a few things I will take into consideration on my next projects. I could have waited until I had played with the paper more but I decided to jump right in with these rather unusual valentine/friendship cards. The card with purple flowers does have a valentine sentiment but the other two could be used anytime to send a friendly message. Unfortunately the photos don’t convey how shimmery the paint is and the colours are brighter in real life.

I’ve seen a few people on the interwebs using this new Stonehenge black cold press watercolour paper so I had to give it a try. As you can probably see I’ve paired it with pearlescent paints this time. I plan to try oxides next time. Because it is new to me I tried three different embossing powders wondering how much they would show up on black. On the card above I embossed PB ‘winsome wreath’with WOW silver pearl; it looks a bit silvery. On the card below I used WOW white pearl on PB ‘rose romance’: it also looks a bit silvery. On the final card I used Ranger gun metal with a wreath from PB ‘key to kindness’ set, it is a bit darker but still looks a bit silvery.

To paint the flowers I used both my Finetec pearlescent paints and pearl paints. I don’t find the two sets all that different but I think there might be a bit more shimmer in the pearlescent ones. I also have some Ken Oliver liquid metals so I used the verdi gris for the leaves above. I carried through the shimmer theme by cutting mats from  copper shimmer cardstock and I made card bases from black shimmer and quartz shimmer.

What do you think about predominantly black cards? I know some would find them too dark and sombre, some may be reminded of the painted velvet pictures from the 70’s but maybe you like the added drama. Will you try the black watercolour paper if you get a chance?

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Three colours – Sweet Perfume

I’ve talked about limited palettes on the blog before; today’s card is a good example of why I like to work with a limited palette of colours. I used only three brusho colours to paint this card, ost blue, sandstone, lemon brusho. The panel began with the PB sweet perfume stamp embossed in gold on hot pressed watercolour paper.

I sprinkled each of the three brusho colours into wells of a palette leaving empty wells between the colours where I could mix new colours. I used mainly sandstone for the large flower, lemon for the smaller flowers and added depth by adding more sandstone for tan shadows or orange shadows. I was able to create a few different greens by mixing  blue with sandstone and blue with lemon. As sandstone is a brownish orange it was perfect for darkening the centres of the flowers. I love the texture in the centre of the large flower which I achieved by sprinkling some brusho directly on the panel then blending it with water.

To mat the panel I chose a dark blue cardstock that co-ordinated with the dark bluey green paint. To finish the card I added an MFT sentiment also embossed in gold.

I have another couple of cards made with the same limited palette, so check back soon.

 

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Pinecones & joy

The pine needles and pine cone stamps I used for this card are from Darkroom Door and I love how realistic they are. The stamps are quite large and there are several sizes and shapes of cones which makes for lovely feature images and fillers as well. I used one pine cone stamp but two of the pine needle stamps and worked on hot pressed watercolour paper which had been splattered with masking fluid. If you look at the close up below you can see large white dots as well as tiny ones; they’re all made by the masking fluid.

I stamped the pine cone three times using a stamp positioner and four different brown distress inks. A spritz of water started the browns blending and I did a little blending with a paint brush as well.

I stamped the green pine needles with forest moss and evergreen bough distress inks and the fine needles in the background with iced spruce. I added some green splatter then some gold splatter using one of the gansai tambi starry colours. I used the ‘jumbo joy’ die from Penny Black to cut out the word joy from the stamped panel and cut three layers from shimmer gold cardstock as well so I could stack them up just a little offset so the gold peeps out on the side.

I stamped the rest of the Christmas carol lyric using a stamp from Ink to Paper’s ‘season of joy’ set and some gold embossing powder. The overall pattern may be a little messy but it reminds me of what I see if I look up into the branches of the very messy pine tree in my front yard, which is currently covered with snow but not gold splatter!

I have been blessed to receive some beautiful handmade Christmas cards in the mail this week and I am enjoying them on my window ledge. I hate to say it but as yet I have not sent a single one! As I’ve said before there are twelve days of Christmas so I haven’t run out of time yet!

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Holiday Traditions – Christmas Carols

I am excited to tell you about another holiday tradition today. I have teamed up with the Foiled Fox to host a giveaway. All you need to do is leave a comment here on my blog or over on the Foiled Fox telling us about one of your holiday traditions. Do you do the ugly Christmas sweater thing or perhaps decorate your tree with vintage ornaments, do you head to the beach or the mountains or light the fire and cozy up at home? We would love to know!

Thank you again to those of you who have shared holiday traditions in the comments. Not surprisingly food was mentioned quite a few times. Another tradition that came up a more than once was carol singing and that’s what I’m going to share today. If you haven’t left a comment on my blog or the Foiled Fox blog yet please do, we would love to hear from you. Make sure you pop over to the Foiled Fox to read about Shauna’s sweet stocking tradition and see her lovely card.

