Creative ideas come "out of the wild" growing like yeast. Enjoy a meander around my creative pursuits - art printing with stamps, sketching, photography, baking, gardening...

30 December, 2010

Air brushing Gift Wrap

I experimented with using the negatives left from die-cutting as stencils for air-brushing. These die-cuts were the tree and the fence from the Tim Holtz collection. I used a fairly big sheet of (cheap) dull gold paper from a large roll that I bought a year ago at the Newsagent.

A piece of the paper that I salvaged from the recycle bin after Christmas
I did nothing special to hold them in place except spray my fingers a fair bit, and I changed the Copic pens quite often to create a soft riot of colour. It was great fun, and when presented as a gift, looked quite sensational... though I say so myself. 

24 December, 2010

Another Christmas Card

I had an idea for a Christmas card with a seaside theme since I live close to the beach. The idea revolved around my fairly new compressor and airbrush system that is used with Copic Markers. For those who don't know these pens, they are alcohol based ink pens with nibs at both ends, one a chunky wedge and the other a fine fibre point. They come in a range of wonderful colours and work beautifully on gloss card as well as matt. This is what I came up with.

Seagull with stylised yacht in background
I have a seagull stamp by Inkadinkadoo and after lots of experimenting, decided the best way to go was to stamp it on Ice Gold card with Memento Black Tuxedo. Memento is good to use with alcohol inks and so is the Ice Gold which makes the inks look as though they have mica in them.

To airbrush the yacht design onto the card, I found some pictures of yachts and made a stylised outline which I then cut out to make two masks. I used two masks so that the two sails would overlap as though the sun is shining through them. I used Eclipse paper from Judikins to make the masks. Working on a table outside, I sprayed Copic inks onto the card using about six colours. Each one is edged with either Krylon Red Shimmer, or blue Marvy Metallic pen.

The seagull piece is mounted on turquoise metallic card, and then on plain white card stock. Inside. the Greeting is gold embossed. I almost feel as though I have rediscovered gold embossing and the fascination of watching the letters shine as they melt and stand out on the card. There's a child in me that never tires of that magic. On the back of the card, I airbrushed a seahorse using a little brass stencil of sea creatures. I blocked off the other patterns with florist tape and placed a large 250 gsm mask over the whole stencil to make it easier and quicker to handle. It draws some attention to the "Made by" sticker.

Working note: After a few pictures are completed, the tacky side of the Eclipse paper loses its grip, so I sprayed it with re-positionable glue recommended for quilting which extended the life of the mask quite considerably.

Seasons greetings to all,

17 December, 2010

Finally, the Christmas Card

After lots of trial and error, and protesting against snow crystals and pine trees which are so out of place in this country, I settled on Maiden Hair Fern. It's delicate and green, a native fern, and very decorative.

Maiden Hair fern for Aussie Christmas cards.
I used a good clay surfaced gloss card (The Stamp Trap) with Colorbox chalk inks. The background is burnt sienna applied with a Judikins colour duster brush. I love the effect that's possible with these little 'shaving' brushes. When dry, the chalks need polishing before the next application.

I stamped the Maiden Hair fern (Amazing Creations) twice with Aquamarine and twice with Ice Jade. Once they are dry, they are again polished and came up in lovely shadowy greens. Finally, the central fern was stamped with Versamark and embossed with either copper or verdigris embossing powder.

This feature is mounted on a green metallic card matt and top-centred on white card stock.

On some cards, I created a paper ribbon with Christmas paper and added a bow made of the same paper similar to the one I made with the poppy stamp.

I'm happy with these and made about thirty over the last 3 or 4 days, but I also have a seaside theme in mind too. Working on that this afternoon. My next trick will be to actually write the cards and mail them.

Hope you're getting close to organised for the Christmas and New Year week...can't say I am!!

Discovery in Town.

I went up to town yesterday and discovered two things. Firstly, I suddenly decided that I would REEELLY like an After a long time of thinking about it and much prevarication, I went and bought one. I'm writing this with it. :-) Very cool tool. The up-front usage is easy, and transferrable from the iPod however there's a lot 'waiting in the wings' with the various applications that are available. Great expectations.

Secondly, I found that my friend Jenny at the (not so local these days) craft shop, has a blog. I do regard myself as a new chum with blogging here so it was nice to find her lovely work especially in the world of Copic markers.

