Tag Archives: watercolor

A Summer of Unity Stamp Co. Stamps

As promised, and in a timely fashion I might add!, here’s a rundown of Unity Stamp’s Summer Kits of the Month.

First up, June – ah, so long ago it seems.

Love June’s kit..  If I had any quibble, the only thing it would be is that I don’t feel like that particular bird is a spring bird.  That crow says Halloween or fall or something like that to me, as do the wildflowers, but what do I know?  I do know that I love the ice cream sundaes, the fruit and the girl.  And, I’m happy to have a birthday sentiment to add to my tool box.

Here are the cards I made:

Here, I did some paper piecing, and some coloring with my Spectrum Noir alcohol markers.  Here’s the thing about markers – I am not paying $6/marker.  I don’t care how fantastic Copic markers are, I’m not a professional crafter, artist, whatever, and that’s so not going to happen.  I wouldn’t even buy a gold plated marker at $6 a pop, because who needs a gold plated marker.  Now, I guess, professional or non professional aside, if coloring were something I really really cared about, I guess I would pay that much – but I don’t.  Spectrum Noir markers come 6 in a pack, and A.C. Moore always has them on sale for $7.45.  Good enough for me.  The matting and little flag embelishments are from an Anna Griffin set I bought on HSN.  I don’t remember what the kit was called, but I bought it because it was 60% off, and I wanted the die that came with the kit.  I’m not really an Anna Griffin fan – I don’t get the thrill of simply gluing down embelishments to make a card.  Now, she has a huge following, and if her kits are your bag, there’s no judgment here.  Do whatever makes you happy.  That just wouldn’t make me happy.

And, here’s one with the fruit stamp;

This card is straight up watercolor. And, as always when my watercolor goes awry, I added some splashes to make my mistakes look intentional.

Next up, July:

I didn’t get around to using July until nearly August, and when I did, I realized that I had already lost that big flower stamp in the middle.  I have no idea where it went.  I’m certain it will show up . . . or it won’t.  I find it hard to believe that it fell in the trash, but you never know.  As you can see, I used the back of the sheet to do a color swatch of my Spectrum Noir markers – oops – I just grabbed what was closest to me, and this was it.

Here’s what I made with August:

First, I colored these images, and then I contemplated, hmmm, what to do now . . .

I used my Crafters Companion edge dies that came with the last Crafters Companion inspiration magazine, another HSN autoship.  Because I cut my paper around my stamped girl too small, I had a hard time figuring out where to put a sentiment.  Oh well.  I originally markered the birds in blue, and I really didn’t like that.  So, I went back to the watercolors for the birdies. The girl is Spectrum Noir markers.

I feel like I’ve used this kit more, but I think I feel that way because I stamped alot of sentiments trying to fit them on the girl card, and they just didn’t work out right.  I did use the big sunflower that says believe on the stem as a envelope decoration.  Unity has this new line of stamps for envelope decorating, but in truth, any stamp can be used to decorate an envelope, right?  So, no need for extra purchases there.

And finally, August.  August is the first kit that came in the mail, and I said, meh.  I think because there’s no girl, no critter, and a repeat of the butterlies.

I did play with it this weekend, and made these two cards:

 

 

The first card was an attempt to use my Crafters Companion first auto ship Kinetic Card, the side stepper die.  The problem with this die, which some would argue is not a problem at all, is that it sized for an A2 envelope, but that makes that side panel really small, and none of these kit stamps really fit on it, except for maybe the butterflies.  So, I tried to make a stepped garden, and I’m ok with the results.  I used a few of my watercolor Art Impressions Stamps as well, with distress inks and Tombow markers.

The second card, the poppies, has gotten a bit of Instagram love, and it was so easy peasy to make – here it goes.  Take your stamp, and ink it up with distress ink.  I used red on top, olive on the bottom.  Spritz the stamp with water, get it good and wet.  Stamp.  Put that one aside.  Stamp again – use this lighter, wetter version.  Tap in watercolor – dark near the center, lighter as you go up, dark in the folds of the flower.  That’s it.  The water will do most of the work for you.  And that’s it – you too can be a watercolor mad genius!

