Simple Silhouettes

I do love a silhouette! Trees, plants, buildings, birds, people to name but a few – they all make great silhouettes that are super to use for card making.  Create a background by using your preferred method – sponging, brayering, watercolour, stamping, embossing – and put your silhouette over the top.  When I spotted the Friendly Silhouette Dies in the new Stampin’ Up! annual catalogue, they were immediately put on my wish list.   I mistakenly thought that there were 3 silhouette border dies in the set, and there are – sort of! More on that later though.

For two of my cards, I sponged a sunrise and a sunset.  What I like about inking sky backgrounds is that you can’t actually go wrong! For example, if you look at a sunset there are so many colours, shapes and patterns, many of which you’d think were unrealistic if you saw them in a painting but there they are in real life.  That’s one of the beauties of nature, it’s sheer randomness!

I began by sticking post-it notes along the card to make the horizon (1).  Then I decided whether or not to have a sun.  I had a sun in these so punched a circular mask from a post-it note and used both the negative (1) and positive pieces (3) at different stages.  After I’d sponged the sun, I removed the negative mask (2) and then placed the sun mask over the sun (3) whilst I sponged the sky.  I used Crushed Curry, Rococo Rose and Seaside Spray for my sunrise sky. I removed the masks and then coloured below the horizon using a Basic Black marker (4).

I cut out the floral border from Basic Black card and simply glued the border over the sunrise.  At this stage, I didn’t like the black horizon I’d drawn in so I just covered it up with the border die.

Floral border at sunrise

For the second card, I used an ink ‘smooshing’ technique.  I got my largest block and pressed my Blackberry Bliss ink pad directly onto the bottom third of the block, transferring plenty of ink.  I repeated this with Bermuda Bay on the top third of the block.  For the bit in between, I applied Night of Navy using sponge daubers.

Once the block was covered, I spritzed it with plenty of water and then placed the card onto the block, pressed well, then removed and left to dry.  The great thing about these types of background is that they are fun to make and are completely unique!

The bull rush border (my favourite!) was used for this card and I cut out an additional border from vellum and stuck it behind the black card, offset slightly to give some extra visual interest.

Bull rushes border in black card and vellum

So that bring us to the last die.  Now I thought that this was a palm tree border so image my horror when this is what was left when I’d cut out my border!  I even contacted demo support to check that the thing wasn’t faulty!!

Definitely not a palm tree!

Anyway, another demonstrator in Amanda’s team guessed (correctly) that it is designed so that you use the negative space instead of the cut out.  So, you ink up your background scene, then cut out the trees and put your background on top of a black card base to give you the silhouetted look.  Now call me picky but I think a background should be, well…you know, in the background and the thing that’s making the silhouette should be in the foreground.  Maybe I’m thinking about this too scientifically! Anyhow, this is how it looks behind my inked sunset.

Palm tree ‘border’ at sunset

I’ve left all my cards without sentiments so I can use them for whatever occasion demands in the future.

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

Splendid Sunflowers

Summer is a great time to be out in the garden: there’s a wealth of colour, flowers, birds and insects to feast your eyes on.  I particularly enjoy growing plants that are beneficial for both me and the wildlife and one of those essentials is sunflowers.  I don’t grow the 10ft monsters for a few reasons; they require too much faffing around with, you only get a solitary flower on them, albeit huge, and our garden is very windy so it would likely get broken.  My favourite sunflower to grow is ‘Vanilla Ice’.  It’s a multi-branched variety, so lots of flowers for the vase and the wildlife, it’s really easy to grow and it flowers for months.

A little bee on my ‘Vanilla Ice’ sunflower

The Painted Harvest stamp set features a great water-coloured sunflower image and is also easy to create stunning cards with.  It’s a multi layered stamp and I usually use a second-generation image for the back layer by stamping off onto scrap paper first but with the yellow ink, it’s not necessary so I just inked up and stamped straight onto the card.

Layer 1 with Crushed Curry

The second layer has more detailed petals.  I don’t think there’s a match to the first layer – not that I’ve found anyway! – so that makes it dead easy to just stamp right over the top of the first.

Crushed Curry layer 2

The sunflower centre is created with a graduated tone from a single stamp.

I wanted the leaves to look like they were peeking out from beneath the flower but the stamp has a section of stalk on it.  There are several ways to overcome this: ink up only the section you want to stamp; make a mask to protect the flower; or cut the stamp (gulp!).  I used a mask made from a post-it note.  (I keep the masks I make with the stamp set for future use.) The leaves are also made up with 2 stamps for a textured look.

A well used post-it note mask!

A Crushed Curry mat and sentiment from the Butterfly Gala complete the single sunflower card.

For this multi sunflower card, I put the sentiment stamp where I was going to stamp it and then stamped my sunflowers around and off the page. Again, I use the mask to protect the flower whilst I stamped the leaves.

I heat embossed the sentiment using gold embossing powder and then mounted on a Sahara Sand card base.

Although not technically sunflowers, the stamp works equally well when used with colours other than yellow.  Here’s a presentation folder I created for my watch’s retirement gift for a work colleague.

If you really want to go off-piste, stamp the image in different greens and use it as a wreath for a Christmas card. I heat embossed some gold dots and added some red rhinestones for some festive bling!

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

Beautiful Bokeh Backgrounds

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘bokeh’, it’s a photographic term for an aesthetically pleasing blur you get when the background is out of focus.  Bokeh is from the Japanese word ‘boke’ meaning ‘blur’ or ‘haze’ and as far as I can ascertain, it is pronounced “bo-kay”.  However, I may be wrong but, irrespective of how you pronounce it, it’s a fun technique to try out.

To begin, choose 3 complimentary ink colours and, using sponge daubers or sponge pieces, smoosh ink onto cardstock in random places gradually blending the colours together at the edges.  Leave to dry.

Next, you’ll need to make a bokeh stencil.  Cut a selection of circle sizes out of a sheet of acetate or glossy card.  You will need a pigment ink for the circles so that they show up on the coloured background.

Using a clean sponge dauber, apply the white ink in circles, moving the holes around the background and overlapping other circles in places.  Leave to dry.

The last part is to use your unique background to create a beautiful card.  I used gold embossing powder and the hot air balloons from the recently retired Lift Me Up set to finish my card.

I enjoyed the inking process so I decided to try out another in purples and yellow.  What I discovered in making this one into a card is that you can’t stamp silhouettes on it with Memento ink as it dries to a dirty grey colour.  Black Stazon works though, as you can see from my little experiment; S=Stazon, M=Memento.

As this inking disaster had ruined my bokeh panel, I cut off the offending half and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with silver embossed dandelions on the remaining half of the panel.

If you can’t be bothered with any of the above, you can use the Bokeh Dots background stamp.  These stamps are a little tricky to ink as if there’s too much ink on the stamp, it loses the effect. Applying the ink using a brayer worked better for me.

Whilst I had the stamp set out, I decided to use the other stamp in the set too, which is a starburst/firework kind of effect.

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

Waterfront Whiz

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Images ©2019 Stampin’ Up!

 

 

Peacock Two Ways!

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.

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!