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Sunday, 20 May 2018

Bees and Butterflies


Hello everyone, I am sharing a few more cards showcasing the beautiful stamps that were featured on last months Hochanda TV shows.

For my first card, I have used one of the very versatile whiteboard shapes made by Tando, exclusively for Chocolate Baroque. These shapes are great, already being white, as they can be inked up straight away without needing any preparation. I added a bit of soft colour in tones of yellow, orange and green, and did the same to a piece of drawing cartridge that was going to become the card background. Using a honeycomb stencil, I added some colour using Distress Ink, repeating this on the background. I stamped a bee on the heart, using Versafine Onyx Black Ink, and masked the image, before stamping a foliage image from the Essence of Nature stamp plate using Versafine Clair Ink. I coloured the bee with pencils, and added a sentiment to the heart.

To complete the background, I stamped the honeycomb image from the Honey Bee stamp set, again colouring the bees with pencils. I added stickles to the bees' wings. To complete the card, I added some green ribbon and green card as a matting layer.

For my next card, I chose an old book page and stamped the pretty foxglove image on to the paper. I added two bees, and coloured the images with pencils. I added some shading around the edge of the page, and then stamped a pretty fern image from the Wild Meadow stamp set around the edge, using two coordinating colours. I used the same foxglove and bee images to stamp over some kraft card to complete a background for the book page focal image. I added Picked Pasberry Distress Ink around the edge of the kraft card to soften the background.  I selected some deep plum card to mat the layers. The background actually looked great on its own, and I have included a photo of that as well so you can see. I quite like this as a quick card in its own right:

Now with the main image added:

My final card was a fairly quick card showcasing the fabulous Textured Art card that is available on the website. I coloured the card very quickly by placing two colours of Distress Oxide Ink on my craft mat, spritzing it with water, and laying the card on top. I stamped the lovely butterfly tree from the Essence of Nature stamp set, and added the small tree either side, to create the appearance of a little woodland. I painted some colour under the trees to 'ground' them, and painted the butterflies.  Adding the main sentiment was all that was needed to complete the card.

Thanks for stopping by, xx


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Two Quick Cards

Hello everyone, it's time for the monthly Fifteen Minute blog post over on the Chocolate Baroque Design Team blog.  I have two cards featuring in the post, and would like to share them with you.

The first card uses some of the incredibly versatile Drawing Cartridge available from the website. I have coloured the background with Distress Oxide Inks, which I spread over a craft mat and spritzed with water. I placed the drawing cartridge over the ink, and patted it down to pick up the colour. I dried the paper, and then patted it onto the mat again to pick up some of the left over droplets of ink for another layer of colour. I then stamped a variety of foliage stamps over the top using Versafine Clair inks in first and second and third generation stamping, to create lots of depth. I have added two bees, and given their wings some sparkle with Stickles glue. A great sentiment finishes off the card. I used black Versafine for the bees and the sentiment. The stamps are from the Essence of Nature, Honey Bee, Fragrant Honeysuckle, and The Rose Tree stamp sets.

To create my second card, I used some of the fabulous Textured Art card, which has a linen like texture to the surface. I added some Decoart Media Tinting Medium, which I had coloured with Ultramarine and Turquoise Brushos to the surface, almost dry brushing the colour over the background. I stamped the words from the Essence of Nature stamp set all over the large background using Jet Black Archival Ink. I then stamped the tree panel onto a smaller piece of card, and mounted both pieces onto black card. The finish created by the medium and Brushos is chalky, which I could not have achieved with the Brushos by themselves. It is a technique that I will definitely use again.

Do hop over to the Design Team blog to see the cards that my Team mates have contributed to the post. They have come up with some great ideas, as always. Thanks for stopping by, xx

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Sketchbook Revival Part One

Hello everyone, recently, I signed up to a twelve day course called Sketchbook Revival. The course has finished now, but the material is available until 18th May if you are interested. The course consisted of daily videos created by a group of very talented artists including Tamara Laporte, Kiala Givehand and Kelly Hoernig, and they gave generously of their time and inspiration to show us how to create daily practices in a sketchbook.
I have been so inspired by the material available on the course, and although I have been really busy across the duration of the course, I have pushed myself to create some of the projects that have been demonstrated.

