Wonderful Writing Workshop

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

www.themoderncalligraphyco.co.uk

Sophia can be found at

www.thehanddrawnbean.co.uk

 

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! 😉

 

 

 

Ombre Sunset Card featuring Dandelion Wishes

This idea came to me one evening as I was gazing out of my craft room window at the sunset.  It was a beautiful sunset, with very rich pink, orange and yellow colours but only a strip of it was showing.  It was obscured at each side by huge cloud banks which framed the sunset.  It was stunning! As the colours intensified, the trees in the foreground became silhouetted which made the whole scene look even more spectacular.  As such, I was inspired to create this card.  As you’ve no doubt gathered, I’m a bit in love with the Dandelion Wishes stamp which works really well for this card, but any stamp which has a good silhouette image will do the business too – have fun trying out different images!  I find that a black mat layer or just a black card base (if you’re not matting it) frames this card the best.

If you’d like to watch my YouTube video tutorial for this card, please follow this link  https://youtu.be/3eWH_chcIOM

For this card, I used:

Card base: 11½” x 4⅛”, scored at 5¾”

Mat layer: 5⅝” x 4” (optional)

2 White layers: 5½” x 3⅞” (one for the card front and one for the liner)

Two 5” x 3” post-it notes

Stampin’ Up! Dandelion Wishes stamp set

Stampin’ Up! Ink Pads in: Crushed Curry, Pumpkin Pie, Cajun Craze, Cherry Cobbler, Rich Razzleberry and Blackberry Bliss

A piece of sponge or a sponge dauber for each different ink colour

Memento Tuxedo Black Ink

Versamark Ink Pad

Clear Embossing Powder

Scratch paper for working on – it will get a bit messy!

Using small pencil marks, mark on your white topper layer where you want your coloured panel to be.  I did 1” and 2½” from the left-hand side.  Tear a narrow piece from the sticky edge of the post-it note, ensuring there’s still some sticky area left.

Apply the post-it masks to the topper, roughly in line with your pencil marks and press down well.  Erase the pencil marks if you can still see them.  Put this onto a piece of scratch paper as you’ll be sponging off the edge of the card.

Stage 1, going up!  Using Crushed Curry first, dab the sponge onto the ink pad and apply the ink using small circular movements and ALWAYS starting on the post-it note, start at the bottom of the card and work onto the card.  Work the sponge across the card making a small section of yellow.  You will be going over this again so don’t worry if it looks a bit patchy.  Next, use the Pumpkin Pie ink and using the same technique, sponge a small section of orange just above the yellow, overlapping slightly.  Repeat this until you’ve used all your colours and are at the top of the card.  You’ll probably still have some light sections between the coloured bands.  This is fine, they’ll get blended out in stage 2.

Stage 2, coming down! Continuing with the Blackberry Bliss, start working your way back down the panel.  This time when you start a new colour, start in the colour above and work your way down to the bottom of your current colour section but not into the lighter colour below.  You always want to start your lighter colours on top of the darker coloured section above as this is how you’ll get the blended ombre look.  Continue blending until you’ve reached the Crushed Curry layer again.

Once you’re happy with the effect, carefully remove the masks and leave to dry a little.

Using the Stampin’ Up! Stamparatus, position your card front and anchor with the magnet. Position the triple dandelion image in the inked panel so that the stalks are just off the bottom of the page. Position your sentiment on the white section to the right then pick up the stamps with the flap of the Stamparatus. (If your stamps are a mixture of photopolymer and foam mounted rubber, position one stamp on one door and the other stamp on the reverse side or on the other door as you’ll need to remove the foam mat for the rubber stamps.)  Stamp the image and sentiment using black ink.  I like Memento Tuxedo Black as it produces a fine image.  Leave your stamps in place.  Give the ink a minute or so to dry and then pounce (a crafting term for making little dabbing motions to make a bit of powder come out of the bag!) your Embossing Buddy over the surface of the card.

Side Note: Embossing powder is super fine and will cling to any static or oils from your fingertips and then you have the arduous job of trying to brush it off with a paintbrush without disturbing your image.  Trust me, an Embossing Buddy is indeed a good friend to have!

Ink up your stamps again this time using Versamark Ink (which is stickier that normal inks and takes longer to dry) and then remove from the Stamparatus and add the embossing powder.  Pour off the excess, give the card a tap, I like to give it a couple of flicks on the reverse too and then carefully put it down whilst you get your Heat Tool warmed up (30 seconds or so).  This just helps the embossing powder to melt quicker to minimise the warping of the card.  Once hot, hold the Heat Tool over the embossed areas and watch the magic happen! You will see the powder melt and go from opaque to shiny.  Don’t hold the Heat Tool too close to the card, you could scorch the card (or even set it on fire!!) and move on as soon as one section has melted as you don’t want to overheat the powder, it will lose the shine and texture.  If your card has warped, gently heat the reverse side as this can help straighten it out again.

