BIG CARDS – 2 of Spades

Very nearly done now.  Of course I had to play with my drippy inks.  But this time I wanted to see how muted they would become on plain paper rather than glossy.

I dripped a couple of colours, Turquoise and clear Yellow, around and placed another sheet over to squash.

Because Spades are black, I had to add some of that.

and blotted again.

I dried it and dripped a bit more concentrated ink in spots and blotted with a DRY piece of cardstock, to keep the colour rich and dark.

I took a little texture stamp and added some + signs randomly around

Smudged on some Black Soot ink and then saw some letters, left on my desk from a layout and thought they were the perfect colour!


Although this one was pretty simple, I really like how it turned out.  The misty colours on matt cardstock look really interesting, not at all like the insanely bright colours on the glossy paper.  But they are still quite rich looking.  and I love that little stamp.  No idea where it is from – it isn’t very often I regret stripping away the packaging but every so often I actually care who made the thing.

I have a feeling I’ll try this again. And I am already thinking ahead to the ACE OF SPADES.  I really want to do something in PURE Black and White, have an idea, but can’t decide if it’s the best of the handful of ideas I have for the Ace.  and then, finally, back to red.  I do wonder if I will have enough ideas for a whole other series of red cards.  I must go back to my idea book and start identifying techniques I want to try.  Soon.


More drippy ink

A quick one – I wanted to share a few things.  First, the fact that at least on my photo paper (which is Polaroid Canvas paper, 10 sheets,  from the £ store) I am able to emboss on it.  The heat gun does not damage the paper at all.  So I did a couple of samples, experimenting.

I stamped and embossed (black ink, clear embossing powder) and them dripped the ink over it and daubed with a baby wipe.

This one in reverse, daubing the ink then stamping and embossing.  The ink dries very fast and does not allow the embossing powder to cling to it – or at least my combo of supplies doesn’t.

Now this last was just a trial – I wasn’t sure what would happen but I dripped the ink onto the photo paper, then blotted it off with plain printer paper (that is the piece on the left.) But then I filled in the white areas with drips of yellow to really brighten it up and daubed that off with another sheet – and I love that misty, pale piece the most.

I can see using any of these for ATC or cards or stuck in an art journal or punched out or cut as letters.  I might take some time next week to play with some of these practice pieces and see what I can turn them in to, just for fun.

Have a great day tomorrow!


Playing with drippy ink

Yesterday, I got my delivery from a discount Art supply place – mostly pens for the lettering class, but also a beginners set of drawing ink.  I was keen to have a play with these.  They can be added to water to make a colorwash mist of whatever intensity you want, as well as used straight from the bottle for really intense colour. With free shipping they were not much more than £1 a bottle

I tried a few things, with varying degrees of success. Watercolour paper, as that is most common for art journals and what mine is made of, was…ok.  Pretty muted.  I sprayed both pieces with water and dripped on the ink.  Maybe it was too much water, because as soon as the ink hit it spread all over the piece.  Squashed another sheet over it and got this:

Very melty and runny and I think hugely dependant on colour choice and placement.  Might try again with a VERY light mist of water. Then I tried plain dry watercolour paper.

First thing I noticed was how the ink just sat on the surface. I think I could also try misting lightly at this point. But I just squashed them together.

I turned the top sheet and squashed again.  Then I dripped more ink into the white areas (the yellow here)

THEN I misted with water and pressed the second (still dry) piece over that. Cool.  REALLY like the look of that! The dry paper sort of took away the colour, letting the texture of the watercolour paper show thru.

So then I thought back to a post by The Frugal Crafter  (do you follow her?  why not?) about using cheap photo paper in place of glossy cardstock.  Since I HAD cheap photo paper, as you may recall, I gave it a go.

The first thing I noticed was that if the photo paper is dry, it will stick when you squash it.  But by misting the piece I add the ink to, then misting the cover piece, I was able to keep them from sticking.  In the places where the ink was quite wet, is ran and bled and melded.  In places where the paper had dried (and the water dries really fast on this photo paper) I got more of a blot of colour.

