Saturday, October 21, 2017

when the power goes out...

Hello my fabulous friends!

Fall has officially hit my house! The colors of the leaves are STUNNING! 

The rain and wind... have also been impressive. 

Actually, wind and rain are typical for autumn here on the western side of Washington... but after the dry summer, the rain is quite a change. 

With the coming of shorter, wetter days,  comes more time in the studio. 

Sometimes in the dark....

The power went out and I still needed to work... so a battery light hung from a tripod with binder clips it is! LOL!
Paper: Georgia Pacific; Paper Studio Glam Glitter
Stamps: LDRS Creative/Polkadoodles Gingerbread Love
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black; Uniball Signo; Distress Ink Salty Ocean; Gellyroll Clear Star; Copic RV63,V05, RV66, RV69, YG23, YG25, YG17, G29, W0, W1, W3, W5, N4, N6, N9, N10, E00, E21, R21, V20, BV000, E55, E57, E29, V22, E35, E39, E43, E44, E49, BG0000, BG000, B00, 0, multiliner
Dies: LDRS Creative Snowy Day

While this is set of stamps is geared towards Christmas, I wanted a winter 'thank you' card, so I chose some fun colors that didn't exactly scream Christmas... If you filled the background with fall trees, you could just as easily have a fall card!

I love sets that are good for more than one specific holiday! 

I used the Snowy Day border die to create a mask for my background. The sky is Distress ink, and while it's hard to see in the picture, I used my Gellyroll Clear Star pen to add sparkle along the top edge of the snow and in her shadow.

Well, I need to get back to work...

Have a wonderful weekend!


Sunday, October 15, 2017

fall flowers with LDRS Creative...

Hello my fabulous friends!

Guess what today is???

My FIRST official post on the LDRS Creative blog! 
(you can check it out HERE)

Paper: LDRS Creative Splendid Azure; Georgia Pacific
Stamps: LDRS Creative Eleganza, Just Because
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black; Uniball Signo White gel pen; Copic Y18, YR16, YR18, BV000, E37, E18, E19, YG95, YG97, YG99
Dies: LDRS Creative Eleganza, Majestic Rectangle Labels
Other: Pretty Pink Posh Sparkling Clear Sequins

To create the window, I die cut through the front of the card. This is such a fun shaped die for doing windows! I also saved the inside parts of the die cut. The sentient was stamped through the window onto the inside of the card so it can be seen when the card is open and closed. I glued the little inside parts of the die cut onto the inside of the card so you get the whole shape of the die even though it's a window. I then decorated the window with the adorable Eleganza flowers. (aren't they fun?!!)

Quick tip: For a little extra texture I added some white gel pen dots to the centers of my flowers... However I didn't want them to look too harsh.. You can see the top flower, all of the white dots are dots, and really stand out... if that's the look you want, GREAT!!! I wanted something softer. So... while the  little dots were still wet, I touched them with my thumb... This smudges them, softens them, and helps them to blend into the image instead of sitting on top of the image. You can see in the bottom flower that the dots tend to blend in, while still adding that little bit of highlight and texture. This is a great way to stretch your supplies and get more than one look with the same stuff!

*Be sure to check out my post on the LDRS Creative Blog for a quick tip on how to tone back colors with Copic markers!

I'm curious, what is your favorite finishing detail for your projects?

Have a wonderful day!


Friday, October 13, 2017

winter friends...

Hello my fabulous friends!

Did you know that in Australia there are little penguins (about 13 inches tall) that are BLUE? 
They are called Fairy penguins (or Little Blue penguins). Do an image search... They are adorable!

I found out this fun fact when I did an image search for penguins to give me some references for coloring these ADORABLE  stamps....

Paper: Georgia Pacific; Paper Studio Glitter Glam
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black; Uniball Signo; Gellyroll Clear Star; Distress Ink Salty Ocean, Tumbled Glass; Copic C2, C3, C5, C7, W1, W2, W3, T5, T7, E51, E11, V20, RV32, R81, R83, R89, BG32, BG15, BG49, E31, E35, E39, G40, YG17, G28, B99, B97, B95, E84, E87, E89, BG0000, BG000, 100, 0, multiliner
Dies: LDRS Creative Snowy Day
Other: Twine

Aren't these adorable stamps!?!?!?

