A Touch of Spring - Quilled Daffodils

Friday, February 20, 2015

We have a few daffodils in bloom in our garden already and there are lots more with full buds on them, ready to burst! So in anticipation of this sunny display I made some quilled daffodils. I needed a birthday card anyway so this is the result!

I quilled all the flowers first, I had made the facing daffodils before but I had to come up with something new for the side facing daffodils, just for a bit of variety. All the shapes are pretty easy, loose coils were shaped into eye shapes for the petals and a coil for the centre shaped into a cup for the centre, I usually seal the inside with clear drying glue to prevent any movement. The same shapes were used for the side facing daffodils but I used a heart shape (teardrop shape with the rounded end pressed inwards in the middle with your nail) for the trumpet. The foliage is a mix of two shades of green, mainly wheatear shapes, but I also added some spirals and each stem is just a single strip glued on it's side.

I wanted to keep the background fresh, so I added some watercolour paint to the top of my card and blended it downwards. I also added some fun hand lettering, sketched lightly in pencil first then painted over with watercolours. It turned out pretty cute!

I decided to layer and overlap the flowers in the layout, it looked more natural, as if you were looking at them in your garden or in a field on a fresh spring day!

I hope spring is starting to appear wherever you are in the world, it's my favourite time of year! I love the anticipation of what is to come. That's all for now, thanks for dropping by today! : )

Sweetie greeting card

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day! Here's a card I made using the hand-carved stamp I created in the last post. I took a few photos of how the finished card came together.

I stamped the 'I love you' sweet stamp onto 300gsm smooth card using Memento Luxe Love Letter pigment ink. I used a mix of watercolours and acrylics to fill in the pink sweet and create the highlights to give the illusion of raised surface of the sweet.  I used a blue/brown mix to create the shaded background colour wash.

Next I wanted to add some hand-lettering, I based the letters on the Stringfellows font, sketching it freehand in pencil on a piece of paper first then lightly tracing it onto my illustration.

I went over the pencil lines using a blue/brown acrylic paint mix, it looks black but it gives a slightly softer look, if you use pure black paint it can look a bit harsh. I wanted the 'sweetie' lettering to stand out a bit more so I outlined it in white acrylic paint, softening the edges with a white pastel pencil. I also added some more white bits to the surface of the sweet, to create the chalky finish those sweets have. The finishing touches were added with coloured pencils. I love the texture! Then I simply scanned and printed the finished illustration.

That's all for now, I hope you're having a great Valentine's Day! ; ) See you next week and thanks for dropping by!

Hand-Carved Stamps Tutorial - Transferring and Carving Your Design

I've a hand-carved stamp tutorial for you today, showing you how to transfer a design to a block and how to carve a design. So, let's get started. Above are the main materials I use, Speedball Speedy-Cut carving block, lino cutting tools and a scalpel. You'll also need a pencil (2B or 3B), a bone folder, paper and a design.

Sketch or trace your chosen design onto paper or layout paper if you have some. I use a slightly darker pencil 2B or 3B so the design transfers clearly. Place you design face down on the block, remember the design will always be in reverse on the block so it's the right way around when stamped.

Holding the design firmly in place, use a bone folder or similar tool and rub across the back of the design, making sure you rub every part of the design firmly but without tearing the paper!

Still holding the design in place, check one side of the design to see if it has all transferred to the block, if any parts have been missed rub it again.

Once you're happy with the transfer, remove the sheet and you can begin carving. I usually start with the outlines and largest areas first.

Using the lino cutting tool carve slowly and smoothly around the outlines. Basically you're carving everything apart from the pencil lines. When holding the tool, don't dig into the block too much, the tip of the tool should almost be parallel to the block, as shown below.

At this point I would usually cut away any excess parts of the block from the outside of the stamp with a sharp craft knife. You can keep these bits to make other small stamps.

Next I would carve out some of the finer details, in this case around the lettering. If there are any lines that meet at a point, like here in the letter 'V' I would use a scalpel to cut these parts away. First I would cut straight into the block, then carefully carve out these pieces using the scalpel at an angle. Please be careful when using the scalpel, keep your fingers out of the way, that goes for the lino tools tool, always carve away from you.

The scalpel will allow you to achieve much greater detail and finer lines. A must for sharp corners and lettering in particular! Once you've finished carving your stamp, you can ink it up and do some test prints. You'll soon see if you've missed any bits and you can go back and carve these little bits out. The coloured ink on the block makes it much easier to see everything too! I find Memento Luxe inks which are pigment inks work well with the Speedball Speedy-Cut carving blocks.

You'll see how I used my stamp in my next post! I hope you learned something from the tutorial.  Happy Valentine's Day and enjoy the weekend! Thanks for dropping by.

Follow your dreams...

Friday, February 13, 2015

I've another illustrated card to share today, this one again combines some hand-carved stamps, hand-lettering, watercolours and coloured pencils. I had an image of this card stuck in my head for a while now and I just had to manifest it into reality! I love dreamcatchers, they're just magical, so I sketched out some ideas and whipped up a dreamcatcher stamp set. Yes, hand-carving stamps is wonderful, you have an idea and pretty quickly you have the finished stamp. I used Memento inks to stamp it and the stamp itself was carved from a Speedball Speedy-Cut Block using lino cutting tools. (TIP: Use a sharp knife or scalpel to cut right into corners or to cut out small areas)

Once I was happy with the layout, I stamped the dreamcatcher with inks and added my hand-lettering in pencil. I added the watercolour background then painted the lettering using white acrylic paint to really make it pop.

I added some shading with coloured pencils and this was the end result! Scanned and printed here's the finished card. I love the mix of colours in this and the graduated background. It turned out just as I imagined! : )

That's all for now, I hope I might have inspired you to try something new, have a creative weekend! Oh and Happy Valentine's Day! I'll be back tomorrow with a fun Valentine's Day card! : )

Stenciling feature

I've some stenciled cards in this month issue of Cardmaking and Papercraft Magazine. These were for the know-how technique feature, so there's step by step instructions on how to stencil on your cards, with lots of hints and tips. If you'd like to see more pick up a copy of the February issue (140) in your local newsagents.

That's all for now, but I'll be back later with another post! : )

Pressed Flowers

Monday, February 2, 2015

I'm a bit busy with commissions at the moment but I thought I'd share a pressed flowers card I had published in the Spring issue of Card Maker magazine. This was a fun card to make using a technique of wax paper overlaid on top of the pressed flowers, then heated with an iron to melt the wax to keep them in place. I love the soft effect and it's great to use real flowers on a card! : )

The Spring issue of Card Maker is packed full of inspiration with lots of hints and tips. If it's not in your local store you can check out the digital version of the magazine online.

It's been really cold here in Ireland recently, we've had some snow, ice and the temperatures are very low but despite all that there are signs of spring all around the garden. Some daffodils are in bud and while I was clearing in the garden I saw lots of perennials peeking through the surface of the earth. I can't wait for spring already! That's all for now! Have a great week! : )