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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Gel Plate Skaters





Another couple of cards for our "Winter Sports" challenge at the Christmas Card Throwdown.

Tired and want to get to bed, so I'll fill in the details tomorrow!

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I'm back!

I saw Leonie Pujol using with her gel press plate on telly the other day, and she inspired me to get my plate and paints out for a play! I love using paints, and they're not really that messy (they come off fingers much more easily than dye ink!) but I do have a mental block about using them if I'm in a rush.

I also used my Sam's shapes stamps from Clarity - the ovals. I cut masks out first, and added them to my card (which was cut to size for a 6x6 card blank).

On the gel plate, I started with red and green paint, brayered to spread it. I then used Clarity snowflake stamps to lift paint off (and stamped onto spare paper with them). I used a corner stamp what smaller snowflakes to do them same, then pressed punchinella into the paint.

Then I pressed the plate over the card to transfer the paint and pull a print.


I have to say, I was very pleased with this for a first attempt!

I cleaned my masks and attached to another piece of card.

There was still a lot of red and green paint on the gel plate, I added magenta and a lime green to it. I then lifted some off again in the same way. My spare paper built up into a great pattern.


I pulled my second print.


I adore this! The blending of the colours just really appeals to me!

I carried on with the gel plate, making more backgrounds for other cards, and in my art journal. Even cleaning the plate gave me some gorgeous backgrounds. My attempts to reduce my stash are not going well!

Back to my Christmas cards. Time to fill in the ovals.

The theme for the Christmas Card Throwdown is Winter Sports.


I have an ice skater in my Clarity Christmas wee folk set, so I used her, and two children throwing snowballs. I'm not sure that snowball fights count as a Winter sport, but I think they should!


I used my stamp platform and black stazon ink, for a really crisp outline.

I used the outline oval stamp to define the ovals.




I didn't line up very well, so I used pencils to fill in the gaps outside the line. I don't mind the paint inside the line, it all adds to the interest. This technique is not about being perfect!

I also used the pencils to add a simple suggestion of a landscape behind the figures.


For the ice skaters, I used a straight edge, to suggest a frozen pond.


For the snow ball throwers, I used torn paper for hills and snow drifts.

I didn't want to do much more to these, so the gorgeous backgrounds could carry the day. I edged with a black ink pad. But they did need something more, so I added a sentiment. I chose a simple "Happy Christmas" in a scroll script that I think goes with the detail in the background.




The words disappear a bit, especially on the red background, so out with the white gel pen to highlight them.



It makes such a difference, and works so well over acrylic paint.

Then it was just a case of mounting onto my 6x6 card blanks.



The ovals and figures stand out beautifully, but for me it's the gel plate backgrounds that  make these cards, I love this technique and can't wait to play some more.








To join in with the Winter Sports challenge, head over to the Christmas Card Throwdown. You have until Friday 20th October to play.






Sunday, 8 October 2017

Ski Sunday


I'm a bit late posting my DT card for the new Christmas Card Throwdown challenge.

Our theme is Winter Sports.



I knew this challenge was coming up and that I didn't have much I could use. So when my local art and craft shop had a sale recently, I was on the look out. I've had a run of craft bargains - after that sale, one of the charity shops in town got a lot of stamps in, then a couple of weeks ago I found out about a "Stash busting super sale" that was arranged locally. The idea being that craft people could sell their unused stash. I went as a buyer, and got a lot of stuff.



This is just a part of my haul from the three events.

But to get back to my point, I was on the look out for something Winter sports themed, and found a set of stamps of skiing penguins. It's not the sort of thing I usually use, and I wouldn't have bought at full price, but for £1, I was happy.



Here's the set stamped out, for me to see what they looked like.

I went with the top right penguin. I stamped her in archival onto an off cut of card. Colouring isn't my thing particularly, but I got out my Faber Castell pencils and had a go.



I was quite pleased with how she turned out.

Then for a background - much more familiar territory for me!

I used some super smooth watercolour card I'd treated myself to. I spritzed with water and added distress stain (a stash buster purchase) in chipped sapphire, weathered wood and picket fence.

Whilst wet, I placed cling film over the top and scrunched it up, then left to dry.



The next day, these were the results.



I love this effect! I used the darker piece for the card.

I added snowflakes from Sweet Dixie over the top. I stamped in versamark and heat embossed in white.



These snowflakes are so pretty and delicate. I blended chipped sapphire distress ink around the edge of the background, to frame it.

For interest across the card, I stamped some Urban Stamps Christmas borders onto more scrap card. I used adirondack ink in cranberry, bottle, denim and slate.



I cut the borders into strips then shorter lengths, and arranged in a brick type pattern across the background.



I used slim foam pads to attach them, and then cut off the excess at the edges.

I cut my penguin out with an oval die, then stamped the smallest snowflake from the same set around her, in tumbled glass distress ink.



She was then added to the top of the card with foam pads, and it was mounted on a 6x6 card base.