I'll be honest, this was one of those projects that I started with a specific vision, but ended up doing something completely different... This actually happens to me a lot... I have an idea, but when I start diving in, I find that it isn't working out quite how I wanted, or different colors start calling to me, or I just decide that it really needs to go a different direction.. I love where it ended up! 

Because I changed directions mid-creation, I did things a little out of order from what I would normally do... 

I started by stamping my main image onto Georgia Pacific card stock using Memento Tuxedo Black. I then colored it in using Copics. 

Then I decided to do a background... So I had to make a mask. I stamped the same image onto some Eclipse masking paper. I fussy cut it out (including using an Exacto knife to cut out the inside parts of the image where the sky would show through... like under her back arm). This will protect my coloring. 

I also wanted to create some ground for the bear to be standing on, but I didn't want a flat line, so I die cut some masking paper using the new Snowy Day border die and added that mask to the bottom of the card. Instant snow banks!

I used and ink blending tool to make the sky with Tumbled Glass and Salty Ocean Distress Inks.

After removing the masks, I added in some shadows with Copics and some snow sparkles with my Gellyroll Clear Star pen. 

I also added this cute little penguin... In my original design, the penguin was going to be a moving piece (which is why it wasn't just stamped and masked with the  bear)... Instead I ended up just fussy cutting it and glueing it on... It works. 

I added a few more details like sparkly frost on the tree (using the Gellyroll Clear Star pen), and a twine bow to finish it up...

Have a wonderful weekend!



Saturday, October 7, 2017

happy world card making day!!!

Hello my fabulous friends!!! 

Happy World Card Making Day!!!
In honor of the holiday, I have been working on a bunch of cards today... But, I only have one I can share with you right now. 

Paper: Georgia Pacific; Bazzill, flocked paper
Stamps: Crafters Companion: Winter Wishes
Ink: Memento: Tuxedo Black; Distress Ink: Salty Ocean; Copic: E50, E51, E53, E57, E59, E49, E47, E77, YG69, G29, YG25, R35, R29, R39, 0
Dies: Polkadoodles: Dainty Doily Border

Isn't he sweet?!?!
I kept this card fairly simple...

The image is stamped with Tuxedo Black Memento ink. I then used Copics to color it in. I went around the edges with an ink blending tool and some Salty Ocean Distress ink to give it the illusion of a background without actually having to color one... 

I knew I wanted my little bear's toes to appear as if they pop out.. so I used my paper trimmer to cut a straight line from the edge of the paper to the edge of the legs on each side. I then fussy cut along the bottom edge of the legs to connect the two lines. They look like they are kicked out forward, but in reality, it is fairly flat, and won't run into any trouble in the mail. 

I wanted to give a nice border for him to be siting on (after all, I didn't want him just hanging out in the middle of nowhere!). I decided to use the Polkadoodles Dainty Doily Border die (I love this die!). It made the perfect platform for my bear. However I wasn't really liking the overall feel of the card with the various papers I was considering to use with  the die...

 I thought about using vellum... but that wouldn't have the visual weight to anchor the bear... Then I found some flocked paper in my stash of random specialty papers.... It cut BEAUTIFULLY! It feels like VELVET. Seriously. It's amazing! Absolutely perfect for a Christmas card! 

I'm not sure the exact brand this flocked paper is (it's been in my stash for quite a while now...) but you can find flocked/velvet paper from various sources... Like this, or this..

I hope you have a wonderful card making day (or weekend!)


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

getting started on Christmas...

Hello my fabulous friends!

Today I have two quick Christmas cards to share that both use the same basic technique... they came together super quick since both started as coloring projects for the 30 day coloring challenge that just ended. 

