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!

Marvellous Metallics

Last week I used foil sheets and embossing folders to provide interesting focal panels.  This week, I’m still embossing but using metallic embossing powder and heat.  I love using the metallic powders on dark card stock, especially the heating part – watching the powder melt and transform from matt granules to glorious shine!  Line style stamps work best for this technique so I decided an outing for the floral elements of Tea Together was in order.

I began by generously applying the Embossing Buddy over my Basic Black card front to remove static and oils from my fingers which would attract the embossing powder.  Next, I random stamped the various images using Versamark, rotating them and stamping off the edge too.  I also stamped another small flower on a scrap of black card, the sentiment and the large rose onto the liner.  I then applied gold embossing powder to the stamping and heat set it.

For my mat layer, I didn’t have enough gold foil sheet so I manufactured a bit using embossing powder.  This is a handy tip to employ too if your embossing powder doesn’t quite match your foil sheets.  To do this, I simply pressed the edges of the card onto the Versamark pad and then applied the powder.  It wasn’t completely uniform, more of a ‘hammered’ finish but I liked it.  If you wanted it to be smooth, you can apply another layer over the top.

My sentiment was embossed onto velum, which is not very forgiving when it comes to adhesive as the adhesive shows through.  I applied a large blob that I knew would be covered by my small flower decal and some teeny tiny dots behind the letters.

The last stage was to add the liner to the inside and then assemble the layers and top it off with the flower decal on some foam dimensionals.

My second card used the same stamps on Basic Grey card and silver embossing powder.  For the mat layer, I used plain velum for an understated look.

The third card features Night of Navy card and copper embossing powder with a copper foil sheet mat layer.

My last card used Basic Grey and silver embossing powder and the small flower.  After heat setting the powder, I used the Chalk Marker to add three small lines to each petal for some added interest.  The background looked a little bare still so I also added little groups of three dots.  (I was introduced to the “power of the dot” when I did my cake decorating course in prep for making my wedding cake).  Small but very effective!

Four cards using the same stamps and technique but with quite different results!

 

 

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

Festive Foliage Tags

The Christmas Traditions Punch Box comes in a gorgeous tin with 6 festive stamps, a coordinating punch, 2 ink spots and an acrylic block.  The tags are quite small so I wanted to pop them up as a feature on a larger tag so set to work making a background.  When I buy a new stamp set, I tend to use the main images and the smaller images don’t often get a look in so I thought I’d try making this background using only the small stamps from the Mistletoe Season stamp set.  I’m really happy with the way the festive foliage background turned out.

For this project I used:

A4 piece of thick white cardstock

Scraps of green and red glimmer paper (from Joyous Noel glimmer paper pack)

Gold foil paper

A strip of white card for the sentiments

Stampin’ Up! Mistletoe Season stamp set

Stampin’ Up! Christmas Traditions Punch Box

Stampin’ Up! inks in Shaded Spruce Ink, Old Olive and Real Red

Gold Ink pad

Foliage dies

Scalloped Tag Topper Punch

2m ribbon

I started off randomly stamping the whole A4 sheet with the pine boughs in Shaded Spruce and Old Olive.  I then filled in the gaps with the sprig of berries stamped in Real Red and the 3 dots in gold.

The sheet was cut down into 2” strips to fit in the tag topper punch and then cut in half to make ten 2” x 4⅛” rectangles.  This left a narrow strip which I scored at 4⅛” and folded to make an additional tag.

The Sending Christmas Wishes stamp was stamped in Shaded Spruce and Real Red ink and then punched out.

I cut out 11 circles from the gold foil paper and a bunch of foliage and berries from the green and red glimmer paper.  This was the longest job.

The tags were punched with the tag topper punch to give the lovely scalloped shape and then I used the envelope punch board to round the other two corners, stuck on a gold circle, a couple of pieces of foliage and berries and topped off with the sentiment tag mounted on dimensionals.

A 20cm length of ribbon finished off each tag.

 

 

 

 

Images © 2018 Stampin’ Up!

Embossed Snowflake Tree

My snowflake love affair continues this week with a Christmas tree made up of snowflakes.  How cool is that?!  I decided on heat embossing as this stamp lends itself very well to that technique and tried out gold, silver and white embossing powders on a Christmassy red background. I can’t even decide on a favourite – I love them all!

For this project I used:

11½” x 4⅛” Real Red card base, scored at 5¾”

5⅝” x 4” Whisper White mat layer

5½” x 3⅞” Real Red top layer

5½” x 3⅞” Whisper White card for the liner

Stampin’ Up! Snow Is Glistening stamp set

Stampin’ Up! Ink in Real Red

Versamark Ink

Embossing powder

Rhinestones

First, stamp the liner and envelope with the large snowflakes using Real Red ink and leave to dry.

Use the embossing buddy liberally all over the card top and then stamp the snowflake tree image and greeting using Versamark ink.  Fill in some of the gaps by stamping the large snowflake using Versamark.  Apply your preferred embossing powder and set with the heat gun.  Apply rhinestones to the centre of the large snowflakes.

Adhere the top layer onto the white mat layer and then stick this onto the card base.  Adhere the liner to the inside and you’re all finished.

Super quick and super classy!

 

 

 

Images © 2018 Stampin’ Up!