To join in with the theme challenge, go to the Christmas Card Throwdown. You have until midnight BST on Friday 20th October to play.

I look forward to seeing what you do with this challenge.



Saturday, 23 September 2017

Northern lights


It's time for another pink, red and green Christmas Card for the Christmas Card Throwdown.


I was very unsure about this combination when I first saw it, but it's proven a rich seam of inspiration! This is why I love the challenges, it makes you think outside your comfort zone.

This card will also suit the Berkhamsted Creative Challenge "Celestial Wonders".


I've been wanting to try this Northern Lights technique since I saw it last year, I think it was on a sponging technique challenge.

I started with my distress oxides and the challenge colours - fired brick, picked raspberry, twisted citron and cracked pistachio.

I sponged them onto my card in streaks.


My camera doesn't focus on these backgrounds well, this was the best photo of several!

I then took the black soot oxide and sponged round the outside, and a little over the lights. I used a torn paper mask to add a hill at the bottom.


For a focus, I added some trees along the horizon. I used memento ink as I wanted them to be crisp. These are a selection of Clarity stamp trees - I used the top half as I wanted them smaller than the full stamp.


Where the trees showed on the black hill, I sponged over again in memento to blend them in.

While that dried, I had another go, using the normal distress inks, to see how they compare. This one isn't in the challenge colours!


As I wasn't restricting myself, I added chipped sapphire around the edge first, then black soot over it.


This gives a deeper, more velvety effect to the night sky.


In general, the colours are more vibrant, and the black darker, so for this I think the normal inks are a better choice. Having said that, I didn't add water to the oxides - I suspect that a light spritz might activate them and give a whole other effect. One to try another time!


I added the trees as before, first and second generation. 

Once they had dried, I added stars with a white gel pen.



I also darkened the sky of the oxide one with normal black soot ink.

For a sentiment, I stamped the top half of a Clarity Christmas stamp, using versa mark and white embossing powder.



To finish, I mounted on card - pink for the oxide one, purple for the distress ink one, then onto 6x6 card blanks.


I think you could play around with the "shape" of the sky to be more realistic, and with the patterns in the colours. There are lots of videos on youtube with different ways to play with this kind of effect. But even a fairly basic version like this is (I think!) very striking and effective. 




To join in with our colour challenge, head to the Christmas Card Throwdown, where you'll find lots of inspiration from the design team and the other entries.






As there are 5 Saturdays in September, this challenge is open for three weeks, so you have until Friday 6th October to enter.



Monday, 18 September 2017

Live, Love, Laugh


The July theme at the Berkhamsted Creative Challenge was "Live, Laugh, Love".


I didn't quite get anything made in the month, but did make these bunting pieces while on holiday in August. And it's taken until now to blog them!

The idea of making the bunting is to use up some of the huge pile of backgrounds I have built up in my stash. I pulled out these three to use.


Let's start with "Live". The background for this was really intense, so I wanted to tone it down a bit. I used a white gel pen to draw cross hatches across large areas to break up and lighten the colour. It worked better than I'd hoped.


I then used cracked pistachio, broken china and vintage photo distress oxides, blended round the edges and applied though a dotty stencil.

I stamped the word with cobalt blue archival ink.


To finish it off, I scribbled round the edge with the white gel pen, and edged the words and some of the stencil dots.

"Love" was the easiest piece as the background was so pretty it did most of the work. It was made with purple, ultramarine and emerald green brushos, on watercolour card.

I simply edged the triangle with broken china distress oxide, then stamped the word in black archival and highlighted it with the white gel pen.



Finally, "Laugh". I used the rainbow background, made by smooshing distress ink with water between plastic sheets, then adding the card and pressing.

I wanted to add more texture, so tried out an idea on scrap card. Stamping with distress oxides and stencils. They are thick and creamy enough that it works beautifully, with a light spritz of water, and a bit of pressure through copy paper. You don't need an embossing machine like normal inks (which is as well as I didn't have one with me!)


I used the petite leafy swirl stencil from Clarity, and added colour in each rainbow colour to match the background.


As a bonus, I got this piece from inking up the stencil, which is now decorating my phone case!


I also blended colour round the edged of the triangle to frame it a little, again matching the rainbow colours.

I stamped the word "Laugh" using the Clarity alphabet and black archival ink. It wasn't a perfect stamp, and the spacing, that I'd wanted to be loose and free, was a bit too chaotic. The "a" gets lost.


I tied it in by tidying up the letters with a permanent pen, then edging with a yellow distress marker, then red distress oxide painted around with a water pen.


I'm still not happy with that "a", I might try to cover it with something else one day.

For a final touch, and to frame it more, I used a music stamp around the edge, stamping freehand without a block.


So, another three pieces of bunting for my shed. I used up some of my stash as well, although in this crafting session I made 5 more (not including the one that went on my phone) so I'm not sure I can call that a success!

Our current Berkhamsted Creative Challenge is "Celestial Wonders", do come over to Facebook to see what's been shared.