Up first... bright and traditional

Paper: Georgia Pacific white yardstick; DCWV Holiday Glitzy Glitter
Stamps: Great Impressions Snow Friends
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black; Distress Salty Ocean; Copic B0000, B00, RV11, 0, W1, W3, W6, W7, W9, YR18, R24, R29, R89, YG05, G05, G19; Signo Uniball white
Other: Ranger Perfect Pearls, Eclipse Masking Paper

I stamped my image using Memento Tuxedo Black ink because I knew I wanted to use alcohol markers, and this ink is safe for that. I then stamped it again onto the masking paper. 

Masking Paper is new to me... but I found it PERFECT for this kind of masking! 

I cut out the mask, and placed it over my stamped card. I then used my ink blending tool and some Distress ink to quickly make a bright background. For a little extra snow in the sky, I mixed Perfect Pearls in with some water and splattered it around.

Rather than try to mask those little snowflakes, I went in with my Signo pen to add the white back in after the inking was done. 

When the background was done, I removed the mask (and stuck it in with the stamp set to reuse next time). I kept the coloring of the snowmen nice and simple with the Copic markers. (the snowmen are shaded with B0000 and B00... but you can't tell in the photo. I need to learn to be brave and add in darker contrast on white images... Oh well, I'll get there!)
 For a little more sparkle, I painted on a little more Perfect Pearls over the snow.

For the mat, I didn't have card stock in the gray that I wanted, so I colored the edges of some white card stock with a Copic marker. I love being able to customize things to make them match!

Next up, winter animals...

Paper: Georgia Pacific white card stock; DCWV Holiday Glitzy Glitter
Stamps: Adam Prescott Winter Woodland, Crafters Companion Winter Wishes
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black; Distress Seedless Preserves, Chipped Sapphire, Black Soot; Copic V06, W0, W1, W3, C2, C6,C7, C9, E00, G04,YG05, R46,R59, BG000, BG11, 0; Gelly Roll Clear Star
Other: Eclipse Masking paper

*NOTE:The sweet little critters on this card are from a stamp set that came free with a magazine I bought a year or two ago... I've tried to find it online, but I haven't found this set for sale anywhere. Sorry... I try to use current things, but sometimes  I just have to  use older things because I can't always afford to go out and buy all the newest stamps, and I firmly believe that older sets can still be loved and used even if they are no longer available on the market... Hopefully you can still find inspiration in this card... You could create a similar look with SO many other stamp sets that are currently available, or look through your own stash of old stamps... you might already have something similar! 

Again, I stamped my image on both my card stock, and the masking paper. I cut the mask out and covered the image. I also covered where I wanted my horizon line and below... this protects the portion of the card I want to remain white. (yes, that is a lesson I learned the hard way... OOPS!) 

I then did a blend of Distress ink, moving from my lightest (Seedless Preserves), to my darker (Chipped Sapphire), making sure to over lap the colors and let them blend. I added a little Black soot around the edges of the sky just to help keep the focus on the brighter center of the card.

I then removed the masks and did another simple Copic coloring. Nothing fancy or complicated... Just really simple coloring. 

To finish it off, I added stars in the sky, and lines in the snow with my Gelly Roll Clear star pen. 

You can see in this close up just how much sparkle this pen packs... It's AMAZING!!!

What is even more amazing is that I got this pen more than 10 years ago, haven't used it in forever (mostly because I kinda forgot about it...).  I was going through some things, and saw it in my pen cup and decided to give it a test to see if it still worked, or if I needed to throw it out. It works BEAUTIFULLY even after sitting all this time! I'm so impressed! In fact, I'm loving it so much that it now has a place with my white pen and my lining pens right next to my table for easy access!

Adding in the layer of ink in the background, really makes the white of the images POP. 
When you color white, you add color into your shadows, but it is really dependent on the things around it to make it read as white. 

So... Now I have a start on my Christmas cards for the year... Have you started yet???


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

so much to be grateful for....

Hello my fabulous friends!

Sunday was a busy day for me! I needed to get caught up on 'thank you' cards... So many friends and neighbors have  brought meals in for my parents, and done other incredibly sweet things to help our family while my mom battles cancer. I don't have the words to express how much the love and support of all our family and friends (both in person and online) helps!!! 

The best I can do is tuck in a hand made card inside each stack of dishes when it is returned... or send one in the mail if there isn't anything to return.

