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!


Friday, August 25, 2017

cascading flowers tutorial..

Hello my fabulous friend!

I have some exciting news...

It's almost time to start the next round of #thedailymarker30day coloring challenge!!!

It starts Sept 1, and goes through Sept 30

Keep an eye on The Daily Marker website, for awesome inspiration from the woman who runs this fun challenge!

For those who don't know what this is, this is a laid back challenge that basically just encourages you to spend some time coloring each day for 30 days... and share with others what you've done. Any medium, any techniques, any theme... Just COLOR!  And everyone is welcome to join in the fun!

For me, this is a time for me to really focus on coloring... mastering new techniques,  improving with various mediums, and just plain put in the time it takes to improve.  

 I post my daily colorings on Instagram, so be sure to find and follow me there

Any tutorials and finished projects will get shared here and on Facebook, but Instagram is where you'll find my every day colorings. 

Speaking of coloring... How about a quick tutorial?

Paper: Strathmore Bristol, glimmer paper 
Stamps: Altenew Peony Bouquet, Oriental Orchids, Painted Butterflies
Ink: VersaFine Onyx Black; Zig Clean Color Real Brush makers; Sharpie
Other: sequins

Cut Britol paper to 4.75 in by 3.25 in. Stamp flowers cascading diagonally across card using VersaFine Onyx Black ink. 

Using Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers, scribble in some Light Violet (081) and Light Gray (091) into the area the shadow would be the darkest. Work one petal at a time for best blending.

Using a water brush, blend the color out from the darkest shadow to where the lightest highlights are. Repeat with each petal. 

Scribble Olive Green (045) to the areas you want darkest on the leaves and stems and blend out with water brush.

 Fussy cut along upper right side of the flowers.

 Using a liner pen, add a doodled boarder around the remaining sides of the panel. Stamp sentiment using VersaFine Onyx Black ink.

On a scrap piece of Bristol paper stamp some butterflies using VersaFine Onyx.

 Color butterflies like the flowers. Add some unblended gray streaks by flicking the marker lightly starting in the darkest areas and flicking out into the lighter areas. Color the body with Dark Gray (095).

Blend with water brush, then cut out.

Cut silver glimmer paper to 3.5 in by 5 in. Attach to the front of a 4 bar card (3.5 in by 5 in). Layer on colored flower panel. Attach butterflies using foam tape. Add sequins.


Friday, August 18, 2017

stamped sand dollar ornament...

Hello my fabulous friends!

Yesterday, this incredible sparkly goodness arrived on my doorstep... 1 pound of glitter!!! 

No, I'm not crazy... well, maybe I am... I have 125 Christmas gifts to make for the kiddos in my church... They will be VERY sparkly this year!!!

*and my studio will be sparkly for the next 10 years probably!!!*

Having that glitter sitting there, and thinking about Christmas (and, if I'm being honest, procrastinating working on the gifts)... I started getting some ideas that I wanted to try out... 

I wanted a colored, stamped image on a sand dollar... 

I decided to start with the Altenew Inspiration Challenge for August. I love the teal color combined with brown leaves... it's different, and elegant..  

Here's the final ornament...

Paper: cheap tissue paper
Stamps: Altenew Christmas Rose  
Ink: Memento Rich CocoaAltenew Volcano Lake; Chameleon Pens Aqua Marine (BG4), Turqoise (BG3), Bark (BR5)
Other: sand dollar, ribbon, polished hemp, glitter, Mod Podge

Now on to the HOW-TO....

Step 1: Tape some tissue paper to some scratch paper. The tissue paper is thin, so the ink will bleed through. You want to give it a place to go so it doesn't end up in places you don't want it. 
(yes, that would be experience speaking...)

Step 2: Stamp your image on the tissue paper using an ink that won't smear with alcohol markers... 
I like Memento.

*Note: This specific stamp set is an exclusive set that came free with the Simply Cards and Papercraft  magazine (issue 157) However you can do the same thing with other lined images or layered stamps.

Step 3: You can free hand the details if you want, but if you are using layered stamps, you can cheat... Stamp the detail stamp onto some scratch paper using a dark ink (Altenew Volcano Lake happened to be on my desk, so I went with that.)

Step 4: Line up the stamped detail under the stamped tissue paper... Because the tissue paper is thin, you'll be able to see through it.

Step 5: Add your details using your dark color.. I'm using Aqua Marine (BG4), and using the detail stamp as my guide.
Allow to dry (doesn't take long, but if your tissue paper has any type of coating, you'll want to make sure it's dry so the paper doesn't get too wet.)

Step 6: Color your petals using your lighter color... I'm using Turqoise (BG3) fused with the colorless blender for 2 seconds on each petal.
*make sure to test your fuse times... each color will need different times, and your tissue paper might be different than mine as far as how it takes the ink... Just do a couple quick test swatches on the extra tissue paper. 

Step 7: Color the center... I used Bark (BR5) fused with the colorless blender for 2 seconds. I also added some dots once the color was back to full strength.

Step 8: If you want, you can skip this, but I decided it needed something more... So I made a quick mask with a post-it and added some leaves. 