11 December, 2010

Oskar's birthday - double figures.

I used three cat stamps, one rubber and two clear that came in a little $4 set called 'Kitten Kaboodle'. My card stock was ice gold and then I used matt white and metallic red card for the feature and matt. The red paper with stars was die-cut for the all important '10'.  The embossing powders were from Stamp World and Judikins, chalk inks are Colorbox, and to finish the edges, a Krylon gold leaf pen.

From left to right are the three family cats; Miso is gold embossed, Soba is black, and Saki is copper to match their colouring. I cropped Miso’s tail as in real life. The idea worked well except that Saki is not as pretty as in real life.

The background is worked with a combination of chalks and DI with daubers and brushes. 

Note: the nib of the gold leaf pen has worn after all this time – two years at least – so I changed it to good effect. Great to have some spares in the cupboard, and even better to have them in a labelled box.

The Family Cats

The ‘10’ is cut using the Slice which works well at slow speed and on 100/120 GSM paper but nothing thicker. I put the numbers through the Xyron sticker machine and applied them to yellow-buff paper. Using tweezers and a ruler is the best way to assemble such things accurately. Rounded the corners with ¼ “ punch and applied gold leaf pen.

Inside, the card is stamped & embossed ‘Happy Birthday’ with Judikins ‘Cabernet Twinkle’ EP. Didn’t bother with the ‘Made by’ sticker.

I think he liked the card - he loves the cats like crazy, and he came back to claim the card  :-)

30 November, 2010

WOYWW - What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday.

I've never joined this WOYWW Group but it's very active and I do enjoy looking at other folks' messy desks. Of course, they aren't always so, and neither is everyone a messy worker but there are enough of us to make me more comfortable with the creative frenzy that awakens the Angel of Mess.

Very tasteful...complete with revolting purple cushion but I love this space.
The Wednesday photo record is also a great way to keep some sense of the passage of time and what I do in this space. It's as though the trail of paper drawers, tools, and materials is a map of today's activity. I'm amused to survey it as it reaches way beyond the confines of my desk to the table, the computer desk, the open desk drawers, the photocopier, the floor - anything that is reasonably horizontal.

I think levitation would be a great skill to develop.

13 November, 2010

Airbrushing a Card

I really enjoyed the simplicity and nice effect for this birthday card for my Brother. The stamp design is Judikins "Machines" - Da Vinci of course, and I used Copic pens with the Airbrush System to blend the light blues and greens for the background with a masked border. .

The image is printed on plain mat card with India Ink stamping ink, mounted onto light metallic blue matt, and then finally attached to white gold card stock. Using Judikins Diamond Glaze, I high-lighted one part of the machinery (top left) to make a small feature.

Inside I printed and embossed 'Happy Birthday', then airbrushed my 'made by...' insignia on the back using a brass stencil and clear laser printer label. It was fun to do, and the blending of colour is intriguing and a bit different from other blending techniques.


Making Bread on a Rainy Afternoon

I love making bread. I've got it to a fine art in the last year since I bought a Kitchen Aid. I use organic bread flour, and the dough hook for the main mixing then knead by hand for a bit. Today I made two loaves in 1 litre tins, one using wholemeal cake flour to make a soft loaf for a family member whose dental difficulties make crusts a problem just now. The other one is for me, made with strong wholemeal bread flour, two tablespoons of gluten flour, and a soft seed mix which is delicious.

Two loaves and a couple of rolls besides.
We had 28 mm rain in 24 hours to 9 o'clock this morning, and more rain throughout the day. Gorgeous.

06 November, 2010

Copic Colour and Sparmax Compressor

Here is the lovely new Copic Airbrush System (ABS) with compressor and some of my early learning and experiementing. I'll post more examples soon.

Some seaside themes with Copic shaded colour combined with stamps.
As you can see in the photo, I have used combinations of Post-it notes and Judikins Eclipse paper for the masking. Also found repositionable tape very useful to stop the card stock flying away.

05 November, 2010

Another Poppy

I made this birthday card for a friend who's just turned 65. Now that's scary because I'm not far behind.

Here are the details.  I stamped 'Poppies' in black StazOn ink on gloss card. To apply colour, I used a Colorbox blending stylus and the Picture stamps applicator for shading the edges; the inks were Colorbox chalks olive greens and pink-ish red.

The Poppies are mounted on a dark red metallic card matt.