Layer up the card.  Adhere the topper to the coloured mat layer (if using) and then adhere to the card base.  The card front will be warped slightly due to the embossing so it’s best to use some form of wet glue like Tombow.  This is a strong adhesive and will help the card front regain its flatness (is that even a word??) which will then be further helped when sticking it onto the card base.  This is why I generally add a mat layer if I’ve heat embossed.  Adhere the liner to the inside.

You’re all done!

Optional: If you want even more shininess, add one of each size of rhinestones to the centre of the dandelions!

Another ombre sunset but with a birthday sentiment
This card was made without the heat embossing element.

 

 

All images ©Stampin’ Up!

Tone-on-Tone Dandelion Wishes

If you are new to card making, it can be overwhelming, not to mention expensive, choosing which items of kit to buy as there are so many things which people deem to be indispensable.  It doesn’t have to be like that though.  Choose one or maybe two stamp sets that you love and can immediately imagine what you’d make with them, add a couple of ink pads in your favourite colours plus a black one, some white card stock and you’re off to a good start.  You can easily build on this foundation purchase once you develop your style and preferred mediums and colours.

So, my first card project to share with you is a tone-on-tone card using the Stampin’ Up! Dandelion Wishes stamp set – an absolute favourite of mine, I can’t ever imagine getting bored of it!  It involves a bit of sponging, some stamping and a single colour of ink and cardstock.  The great thing about Stampin’ Up! is that there is matching cardstock for each ink colour, with the addition of coordinating embellishments like ribbon, twine and rhinestones.  It takes away the guesswork and ensures your projects have a coordinated look.

For this card, I used:

  • White card base: 11.5” x 4⅛”, scored at 5¾”
  • Rich Razzleberry mat layer: 5½” x 3⅞”
  • White inner layer: 5½” x 3⅞”
  • White topper layer: 5¼” x 3⅝”
  • Two 5” x 3” post-it notes
  • Stampin’ Up! Dandelion Wishes stamp set
  • Stampin’ Up! Rich Razzleberry Ink Pad
  •  A piece of sponge or a sponge dauber
  • Scratch paper for working on – it can get a bit messy
  • Stampin’ Up! Basic Rhinestones (optional)

Using small pencil marks, mark on your white topper layer where you want your coloured panel to be.  I did 1” and 2½” from the left-hand side.  Tear a narrow piece from the sticky edge of the post-it note, ensuring there’s still some sticky area left.  Or alternatively you can leave the edge straight if you prefer that look.

Apply the post-it masks to the topper, roughly in line with your pencil marks and press down well.  Erase the pencil marks if you can still see them.  Put this onto a piece of scratch paper as you’ll be sponging off the edge of the card.

Dab the sponge onto the ink pad and apply the ink using small circular movements starting on the post-it note at the top of the card and working onto the card.  Slowly work the sponge down the card as the amount of ink reduces so that you get a graduated effect with the top of the card being darker than the bottom.  Once you’re happy with the effect, carefully remove the masks and leave to dry a little.

Using Rich Razzleberry ink, stamp the triple dandelion image so that the stalks are just off the bottom of the page.  Position it centrally in the lighter section of the inked panel. (A stamp positioner like the Stampin’ Up! Stamparatus is really handy and I found it improved the quality of my stamping no end.  But it’s not essential; you may well be a championship stamper using blocks or woodmount stamps.   I wasn’t!)  Stamp your sentiment in the same colour.

Holding the inner liner (make sure your fingers are clean!) lightly go over the edges of the liner with your sponge without inking it up again.  Stamp the other dandelion image in the bottom left corner, going off the edge and stamp the seed in the top right corner.

Stamp some images onto your envelope too.

Layer up the card.  Adhere the topper to the coloured mat layer and then adhere to the card base.  Add the liner to the inside.

Optional: Add one of each size of rhinestones to the centre of the dandelions for a bit of extra zing!

You’re all done!

Variations

If you use a stamp positioner, like the Stamparatus, you could emboss the dandelions after you’ve stamped them using Versamark ink and clear embossing powder to add a little extra shine.

Change up the look by using coloured card for the topper and emboss the image and sentiment using Versamark ink and silver embossing powder.  I also added some second generation stamping along the bottom edge, lightly sponged the edges with the matching ink and stamped the seed images around the edge of the mat layer.

Another option, if you have more ink pads, is to create an ombre effect by blending one colour into the next to make a seamless transition – another post to follow with this technique.

Whichever method you try, you’re sure to produce a stylist result!

Images ©Stampin’ Up!