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!

 

 

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!

Varied Vases

This week’s post has been inspired by the beautiful sights of swathes of wisteria, tulips and daffodils that seem to be everywhere. I love flowers, in particular scented flowers, and I like to cut some from the garden to put in vases in the house.  Just a few scented flowers in an arrangement can fragrance the whole downstairs of the house.

For this project, I used the Varied Vases stamps and the matching punch.

The vase options are an outline to colour in yourself, solid or a patterned style.   I opted for the patterned style and stamped them in Bermuda Bay ink and then punched them out.

After stamping the scalloped edging, I roughly positioned the vases so I knew where to stamp the flowers that would be in the vases.  The flowers have an outline stamp that you can colour in or there is a matching solid stamp to fill them in, which is what I used with Cherry Cobbler ink.

The card was finished by stamping the sentiments and mounting onto a Bermuda Bay card base.

This is a similar design but in landscape format with Mint Macaron and Lovely Lipstick.

My third card was made by stamping the vase outline onto some Gingham Gala DSP and punching it out.  To give the vase a different look, I overlaid a layer of velum on top.  The punch cuts out the tulip flower and leaf so I stamped and punched those using Tuxedo Black, Lemon Lime Twist and Lovely Lipstick inks and attached the leaves to the back of the vase.  I then drew round the vase arrangement lightly with pencil onto a piece of Whisper White so that I could stamp the other tulip leaves, flowers and stems.

I then stamped the scalloped edging at the bottom of the vase and the sentiment to the right. Once the ink was dry, the pencil line was erased and the piece was cut out using a scalloped oval die.  The vase was mounted using dimensionals and a mini dimensional was used under the single tulip head to give a 3D element to the arrangement. The piece was mounted onto a layer of Lemon Lime Twist card that had been textured using the Layered Leaves embossing folder and a piece of the polka dot tulle ribbon.

 

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

 

Who can resist?

Mr L and I recently returned from a fabulous holiday to Bangkok where I purchased this beautiful scarf.  I had walked past it twice, admiring it from a distance, but on the third time I could resist no longer and bought it – because I loved it and you can never have too many scarves!

Something about the scarf made me wonder if I could recreate the colours and effects on the scarf for a card and the only way I could think to achieve this was to use the emboss-resist technique and some ink blending.

I began by doing some simple emboss-resist by repeat stamping images on white card using Versamark ink and then applying clear embossing powder.

Once heat set, I blended pastel inks over the card.  The embossing powder ‘resists’ the ink so the card gets coloured and the images stay white although sometimes a quick wipe with a tissue is needed to clean off any ink from the embossed images.

Round one was a success so I decided to try for the recreation of the scarf.  This required ink blending first and then stamping with Versamark and applying clear embossing powder once the ink was dry.

Once the embossing powder was heat set, I sponged black ink over the card, adding layers until I had the depth of colour I wanted.  Again, a tissue was needed at the end just to remove any black ink residue from the embossed images.  I tried both pastel and bright inks and I think the brights are more suited to this technique.

I’m quite happy with the brights background and I think it looks quite similar to the scarf so mission accomplished!

The pastel under black doesn’t have quite the same contrast but still looks pretty.

I thought the two white and pastel cards were suitable for Easter cards as, whilst they don’t have the standard bunnies/chicks/eggs design, they are quite spring like.

I think it’s important when you’ve spent time making the background for that to be the focal point of the card so I only added small greetings so that the background could still shine through.  A lovely little sprig of blackthorn flowers helps set the scene.

 

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!