So, for my next card trick, I’m thinking of making a few of these boxes for holiday gifts and filling them with watercolor cards – maybe.

 

Not About the Eclipse

I know, today is all about the eclipse, and here I am, inside blogging for the first time in two months.  That’s what happens when you don’t get your NASA approved solar eclipse glasses – forced to finally blog.  I’m just going to have to watch some shade from my window.

Ah, now there’s some sun for you.  Last week we visited with Joe’s parents in Sea Isle City, New Jersey.  Doesn’t get much better than that!  Oh, unless you’re doing some arting on that lovely beach as well:

If you’re ever looking for an easy peasy travel project, pick up this book:

Remember those Ed Emberly books when we were kids? Well, when I was a kid – How to Draw Animals, Monsters, etc., that broke the creature down into shapes – draw a rectangle body, draw a rectangle shape, draw a triangle ear, etc., and then at the end you had a dog, a cat, or a whatever.  This book is the Ed Emberly book of flowers for the drawing impaired.  Every flower is broken down into steps, the steps are basically shapes, until the last step, when you do little hashmarks for shading.  If I can do it, you can do it.

Here’s me doing a daisy and a couple of tulips:

And, here’s a paper garden –

It actually makes me look like I know what I’m doing! In any event, the directions are easy to follow, and the materials are extremely portable – just a pencil, a micron pen and a sketchbook.  No fuss.

Now, for something that doesn’t look like I know what I’m doing – watercolors.  These are supposed to be peonies, garden roses, and anemones.

Remember the Show Me Your Drills challenge from the Happily Ever Crafter? Maybe not, because my blogging is so inconsistent, I may have forgotten to mention it altogether. The drills challenge was a calligraphy practice workshop – every day you either practiced your upstroke, or your downstroke, or connecting letters, or something of the sort.  Anyway, Happily Ever Crafter joined forces with water color artist, Stephanie Fehrenbach for a new challenge, Show Me Your Florals.  Everyday a watercolor lesson appeared in my inbox, and I kind of went, eh.  Every watercolor class starts the same way – how to mix colors, how to control the water on your brush, and paper etc.  I’d already done much of the exercises through Skillshare.  The week wrapped up with florals, finally.  I did end up buying the workbook at the end – which was what it was all leading up to anyway.  On the first day, the workbook was $12 – which was a nice deal, since all of the flowers that are illustrated in the book are also demoed on video.  I don’t know if I’d pay $24 for it though, since so much of it is on Skillshare and Creativebug.  But, for the price of two Starbucks frozen coffees, I was good with it.  Although, as you can see, my efforts weren’t so hot – I have to admit, I didn’t try very hard, nor did I practice very much.  We were packing up for vacation, and my craftroom was like 100F – so hooooottt!  Anyway, even though my flowers are meh, I’m not one to waste good watercolor paper, and I turned them into cards –

A good splash of watercolor is always a good background for a card, and they’re supposed to be abstract.

This one was a big sloppy wreath that I ended up cutting down to fit on a card base.  I did cut away some of the good bits, but i think it looks pretty ok The stamps are from Unity.  Not part of the monthly kit, but part of one of their sales.  There’s always a sale.  Luckily I get the monthly kit, or I’d be in big trouble.

By the way, I’ll revisit the kit next post, but I have to say, I have not bought one extra stamp (except for these creativity sentiments from Unity, that I bought because they work so well with anything) since subscribing three months ago.  Does that mean that I’m spending a little extra to save more in the long run?

Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway.

Tempest Tossed

On one hand, I feel like I should be running down to the airport, with my signs and my fist in the air;  not only is it the right thing to do, but I know that I would feel energized, and hopeful, and frankly, American.  But, the bottomline is, this President just doesn’t give two shits.  He doesn’t even give one.  Instead of saying, I hear you, he points fingers, and signs more executive orders, and with every day, gets closer to crowning himself king.

But, I go to my crafting to escape, and if you’re actually here, this place is an escape too – because you can find politics anywhere you look on the web, doesn’t have to be here.  So, if you’re curious, and you want to know the process, not the product, here it is.

