Friday, 24 February 2017

Happy Hyacinth!

With spring somewhere around the corner, this gorgeous hyacinth image was a cheery choice for my watercolor experiments.

The hyacinth image is from Stampin' Up!'s Helping Me Grow set. I used a clear VersaMark ink pad to stamp the image, and then sprinkled it with a fine black embossing powder and used a heat gun to emboss the image. As mentioned in the previous post, the embossed lines trap the Distress Stains as you color the image.

When using Tim Holtz Distress Stains for watercoloring, you want to start with your lighter colors first. You can even water down these light subtle shades before painting. The water will open up the fibers in the watercolor paper, allowing subsequent layers of color to move and grab the paper. Move on to medium and darker shades next, mixing the stains with water or using them full strength. Water can be used to help blend colors on the paper.

Finish off your card with ribbons, eyelets and sentiments.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Happy to Grow!

I've used lots of different products over the years to watercolor images, but this was my first time to paint with Tim Holtz Distress Stains. I have to say that these stains are incredibly easy to use.

Inspired by other stampers, I embossed the SU Helping Me Grow image onto watercolor paper first, using white ink and embossing powder.

The difference between these two cards is the thickness of the embossing powder. The card on top used a fine white embossing powder that created thinner lines; the bottom card has Melt Art Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel. They create two different looks, and I would suggest sticking with a finer embossing powder so that the stains don't seep out of the embossed area.

When I lived in Asia many moons ago, I occasionally played with batik paint on fabric. This technique reminded me of batik, as the Distress Stains spread out and are captured within the embossed lines.

I used a newly acquired Unity Stamp Company sentiment (May Your Day Be Full of Happy), which also was embossed with white ink and powder.

This technique would be especially easy to teach to novice stampers because it is so forgiving, yet so enjoyable.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Anything is Possible

I have lots of friends who adore their tea, and I often send birthday cards to my tea-obsessed friends. While I can make a traditional birthday card, I often like to send tea-themed cards, so I am always on the search for new tea-related stamps.
When Verve Stamps came out with both tea and coffee-inspired sets, One Cup and Coffee, I was quick to order them, along with the coordinating dies. I am hesitant to confess this to tea friends, but I also like my coffee!
The Verve website has a handful of card samples to provide inspiration, such as the cards I made here. These cards are very easy to make and straightforward. The only quasi "technical" thing I did was cutting apart the stacked cups to mix different patterns. You can see below that I used black ink (Memento Tuxedo Black) to stamp the image onto some patterned designer papers.  I used the coordinating Verve die to cut out the patterned stacked cups and also some white card stock cups to use as a base. Then I trimmed out individual cups and glued those pieces onto the white die cutout base.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

A Little Birdie Told Me

Not only is the Stampin' Up "Best Birds" stamp set adorable, but it has a matching Thinlits Die Set. Let's face it: who really enjoys cutting out stamped images? I'd much rather use my Sizzix Big Shot and knock out some dies on the fly.
The Copic Markers were called into action for coloring the birds and branches in these cards. In addition to the SU Best Birds stamp set, all the cards (except the one below) include sentiment stamps from Stampin' Up.
I absolutely love the "little bird told me" birthday sentiment stamp that I used on the card above. It's an Inkadinkado stamp that I've owned for about 10 years.
The card above includes a moon made from the Stampin' Up 2 1/2-inch punch. A sponge with SU Marina Mist ink gave the moon its illumination.
The card above and below uses a bit of masking and ink sponging to create the sun silhouette. I used the SU 2 1/2-inch punch to create the masks.
All these techniques are incredibly easy, so give them a try!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Glitzy Mermaid

One of my dearest friends, Diane, had a January birthday, and I wanted to create a mermaid card for her as she loves mermaids. It's hard finding just the right mermaid image that isn't too over the top (or without a top) or too cutsy!!
I stumbled across Sherri Baldy's illustrations, and this gorgeous mermaid spoke to me. I colored the mermaid image with Prismacolor pencils and Copic markers. Different background papers and embellishments were used, too.
I sure hope Diane liked it, too! 
Happy Birthday, Diane!!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Autumn Wreaths

A year ago, I took a mixed media class with Anna Debrowska, owner and creative mind of Finnabair. I've always loved "altered art" (or more commonly called "mixed media" today), and I've been plying my trade for years. My favorite thing is to find a discarded box or tin that seems to have no use and transform it into something pretty and awe-inspiring. Thanks to artists and companies, such as Finnabair, Prima Marketing, Tim Holtz, Dina Wakley, Ranger Inks and so many more, there are now infinite ideas and products to create masterful mixed media pieces.