I've been having lots of fun with the 30 day coloring challenge I've been doing this month (which I post to Instagram... you can find me HERE). So I took some of the things I colored and made them into finished cards...

Paper: Canson Mixed Media, Basic Grey, Prima Nature Garden
Stamps: Altenew Spring Daisy
Ink: VersaMark, Zig Clean Color
Dies: LDRS Creative Majestic Frame
Other: clear embossing powder, twine

This one, was not only practice for coloring white objects (which can be tricky), but also a experiment. Normally I use Bristol Smooth paper with my Zig Clean Colors.. I started using only Bristol because it was the only paper I could get good results with these markers... However, since I have more experience with the markers now, I wanted to see if I could get them to work on the Mixed Media paper I use for other watercoloring mediums... While it was a little different, I was able to get similar results as the Bristol. 


This stamp set also has a lot of meaning to me... at the end of January this year, my mom came back from the anniversary trip she and my dad took and told me she had found a scrapbook store she wanted to take me to... So we took a day trip together and drove 3 hours to a store called Doodle Bugs. It was INCREDIBLE! My mom bought the Spring Daisy stamp set for me after watching me get all excited over finding Altenew in an actual store instead of just online (Yeah, I get excited over weird stuff!). We made plans to come back together in a month or so to pick out paper for birthday cards she wanted me to make... 
9 days later she was in the hospital with severe pain and a cancer diagnosis, and everything changed.  

I still think of that shopping trip when I use this stamp set. 

ok... enough of the sentimental stuff... back to cards. :)

Paper: Georgia Pacific
Stamps: Polkadoodles Eleganza
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Chameleon Pens PK2, YO2, OL3, NU2, BR4, D
Other: Pretty Pink Posh Sparkling Clear sequins

I couldn't resist playing with this ADORABLE stamp set I got as part of my DT welcome package for LDRS Creative.... You'll see more of this set, I'm sure! It's so fun and whimsical!

I colored it using Chameleon pens... that color blending in the petals was SO simple with these markers! I'll have to put together a tutorial on different ways to blend colors with Chameleons.. after all, that is where they really shine!

Paper: Georgia Pacific, Basic Grey
Stamps: Crafters Companion Shooting Stars, Unity Thanks Above and Beyond
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Copic WG7, WG9, WG3, WG2, WG0, 0, T7, T5, T9, T10,  V12,V15,V17,YG95,YG97,7G99
Dies: LDRS Creative Majestic Rectangle Labels

Isn't that puppy just so sweet??? I needed a 'thank you' card for a friend of mine who helped take care of my parent's dog while my mom was in the hospital. I wanted the puppy to look like my parent's dog, so I had to shorten the ears a bit... Unfortunately, this is an old stamp set, and is retired. :(

You may have noticed, that last card was colored with something new.... well, new to me. 

Yep, I found an amazing deal on Copics on Ebay, and now have a full set of markers sitting by my work table!!! I am still learning them, but I am totally in LOVE! Ever since they arrived at my door step I have been going crazy coloring with them.  I get completely focused and lose all track of time.. 

That's how I know I've found a new art medium I'm going to love!

You'll still see Distress ink, Zig Clean Color, and Chameleons from me, but for all you Copic fans, you will now start finding Copic things on my blog too!

Check out this AMAZING hex chart by Sandy Allnock! It it is so helpful when choosing colors! It does cost a little money ($5.99) but in my opinion, it's worth it! (no, I wasn't sponsored to say that, I just know that I pull out that chart every time I color with Copics)

I'm curious... what are YOUR favorite coloring mediums?


Monday, September 11, 2017

challenge, announcement, and cards... oh my!

Hello my fabulous friends!

Today I have some news and a couple different cards...

First... Have you been following me as I do play along with #thedailymarker30day coloring challenge? You can find my work on Instagram, and follow me by clicking HERE. You can find more info about the challenge in general by clicking HERE.

(Zig Clean Color on Mixed media Paper... Altenew Spring Daisy Stamp)

While you are there, go a head and search for #thedailymarker30day, and you will see tons of amazing work from others who are participating in the challenge that is sure to inspire you!

