Category Archives: trends

Patterned Paper 4: Painted Fancy




Having moved on from the Abrianna stack my last projects were from, I dug through all my 12 x 12 stacks and selected my next project: a stack from Recollections called “Painted Fancy.”  This stack was obviously published to cash in on the recent hot watercolor trend in papercrafting.  Not a bad call, as the trend was incredibly hot for a long time, but many crafters, not trained artists, are (like myself) afraid of the unforgiving nature of watercolor paints.  The stack has a mix of painted-looking patterns and colored washes, many with glittered elements.  It’s nice, in soft pastel colors.

Here’s the first card:


(Which you can see I have placed upon the stack itself so you can get a glimpse of it — aren’t I clever?)   🙂

I used a 5×6.5 Recollections pre-scored card base and mounted a section from a page with random colored washes and soft printed text as a background.  I used a larger sized card base so you could see more of the DP.  The greeting is a stamp and diecut from the first Catherine Pooler Stamp of Approval kit, from CAS-ual Fridays.  I highlighted the “friend” diecut with Glossy Accents, which you can’t really see in the picture, but looks cool IRL.

I embellished it with some unusual square sequins from Doodlebug Design — square, because I am intending to send this card to a male friend of mine.

And that’s it.  Watercolor effects, as reproduced in this paper, are usually colorful and interesting enough that you want to let them stand on their own.

Trend Capitulation: Zig Clean Color Brush Markers


I’ve written before about how I try to resist trends, but I confess, I bought a set of Zig Clean Color Brush markers after they dropped.  There was such a frenzy about them in the papercrafting blogosphere, I couldn’t resist.  I loved the bright, clear colors, and was intrigued by the possibilities of the brush tip.  And they’re really not that expensive, all things considered.

They took over a month to arrive from Japan, but they finally did this week.  Here is my first attempt with them:


I stamped and heat-embossed the flowers in silver, and painted them with the Zig markers and water.  They are blotchier than i would like.  Next time I will try them without water, see how that works.  I do like the colors, though.  I purchased the 24-pack, which seemed to be enough variety of colors to play around with, but not too expensive if I decided I didn’t like them.  There are 80 colors overall, all available open stock.  The largest pack has 60 colors, so you can’t get them all in a pack.  But really, 60 colors seems more than enough, doesn’t it?

Oh, this was done on Tim Holtz watercolor paper.  I like it because it is so bright and white.  And because it comes in size A2 sheets, because I am lazy.

I CASED this card from Jennifer McGuire, who in turn CASED it from Tasnim Ahmed of Altenew.  This is the Altenew stamp set Persian Motifs.  I love it.  I think it is drawn from ancient ceramic designs.

Oh, the sentiment continues on the inside.  “Friendship … is like a bouquet of flowers, sweet and beautiful.”  I could only fit the first word on the front.  And I had to color it with a marker, because the words were too close and intertwined to only get the “friendship” with an ink pad, even if I covered the other words with Scotch tape.  I think it turned out OK, though.

In other things, I realize I’ve been kind of flailing around with the blog here, not posting, posting randomly, not following through with projects.  I do want to continue the patterned paper series.  My life has just been kind of chaotic lately.  I am picking away bit by bit at cleaning my craft room.  It’s pretty overwhelming. I mean, you’ve seen my stash list, right?  I am destashing some things.  Would anybody like some orphan stamps or 6×6 pads?  Email me.

I still can’t find that Basic Grey paper pad!  I’m beginning to wonder if I ever actually bought it, or just imagined I did.  Or my Gelatos.  I have the whole gift set and it is a sizable box, so how the heck did that go missing?  On the other hand, I’m finding some things I forgot I had, so that’s fun.

I’ll try to post more regularly in the future.  I know, I’ve said that before.  But I will try.

Faux Watercolor with Distress Markers



OK, I have been fiddling around with these cards for a while, and last night I finally finished them.  (Well, mostly finished.) The technique here is faux watercolor stamping with Distress Markers.  Similar to what I have been doing before — coloring the stamp and misting it,  but with the markers.