Bow made of striped Japanese paper – loops created first, held with double-sided tape then tied with fine string in the centre.  A strip of paper covers the string to become the knot of the bow. Strip of same paper placed across one corner and fixed with DS tape to the back of the red matt. The bow is fixed with Diamond Glaze, then the whole mounted on a second matt of olive green and finally placed on Ice Gold card stock.

Inside ‘Happy Birthday’ embossed with Judikins Cabernet Sparkle.

03 November, 2010

The Next Step with Copic Pens

I've been using Copic pens for a long time for writing flip charts, and more recently for colouring my stamping. Then I discovered the Air Brush System (ABS) which runs on little compressed air cans. I was hooked on air-brushing with the great effects, minimal mess of mixing little pots of paint and then cleaning up. Even though it seems mad to buy Air in cans, I tried it to see if I liked it. The The air cans run out in no time, and I decided I could build a new studio with empty air cans, and pretty soon have paid for the compressor...

This is the Sparmax AC-100 which comes with coiled hose.

Next step, purchase the compressor. At the last Paperific Show, I met the right woman, Sammi at Mad for Markers. Ordering the compressor and some refills was a dream run with  her, and I'm pleased as punch with this little purring machine. It supplies me with endless air which I can use with Copic inks AND chase alcohol inks around gloss card for appealing splashes of colour.

The learning curve has just headed north again. :-)

Happy days

28 October, 2010

A Card That Scored Well

I made this birthday card for my friend Chris, using the Scor-It to make a particular feature with the Ice Gold card stock which is just about my favourite.

The Materials I used were:

Happy Birthday and sketched border stamps, metallic card for matts in deep pink and light green, Ice Gold CS, scored using the Scor-It and a photo I took of a grevillea, doctored with Rock Candy Stickles for a circumspect glitter effect. The happy birthday was coloured with Distress Inks.

I love the scoring which came from an idea of Diana Enns'. Very simple and effective.

12 October, 2010

Appealing to Man and Nature

I made this card for a long time friend who is a gardener and caravan enthusiast. The feature is a lovely stamp from Inkadinkado which works well with contrasting EP. The bird and moon is stamped on pale green metallic CS and embossed with Judikins Bronze patina EP. The crescent moon and bird painted with Buttercup Twinkling H2O with the finishing touches edged with Krylon Gold Leaf pen. BTW, I have had difficulty finding the Krylon pens and one person told me they were not available.

The colours in this photo are reasonably true except for the card stock which is white.

I stamped the birthday message on cream metallic CS using the same EP and Gold edging again. The whole assembly is stand-away mounted on gold metallic CS using foam dots.

The background is dry embossed with the Bird on Vine Cuttlebug folder on water colour paper. It is swiped with DIs wild honey and then the relief and edges are blended with frayed burlap. Inside, I made a little feature by stamping ‘Birds on Wire’ by Tim Holtz across the top.

02 October, 2010


This ringtail possum has two babies and would not be awake in daylight normally. We took down a cypress tree and left a hole in her highway home. The little ringtails are sweet, even though they eat my vegetables but then again, they need nurturing. Last Summer, we lost 80% of our ringtails across the State of Victoria from either heat exhaustion or in the fires.

She'd gone when we went back later; found another route no doubt.

Mother ringtail possum with two babies - two extra sets of ears.

30 September, 2010

Exploring Poppies

I've been exploring one of my favourite stamps, "Poppies" by Stamp-It in WA. Here are the experiements on tags which will go in the journal with notes. A while ago, Amy on the Scrapbook Lounge asked me to send some photos of my journal to the group, so I guess it would be good to put a couple here as well.

On the left is my art journal. The poppy series in the making.

The Office Manager is hungry and has come to sit on my lap, purring like a motor boat. It makes typing VERY difficult indeed. Ho hum! I might just feed her, and have a little pre-dinner drink myself.

18 September, 2010

Paperific was expensive!!!

Went to Paperific at the Show Grounds, having stayed at Suzy W's overnight which made things so much easier. Thankful for that.

I bought a Gazelle die cutting machine which runs from the computer rather than from cartridges that are a contunuing expense. Mind you, I will need to do a heap of die cuts to make up the cost of the machine. It will be interesting to see how it goes - whether connecting to the computer all the time will take up space and time I don't want to spend.