I kept turning and pressing, so all a bit too blended, maybe, although I do still quite like the intensity of it.

And adding black ink drips to the initial mix really makes it POP!

Now, I am just about at my wit’s end with WordPress, as it is misbehaving horribly and in three different browsers so pretty sure that isn’t the problem.  It’s taken me HOURS to get this compiled and posted. But I have one other thing on my desk, a job that needs doing as much as I hate it.  One day I will learn my lesson and clean my stamps as I go along.


Grungy Printables, sized for Project Life

I just have too many things that interest me – scrapbooking, making mini-books and embellishments, making printables, getting interested in art journals, occasionally cardmaking and stamping art, and now improving my lettering.  It’s TOO MUCH. But I really hate to let anything slide lest I get so badly out of practice I never go back to it.

I made a little set of semi-grungy printables today, and I thought the progression of my ideas might be interesting.  I started from a black and white point and moved through plan rounded boxes, a full fill grid and sheer colour boxes, square corner boxes, (up till this point all with the font made BOLD) and finally the end product, square boxes, normal font, grid only in the coloured areas.  While I like all the steps it took me to get to the one I settled on, that final version was the one I liked best…today.  Yesterday, tomorrow, next week, it may have gone a completely different way!

The final set has three elements. Two small cards and one big one that doubles as a photo mat. and oops – the final one does NOT have the grid behind the long title!  I must have grabbed the one from the wrong set. You’ve seen my desk, does this surprise you?

I think the photo mat works fine landscape …

or portrait (and title left or title right if portrait, although I didn’t mock both up for you)

So now, which of the 100 other things that have been on my mind to I tackle??? At this point I suspect a random number generator will be the ticket.  Like those jump-start my mojo jars, where you pull out a scrap of paper with a creative idea on it, or roll some creatively labeled dice, for when you have NO ideas, but in reverse.  I need something to narrow DOWN my ideas and force me to focus on ONE thing at a time.  DOH!  ANOTHER thing to add to my list….




WOYWW 158 – lettering journal

Hello WOYWW-ers.  Click and see the best Mr Linky list around, and your passport to worldwide desks and the inspiration they contain.

Hope you had a great week.  I did eventually sort out my posting last week (I have NO IDEA what is happening with WordPress but it’s been doing weird things for days now) but then threw my back out.  I think it was a WOYWW person who told me once you have a REALLY bad episode like I had at Christmas, you can expect more problems and it looks like that is true.  Not severe, but note likely to put me out flat for a couple of days after doing anything too strenuous.

I had hoped to lead off with the ATC from Patsy in the Philippines but it’s still not arrived from its long journey.  The back-up I mentioned yesterday?  A lovely surprise return ATC from my send-to gal Neet! So pretty.

Now, on to my desk – OMG my entire room is shocking.

The rest of the room is just as bad as my desktop.  But I did my lettering for the Letter Love class and it’s not horrible. As I said yesterday my lettering is sort of a riff on Dr Stranglove’s subtitle (…or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) although I may still play around with another version that is more exactly the title, like or how I learned to stop worrying and just WRITE .  It uses one of the techniques from the video, although it wasn’t  a new one to me even then, which may be why I felt confident starting out with this one.  It’s lettering within lines.  I really need a better paint pen.  Mine is spitting and skipping a lot now.  I use it a lot.

I need to fill the bottom edge a bit more – it’s looking too bare to me.

(ARGH.  WHY does WordPress insist on downloading little .php files and refusing to let me upload photos or access my media library??)

And a bit of a close-up so you can see ALLLLLL the mistakes LOL!

I think I’m going to like this class, but no WAY I will finish it in 29 days. Have a great WOYWW – I’m looking forward to hopping round to yours!