This first one I stamped on kraft paper, because I was curious how the faux watercolor technique would look on kraft paper, which is pretty absorbent.  Also I thought it would suit the sketch and color scheme I was planning.  I colored, misted, stamped, and left the image to dry naturally.  I had to try this out a few times to get the right balance of colors on the wheat ears, so they would stand out properly.   The colors I used are Scattered Straw, Dried Marigold, Peeled Paint, Shabby Shutters, maybe a little Vintage Photo or Walnut Stain, I don’t quite remember.

I scribbled the markers on the craft sheet, misted them, and added some splatters with a paint brush, too.  That did not work out quite as well as I would like — I’m not great with splatters.  They’re OK, but they could be better.

The sentiment is from Fiskars.  Once it was all done, it seemed to need something more, so I dug around in my stash and found these tiny, decorated brads.  They certainly fit the color scheme.

This second pair of cards are the Seasonal Distress Markers on an ikat background stamp.




First generation impression is on the left, second on the right.  As usual, I ended up liking the second generation more, but the first is fine too.

This paper is the Tim Holtz Distress watercolor paper — I like what a bright white it is.  I used the smooth side.  I mounted the panels on black cardstock for contrast, and added a vellum strip for a sentiment.

I had a certain sentiment stamp in mind — “You color my world” — but I can’t find the damn thing. Hah, I guess that’s what I get for cleaning up!  When it turns up, I will stamp the sentiment strips.  Or if I find I want to use the cards for something, I will add an appropriate sentiment.  I think they would make good low-key birthday cards, being colorful but not too fancy.

So that’s faux watercolor.

There are many other watercolor techniques I could try, but you know, right now, I’m just not feeling it.  The watercolor.  The unpredictability of it is hard for me.  I know watercolor is terribly popular right now, but I think I’m ready to move on.  I can always come back to it later.

For my next projects I might like to work with patterned paper.  Or maybe play around with some of the non-card materials in my stash.


Watercolors: Basic Washes 3


Continuing on with creating basic washes from my various watercolor, watercolor-like, or water-based supplies, just to see how they work as watercolors.  In this post I have Twinkling H2o’s, Faber-Castell Gelatos, and Distress Inks. Twinkling H2os are cake watercolors in tiny little jars, with bright colors and a lot of mica powder added to them to give a pearly shimmer. I didn’t even know what they were for a long time — I kept reading mentions of them in papercrafting books and magazines, and wondered. “What are these Twinkling H2os?”  Someone finally explained it.  Then I found a basic set at Michaels one day, so I bought it.  This is the first time I have ever actually used them.




Pretty intense colors, and an all-over pearlescent sheen.  Hope you can see it:




Good color coverage, and less streaky than the Yasutomo pearlescent watercolors. (Probably because they are better quality.)  I like them so far.

Next I tried Gelatos, which are a solid media, but are water-soluble and easily mixed with water to make a watercolor-like pigment.  You can even make color sprays out of them with enough water — Faber-Castell sells a kit of little tools for that.  I’ve made a couple and they have good color and coverage. (I want to like color and shimmer sprays, I do, they seem like so much fun, but I just find them too messy and unpredictable. I keep trying, though.) So anyway, I haven’t tried Gelatos as watercolor paints before. At first, for some reason, I tried applying the Gelato right to the paper and washing it out.  That didn’t work; the pigment did not spread across the paper but stayed where I had applied it:




I mean, this will work if you are going for that sketchy, messy mixed-media look, but not for a watercolor wash.  Seeing this, I remembered, oh yeah, you are supposed to mix the paint on a palette. What you do is swipe the Gelatos sticks on your craft sheet or other smooth, plasticky flat surface, and add water, then mix to create a paint.  The Gelatos mix quite readily with the water and smooth out to an even liquid.  They wash like this:




Streakier than I hoped, but with more practice I might be able to create an even wash.  We’ll have to see.  There are regular Gelatos, and also a few metallic colors.  The regulars produce a matte wash, and the metallics have a subtle sheen — nothing like the Twinks or the Yasutomos, though.