17 August, 2010

Creativity and Technique

A little while ago I wrote about the importance of being creative and having skills and techniques to work with. Since then I've been exploring the Compendium of Curiosities by Tim Holtz. It's really enjoyable to work from a book that looks colourful and feels good in addition to good quality information.

That information is partly marketing of Tim Holtz products, and partly skill development and exploring ideas. It's easy to hitch-hike from the MANY project materials and develop more thoughts as I go.

I've also been enjoying the array of creative ideas on the Yahoo group called All Things Tim, and there is so much that people invent for themselves rather than buying yards, feet and inches of printed papers. I have a small supply of lovely papers, especially some of the Japanese papers that are quite beautiful, but on the whole I like to make my own.

31 July, 2010

A New Stamp and CC Challenge #5

This is a 'tent' card that grew as I worked on it. I decided on the Shabby Chic technique in combination with a new stamp of babushka dolls and a clear stamp, 'Dare to be Different' that I've had for ages.

I used black soot DI on the tag, then clear embossed the dolls on an angle. I applied white acrylic paint in accordance with the technique, then decided to add some gold over the top since the black was very heavy. You can see the gold in the large view of the photo. I then used the "Dare to be different" clear stamp on the card, and created an extra babushka doll embossed with fine detail gold, and painted with Twinkling H2O water colours. The tag is out-lined with gold Krylon, and the ribbons for the tag are from one of my bits and pieces boxes.

I think it's got potential for some variations on the theme...more to come that are not so dark and contrasty.


26 July, 2010

The First of the Poppies

I've started a series of cards using this lovely Poppies stamp from Stamp-it. Of course the Poppies have been the subject of lots of trial and error, and it's a great stamp to try many different techniques.

Poppies by Stamp-It (WA) Love their designs.

For the main feature, I used gloss card with the poppies stamped and embossed with Judikins black detail EP. I applied a mask to the poppies and the bud when colouring the background with Colorbox Chalks in yellow and shades of light to dark olive green. Used both colour dusters, and finger dabbers. I then coloured the flowers with Chalks using finger dabbers and then polished the Chalks when dry.

Mounted the poppies on white tonal print paper at roughly 30° then reversed the angle to mount again on green metallic card. Looks very stylish and I need to work out a template for doing this so that it’s quick and easy each time. This took quite a long time to get the positioning right.

Incidentally, I've found that putting the mask through the Xyron sticker maker using the repositionable adhesive is brilliant. Up to now I've been messing around with post-it notes and they don't quite match the purpose. The Xyron glue helps the mask to last for a lot of projects, and I just store the mask on the back of the stamp.

19 July, 2010

Birthday Cards for Blokes

It's easier said than done to do something a bit different for men that steps away from the more feminine designs that are common. I made this for one of my family men using Tim Holtz' new Sizzix embossing folder called Rays.

Using white gloss card, I created a semi-circle of red chalk ink. The card was then put through Sizzix-Holtz “Rays” folder. I swiped with Indian Ink pad from opposite side from the red area and then used StazOn black to intensify the rays. Trimmed the whole thing to a square and placed the ‘dice’ brads coming up into the picture.

The sentiment was cut from silver lustre card using The Slice, and embossed with Judikins 'Claret' EP. Mounted on silver lustre and red metallic card layers.

Must make a couple more of these, or rather versions of them.

Happy days,

29 June, 2010

Are We Getting Lazy?

I was wandering around my local craft shop on Sunday afternoon. They have lovely stuff, and have a huge stock of papers of all kinds. I get lots of ideas as well as stuff to take away.

And I was thinking too, about the lure of lovely stuff and how immediately appealing it is, but I think it makes me lazy. I notice in magazines, blogs, and web sites that the cards which are my particular interest, are getting to be more and more the same. When I tease out why I'm bored with so much of it, I find it's because everyone has elements made with commercial prints, Cuttlebugs, Slices, Nesties, you name it and they all look so similar. And as an aside, I'm really tired of kiddy cards and cards that drown in layers of complex junk. I'd love to find more grown-up art work that is fresh and beautiful.

Don't get me wrong, I love tools and machines and I've got four well-eqipped workshops - woodwork, garden, kitchen and studio workshops. There are some tools that are must-have, and then others that are not essential but make life easier and efficient. So what's missing? Technique and imagination.

So my challenge just now is to make my cards with my own prints - minimal designer papers except my own, no stickers, very little bling, very little ribbon. I'll use my own photos at times, and plenty of stamps as an art printing process. This feels more like it, and it's a great day for being indoors - cold, wet and windy outside. And time for coffee.

