Sunday, 27 February 2011

Elements of Style - Get Well Soon and crayon watercoloring tips

I made this card for my mum, a keen gardener after her knee surgery late last year.  It uses the "Elements of Style" stamp set, to be found on page 99, from $39.95 (clear mount).  It is a great collection of stamps that work well either used separately, especially this floral branch, or together.  It also has a couple of great greetings, and there is the co-ordinating 'Decor' standard wheel as well.  If you have the Baroque Motifs stamp set and love it, you NEED this one in your collection too - you'll find yourself using it time and again.

In this card, the stamped layer is watercolor paper, stamped in Black Stazon.  I've used my Watercolor Wonder crayons and a blender pen to colour the image.  This is probably the easiest way to watercolour a stamped image,  but many people don't know the crayons work brilliantly with a Blender Pen.

Here are my tips for a professional-looking result:

*Stamp image on heavy weight cardstock, watercolor paper is best, followed by Confetti, using Stazon ink
*Choose your crayons, selecting light and dark shades to mix, according to the colour scheme you want
*Add short strokes of crayon direct to the stamped image, not to cover the area, just to lay some colour down.
*Using your blender pen, move the colour around to fill the section, simply stroke onto scrap paper to change colours.  You will get more intense colour from the initial pen strokes, this will shade out as the solublised colour moves out of the fibre tip onto the paper.
*For small areas and tiny colour accents, scribble a bit of crayon onto the lid of the tin - this acts like a palette.  You can then pick up a small amount of colour to dab where you want it
*You can build up colour intensity by adding more crayon onto parts of the image, to create depth and shading. The hashed or darker areas of the stamp are a good place to do this, as this is where the shadows would be on a real object.You can either leave the crayon as is, or blend it into the colours you've already laid down.
*Don't forget your neutrals to add some shading around the outsides of the stamped image, again look for where a shadow would naturally fall.  I often use Sahara Sand for this, as it is a not too brown, not too grey neutral

Back to the card for a mo, and then I'll give a quick rundown of other techniques for the crayons.

The card base is square, Very Vanilla.  Can't remember the size Karen, think it was 5" x 5" finished
Next up is a layer of Blushing Bride, our dusty pink In Color for 2011-12.  Yum!  I've stamped this with French Filligree background in matching ink and distressed the edges with the Cutter Kit
Then there is a layer of Pear Pizzazz, my favourite green of the moment, and the reason I don't miss Mellow Moss as much as I thought I would!  Also yum!
Then we have the stamped panel, also distressed, coloured as described above with various shades of pink, red, green and brown.
To finish I used the In Color twill ribbon in Blushing Bride and Pear Pizzazz, and stamped the greeting from "Thoughts and Prayers" in Pear Pizzazz ink.

OK - after a few months of being unavailable, the Watercolor Wonder Crayons have very quickly found their way back into my most-used colouring tools.  They are available in sets of 10 in each of the 4 Colour Collections, and also come as a fabulous New Colour Collection kit, with new tins and inserts in the pretty pale green, so you can re-organise your existing crayons into their new families and add the new colours without duplication.  You can see this kit on Page 142, it's $64.95 for 17 colours and the fresh new tins.  If you're new to crayons, this kit is an economical way to get a good selection of colours to play with. (But if you're like me you'll soon want ALL the other colours too...)

A list of the new colours that come in the New Colour Kit to refresh your memory, now they have become integrated into the old faves in your collection:

Daffodil Delight
Tangerine Tango
Melon Mambo
Rich Razzleberry
Pacific Point
Pink Pirouette
Wild Wasabi
Baja Breeze
Marina Mist
Cajun Craze
Cherry Cobbler
Riding Hood Red
Early Espresso
Crumb Cake
River Rock
Soft Suede
Basic Gray

What else can you use the crayons for??

*Direct to rubber - colour a stamp with crayon by scribbling onto the rubber surface.  Bold stamps like Inspired By Nature and Upsy Daisy are perfect choices, but any bold-ish stamp will work.  Start with the lightest colour and add accents and layers.  Mist your cardstock (heavy weight is best as above) with a fine water spray to moisten the surface.  Mist the crayon-ed stamp with the spray, holding the bottle a fair distance from the stamp.  You are aiming for a fine dampness, not pooling water. The aim is to 'melt
 the crayon, but not to have it dripping off!  It does take a little practice, but the beautiful watercolour painting like results are worth it!


*Aquapainter and Crayon - You can also use the Watercolor crayons with an Aquapainter brush, which gives a wetter effect good for larger areas and backgrounds.  The base of the crayon has a perforated wrapper, so you can remove the paper from the crayon butt.  This way, you can preserve the tip for detail work, and pick up rich colour from the base, just like using solid pan watercolour paint!

Enjoy your Sunday people, please give me a call on (02) 9484 9447 if you're keen to book a free in-home workshop during the Sale-a-bration period (ends 31st March) - you too could be making cards like these!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Stampin' Crop Day - this Saturday 19th February

Stampin' Crop Day 10am -5pm  Come along for the day and work on whatever papercrafting projects you want. There is plenty of inspiration available, and a huge selection of stamps, inks and tools to play with.  A light snack-style lunch is provided, and bottomless tea and coffee.  Bring your own basic tools and projects to work on. Cost for the day is $15.00, and bookings are highly recommended as places are limited.  We're located in Cherrybrook, North Western Sydney.  Beginners are welcome, as are older children under the supervision of their accompanying adult.  I offer casual instruction and impromptu demos during the day, and it's a great social occasion.  To book, please call 9484 9447 or email me today!