*make sure whatever you use for a mask is low tack so it doesn't hurt the tissue paper.

Step 9: Color the leaves... I used Bark (BR5) fused with the colorless blender for 2 seconds each leaf.

Step 10: Trim out your image. It doesn't need to be perfect.. I like to leave just a little white halo around the edge just to make sure I don't lose any detail. 

Now it's time to prep the sand dollar... 

Step 11: First make sure it is clean (including the sand that likes to hide inside) and COMPLETELY dry. I let mine sit out in the sun for a couple days.

Step 12: If you are using a sand dollar from the east coast (Keyhole sand dollar), it probably already has holes. If you are using a sand dollar from my neck of the woods on the west coast (Pacific sand dollar), you'll have to drill your own hole. I like to use a hand drill for this... They aren't real hard, so a hand drill gives me more control, and it really isn't to tough to get through.

Step 13: For this step you need to work kinda quick... the sand dollar will want to soak up your glue super quick...
Put a layer of Mod Podge on the sand dollar, then press your cut out image onto the wet glue, and cover with another layer of Mod Podge. Make sure you smooth the tissue paper down, and add a little extra  Mod Podge where ever you have an loose edges. Be gentle, the wet tissue paper is VERY fragile and likes to tear...

I used a make-up wedge to do this, but you can also use a paint brush (just make sure to wash it out as soon as your are done so you don't ruin your brush). 

Let this dry...

You can stop here if you want,


I like to take things a step farther...

Step 15: Add another layer of Mod Podge and cover in fine clear glitter.
 (It looks bad now, but let it dry, and brush off any extra glitter, it will be fine)

See!!! Look how sparkly and pretty!!!

Step 16: Decorate as you please... I kept things simple, and used some thin polished hemp string for the hanger, then a pretty ribbon... A little hot glue works great to add embellishments. 


Friday, August 11, 2017

styrofoam flowers...

Hello my fabulous friends!

Ready for some snow in August? 


Me either!

Ok... what about flowers?

Stamps: Magnolia Tilda & Wiola; Altenew Oriental Orchids
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black; Uniball Signo; Adirondack Lettuce, Current; Chameleon Pens VO4, BV2, NU00, NU3, PK2, CG9, CG8, NG4, OL3, BR1, BR5, RD5, BL4,BL7, BL2, CB, D
Dies: Spellbinders A2 Scalloped Borders 1
Other: colored pencils, styrofoam balls

This is an old stamp (not even sure if you can still buy it... but I wanted to practice coloring fabric with the Chameleon pens...)

After coloring this girl, I noticed that her bunch of flowers (all little itty bitty flowers) just didn't pop like I wanted it to... So I decided to try something I heard about years ago, but never really tried... 

Styrofoam flowers. 

YEP, styrofoam. 

I love how they turned out, and the little extra texture and sparkle they give the card. 

Here's how to make your own...

Start by rubbing two cheap styrofoam balls  (like THESE) together... This is the simplest way to 'grate' the balls into a beautiful pile of sparkling styrofoam snow dust... (perfect for a snow scene!)

Now, put that snow into a zip bag (or a container with a lid would work too...) and add a couple drops of alcohol ink. I used Ranger's Adirondack, but if you have alcohol marker refill ink, that would work too. Just make sure it is alcohol based.

Shake up your bag... You can add more ink if needed, but a little really does go a long way!

Once you like the color, open up the bag for a while to let all the ink dry. You can spread your snow out on a piece of paper to dry if you want... It doesn't take long at all. 

Once dry, you can make color mixes by putting some of several colors into a bag and mixing them up... That's how I made the flowers for my card.  Because styrofoam is non porous, I used Glossy Accents to attach it to my card.  

Simple, cheap, and effective! 


Thursday, August 10, 2017

you lift me up

Hello my fabulous friends!

It's been a rough year for my family, but I have been overwhelmed by the friends (both those I know personally, and those who I've only crossed paths with via social media) who have reached out with words of support just when I need it most. Thank you!

I think this quote from Wplus9's  Party Animal set says it quite nicely:
"You always lift me up when I'm feeling down"

Paper: Georgia Pacific; DCWV Holiday Glitz
Stamps: Wplus9 Party Animals;Unity Create Today
Other: colored pencils

I'm also grateful that I have my creative outlets to help get me through the hard days! It's amazing how a few hours surrounded by stamps, inks, and markers can make me feel better! Ok, let's be honest... Even just LOOKING at ink pads, or markers all lined up in rainbow order on my deskwith all their colorful gorgeousness makes me happy! 

I wanted to do some more practicing with my Chameleon pens and no line coloring...  

 There is a matching die set for these animals, but I didn't want the white halo, so I just fussy cut them.

The window was created using this stamp from Unity's Create Today set. I love this sketchy heart! For this card, I inked up the heart, but avoided the long tails... After stamping it on the card front, I used a craft knife to cut out the inside window. I love that not only does that give you a window, it also frames it. A little Glitz paper behind the window gives it a pop of sparkle.

Well, the puppy is telling me it's time to go for a walk... 

Have a wonderful day!