Here in Canada we have a couple of carol singing traditions. Every December two or three days before Christmas there is carol singing in the park at the end of our street. If we already have snow and cold temperatures then we might be standing on the ice rink with a fire off to the side. On Christmas Eve we go to the carol service at our church, always ending with Silent Night during which we light individual candles.

Carols by candlelight in Australia is very different. Major cities like Sydney and Melbourne have a big event at a large outdoor concert venue with celebrities and all the bells and whistles. Thousands of people bring picnics and blankets and enjoy the concert and carols from early evening until after sunset when everyone lights candles if there isn’t a fire ban! I attended the big event occasionally, more often I attended a local ‘carols by candlelight’ with our church in a nearby park.

Today’s card features a sentiment from one of my favourite carols. I used the Ink to Paper ‘peaceful forest’ stamp set and stamped on hot pressed watercolour paper so I could blend the ink after stamping. I used distress pine needles, shabby shutters and hickory smoke inks, overlapping the trees so there would be some little bleeds from green to green to grey here and there.

I wanted the die-cut letters to match the trees exactly so I swiped ink across a scrap of watercolour paper then blended it with a wet brush. Once dry I used the ‘season of joy’ dies to cut the word and a stamp from the ‘season of joy’ stamp set to complete the first line of the carol. I used two layers of vellum so the letters and embossed words would stand out from the busy background. I added gold embossed stars and created a textured gold card base from Tonic cinnamon silk specialty cardstock.

Do you have a favourite carol? I have had a few over the years, Joy to the World, O Holy Night and my current fave, In the Bleak Mid-winter.

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Frosty

Before we talk about Frosty, I just want to say how much I am enjoying reading about your holiday traditions; thank you for commenting on my gingerbread post to tell me about them. Make sure you visit the Foiled Fox blog this week to read about some more holiday traditions and I will be sharing another tradition on Friday.

Now back to Frosty from the PB ‘Frosty’s Flakes set. I have not created a snowman card in a long, long time but after creating gingerbread on kraft cardstock and poinsettia cards on kraft cardstock (in a recent class) I thought why not try a snowman. I stamped in black this time which looks just as striking on kraft as white does. All the white elements are added with a white gel pen or white pencil.

I coloured the leaves in a green pencil, I used polychromos pencils but I imagine any dark green pencil will do. I did the berries, hat ribbon and scarf in red, nose in orange and hat in black. I was halfway through colouring the hat when I realised I needed a highlight strip to show the curve of the hat. I was able to leave a gap on one section but it looked odd where it didn’t continue across the whole hat. Sand eraser to the rescue! If you don’t have a sand eraser for sanding off little errors you should get one. It worked brilliantly on the coloured pencil but I have also used in on stray bits of ink or paint.

I finished all the pencil colouring without colouring the snowman at all. I decided to try some cross hatching with the white gel pen and I think it does the trick. White coloured pencil would probably work also. I protected Frosty with a post-it and splattered white gesso over the rest of the panel. I stamped a sentiment from the PB ‘thrill of hope’ set and die cut it with a tag die. The stitching around the card panel and tag is hand done with the white gel pen. I added a white pencil drop shadow on the sentiment, popped it up on dimensional tape with some twill tape to co-ordinate.

Making a snow man with the first snow might be a tradition for some but we have learned since coming to Canada that there are many types of snow and not all types are suitable for snowmen! In Australia if we had snow staying on the ground we would make a snowman however small and odd looking! I remember a time when I was a child my family drove up Mt Wellington in Hobart and there was snow at the top; we built a snow man on the bonnet (hood) of our car. It melted or fell off by the time we got back down the mountain.

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Holiday Traditions – Gingerbread

Here in Canada Thanksgiving is behind us but in the US it is about a month away; Christmas is exactly two months away! With that in mind Shauna, from the Foiled Fox, and I have teamed up to host a ‘Holiday Traditions’ giveaway.

Like me you probably have some Thanksgiving or Christmas traditions, perhaps they were handed down to you or maybe something new you have recently come up with. Either way, we want to hear about them. For the next two weeks you can comment on a holiday tradition post on my blog or the Foiled Fox blog and be entered into a giveaway.

If you haven’t guessed already the first tradition I want to share with you is my gingerbread making tradition. We have been making gingerbread for years. It was not my mother’s Christmas baking tradition, she made yoyos (melting moments), Christmas cake and forcer biscuits (pressed butter cookies). I started making gingerbread when I lived in Australia and the recipe I use is from an Australian chef, Jill Dupleix. Now that we have three people in the family eating gluten free I make gf batches too, usually with a packet mix. I used to mix a gf gingerbread dough but the packet one saves me so much time which I can spend decorating instead. Decorating is the best part, well maybe equal best with eating!

We make stars, hearts, trees, snowflakes, bells, gingerbread men, women and children but we also have a  a set of Aussie animal cutters and, would you believe, a ‘gingerdead man’ which cuts out the person shape and then stamps a skeleton impression on the cookie! We have also made gingerbread houses and other structures over the years. If you click over to my other blog you can see gingerbread houses, a church and a tank from years gone by.