If you aren't playing along, you should! It's not to late to join in the fun... Just spend some time coloring every day.. that's it. Super simple! It's a great time to experiment or to just practice.

Second.... I have some SUPER exciting news! 

If you follow me on Facebook (click HERE) you've already heard, but...

I have been asked to join the LDRS Creative (Little Darling Rubber Stamps) design team!!! 

I'm super excited! I will be working with a team of very talented designers, and you'll be seeing more of their products featured on my blog in the upcoming months mixed in with my usual posts.

If you have never heard of them, you can find their store HERE
 (full of ADORABLE stamps, AMAZING dies, BEAUTIFUL paper, and MORE)
You can find the blog HERE

Now on to the cards...

This first one is a SUPER simple card...
Paper: Georgia Pacific 110
Stamps: Recollections I'm a Little Monster; KI Memories Celebrate Life
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black; VersaFine Onyx Black, Chameleon Pens
Dies: WRMK Circles

Isn't it adorable? The best part? It moves... That little kid moves up down, even does cart wheels! It's one of the simplest action cards I've done. I thought about doing a tutorial, but decided that the tutorial I followed by Jennifer McGuire was was excellent, and I'll just send you there to check it out... 

Next up... My nephew's birthday card...
Paper: Georgia Pacific 110, black card stock
Stamps: My Favorite Things Up in the Air; Mama Elephant Lunar Animals; WPlus9 Party Animal
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Espresso Truffle; Distress Ink Salty Ocean; Chameleon pens and color tops; Signo white gel pen
Dies: My Favorite Things Up in the Air

The background was done using Distress Ink and a some cloud masks I made out of scratch card stock. I kept things pretty simple, and colored the images with Chameleons pens and color tops... 

I love that you can mix stamp sets, even across brands! The monkey is from Mama Elephant's Lunar Animals (I cut off his legs so he fit in the basket),  the sentiment is WPlus9 Party Animal, and the rest are My Favorite Things Up in the Air.... They all fit so well together!

Until next time...


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

animating your stamps...

Hello my fabulous friends!

Several weeks ago, I shared a tutorial on making an animated card using Uchi's Design Animation stamps and dies... (see it HERE). In that post, I said that with a little extra work, it's possible to animate other stamps you might have already in your collection... So, today I wanted to share how you can do that...

I have the Flying Owls animation stamp set, but I wanted to make it more festive and Christmasy... In going through my holiday stamps, I realized that the Santa hat from Tim Holtz's Crazy Things stamp set fit the owl!! 

Paper: Georgia Pacific
Stamps: Uchi's Design Flying Owls; Tim Holtz Crazy Things
Ink: Memento Espresso, Tuxedo Black; Bic Ultra Fine Rambunctious Red; Chameleon (YO3, NU3, NU0, RD4, YG3, NG4, BR4, BR5, D)
Dies: Uchi's Design Animation Grid; Papercraft Mulit-Bow
Other: Ranger Glossy Accents

How cute, right?

Well, I could have let the hat stay stationary while the owl dances, but that's not nearly as cool as the hat wiggling around too... So, here's how to make it dance...

Step 1: Die cut an animation grid out of thin copy paper. This will serve as our mask. If you paper is too thick, it won't work.

Step 2: Temporarily adhere your mask to your card stock... I'm just using post-it notes, but any low tack tape will work.

Step 3: Stamp your image through your mask. Because you have to get your image through a mask, this takes more pressure than normal stamping.

Note: getting it to stamp well through the mask can take some practice, and some images are better suited for this than others. I suggest doing some test runs just to get the feel of it.

Step 4: Without moving your mask, color in the image through the mask... I used an ultra fine tip marker for this... Don't let the thin strips of the mask move around while you are coloring... the crisper your lines, the better. Also, due to the animation, simple coloring is better than trying to do some complicated shading or pattern.

Step 5: Shift your mask so it COVERS what you just stamped/colored... the colored part should completely disappear. Temporarily tape it in place.

Step 6: Stamp your image again, slightly shifted from how you had it originally. Don't move it TOO much or the animation will look jumpy.. Again, practicing on a scrap paper will help you figure out how much to move it.