Grungy Boy Birthday Card with Extreme Elements

I had masses of fun with this one!!  Some people say they struggle with boy cards, but I find them quite refreshing to do.  Must be channelling my inner tomboy... :P
Here is a card I made for a little school friend of my daughter, turning just 6, but past the teddies and trains stage for sure.  I love the "Extreme Elements" set, with the co-ordinating single stamps available, here I have used "Extreme Guitar".  The messy background style stamps make it easy to create a masculine look.

I started with a base of Early Espresso cardstock, and used the new "Wonderfully Worn" background stamp with matching ink.  After that, I have stamped the smaller backgrounds from the set onto a piece of Marina Mist, again with matching ink.  Then I scrunched and distressed it.  Just think of a scrap of paper that has been kicking around the base of a kid's school bag for a few weeks.  I'm familiar with that look, I have a boy turning TEN this year!!!!  This layer was deliberately stuck down skew-whiff.  Think pasted in homework sheets there. 

To brighten it up, I used the yummy new "Daffodil Delight" yellow - so much of an improvement in the useability stakes than the old bright Yoyo Yellow!!  Again, this is stamped with background stamps and torn and distressed.

For the stamped image panel, there is first a layer of Very Vanilla, stamped win Marina Mist ink with the splodgy background stamp, and stamped again with the "Extreme Guitar" bloke in Early Espresso ink.  I deliberately smudged the stamp sideways to get an impression of movement - to do this you need to ink the stamp really well, and make a sharp deliberate movement to one side as soon as the stamp hits the cardstock.  It helps to practice first on a scrap, as it may be easier to slide in one direction than another.  Over this, I inked up the bloke stamp again, this time with daubers to get a patchy tie-dye look.  I carefully trimmed around this second image and mounted it over the base smudged image.

To finish and personalise, I used a large star punchie with  the distressed crown from the "Extreme Elements" set, with an alphabet monogram from "Just Perfect Alpha" Embellishments can sometimes be tricky for boy cards, but these mini library clips are fabbo!

Hope you like, the recipient did, perhaps not as much as the contents of his parcel though, a Nerf Super Soaker water gun :D

Friday, 11 February 2011

Ooops! A VERY early Christmas project - Wooden Advent Calendar wth Ski Slope and Welcome Christmas

Oh dear, it's been a lot longer between posts than I intended.  Life has intervened, with two kids starting school for the year, and myself just about to start back at uni after a long break from study.  I've lots of things on my 'to do' list before my course starts, but posting here wasn't at the top of the list, sorry!

So, without further ado, I present a project that is either:
a) very early for Christmas 2011 (because I'm SO organised!)

b) so late that you won't even look at it!

Hopefully you'll choose option A!

I used a wooden Advent Calendar kit, and decorated it with the (now retired) Ski Slope Designer Series Papers.  Probably the biggest trick to assembling the pieces is to ignore the advice regarding painting first.  Assemble first!!  Yes, painting might be slightly more time consuming, but not as time consuming (or frustrating) as needing to sand back all the pieces before they'd fit!!!

The little drawers are covered in strips of DSP, and then decorated with rhinestones and Early Espresso marker doodle borders.  I painted the chipboard numbers in colours I blended to match Chocolate Chip, Riding Hood red and Kiwi Kiss.  The beauty of the SU DSPs is that the patterns and colours co-ordinate so well, and the double sided patterns make it a snap to use little offcuts and strips to vary the look.
I sponged the edges of the raw chipboard drawers with Chocolate Chip ink also, to take away the grey look.  The wooden snowflakes were coated in Tombow Multi glue and covered with our Supernova and Galaxy microfine glitters.  So Sparkly!!  I attached them to the frame with mini Glue dots.

The back of the calendar is covered with a 12x12 sheet of textured cardstock in Riding Hood Red, and I used strips of a red Ski Slope DSP to make a border.  I chose a Baja Breeze print Ski Slope DSP for the front window background.  I didn't stick in the page, as I wanted to be able to re-do one with each year's christmas tree kid pic.

The page is 8x8", on Baja Breeze textured cardstock.  I used the "So Swirly" wheel to decorate one edge, and sponged the other sides with Baja ink.  The photo is matted on Old Olive, with a border made with the Scallop Trim border punch.  A strip of Real Red cardstock is at one side, with faux stitching made with the Mat Pack kit and white gel pen.  Under the other side of the photo I used strips of Ski Slope paper cut into banner shapes.  The "Christmas" stamp is from Basic Phrases, and the "Joy" is from Welcome Christmas,  I stamped in Marina Mist, but it still wasn't 'popping' from the background as well as I'd like, so I traced around with the white gel pen to match the stitching doodles.  A snowflake from Snow Swirled was stamped in Whisper White Craft ink and punched out with the scallop circle, and I stamped the ornaments from the Tree Trimmings set in Chocolate Chip, Baja Breeze, Real Red and Old Olive, mounting them on dimensionals and drawing 'strings' in with more gel pen.

The finishing touches were the drawer contents, but they are all long gone!!!  The little drawers are a good size to put praline chocolate balls and mini chocolate santa figures (I got mine from Aldi because I love their Moser Roth choc balls!)  You could probably squeeze in about 6 balls.

Hope you like, I am looking forward to bringing it out again for this coming Christmas, and making a new insert page with my cherubs.

Back again  soon!  (sooner than last time I promise!!)