Sadly, two of my friends have lost their Dads in the past couple of weeks, one of those being due to Covid-19. The casualty figures are harrowing but it really brings it home when it affects people you care for. So, my post this week is dedicated to Dads, wherever they may be.
The love and thought that goes into any handmade card is magnified in a condolence card. I find them difficult to design but soothing to make. For this week’s card, I used Rooted in Nature and the ever-useful Peaceful Moments for the sentiment.
To begin, I used masks and sponge daubers to create a sun and mountains for my background on Very Vanilla.
I stamped the tall tree several times using my Stamparatus to ensure a solid impression. The tree needed grounding so, using another mask, I sponge daubed Early Espresso at the base of the tree. The panel was cut out using one of the stitched rectangle dies.
One of my favourite stamps in the set, the skeleton leaf, was used for decorating the liner and envelope.
The card was finished by mounting the focal image on a Crumb Cake mat and then onto a base layer embossed with the Woodland folder (retired).
I finished my week crocheting a rainbow to hang in my window in support of our NHS workers.
I was first introduced to the Black Ice technique at Team Training back in January this year. One of the other demos, Stella, did a demonstration of this and I thought it looked quite intriguing. I made a note of it, thinking I’d try it out soon and then promptly forgot all about it!
Sadly, Stella passed away earlier this month but thinking of her reminded me that I hadn’t given the technique a go. I didn’t know Stella well but first met her a few years ago at a card making class and subsequently met her a few times at demonstrator events. She was always very friendly, so full of life and had a great sense of humour. She will be missed and I dedicate this post to her.
The technique was ‘invented’ by an American demonstrator called Melissa Kerman. She has lots of great videos on YouTube, not only on this technique but lots of other cool ideas too. Anyhow, here’s my first crafting journey onto Black Ice!
First of all, shiny card is needed for this technique: foil sheets are perfect. I used silver foil and Grapefruit Grove foil (from Sale-A-Bration earlier this year). I hadn’t used any of this foil as I had no idea what to do with I, it’s not really one of my colours. It seems it was crying out for this technique.
A sheet of scrap paper is needed to work on. I applied a small amount of temporary adhesive to the back of the foil piece and stuck it to the scrap paper. It is possible to do this without sticking the pieces down but it does make life easier. Using a black Stazon ink pad, I started off the edge of the card and lightly dragged the ink pad down the foil, pressing harder at the beginning and end to get a black edge. The aim is to get a streaked, antiqued kind of look. It took a couple of passes as the card was wider than the ink pad.
Next, again using black Stazon, I stamped my design. I used a selection of sets; Best Catch, Beautiful You and Lilypad Lake. My fisherman looked a bit lost, floating in mid-air so I masked him and stamped the water from Lilypad Lake, after wiping off some ink as the fisherman image is quite fine.
Once the ink was completely dry (if in doubt wait a bit longer or dry with a heat tool) it was time for stage 2. This time, I took a Versamark pad and using just the weight of the pad, dragged it down the foil piece in the same direction as the Stazon. Again, it took a couple of passes.
I then applied clear embossing powder and heat set it.
The aim is to get a streaky look with the embossing powder, looking like lines of ice crystals, hence the name! Here’s a close up once mine had been heat embossed.
I messed up the edge of this one as my temporary adhesive was rather more temporary than intended and came loose as I was applying the Stazon! This resulted in the two heavy lines of ink on the left, which isn’t a good look. I used an Inkylicious Picture Perfect stamp that I’ve had for years which has its own frame so at least the foil piece wasn’t wasted.
So, here are my finished cards. I didn’t do much with the backgrounds as I wanted the focal image to be the star of the show. (My photograpic prop this week is a kestrel feather. We are lucky enough to have kestrels nesting just down the lane each year and I found this feather on our driveway.)
Best Catch fisherman with the other fishing images stamped for the background and sentiment from the same set. I used Basic Black and Always Artichoke as I love khaki and have stacks of that card. It is retired now but Mossy Meadow is almost the same.
The yachts and water from Lilypad Lake with Pacific Point background embossed with retired Seaside embossing folder (there’s a High Seas folder now that would work for this theme).
The next two are my Beautiful You cards. As I wrote earlier, Grapefruit Grove is not my kind of colour scheme so I didn’t have any coordinating card stock for my card base. I found that the copper embossing powder worked well with the iced panel and Blackberry Bliss and Rich Razzleberry offered a good supporting role together with the Scripty embossing folder. The other card used some very old DSP that had a vaguely pinky-peach coloured design on it.