Kiala showed us how to make several styles of journal, including a concertina style journal, a simple journal made from one page, and also a stitched book incorporating lots of different types of paper. I even made a Coptic bound book, something that I had not done before.

Danny Gregory encouraged us to draw something every day, for example your cup of tea that you drink at the beginning of the day. By drawing the same thing every day, you will improve over time, and be able to look back at the gradual improvement. I have two cups in the morning, a proper cup of tea, and hot water with lemon. The glass cup was more difficult to draw, and I can see where it needed improvement. I will get better over time.

I have spent much of my time taking lots of notes as the tutors were full of really helpful tips for good habits going forward, and I do feel as though I will be more observant in my drawing and sketching from now on.

My final photo for today is of a journal page that I made following Whitney Freya's class on how to paint a Buddha. I loved this class, and created my own stencil using printable acetate. She helped us to use colours from the background as highlights and shading on the Buddha's face, bringing in the colours that we liked. We learned how to create layered backgrounds, adding words and stencilling, before painting the main image with black paint. I needed to be brave to do that!

I will be back in a few days' time with more to share from my sketching exploits, but I hope that you have enjoyed this departure from my usual posts. Thanks for stopping by, xx

Sunday, 6 May 2018

A Bit of Drama!

Hello everyone, I have two cards to share with you today, that I demonstrated on last month's TV shows on Hochanda. I used dark card to create my projects, and stamped the images with white Brilliance Ink, before colouring them with coloured pencils. The finished effect is very dramatic against the dark card, and I have shown how you can use the technique to create both backgrounds and a focal image.

For my first card, I used some dark brown card to create the background, and stamped a leaf image from the Essence of Nature stamp set repeatedly using the white ink. I then chose a selection of Koh-i-Noor pencils; yellow, green, orange and red, to colour the leaves. I created a central panel by colouring a scrap piece of drawing cartridge with Brushos. I chose Orange, Yellow and Lime Green as my colours. I sprinkled the Brushos onto a large acrylic block, spritzed the block with water, and then pressed the block onto the drawing cartridge. Once the background was dry, I stamped the image, again from the Essence of Nature stamp set, using Potting Shed Archival Ink. The sentiment was stamped onto a piece of the same background, and I inked around the edge of the panel with the ink that I had used for stamping.

For my second card, I stamped the image from the Fragrant Honeysuckle stamp set onto burgundy card. Again, I used a selection of coloured pencils, this time I chose blue, lilac, pink and green. I added some Stickles for a bit of sparkle to the flower centres, and around the edges of the layers. I chose a toning piece of Crafty Individuals paper as a main background, which worked really well with the image. It just shows how well Chocolate Baroque stamps mix with other brands.

I hope that you will give this technique a try, as the Brilliance ink gives you the option of using those dark surfaces to add a bit of drama to your projects if you wish. Combining them with lighter, brighter elements keeps the whole piece balanced.

Thanks for stopping by, xx


Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Springtime Wreath

Hello everyone, I have a floral project to share with you today, using some of the stamps from last month's TV shows on Hochanda.

I have created a wreath with a touch of Spring, by choosing pastel colours for the flowers. I created the project by first drawing a circle on a piece of card, and then stamped the blossom image from the Tranquility stamp set around the circle. I masked the images as I went along, and stamped an image from the Wisteria Lane stamp set, using first and second generation stamping.

I coloured the flowers and stems with Koh-i-Noor pencils, lengthening the branches to create a continuous wreath. I added a sentiment from the Loving Sentiments stamp set, and finally added some inking around the edge of the background, using Picked Raspberry Distress Ink. I chose a coordinating dark green card to mat the background onto before adhering it to a large card blank.

