Saturday, 28 February 2009


I finally got my hands on some Copic markers after a journey to a nearby craft store. These alcohol-based markers have been all the rage in the stamping world lately, and it seems everyone is using them or a similar brand. I wanted to see what the fuss was about.

I decided to use the markers to colour in this tulip stamped card, which was destined for the monthly card lottery of persnickety yahoogroup. I was working under the wire to get it finished before the end of Feb!

Incredibly, this was the first time I used this lovely Blockhead stamp, even though I've owned it for years! It really suits colouring.

The image was stamped with black StazOn onto white glossy cardstock. I soon discovered that alcohol-based markers move the StazOn ink, so I had some smearing. I suppose next time I'll have to try embossing, which is always a bit odd on glossy stock.

Although I don't have a lot of formal art training, I did study ceramic painting for four years with a Chinese art teacher while we were living in Malaysia. Some of the basic painting techniques have been invaluable in my paper crafting.

While using the Copic markers to colour this tulip image, I used techniques of shading and highlighting to create more depth with the image.

The image was first coloured with pastel shades, and then a harmonic medium shade, followed by a darker shade, where used. For example, on one tulip card, I used a light peach, followed by a medium orange, and finishing with a red marker.

For one card, I left the background plain and white. On the other card, I used both a medium-size make-up sponge and a small eye shadow applicator to add in background tones of yellow and sky blue pigment stamp ink. The small applicator allows you to get into those tiny areas. You should spread and blend the colour into the background by using circular motions with the sponge. Pigment ink works best for this process because it stays wetter longer and is easy to blend into the background.

To finish the card, I used some much cherished K&Co. Hannah cardstock and cut out an oval shape in one layer. I adhered the tulip image to the back of the cut out, and layered this onto the folded card, also K&Co. Hannah cardstock. As you can see, ribbon and other embellishments were added.

Having used these Copic markers for the first time, I'm already wanting more shades! If you are interested in Copic markers, you can visit their site for more information.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Happy Birthday, Germaine!

Monday, 23 February, was my friend Germaine's birthday. I am so blessed to have her in my life. We've known each other for a number of years -- having first crossed paths on techniquejunkies e-group.

She and I have lived in some of the same places around the world, and it seemed like I was following her. I was in England while she was in Houston; I was in Houston, while she was in Abu Dhabi; she was in England, while I was in Abu Dhabi. And now, guess what? We now both live in England. Fate or what?

She and I are trying to figure out how we can move her home in Cambridge closer to my home near London! If we were closer, our husbands know that we would be crafting together all the time.

Now to the card . . . it was made with a Cuttlebug embossing folder and white textured cardstock. After I ran it through the Cuttlebug, I painted it with a white pearlescent acrylic and allowed it to dry for a few hours.

I then used sponges and stiff bristle brush to colour the flowers and vines on the embossed image. I used acrylics for this, but stamping ink can also be used. You want to use a 'dry brush' technique: Don't over saturate the stiff bristle brush or sponge with ink/paint. Remove excess by brushing onto a paper towel. Now lightly move the sponge or brush across the top of the embossed image. Don't worry if you get ink/paint outside the lines because the next step will help to hide any boo-boos.

Now you need Twinkling H20s, Cosmic Shimmer or a similar product in a gold tone. Use a narrow sponge, dip it in the pot of gold, and start rubbing it over your embossed and coloured image. You can wipe some of the excess off the high points, if you wish. You can add more into the low points of the embossed image, especially trying to mask any colour that's gone astray.

When you are finished, you are left with this Soft Finish Technique. The gold softens the colours that you've dry brushed onto your embossed image.

The stamps are from Close to My Heart. Die Cuts With a View metallic cardstock helped to enhance the gold and pearl tones of the embossed image. A gold ribbon and a pearl completed the picture.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Paisley Pockets

Happy birthday to my two stamping friends, Germaine and Beckie, who both were born on 23 February!

Our Stampers of England yahoogroup has a birthday database, so we make cards for our friends on their special day.

I went into the crafting room this past weekend to see what I could come up with, and I decided to play with the Cuttlebug again.

This was the first time I used the paisley embossing folder; I ran a textured white cardstock through the Cuttlebug. Then I painted some of the embossed cardstock with acrylics. I let them completely dry.

Then I distressed the painted embossed cardstock by laying them flat on the table (make sure it's covered), and I ran an ink pad over the top of the cardstock. You want to make sure that you are only catching the high points with the ink pad.

In addition to the above technique, I also used the acrylic paints inside my embossing folder and ran the cardstock/embossing folder through the Cuttlebug. Please remember to wash your embossing folder immediately after using acrylics, as they like to dry and become permanent. I allowed the cardstock to completely dry, and then I used the distressing technique outlined above.

As I was staring at these two-toned paisley prints, I kept thinking about denim and paisley pockets. I just couldn't get that image out of my head, so I made myself a little pocket template and used some denim paper and lots of different embellishments, and you can see the results.

The happy birthday stamp is an unmounted rubber stamp from Inkadinkado.

I've left the pocket open at the top so you can slip in a tag with a ribbon, or a piece of material that looks like a handkerchief, or a lollipop, or a special note, or whatever is flat enough to fit in the pocket. It could be fun!!

If you notice, there is a trim at the top of the pocket. You know how the 4.25 x 5.5 inch pieces of cardstock are just slightly bigger than the Cuttlebug embossing folders? Well, the trim was the leftover bit at the top that didn't emboss.

If you don't have blue jean paper, you can make your own by distressing a piece of blue cardstock and then use a marker to add in stitch lines.