Thursday, May 22, 2014

facebook fans and watermarks...

Hello my wonderful friends!

(Little Sumptin' Peep)

So.... we're kinda CELEBRATING all of Unity's FANTASTIC facebook friends...

With a SALE! {and lots of new stamps!}

(sale starts @ NOON CENTRAL)

If you are arriving here from Kary's blog you are right on track... if not, go ahead and start at the beginning by clicking HERE.. You don't want to miss any of the fabulous inspiration (or chances to win!)

I've been doing a bit of playing... with stamps, stencils and watercolors. (some of my favorite things to play with!)

I just love the way that plain old WATER reacts with the watercolor paints and inks... That was one of the things that drew me into watercolors years ago. Starting with Distress Inks, than adding watercolor crayons, pigment powders, markers.... ok... so maybe I'm a bit obsessed. *shhhhhhh. I won't tell if you won't*  HAHAHA!

The end result looks so much more complex than the actual process. I love that!

Both the purple and teal cards were made essentially the same way... And since I {LOVE} sharing the how-tos... I took some pictures along the way for your enjoyment...


Step 1: randomly apply a light colored acrylic paint through a stencil onto a piece of watercolor paper. I used Antique Linen Distress Paint, but any acrylic paint works.

Step 2: Once the paint is dry, completely cover your paper with a heavy watercolor wash. Again, allow to dry.

Step 3: you can simply splash water on it for random results, but for controlled results and TONS of pattern options... Lay a stencil over your paper and spritz with water. Remove the stencil, and allow to dry.

You can see here that where the water sprayed through the stencil creates a watermark (literally!) on the watercolored areas that will naturally have a darker outline as the pigment tends to move towards the edges of the re-wetted area.

As a side note.... I used a watercolor with mica in it (Magicals mixed with water), so not only does the acrylic paint act as a resist for the color, the mica tends to sit on top of the paint, subtly highlighting the original stenciled pattern. Not originally intended, but one of those happy accidents I now know how to work in the future. Love when that happens!

Step 4: Ink up a filler stamp (like this branch from Create Today) with a clear embossing ink

Step 5: Using a paintbrush, brush on some  Lindy's Stamp Gang Magicals powder. It will stick to the stamp thanks to the sticky embossing ink.

 (this is the only pigment powder I have found that works for this... If you don't have any, a fairly similar effect can be achieved by using a water based ink (like Distress ink) in step 4, skipping step 5, then continue with step 6.) 

Step 6: spritz with water... the more you spritz, the more blurred the image will be

Step 7: Stamp image.  Try doing some generation stamping here... simply spritz with a little water each time before pressing the stamp down.

*yes, your paper may be somewhat warped by this point... some people like to iron their papers to flatten them, I find that most of the time, if you attach it to a sturdy card base, it's just fine without the hassle of the iron. (so maybe I'm a little lazy too...)

Step 8: add your focal image(s) and any embellishments.

Super simple way to add a watercolor background to your next project without being too intimidating.


Don't forget---
 Leave a comment on EACH blog in the hop (including the Unity blog) for your chance to win.  The winners will be announced Saturday night on the Unity blog.

Your next stop is Lisa!


Thursday, May 8, 2014

celebrate with pearls...

Hello my wonderful friends!

In case you haven't heard... Unity's b-day sale is STILL ON!

If you are arriving here from Kary's blog you are right on track... if not, go ahead and start at the beginning by clicking HERE.. You don't want to miss any of the fabulous inspiration (or chances to win!)

And to get you in the mood...
{Elephant Celebration}

Isn't this fella SO cute?  For this card, I just stamped the image in black over a watercolor wash background I had made while experimenting with inks and water.

Phyllis Harris stamps are simply sweet, and adorable. I LOVE this one! 

*quick tip... if you want a watercolored image that doesn't have the harsh outline, try stamping it in a light  colored ink... I used Antique Linen Distress Ink for this one. 

I also thought I share a super quick and easy tutorial for... 

Easy Pearl Watercoloring

You'll want a line image stamp for this. I'm using {Wishing You Joy}

 Step 1: Ink up your stamp using water based markers like Distress Markers. (if you want a solid color, you can use a water based ink pad.... the markers just give you the ability to easily use multiple colors on one image)

Step 2: When you are done coloring your stamp, huff some warm breath on it to remoisten any dried ink, and stamp onto a water color or mixed media paper.

Step 3: this technique can be done using plain water... however, I wanted to add a little extra punch, so... mix a little bit of Ranger's Perfect Pearls into a puddle of water. The more Perfect Pearls you add, the more intense the shimmer. 

*It is important to us Perfect Pearls for this because they are a shimmery mica powder that have a built in binder that sets with water. Not all mica powders have that binder, and without it, the shimmer will just wipe off.

*bonus tip: to make a homemade shimmer spray, just mix the Perfect Pearls and water in a spray bottle instead of a puddle on your table. 

Step 4: Dip a small, thin paintbrush into your pearl water, and gently brush along the stamped lines. Allow the water to move the ink. This gives your stamped image a hand painted look. Be careful not to use too much water on your brush, or you will lose too much detail. You may want to practice this on a scrap first to get a feel for how much water to use.

Allow to dry, than finish how ever you want.

I used the new Unity Challenge to inspire my finished card...

{Wishing You JoyChicken WireBotanical Bliss}

*You can't tell from the photo, but for the stamped border along the bottom, I inked up the {Chicken Wire} stamp, than lightly misted it with a homemade shimmer spray, then stamped.

Don't forget---
 Leave a comment on EACH blog in the hop (including the Unity blog) for your chance to win.  The winners will be announced Saturday night on the Unity blog.

Your next stop is Lisa!


Friday, May 2, 2014

shabby embossing...

Hello my wonderful friends! 

Guess what day it is....

Which means Unity's Friends with Flair & a  quick tutorial {cuz that's just how I roll!}

(and just a quick FYI in case ya don't know, Unity is celebrating their 6th birthday with fabulous releases, and an awesome sale!!! Yay! Happy Birthday Unity!)

Mother's day is just around the corner... I figured I better get busy. 
(although knowing me, the card I give to my mom will probably be made late the night before.... somehow it always ends up that way. sigh.)

but on to the how-to... since I know that's actually what you're here for. =)

Shabby Embossing

Step 1: Stamp your image(s) with clear embossing ink onto colored card stock, and heat emboss with clear embossing powder.

(I'm using: Unity's  "Where You Should Be" for the leaves, and the phrase is from Unity's "Botanical Bliss")

Step 2: Cover the whole thing with a layer (or two) of acrylic paint in a contrasting color.  Allow this to dry... don't use your heat gun because you don't want to remelt the embossing powder.

Step 3: when the paint is dry use a slightly damp rag or paper towel to rub the paint off of the embossed images. This is where the "shabby" part comes in. You can uncover as much or as little of the image as you want... I like to leave some spots covered in paint because I love the imperfect look.

Step 4: (optional) Add some shimmery highlights to parts of the images by applying shimmer spray with a paint brush

Step 5: Embellish as desired.   

One of the super fun things about this technique is that it leaves you with a custom "color core" card stock.. meaning, if you rip it or distress the edges like I did,  you will see the original paper color... which also happens to match your stamp images perfectly. 

This technique will give you very different effects based on what color paper and paint you choose to use (I love doing this on kraft!!!)... so experiment, have fun, and...