Lastly, here’s the ‘rescued’ panel. I used a strip from an iced panel that I completely messed up in place of ribbon under the sentiment.
I hope you’ll give this technique a go. It does involve a little trial and error but is great fun and gives stunning results.
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.
This Sunday in the UK is Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day, so my cards this week are the ones I made for my Mum and Mum-in-law. I’ve had the Frosted Florals set together with the matching Frosted Bouquet framelits but hadn’t got around to playing with them so I made them the star turn for this card. I also used the Jar of Love set and matching Everyday Jars framelits. Whilst this is a Mother’s Day card, it could easily be adapted for birthday, anniversary, thank you or get well card – indeed anything for which you’d send a bunch of flowers! I made a birthday card earlier in the year using Lovely Lipstick, Smoky Slate and Mint Macaron and I really like these colours together so I used that colour palette here too.
Firstly, I stamped the card liner and the envelope with same designs. I really like the thistle/teasel image (that was my reason for buying this set actually!) so that was my main focus. I made it dual coloured by using sponge daubers to apply the ink.
Next, I stamped and die cut a bunch of flowers and foliage. I also stamped a jar onto some velum and added some clear embossing powder to give it a ‘glassy’ look. The great thing about velum is that you don’t need to use Versamark ink to heat emboss as regular ink stays wet for about 2½ weeks (more or less!) on velum so there’s plenty of time to get the embossing powder on there.
I die cut another jar in white card and held it in position with some temporary adhesive whilst I stamped the background foliage. This is stamped directly onto the card front to provide some dimension and contrast to the other layers added later.
The next stage was to arrange the die cut foliage, cutting off the stems that went below the top of the jar.
The focal images of roses and thistles were added to complete arrangement. The jar didn’t look quite right ‘floating’ in mid-air so I partially stamped the Buffalo Check to sort of resemble a tablecloth.
I put a couple of silver glitter hearts on the jar back, coloured the back of the velum jar with an alcohol marker to make the water, and then glued the velum jar top onto the white back. A little Mint Macaron twine around the jar neck and bow completed the jar which I attached to the card with Dimensionals, ensuring the top of the jar covered over the cut edges of the stems. The card top was mounted on Lovely Lipstick Foil and then glued to a Mint Macaron card base. A small stitched oval stamped with the sentiment from the Tea Together completed the card.
What a lovely few days of glorious weather we’ve enjoyed this week. 18°C in February is unseasonably warm but the sunshine was a welcome change from the gloomy grey cloud that’s been around for most of the winter. The lovely weather inspired us to get outside and do some gardening and I ended up doing quite a lot of weeding. Whilst this is a tedious occupation, I do like that you can see what you’ve achieved at the end! It was whilst I was on my hands and knees in the middle of the border that I saw my first bee of the year. I love bees and find it fascinating watching them buzzing around collecting pollen. It was a white-tailed bumble bee which flew past me to explore the camelia bush and it inspired my crafting this week.
I used the bees from the Stampin’ Up! Dragonfly Dreams and Detailed Dragonfly thinlits.
For my first cards, I die cut a couple of banners and stamped the bee and coloured it in using the Wink of Stella brush and some Gold Glimmer Paint. The first banner was mounted on some Gingham Gala DSP on a black card base and finished with some yellow organdie ribbon and black twine.
The second card used a similar banner decorated with Crushed Curry satin ribbon and some linen thread. This banner was mounted onto the card base which had been stamped with a repeating bee pattern.
For the third card, I used a hexagon embossing folder as the background as I thought it went with the bee theme, looking like honeycomb. I used a couple of stitched rectangle frames to back the sentiment (from the Part Of My Story set) and punched the sentiment out using the Pretty Label punch.
The bee was cut out using the die and black card which I then inlaid with some sparkle and gold glimmer paper. (For the inlaid technique, see the Dragonflies and Dandelions post from Oct 4th 2018.)
The final card uses another inlaid bee, this time using the Country Florals embossing folder. I used Crushed Curry card and added a little matching ink mixed with some gold glimmer paint to add a little more contrast.
The embossing folder is incredibly detailed, as you can see from this angle.
Unfortunately, Storm Freya is hitting our shores this weekend so it seems that spring is not here yet after all.