Letter Love

I know what I’m like – I rarely commit to a class as I know my follow thru is rubbish.  But I saw a link in a newsletter I get from Cloth Paper Scissors for an Artful Lettering video download. As I have said MANY times, I am not fond of my handwriting so I had a look. I downloaded the 70+ minute video class and really, liked it a lot.  I then went looking for more info on the instructor, Joanne Sharpe.  Lo and behold she had a 29 day class (Letter Love 101) starting YESTERDAY.  I dithered and dithered for a bit, worried it might be not-enough-different to the CPS class, but an email from Joanne set my mind at ease and I booked it. There are a few more on the site that I may take at a later date, as they all look good.

The first lesson was to make a covered composition book to use for a Letter Love practice journal.. Now I’ve never seen the traditional b&w composition books I remember from my childhood days here in the UK, so instead I had a rummage thru a shelf of blank books I keep and found these two possibilities:

We do seem to have a LOT of computer conference notebooks – I wonder why?  Anyway, I felt the Apple one was a bit too small and really liked the window on the Java one so went for that.  The paper inside is lined like a composition book baut a nice weight.  Not sure if I will do as suggested and glue two pages together throughout – and if I did how?  Glue stick or brush on PVA?

I’ve made progess on my cover and used (surprise, surprise) my various foam stamps AGAIN.  They worked well – I am particularly liking the embossed one.

The center window needs filling, and it has to be lettering, and I am feeling the Dr. Strangelove-love so it will riff off that.  But it’ll be tomorrow, as we have the most terrifically busy week this week, all to do with DD are her various events (including a PROM, which needs some sewing and some altering – she really doesn’t want to wear her leg splint and I didn’t want to buy two pairs of shoes, even if I could find appropriate ones for a dressy event, so the little ballet flats need straps to hold them on) and time is thin on the ground.

I am ever hopeful my WOYWW 3rd anniversary ATC will arrive from the Phillipines before tomorrow’s post, but it’s not here yet so it might not.  If it doesn’t I have a back up.  See you then!

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BIG CARDS – 3 of Spades using my stamps

The whole point f this exercise is to have a play with things and see how it turns out.  I never intentionally make something that looks rubbish but sometimes I like a particular end result less than I hoped I would.  I’ve not decided if it is because certain techniques and looks are to far outside y comfort zone or if they really are rubbish LOL! This one I kinda hated at first and now it’s growing on me a bit.

As I spent so much time making 15 different stamps I figured I better use them. I started off by adding the masks to certain areas of the oval outline.  I placed them upside down in the gaps and added repositionable adhesive.

Pressing the paper down over the masks places them fine with a regularly spaced stamp, but not an irregular one as it’s a mirror image.

Using a combination of a palette knife and a brayer, I added some paint over the masks – I was looking for a very “distressed” background.

So the masks would have worked if I hadn’t had mucky fingers when I peeled them off.  Back up plan was to colour card with the Neocolor crayons and stick them in place. That worked, although not the smooth transition between background and masked area I wanted.  I over-stamped with the open ovals and added the words with some small stamps.

I also highlighted some of the other stamping (with more of my oval stamps) and added a touch more color with the crayons.

WordPress is acting up this morning – so I hope this will save and post!

Here is the final card.

It’s a lot more painterly and freestyle than I am usually inclined to do, but then it IS all about the playing. And like I said, it’s growing on me.




More stamps – and samples

Here is the range of stamps I made from Fun Foam and QuicKutz dies:

As you can see from the discolouration some of them have been used, a bit. I suspect it was sitting hunched over my desk working on this yesterday that wrecked my back – I’m slowly recovering.  Lucky I had taken the photos so I can still blog it.

I did a little sample sheet of som different things:

Weirdly, my Blazing Red Staz-on pad come out way more purple than red.  Anyone else have this problem as the Staz-on ages? But you can see the foam stamps with a whole variety of different things and how they work.

See the Neocolor II crayons?  They give a really interesting effect if you colour the foam then stamp. You get a variety of looks depending if you colour them when slightly dampo, if you run a different colour around the edge, if you draw on dots or stripes.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos.  I would encourage you to experiment yourself to see what you can do with them, because I think you will be surprised.

Oh, and that weird on top right in the first photo?  I made the stamp and ran the whole thing thru in a Sizzix folder.  The foam holds the embossing to create a kinds nifty stamp!