Finally I tried Distress Inks from the inkpads. I went a little afield.  I did a partial wash, because I wanted to make a certain style of card,which I have already posted.  Here is a better picture:




The inks here are Salty Ocean, Peacock Feathers, and Moved Lawn. I generally like what was the “Seasonal” range of Distress Colors rather than the orginal range, because they are brighter and more vibrant.  The seasonal colors sold so well they are part of the whole range now and are not just sold seasonally anymore. For the second piece, I did a wash and then grunged it up a bit using Tom Holtz’s “wrinkle-free distress” method, where you build layers and drops of Distress color, drying the paper between colors.  Just to see how it would look.  Because that’s how Distress inks are meant to be used.




Distress inks as watercolors are very easy to do.  You just squish the inkpad down on your craft sheet or other palette, spritz the ink laid down with water, and swirl it with your brush to make a paint.  The big difference, I think, is, even when dry, Distress colors will continue to react to water if it is applied.  So you need to be careful of that as you work.


Haven’t made any cards with these panels yet — when I do, I will add them. I’m also taking the Online Card Class Watercolor for Cardmakers.  It seemed opportune.   So I will be posting projects from that, as well.

Watercolors: Basic Washes



Once I was finished with my Dazzles projects, I asked what readers might like to see next.  My blog buddy Ela suggested watercolors, so that’s what I’m going to do.  Watercolors are terribly trendy right now, but i can work with them without having to buy a lot of new stuff.  I have watercolor paints, and plenty of stuff that can be used to make watercolor paints, or in a watercolor fashion.

Here are three.  I thought for my first attempt at watercolors, I would just lay down some basic washes on paper, see how the media worked.


Basic Watercolors

These three panels are painted with just the basic, cheap Artist’s Loft watercolors you can buy at Michaels for kids and rank beginners.  I think they were five dollars.  They are matte and provided a pretty good coverage of the paper I think.  Orange/yellow, green/blue, and purple.  The orange panel got some water spots on it somehow, but that’s OK, because it just contributes to the watery look.  I just painted washes of color over the paper — which is Strathmore hot press watercolor paper — and left them to dry naturally.




Pearlescent Watercolors

These are Yasutomo Pearlescent watercolors that I bought at Hobby Lobby ages ago (which I no longer shop at because of the birth control thing).  Agin, these were super-cheap, about eight dollars I think.




They are quite pearlescent IRL, but as usual, the camera can’t catch the pearly quality very well.  You can see it a little better in close up:




These ended up streakier than I expected.  They also dried weird, with the borders between the different colors I used on each piece softly blended in some places, starkly divided in others.  The green one also dried all dribbly on one end, as you can see here, even though it was laid out flat.


Dylusions Sprays

I don’t really care for sprays and mists all that much, because they are so messy and unpredictable.  But of the ones I do have, I like the Ranger Dylusions sprays the best because they are such vibrant colors.  I love to use bright color on my projects.  Well, the Dylusions sprays are water-based, translucent dyes, so I thought I could try them as watercolors.




Wow!  So intense!  I sprayed a little of each Dylusion into the wells of my paint palette — just a couple sprays, it doesn’t take much!  Then I picked them up with the paint brush and washed them over thre paper.  I didn’t have to add any water –they are thin enough on their own.

I really did not think they would come out so brilliantly bright.  It occurs to me, just now, that if i had added some water, I could have toned them down.  Not that I necessarily want to, I love the bright colors, but it’s something to try.

The Dylusions also dried a little runny and weird — in the future I might dry them with the heat gun before they can run and streak.

So I made a few cards with these panels:




The ones on the left and the right are the basic watercolors, and the one in the center is the pearlescent Yasutomos.

The orange panel reminded me of a tropical sunset, so I used a big tropical flower on the card, and a sentiment from the same stamp set, which is Inkadinkado Floral Expressions.  I dotted the stamens of the flower with Orange Peel Stickles, to bling it up a little.

