I confess that I haven’t made a card since the middle of November. It’s been even longer than that since I last posted to my blog! I hadn’t felt the need to. I go through these periods at least once per year, usually when I don’t have any posting commitments. Around mid-January, I really wanted to send a few paper hugs to a few friends & I found that I was out of “sendable” cards — you know, ones that you aren’t too embarrassed to send…I know you know what I’m talking about! 😉
I couldn’t figure out how to start though. It’s amazing how quickly crafty habits erode! I bummed around my craft room, organizing a huge pile of goodies purchased from Black Friday and holiday sales (yes, that took me almost 3 full days!! I went a bit overboard.), swatching some pigment powders, reorganizing scraps, admiring my collection of coloring books and stash of patterned paper. I just couldn’t get started!
So, I was extremely grateful when Alex Syberia contacted me with her new release! As usual, the whole release is amazeballs! Yes, I am old, so, when I adopt a new phrase or catch word, it takes me a while to snap out of it and move on! This release includes not only Alex’s trademark florals, but also some fun critters, snacks, and gnomes! It gave me a reason to get off my bum. You can check out her full February release here.
I know, I know…get to the card! Please cut me some slack, since I haven’t written a post for months and can’t seem to get to the point!
I always put pressure on myself to come up with something new and different for Alex, but I had no idea how to even start. After a few days of mulling it over, I decided to give myself a break and just go for “pretty” for now. I relied on 2 techniques that I enjoy.
For both of my cards, I selected the Just Wonderful Floral digi stamp.
This image is sized perfectly to fit on a slim line card panel.
But, see that bird in the middle of the digital stamp? I’ve probably never mentioned this before, but coloring critters freaks me out. I feel like I’m poking and jabbing at them with my marker or pencil, and I’m afraid that I’ll hurt them. Especially around the eyes! Yes, I know that’s weird, but there you have it!
I elected to do some selective snipping around the bird and created my first card with just a couple of the blooms.
I used my current favorite watercoloring combo of (Karin Brushmarker Pro and a solution of equal parts water to Ink on 3 Liquid Pixie Dust) on Arches Cold Press Watercolor Paper. I paired a pink, a skin tone, and a yellow for the petals. For the leaves, I used a cool gray and a very watered-down version of my favorite purple.
Since the coloring went relatively quickly (for me, 5-6 hours is considered really quick!) and without any smearing or weird blobs, I had the confidence to fill in the background. I liberally wet down the bulk of the background then used an Altenew Watercolor Brush Marker to color from the bottom of the project towards the top where the bulk of the water was. I love how pigmented these Brush Markers are! The darkest areas are so dark they almost appear to be black.
I let the project dry overnight, then heat embossed a sentiment from Pinkfresh Studio’s Just a Little Lovely stamp set. I was so excited to find the perfect font that stated exactly what I wanted to say!
I added a few clear, faceted gems for some additional interest before mounting the completed piece on a square card base, made from the 110# version of Neenah Classic Crest Cardstock in Solar White. By the way, I’ve found that clear, faceted gems can tend to look yellow or dull when placed on a project. What I found was that, if I flip the gem & glue it on my project upside down, the facets reflect better & I get more shimmer from the little trinkets.
For my second card, I used another technique that I enjoy – basically smearing.
I wanted very targeted color on certain parts of my project, so I didn’t use the turn-your-paper-upside-down-and-lap-up-a-pool-of-color-from-your-craft-matt technique. Instead, I preprinted another snippet of Just Wonderful Floral digi stamp (without the bird) onto a cheap piece of watercolor paper. I believe I used Strathmore Series 300 Coldpress Watercolor Paper. Once the inkjet toner was dry, I wet the piece liberally with clean water. Then, using my Distress Reinker palettes, I strategically picked up colors using a #12 round brush, moving the colors around until I was happy with how they blended and overlapped. Once all of the ink was dry, I added details and shadows using Faber Castell Polychromos color pencils and blended the pigment out using gamsol.
The pigment from the pencils always seem to make the black lines of the digital print out appear dull, so I went over all of the lines with various widths of Sakura Pigma Micron black pens. Once all of the ink dried, I added a few white details using a Sakura Gelly Roll. Of course, I had to then promptly redo some of the black lines again, since I got too enthusiastic with the white Gelly Roll and went over the lines! 🙄
There you have it…my first 2 cards in quite a while! Interspersed with the writing of this post, I made 3 additional cards. I plan on getting the post for those projects done for Sunday. What am I talking about…I’m scheduled to post on Alex’s blog on Sunday, so it will definitely be up at that time!!
Thanks for the inspiration, Alex! And thanks to members of Alex’s new design team (congrats ladies & Joe!) for sharing your projects with me over the last few days and re-lighting the fire in my heart for this craft!! Love y’all!!