You can blast it with the heat gun to remove the embossing, too, so you still have your plain stamp.  And look at how it stamps!


I know I am really going to enjoy playing with these more.


More about stamp-making for Art Journals

I have to warn first that these stamps are not what I consider to be fine enough for say cardmaking.  They might make an interesting background but overall, when I made them I had my fledgling play with art journals in my mind.  I think they provide the free-wheeling, less-than-perfect effect that I would expect in an art journal. For me,  if it is perfect, well what’s the point?  It’s all about playing, not about creating something with perfect lines and perfect stamping and perfect lettering.  Is that because I am incapable of those things?  maybe.

So for these I used a few things – mostly QuicKut dies, cause I have them, and my Grand Calibur isn’t working at the moment. I started with a metal tag shape, so a circle frame with a circle within.

I laid them out in a pattern I thought would be useful (I used them yesterday on a page that had a list and the circles are big enough for writing in.)  Peeling off just the rim-backing I laid over a piece of packaging.

That gave me one stamp.

But I was thinking of the inner circles – that would give me a second stamp and one that nested within the first! Cool. So I placed the inner circles, peeled off the backing and pressed another bit of packaging on to make the nesting one. The sticky back sticks to you, so using one of the release paper scraps to help place them is good.

If your stamp is perfectly regular, a grid, you can just nest the second set inside the first, but mine never are regular.

You can carry on making more, for different centres

and stamp them then over stamp them for different effects

and how about this little border from the innermost circles?

As I said yesterday they aren’t up to serious scrubbing but clean up nicely with a baby wipe if you use dye ink.  For permanent ink, just accept they will get stained.  They work with acrylic paint too.  and I have more to share but I’ll give you a sneaky peek – colouring with Neocolor II water-soluble wax crayons gives some really neat effects! On the left, coloured just after cleaning with a baby wipe (so just a hit of moisture) and on the right, brushed over with a water brush for a more painterly effect!

And there will be more on THAT too! I know I said that yesterday but there is just too much to share and this post is already hugely long and photo-rich.

I went on to make another one using the letter O:

Both very useful.


My stamps for my Art Journal

I thought I would share my results, and add a little info about the stamps.  I will do more on this possibly tomorrow.

This is the first page I made. I’ve finished it and done the writing – OMG that was a worry.  It’s not perfect but it turned out OK. I really like the lettering in the swirls.

Not the best writing but not so horrid I want to burn the whole thing LOL!

As my desk was the most horrific mess anyway I figured I’d do another page before cleaning up. Here they are, side by side.  I could have done better with my stamped letter placement but live and learn.  It’s a process:

I made the stamps for that page – the checkerboard and the circle block.  All made with sticky-backed fun foam.  The checkerboard was because I wanted a bigger version of the tiny one I had.  I just cut some squares of fun foam and used my cutting mat (which is gridded in 1 cm squares) to line them up.

When I had a pile I peeled off the back and stuck them to some old clear packaging. I didn’t do a full square as I wanted it to look a bit more random.

The thing I like about using the clear plastic packaging is then stamp is them flexible and you can stamp just a bit of it, letting the edges fade away.  I say Dyan Reaveley (of Art From the Heart, and creator of Dylusions) do that in a CHA video, I think, a while back and it stuck with me.

But I did something interesting with them – I wiped the surface with a baby wipe then coloured the foam with the Neocolor water-soluble wax crayons.

You can stamp just like that for a fairly sketchy look or brush it lightly with a water pen for a smoother stamped image:

The stamps are fairly hardy, but I wouldn’t submerge them to wash – they stood up to brisk wiping with a baby wipe to clean them and while the foam colours it doesn’t transfer to the next thing. You can actually draw on the foam with the crayons for a pretty cool effect. But this is long anyway so I’ll try to take some decent photos and share a couple of interesting things tomorrow.

I’m also enjoying re-visiting my drawers of quirky stamps – the falling lady is a pretty good depiction of how I feel about the whole Art Journal thing.