I’ve been meaning to have a go with the Waterfront stamp set for a while since it gives the illusion of a water-coloured image with just some simple stamping – handy for those of us (like me) that can’t paint for toffee!
There are some great images of mountains, land masses, water and trees which can be combined to create romantic, relaxing or vibrant scenes, depending on your chosen colour palette.
My first card was inspired by the beautiful weather we’ve had on the South coast of the UK the past few days. All along the seafront where we live are loads of beach huts and there’s a cute little beach hut stamp in the set which I stamped in Pretty Peacock, Real Red and Mint Macaron for a fun look.
I went over the sea with clear Wink Of Stella to give that sparkle of the sun reflecting off the waves. A Pretty Peacock layer on a Crushed Curry cardbase finishes the beachy, sunny card.
My second card was inspired by Amanda Bates from the Craft Spa and her ‘out of the frame’ style card. I first stamped the mountains using Smoky Slate together with some Blackberry Bliss dabbed on with a sponge dauber. I could have done with a paler purple, like Highland Heather, but I don’t have one so I had to think of another way to get the purpley hue. The mountains in the background were stamped with 2nd and 3rd generation Smoky Slate. I made a definite land mass by inking up half the land stamp along the edge of the Blackberry Bliss stamp pad, to give me a straight horizon.
I stamped the water and then filled in any gaps along the shoreline with some ink and the Wink of Stella brush.
The tree stamp is too large to use whole for this kind of scene so the trick is to just ink up the top sections of the trees.
I die cut the centre section of the scene using the Stitched Rectangles Framelits…
…and then cut the centre section down further to create a border within the stamped border.
I think it’s really cool that by using different colour palettes with the same stamp set can create a card with a completely different mood.
One of the new releases that caught my eye in the new Annual catalogue was the Royal Peacock bundle. I really like the two-stage stamp for the peacock, although just the base stamp looks great on its own too. Previously Sizzix used to make dies for Stampin’ Up! but the detailed peacock dies are made by a new company and I have to say I’m impressed. Usually detailed dies like these are a complete pain when trying to get the card out of the die and I usually add a layer of wax paper to help with the release. No such problem with these dies. They cut cleanly with a single pass through the Big Shot and the cut shape literally fell out of the die!
My first card this week features the stamped peacock and an embossed background. I began by stamping the peacock with Pretty Peacock ink and then stamped the second layer with Versamark and applied copper embossing powder.
The background uses the Layered Leaves embossing folder (retired) which I edged with strips of copper foil.
I used a sentiment from the Beauty Abounds set.
My second card is a die cutting extravaganza! I started by die cutting a bunch of the peacock tail feathers from Very Vanilla card and sticking them onto my Very Vanilla top layer. This gives some texture and a faux embossed look.
The detailed peacock die also embosses the image and I stamped the ‘Proud’ sentiment from the same stamp set and cut it out with the Everyday Label punch.
I added a piece of the Old Olive/Pretty Peacock ribbon and an Old Olive mat layer.
Last Sunday, I attended a taster workshop to learn about dip pen and brush pen styles of modern calligraphy. The course was hosted by the The Modern Calligraphy Co. and is one of Kirsten Burke’s range of classes. I chose it after being inspired by Kirsten’s YouTube videos and trying out one of her books. The workshop itself is set in an idyllic location in the West Sussex countryside and, despite looking a little austere from the outside (it’s a converted Victorian sub-station), the interior is stunning; bright and airy and adorned with inspirational artwork.
The welcome was warm and friendly and was accompanied with mugs of tea, coffee and biscuits. Each of the wannabe calligraphers had a work area complete with hand lettered name tag, tools and worksheets. I was on a table with two lovely ladies, Hilary and Barbara, and we managed to do a lot of nattering in addition to our calligraphy!
Our fab instructor was Maisie and she had a relaxed, informative and entertaining style of tuition which I very much enjoyed. We were also lucky enough to have a guest instructor, Sophia, who was veryhelpful, encouraging and supportive throughout. The day started with a demo from Maisie and then we were straight onto guided exercises learning how to use a dip pen and ink. The first of these exercises were drills, so practicing downstrokes with heavy pressure and upstrokes with light pressure to get the hang of the thick and thin lines and how often to dip the pen. These exercises, whilst not appearing to be very interesting, are essential to building muscle memory to enable one to produce beautiful calligraphy.
During these exercises, we also had a go at blending different colour inks to create ombre writing – very cool!
We then moved onto letters and were taught how to use metallic paints with the dip pens instead of ink. This produced absolutely stunning results, even on my beginner attempts!
Next was a demo on brush pens showing the variety of types of pen and ways to use them and then we were back to our drills again, trying out a multitude of pens. Again, we were shown the different ways to blend the colours and were encouraged to play around.
Next stop was a scrummy lunch. And it was HUGE! There was a massive buffet style selection of cold meats, cheeses, warm quiches, breads, olives, salads, dips, fruit and cake, plus hot and cold drinks. It was a lovely day too so we were able to sit in the garden to eat our lunch and be refreshed ready for the next task.
In the booking confirmation email from Maisie, we had been asked to think of a 4-8 word phrase which we would turn into our own art work. Kirsten herself gave us a demo on how to structure the word art, and then we started off sketching. It was a really interesting exercise; working out which words to put where, what style of lettering to use, whether to use capitals or lower case, what colours etc. Once again, all the instructors were on hand to offer advice and encouragement.
The phrase I chose was a quote from my Dad, which he often utters after explaining (once only) how to do some D-I-Y job that he could do in his sleep, and either me, my sister, Mum, Mr L (or anyone else for that matter) is currently messing up and will require the explanation repeating! I thought it would make a great Father’s Day card.
Once the design was finalised, I went over to the light box to trace the design onto the card. I was using the dip pen since it was a small project so I decided to have a little practice on my scrap piece, trying out different colours for the ‘shout’.
After completing the writing, I added some tiny splatters of ink and gold paint and left it to dry, mounting it onto a black card base when I returned home.
There’s a small shop at the workshop selling the products we used so I bought myself a dip pen starter kit, an inspirational book and some of those gorgeous metallic paints.
Mr L requested a card for his Dad for Father’s Day so I had a go with my metallic marker pens and dropping inks from great heights for this card!
Lastly, for a bit of fun, I made this for Mr L from the cats!
I enjoyed the workshop immensely and am currently trying to persuade Mr L that he’d enjoy it too as it’d be great fun to do together. There are full day and half day sessions, evening sessions (with wine and canapes – how civilised!) and family friendly workshops.
If you’re interested in attending a workshop, you can find out more at
p.s. If you’re reading this on 16th June 2019 and fancy a go, you can get the ultimate beginner’s guide to modern calligraphy free in the Mail on Sunday. Yes, you will have to be seen buying the Mail but you can always wear a disguise! 😉