Thanks for stopping by, xx


Thursday, 12 April 2018

Stamping on Fabric

Hello everyone, I have some projects to share with you today incorporating fabric. I really like to add some texture into my projects whenever I can, as it adds a bit of interest and makes the project look and feel quite expensive, for very little cost. I demoed these three projects on last month's TV shows on Hochanda, and I hope that you managed to watch Lesley and I in action.

To create the first card, I cut some small pieces of cotton fabric, and put some Distress Ink onto a craft mat, which I spritzed with water. I chose relatively earthy colours, Fossilized Amber, Ripe Persimmon and Shabby Shutters. The colours are quite muted, and you could go for much bolder colours if you like, it depends on what sort of look you want, I just wanted a subtle backgrop for the stamps on this occasion. I patted the fabric into the ink, moving it around to blot up the ink. I added more ink and water if necessary to get a good coverage of the fabric, but was happy to leave some areas uncoloured. I left the pieces of fabric to dry by themselves, so that the colour did not fade too much, drying the fabric with a heat gun would cause the colour to be much lighter in the end.

I frayed the edges of each piece of fabric, and stamped a silhouette image from one of the stamp sets: Tranquility, Serenity, Wisteria Lane or Eastern Grasses, and added a sentiment as well. I chose words from Artistic Affirmations, Amazing Mackintosh Words, and Words to Dazzle and Sparkle. I used Archival black ink to stamp all of the images onto the fabric, leaving the stamp on the fabric slightly longer than I would on card or paper, to allow the ink to grab onto the fabric. You do not need to press any harder.




I attached the fabric pieces to a piece of black card before matting them onto a card blank. A little button with paper string tied through was a finishing touch to each card.

For my next card, I created a paint swatch effect by masking sections of a piece of cartridge paper, and inking three toning colours of  Distress Ink. I chose Peacock Feathers, Salty Ocean and Shaded Lilac. I stamped the silhouette image from the Eastern Grasses stamp set onto the piece of card. I matted the panel onto black card before adding the panel to a piece of linen card.

I coloured a piece of cream ribbon with Peacock Feathers Distress Ink and stamped it with Archival Ink as before, using a sentiment from the Amazing Mackintosh Words stamp set. I attached the ribbon to the background and then placed the background on a square card blank. I like to colour my ribbons to match projects, it is so quick and easy, check back to this project for another example.

For my final project, I used a Crafty Individuals tag, and stamped the main image from the Tranquility stamp set across the bottom of the tag. I coloured the image with pencils. I added the wisteria image using water based markers across the top, using first and second generation stamping for a fuller effect. The ribbon was made in exactly the same way as before, picking up colour from the craft mat, and then once dry, stamping with Archival Ink. I used a word from the Serenity stamp plate.

I hope that my projects will inspire you to try some stamping on fabric, I will be back later in the month with more projects to share. Thanks for stopping by, xx

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Affirmation Journal

Hello everyone, I hope that you are all enjoying your Easter break. If you are in the UK, then like me, you are probably wishing that you were somewhere a little bit warmer! However, there is always something to be positive about, and that is what I hope my project will help you to discover.

I have made a little journal full of individual cards with positive and motivational phrases. You could make this project for yourself, or to give to a friend, who is struggling with their creativity at the moment. I have covered some pieces of white card with an injection of bright colour, and left the backs either blank, or covered them with plain paper to write your own thoughts. You could add extra stamping if you wish.

I started my project by blending two colours of Distress Oxide Ink over the pieces of white card, and spritzing them with water. I blotted the cards with kitchen towel so that the background had a lovely splattered effect.

 I added a border or background to the cards by selecting some of the stamps from either the Artistic Affirmations, Wisteria Lane, Serenity, or Tranquility stamp sets. I chose a phrase from the Artistic Affirmations stamp set, and added this to each card using black ink, then I added some white highlights to the words to make them pop.

I created some pages to contain the cards by cutting some A4 sheets of black card in half. I then scored these sheets at the 10cms point, and then took half a centimetre away, leaving a 9.5cms flap. I trimmed this flap down to 7cms high and stuck down the side and bottom edges with very thin double sided tape, to create a pocket. I stuck two pages back to back, and then punched two holes a third of the way along from the top and the bottom.