Step 7: Color through your mask again.

At this point, you can test your animation by sliding your grid back and forth... Without the grid, the image will look really weird, but once you put the grid over top and start sliding it, magic happens!

Step 8: OPTIONAL- For mine, I wanted the owl to be wearing the hat... The owl is already an animation stamp, and just needed to be stamped. I used a MISTI to help line up the owl lines with the lines I already created with the hat.  I also wanted the tummy to be plain, so after I inked up the stamp, I wiped the ink off the heart before stamping. 

Step 9: Use a fine tip marker to do any needed touch up... I masked off the white part of the hat so I wouldn't accidentally color too far up my lines. 

Step 10: Assemble and decorate your card how you would like... 



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

watercolor wood grain...

Hello my fabulous friends! 

Today I wanted to play around with backgrounds... I used to do backgrounds all the time on my cards, then I fell in love with the simple clean look of plain white space... I guess I just like switching things up every once in a while!

Paper: Strathmore Bristol Smooth; Coredinations
Stamps: Essentials By Ellen Mondo Peony, Fancy Thanks
Other: clear embossing powder

My colors were inspired by this month's Ellen Hutson Pin-sights Challenge. I wanted to use the pink as my main color, but pull in that raspberry purple into my shadows. And I loved the bright green of the leaves in the photo, so I tried to mimic that in my card.

I started by stamping my image in VersaMark ink onto Bristol smooth paper, and heat embossing with clear embossing powder.. I loved doing this when I'm watercoloring with the Zig Clean Color markers. 

Maybe I'm weird, but when I first start coloring an image, I don't like it.. (for a long time I would quit at this stage thinking that it was ruined, now I keep going, knowing it will be fine)

After getting a couple colors down, I start liking it... 

Then, when I'm about to add in my deepest shadows, I start second guessing myself... What if I mess up now? I like how it looks now, what if I don't like it once the next layer is added? 

I try not to let that stop me either, because adding that extra bit of contrast in there really makes the image pop!

One of the best tips I've gotten for both watercolors and alcohol markers is that you shouldn't give up on an image too soon.

I wanted to add a background at this point... I loved the weathered wood in the inspiration photo, and wanted to try to recreate that. 

So... Here's how I do a wood background with Zig Clean Color Real Brush Makers...

Scribble some ink onto an acrylic block (or other non porous surface). Because I'm going for a weathered wood look, my base color is Green Gray (093). It's a darker gray, but we'll be using so much water it will end up a lot lighter in color.

Using a wet flat brush, pick up some of the ink from the acrylic block and cover your background with color... If the color is too dark or doesn't flow easily across your paper, add more water. If you want a darker color, add more ink, or let this layer dry and do another layer. 

It doesn't need to be a perfectly smooth wash... wood isn't a perfect solid color... To avoid getting harsh lines, keep your leading edge (the edge between where you have painted and where you haven't) wet... if the ink drys it can be hard to get rid of the hard line. 

Let it dry... Sometimes it's hard to tell exactly what it will look like while it is still wet, so letting it dry between layers helps you gauge if you need more color or not. 

I wanted to add a bit more contrast right around the flower, so I took the marker directly to the paper and scribbled in some ink around the edges of the stamped image.

I then took a small round brush with lots of water and blended it out.

If you do this, you can avoid a weird water line around your image, by using a paper towel to blot up any standing water.

When your background is completely dry, draw in your wood grain... it's just lines and knots... 
Every piece of wood is different... The pattens and widths of you lines can vary as much as you want.  

You can leave it like this if you want.

I wanted the background to be a soft so the focus stays on the flower and the sentiment, so I just took my flat brush and lightly went over the background with clean water.  Don't scrub it, or your lines will disappear.. Just do a light wash of water to soften the lines. I put more water on some areas than others to create variation and a distressed look.

I finished it off by adding a little Pumice Stone Distress Ink around the edges using an ink blending tool to form a vignette, and added a sentiment. After that I just mounted it on a raspberry card front, keeping it nice and simple. 

Wood grains are a fairly simple thing to watercolor since they can vary dramatically and still read as wood. Give it a try sometime!