The blue/green one reminded me of the sea, of course, so I used some seashells stamps, masking the starfish with a slight border so it was not subsumed in the cockle shell.  The sentiment reads, “Capture this moment in your heart” — capture it like a shell found on the beach.  I added some Doodlebug flower sequins.  The five-petaled shape of the flowers mimics the shape of the starfish.  I like the deep blue sequin best, so I mounted the panel on a royal blue card base.

The center card is made from a panel of gold and copper colored Yasutomo watercolor.  I thought the streakiness of the panel needed a regular geometric pattern to balance it, hence the hexagon background.  I thought it looked quite masculine.  I mounted it on a brown card base, and added a metal embossed sentiment.  I even had some hexagonal embellishments to bling it up!  They are gold glittered hexagon enamel dots from Basic Grey.

You can see the bling, and the pearlescent sheen of the watercolor panel, better on closeup:




So that is my first stab at watercolors.  It was fun to try different things.  But in the end, I think the cheap-ass big-box brand Artist’s Loft paints gave the best color and coverage.  I would like to work more with the Yasutomos, I love anything glittery or shiny.  I wonder how they would look on dark paper.

I also have plenty of other media that can be treated like watercolors — Distress Inks, Distress markers, Faber-Castell Gelatos, probably more. I will have to look at the stash list!  Watercoloring could keep us busy for quite a while.


Dazzles & Patterned Paper 3


In addition to patterned paper acting as background for Dazzles stickers, the stickers can sometimes act as accent for patterned paper.  Like this:


I love, love, love this card.  It turned out exactly like I imagined it would. (You know that doesn’t happen very often.) I may not be able to give this one away.  In fact I may frame it. 🙂

Here, a sheet of red and gold Asian-themed stickers become decorative elements enhancing a patterned paper scene.  This paper is from the DCWV Far East Stack, and I have wanted to use it for a long time. I’m so happy I finally did.  It’s beautiful.

Asian themes were all the rage in crafting several years ago, and I have confidence that eventually they will be again.  It’s one of my favorite motifs, always has been since I was a little kid and watched SHOGUN on TV. 🙂  When they do, I plan to go on a buying rampage and stock up for the future.  Like I’ve said, if a trend resonates with you, invest in it.  But don’t follow a trend just because it’s a trend.

Oh, and if you can’t read it, the English word at the lower right reads, “Friendship.”  Which I assume is what the large ideogram says, as the English word was right below it on the sticker sheet.  My brother might be able to tell me, if he deigns to visit my blog.  He knows some Chinese, as he studied Oriental medicine.  He is an acupuncturist and registered nurse.

The little heart charm is from Bead Landing at Michaels.

What are some of your favorite design styles?  What trends do you think are worth investing in?

Online Card Classes: Stenciled


I’m taking part in the Stenciled class at .  I find this a good way to invest money in the hobby:  you learn lots of new techniques, and you have lifetime access to the classes, so you can work at your own pace, and go back and review things from prior classes if you need to.  The prices are very reasonable, and as well as videos and a message board, you get PDFs explaining how to make all the featured cards.

Stenciled, of course, is about using stencils on cards. Stencils have been around for ages, but they seem to be having a renaissance right now.  They’re good for layering, and backgrounds, and you can do so much with them. And they’re cheap.  They’re a good stash investment, I think.

Here is my first card, just basic ink sponging through the stencil:


Hexagons were a definite trend last year.  But I’ve always found hexagons to be a uniquely pleasing shape, so I went ahead and invested in several hexagon products — stamps, dies, stencils, a punch.  I’ll be able to use them long after the trend has died, and that’s OK, because I like them.  If a trend comes along that you genuinely like, I think it’s OK to indulge in it.  Just not every trend that comes along.  The chalkboard stuff that’s so popular right now does nothing for me, so I haven’t bought a piece of that.

I added a couple epoxy domes to two of the hexagons to highlight them.  The sentiment is a Momenta sticker.