The outside covers were made just a fraction bigger than the actual pages, with black card, and then I coloured the slightly smaller pieces of white card in exactly the same way as I made the little journal cards. I used two book rings to attach everything together, which allows me to add more pages whenever I want to make some more.

I really enjoyed making this project, and hope that you caught my demo on last month's TV show when I made a couple of the cards.

Thanks for stopping by, xx

Monday, 19 March 2018

Moonlit Sky

Hello everyone,

I have a simple project to share with you today, using the Landscape Edges stamp set. I wanted to create a quick moonlit scene, and this treeline image was perfect for the effect that I wanted to achieve.

I started by placing a circle mask onto a piece of smooth cartridge card, and adding some dots of masking fluid across the area of sky. I placed a piece of torn paper along the lower part of the background to cover the portion of the card that was going to be the hills, and then started to add some colour for the sky. I chose a series of Distress Ink colours, graduating out from the moon, getting darker as I moved further out.

I added some green Distress Ink underneath the sky for the hills, and stamped the tree image over the top, using Versafine Clair Ink. I added some detail to the trees with a white pen to give the impression of moonlight falling on the trees. I rubbed the masking fluid away from the sky area, revealing the 'stars', and added a sentiment from the Amazing Mackintosh Words stamp set


Thanks for stopping by, xx

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Colourful New Home

Hello everyone, over on the Chocolate Baroque blog today, we are sharing our regular Fifteen Minute blog post, a bumper post full of quick projects that are made in fifteen minutes or less. I have a project to show you that forms part of that larger blog post.

I demonstrated this card on last month's TV shows on Hochanda, and it really was a very quick card to make. I created a vibrant Distress Ink background, using Picked Raspberry, Salty Ocean and Squeezed Lemonade spritzing it with water.

To create the main section of the card, I used an offcut of cartridge paper, the piece that is left from a piece of A4 when I cut my backgrounds for 8" by 8" cards. I stamped the housesfrom the Townhouses and Village Life stamp sets, masking them as I went along, to create a street. I picked out one house to colour, and made a reverse mask so that I could colour only that house with the same inks that I had used for the background.

Once I had coloured the house, I used black card to mat my layers before attaching them to a large card blank. I added a sentiment from the Loving Sentiments stamp set.

This would make a very quick New Home card, or in a smaller version on a tag, could be used to announce a change of address. Do check out the rest of the projects made by my Design Team mates on the Chocolate Baroque blog.

Thanks for stopping by, xx

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Masking Up a Scene

Hello everyone, I have a project to share with you that was created for the February TV shows on Hochanda. I wanted to show how to create a scene using polyester sheets as a quick and simple mask or stencil.

I chose two stamps from the Sunburst Scenes stamp set, and placed one of them onto a piece of copy paper where I thought a hill might be in my design. I drew the hill with a pencil, and then using a piece of polyester over the top, drew the line again with a permanent pen. I cut through the polyester along the line and was left with the positive and negative part of the mask. I also planned a set of masks for smaller cards by drawing the shape of a smaller card on a piece of copy paper, and creating a hill in the same way.

Once I had the masks, I stamped the windmill and house onto a piece of smooth cartridge paper that had been trimmed to size, and covered them with an image stamped onto masking tissue. I used my 'hill' mask to draw the hill underneath the windmill, joining up with the line attached to the stamp design. I reversed the mask to add another hill behind the first hill, and then drew the final smaller hill in the foreground by hand. I used both masks to cover over the areas as I needed to, so that I could add colour for the sky and hills. To create a bit of depth in the hills, I added some deeper green once the initial colour had been placed all over the area.

I also created a stencil from polyester using circle dies so that I could add suns or moons in various sizes, and I used one of these to add a sun in the sky. I kept the blue inking quite blotchy, to give an impression of a cloudy sky.

The house and windmill were coloured with pencils once I had removed the masks. I added some birds from the Landscape Edges stamp set, and a sentiment from the Amazing Mackintosh Words stamp set.