Making gingerbread cards was a bit quicker than the edible version. I used Neenah desert storm kraft cardstock and stamped on it in versamark then embossed with bright white opaque embossing powder. To create the snowy hill I cut a post-it note mask and sponged white delicata ink in a hill shape. The delicata was too delicate, not bold enough for a snow hill so I embossed with more white embossing powder.

After completing all the stamping and embossing I blended tea dye distress ink around the edges of the panels to give everything a nice baked not burnt look. Believe me I have burnt plenty of batches over the years!

The last step was a sprinkling of icing sugar aka splatter of white gesso to complete the snowy look. All the stamps are from Penny Black and are linked below along with the other supplies.

Now it’s your turn. I would love to hear about some of your holiday traditions. What do you do for Thanksgiving or Christmas? It doesn’t have to be something you make; it could be a place you visit, a story you read, songs you sing, food you eat. Let me know in the comments and you’ll be entered in the giveaway. Make sure you visit the Foiled Fox blog also as there will be holiday tradition posts on both of our blogs during the next two weeks.

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Filled in Florals

I’m on the Foiled Fox blog today showing off these lovely new stamps and dies from Concord & 9th. The stamps are from the ‘filled in florals‘ set and the dies from the simple serif alphabet set I love the size and shape of these letters and I am able to line them up neatly by using my new magnetic ‘staytion‘ so I won’t need to do the purposely wonky look every time!

I reached for some favourite distress stains to colour the big flower from the set. I used a stamp positioner but acrylic blocks would work fine too as precision is not key for this loose and watery look. As I’m still working with distress stain daubers I swiped the first colour across a third of the stamp, stamped on hot pressed watercolour paper then wiped off the stamp before inking with the next stain in the centre of the flower then repeating the process. I only spritzed the stamp lightly with water before I stamped the last colour on each flower as I didn’t want to flood the design but I did want to make sure the colours did a little blending with each other. I used a mix of blueprint sketch, salty ocean, seedless preserves and dusty concord stains on the flowers switching around the order and combo each time.  I stamped the flower centres with blueprint sketch and seedless preserves ink. Is there a more beautiful colour combination than those two stains? I don’t think so!

For the leaves I switched to an acrylic block and inked with bundled sage and iced spruce stains and a little spritz of water to make them soft and dreamy. I dried the whole panel before dropping water here and there all over, letting it sit and soak in then absorbing it with a paper towel to leave all those watermarks on the leaves and petals. Last but not least I added a splat or two in blueprint sketch and bundled sage.

Once all those flowers were done I thought about the sentiment. I know I should consider the sentiment earlier in the process but I rarely do. I didn’t want to cover up too much of the design so I went for the subtle stacked letter die look. I cut the letters b e s t out of the panel and three more of each from blank watercolour paper then stacked them up and attached them on the card. I did some stamp surgery to separate  ‘you’re the’ from one of the sentiment stamps in the ‘filled in florals’ set and stamped in versamark ink so I could emboss in white powder. The sentiment is fairly subtle when you look straight on but the recipient will be able to see and feel the texture of the raised letters.

Thank you for dropping in today, make sure you pop on over to the Foiled Fox for some extra details and to check out their lovely blog and store.

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Darkroom Door wedding cards

I’ve been creating with the tall flowers and nature walk stamps from Darkroom Door again, this time with a wedding theme in mind. Darkroom Door now has eight different sentiment stamps collections in list format, each one has a different theme. For two of today’s cards I isolated one sentiment by masking either side but on the second card I used a large chunk of the stamp as a feature over a soft blurry floral background. I am over on the Darkroom Door blog sharing these cards so make sure to pop over there for more details on my process.

This first wedding card made me think of a country style-decorate the barn type of wedding. I did a bit of masking to get the look of three daisies against a timber background and used twine to keep things natural and not too fancy. I inked the daisy from ‘Tall Flowers‘ set in worn lipstick, abandoned coral, forest moss and peeled paint distress ink, spritzed lightly with water and stamped in centre of a hot pressed watercolour paper panel, then used masks to stamp another on each side. I masked all three daisies so I could stamp the  Woodgrain Background Stamp in weathered wood and frayed burlap distress inks.

My second card features the ‘wet on wet’ watercolour technique. The watercolour panel was very wet before I stamped the daisy stamp in wild honey and forest moss distress inks. I restamped to get paler images then dried the panel before wrapping a vellum strip with gold embossed wedding sentiments over the stamped flowers.

The very blurry style is not for everyone but in real life it does have a soft romantic look to it.

My final card features wildflower silhouettes in blueprint sketch and milled lavender ink stamped repeatedly to get first, second and third generation images as well as silver embossed flowers and sentiments with some very sparkly silver ribbon.

Working with sentiment strips that have fifteen different sentiments gives me plenty of options, some of the ‘wedding’ sentiments are totally appropriate for other events too.

I enjoyed the process of creating wedding cards in three different styles and I know I could have gone even fancier. What’s the fanciest card you have ever made?

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