I've been mostly self-taught, as are so many crafty artists that I know. We sit in our studios or spare room or niche in the basement and just get our fingers dirty as our heads spew out crazy ideas for sticking things together.

Finnabair's class introduced me to some new products, and I immediately set to making Christmas wreaths last year, using wooden wreaths. I still had a handful of these wreaths leftover and decided to make something autumnal this year.
A five-minute video tutorial of the Mixed Media Autumn Wreath is available to watch
Catching a 40-percent-off sale at Hobby Lobby, I snagged plastic pumpkins and acorns, glittery styrofoam balls, pretty pretend grasses and berries, and a cheap economy bag of potpourri with pinecones and things. While Finnabair usually covers project embellishments/pieces completely in gesso, I decided to leave some of the color of the original items, covering 30 to 50 percent of the decorations mentioned above in black gesso. After they dried, I used a stiff brush and DecoArt gold metallic paint and a technique called "dry brushing" to apply gold to all the highlight/high point areas of the decorations. Pictured are some before and after shots of the decorations.

The wooden wreaths were covered in cheap ole corrugated cardboard, which was torn into strips, exposing the corrugated ridges and leaving rough edges.
Pieces were glued to the wreath.
The wreath was then completely covered in black gesso.
After drying, I again used the dry brushing technique to apply gold acrylic paint.
On a later experiment, I also added in some burlap ribbon.

In order to hang the wreath, I added a wire to the top.

The next process is to apply the distressed decorations to the wreath. I used Prima Marketing's Art Basics Modeling Paste Opaque Matte for this.
The modeling paste dries white, so I added in black acrylic paint so that the dried paste blended into the black/gold distressed wreath. The thick consistency of the modeling paste allows you to stick pieces on top of each other, creating layers of decorations. Allow to dry overnight. You also can use another super strong and sturdy glue or product to adhere the decorations; just make sure the product dries clear.

I am making one more autumn wreath, this time adding in some altered leaves, which have been made from colored cardstock and the Sizzix/Tim Holtz Tattered leaves die and embossing folder.

I used the same process of covering 30 to 50 percent of the leaves with black gesso and then "dry brushing" gold acrylic paint onto the highlights of the leaf.

These autumn wreaths were so fun to make, and they have added something delightful to my fall decor.
A five-minute video tutorial of the Mixed Media Autumn Wreath is available to watch

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Love my birds!!

When the latest Stampin' Up catalog arrived in my lap, I did my usually salivating on every page, followed by lots of "oooohs" and "ahhhhhs". 

I am totally besotted with bird watching. Much to the dismay of my husband, I have several feeders going at the house. (He's not too keen with our battle to keep the acrobatic squirrels off the feeders.) When I saw the SU Best Birds stamp set with the Birds & Blooms Sizzix Thinlits, I was "flying" at the chance to order these items.

After this bundle arrived, I went onto and found a card I really liked by Deb Mauch. I used some Michelle Zindorf sponging tutorials to make the sun and sky. Very easy to do and incredibly rewarding results. 

I used photos of male and female Yellow-Rumped Warblers as samples for coloring the stamped bird images. Not sure if I succeeded, but there you go!  The branch and birds were cut out using the coordinating Thinlits. In addition to using the SU Best Birds stamp set, I used SU One Big Meaning for the 'thank you' sentiment. 

The card was made for our veterinarian's kennel manager, Lisa. She went above and beyond to give our 14-year-old dog, Sophie, lots of tender loving care in the kennels while we were in England attending our son's university graduation.