Happy days,

24 May, 2010

Using My Own Photos

This photo was taken in the early morning at the mouth of the Surrey River near the Narrawong Camp Ground in Victoria. The light was so perfect and the peaceful quiet was equally perfect.

I like using my photos because the memories they evoke are present as I work. This was a great spot to stay in a cabin at the caravan park - a really fun holiday. Hope you like it.

I mounted the picture on silver card and edged with Krylon gold leaf pen. Attached it to a smudged sort of sandy card - don't know where I got it - and edged it in turn with a blue metallic pen.

The card stock is hammered white card 'tent' folded and stamped with Stamp-It grasses and swiped with blue and sepia Marvy Matchables.

I sandwiched the CS open with a thick piece of chip board cut to size 2mm larger than mounted photo all round and ran it through the Big Shot to make an embossed matt. Finished with a light swipe of blue to high-light the matt then mounted the photo onto the card inside the matt.

16 May, 2010

At Last I Got to a Show...

Having missed Paperific in March because of the big hail storm, I was really determined not to miss the Stitches & Craft Show this month. My main attraction was to spend time with the folk at The Stamp Trap. I always learn a lot and spend a lot, which says they have stuff that is worth buying for my art. Jeanette and Stacey were their usual lovely selves, not to mention plenty of info and interesting ideas.

The Show itself was quite small and held minimal interest for paper artists and crafters although I do very much like Caulfield Racecourse venue. It's great for any shows I've ever attended there. I think the interest for the 'Stitches' part of the population was very high, but I think the July show will be the one for me and other paper artists.

Miles of smiles,

07 March, 2010

Missed the Paperific Show!

I'm so disappointed that the weather messed up the Paperific show in Flemington. A major storm hit Melbourne last night with hail stones as big as lemons, according to the weather bureau. The damage was huge in many areas and the TV news footage was quite extraordinary. So sorry about the amount of damage and the lost business that many of the exhibitors must have sustained. How heart-breaking to have gorgeous art and craft papers damp and warped, and whatever other damage to stock as well.

I am very miffed about it after missing two or three shows last year when I moved house. Today I was really looking forward to a day out, a day of creative recharge, and seeing my mate Jeanette Trappett from the Stamp Trap. Happy to have had a good yarn on the phone with Jeanette this morning and then wait for the next show in May.

On the wild side - a bit too much,

22 February, 2010

St Valentine’s Day Card

I made this card on the day, 14th February! You might call it a 'Just in time' card.

I used hammered white card stock, 14cm x 28cm to make a 14cm square card.
To create the background layers, I started with metallic red paper, 12cm x 12cm, then Japanese striped paper, chosen to feature red and gold, 11cm x 11cm. I added white hammered card, 9cm x 9cm, swiped and brushed with light red chalk ink.

The feature is two die-cut hearts cut with a Slice machine in gloss card. I embossed them with a Cuttlebug folder with one reversed so that it is recessed and they are swiped with chalk ink then polished when dry. I edged both of then with gold Krylon pen.

I like how it turned out, and so did person I gave it to. :-)

Miles of smiles,

06 February, 2010

New Year, New Place, New Blog

Here is the first card for this year, a birthday card for a family member and a sea theme for our new seaside environment.

The shell feature is created with a Judikins boleo stamp called 'Nature' stamped on plain white card using various seaside greens, blues & sand colours with small Versacolor ink pads. I really like them for easy colour combining. Three of the shells are gloss high-lighted with Diamond Glaze, and the background dabbed in from the edges. I applied gold Krylon pen for the edging.

The Coral feature was die-cut using The Slice using Bazzill green card, size 2.5" at the back, and 2" mirror image in front. Both swiped with gold PearlEx stamp pad, one more intensely than the other. All mounted on pale green metallic card, in turn mounted on white ice card stock.

Miles of smiles,

09 January, 2010

New Place, New Studio, New Blog

After moving house last year, of necessity the lowest thing on the totem pole was my studio. Now at last I have some space to work and I've found most things I need. Every so often, I have a gap... I reach for something that isn't there yet. Great irritation and I find it hard to get going, but it's happening. 

I've also taken time to set up a new blog. I won't let the world know straight away because I'm sure there will be much editing, but it's good to be creating this record.