Thanks for stopping by, xx

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Floral Canvas Projects

Hello everyone, I have a couple of projects to share featuring the beautiful individual flower stamps that we brought to you on the TV shows last month on Hochanda.

Both projects were demos from the show, but the first project was designed to be finished in two ways, depending on how the sales of the items on the shows were going. Little did Lesley and I know that everything would sell out like crazy on that first show!

I decided to separate the word clouds from the flower images on my stamps, making it easier for me to create a lot of my projects, and I just cut them apart very carefully with some sharp scissors. I then slot them back together whenever I want to, jigsaw fashion, to create something with the design as a whole. If you are worried about doing this yourselves, you can simply use masking tape to cover the areas that you do not want to use, ink your stamp, then peel the masking tape away before stamping each time.

I stamped the words over a piece of tissue paper, and glued this to a small canvas with matte medium. Once the canvas was dry, I added some watered down acrylic paint in green and orange tones. I stamped the Floral Delight image onto a whiteboard heart, masking it and adding some paint in the same colours as I had used on the canvas. I coloured the flower image with pencils, and added a single word to the heart to finish. This was the version that was seen on the show.

For the alternate version, I stamped the flower image onto a spare piece of card and coloured it with pencils as before. I stamped the word onto a die cut rectangle and added these to a canvas.

My second project was all about colour matching. I chose a pretty piece of patterned paper by Crafty Individuals, and stuck it to a postcard sized whiteboard piece. Looking at the paper, I could see that it was made up of mainly blue and lilac with hints of green and orange. I painted a larger piece of greyboard with lilac and blue acrylic paint to match the paper, adding hints of green and orange around the edges. I added some harlequin stencilling to match the patterned paper, before stamping the words from the main image across the background using first and second generation stamping. I used grey ink for a softer effect than black ink would have given.

I stamped the Wish Flower onto the postcard piece, and coloured it with woodless pencils, toning the colours to match the background paper.


I hope that you have enjoyed the projects that I have shared with you today, and will give them a try for yourselves. You could make a simpler version as a card, or take elements from my designs for your own projects. Thanks for stopping by, xx

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Meditation Canvas

Hello everyone, something a bit different from me today. I have been interested in the artwork of Tamara Laporte for a long time, and have seen other people trying her online classes and enjoying following her tuition and particular style of drawing. I bought a fabulous book that she has published a little while back: Create Your Life Book, which incorporates several projects from the past few years of her Life Book classes. One of the projects caught my eye, as it incorporated a yoga figure meditating. Those of you that know me will know that I attend yoga classes regularly, and find them to be very helpful, both physically and mentally. My instructor is a lovely person, very caring and supportive. She is far more than a teacher, and has become a real friend since I have known her.

I wanted to make a canvas very much along the lines of the project in the book, it seemed very apt to give as a gift to my yoga instructor for her many kindnesses. I had not created anything in this style before, and so I followed the process fairly carefully. There were several times along the way that I wished I was using watercolour paper instead of a canvas, but I did stick to my guns, and it has worked out okay in the end. I hope that I will improve the moreof these that I create, but hopefully, it's not bad for a first attempt!

I started out by drawing the central figure, and adding some colour. Once I had got the basic colour added, I then stuck some scraps of paper to the background.

I added some blocks of colour over the background, and added more detail to the main image, including some chakra symbols.

I added deeper colour to the background.

At this point, I loved the background, but the instructions in the book were telling me to knock it back with some gesso, and I did as I was told!

I added some little doodles and phrases, along with gold dots across the background for a bit of sparkle. I will add a few close up shots for some of the detail:




I know that this project is by no means perfect; my pens hated the surface of the canvas. I would have much preferred the smooth surface of HOT pressed watercolour paper. I need to improve my drawing skills, but practice will help with that. I have really enjoyed this process, and it has been enormous fun. I have had the chance to dig out lots of my unused supplies for this projects, and it has been great to work with these beautiful colours on a gift for my lovely friend. She has now received the canvas, so I can share my post.

Thanks for stopping by, xx
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