I downloaded an image of the statue of liberty.  I cut it out, and stuck it to my paper with repositionable tape.  The first time, I watercolored, and inked around the statue.  Then, I pulled the mask up, and voila! An outline of the Statue of Liberty.

After I botched the first try, I used this as a draft to figure out where the writing was going to be.  If I had to do it again, and I guess I could do it again, since I splotched up the f in “lift” by sticking my wrist in the wet ink when I went back to cross my t’s – uch!  Muffed up right at the last second, when I was just about to call it done.  But, if I were going to do it again, I’d probably go back to the watercolor, and skip that purple ink – it just didn’t blend well, even with my Tim Holz blending pads.  And, then, after I hung my statement on the wall, where at least I care about it, I moved on to my new watercolor stamps.

I don’t know about you, but in between being horrified by the nightly news and my social media feed, I mindlessly watched CHA video after CHA video, or Creativation as they’re calling it now.  It’s a trade show, it wants to suck me into buying things, and I’m good with that.  New paper! New dies! New stamps! oh my!  The biggest time suck was the Blitsy swag giveaway.  Blitsy filmed 3 days worth of mini segments at a dozen or so booths.  At the end of every segment, they gave you a secret word, which was access to a giant swag giveaway.  I think it was during one of those videos that I discovered Art Impressions Stamps, well at least the watercolor stamps, because their line of strange heavy set lady stamps are a little bizarre to me, but there’s something for everyone I guess.

The watercolor stamps are watercolor painting cheaters.  You stamp the image with watercolor marker, or whatever water soluble product you have, and then you add some color, pull out more color with a wet brush, and you too can look like a watercolor master.  Well, close.  Well, closer than I would have without the stamp.

Because I was just experimenting, I bought the cheapest set on Blitsy, the mini- barn set, which I think was just about $9.  The bigger sets run between $17-and $20, at full price.

As you can see the set comes with three unmounted cling stamps that are just basic outlines of the images – the barn, the tree, and the fence.  Huh, I guess I should have taken a before photo, but no matter.  Trust me, you can do this! The image looks like the outline on the top of the packaging.  Because I have one package of Tombow Markers that’s missing the brown marker, I stamped in black, and then used my set of Koi watercolors to color in the barn, and the trees.  If you have a good assortment of watercolor markers, you can just add more color to the stamp.  You really don’t need to get out your watercolors at all if you really want to keep it simple.  Anyway,  I stamped the barn first, and then I masked it, so I wouldn’t stamp over the barn with the trees.  There’s a good video of how to do this on the  Art Impressions youtube channel.  Art Impressions uses a masking paper, which has a sticky substance on the back.  I just used repositionable tape, just like I did the Statue of Liberty.  So, you stamp the barn on scrap paper, and cut out around the barn any place you don’t want the stamp to show – so that the trees are in the background.  Then you position the scrap barn over the good barn, and peel it away when you’re done stamping the trees.  Or if you want to start with a tree, you can stamp the tree, create a mask for the tree, stamp the barn, and then create a mask for the barn, and then stamp the background trees.  The idea is, start with the image that’s closest in the foreground, and work your way back.  If anyone wants to see photos of how I did this, just leave me a message in the

And, of course, since I’m getting read for InCoWriMo2017, I turned them into easel cards:

Basically, these cards stick up like an easel – there’s a foam stopper covered with patterned paper that you wedge the card behind, but the card can also be folded flat to go in an envelope.  Of all of the Crafter’s Companion card tutorials, this is by far the easiest one.  You just take a sheet of 5 1/2 x 11 paper, fold it in half, and then fold a gatefold on one end, then you tape a 5 1/2/ x 5 1/2 square on that gatefold flap.  Apply foam, done.

Of course, I forgot that my ink was going to explode on the watercolor paper – should have just just lettered in the card stock.  Oh well.

Now that I know I really love these stamps, I ordered another set that has a flower stamp, it’s a mailbox with a bird and some foliage.  I definitely have ideas about combining the two sets.  I originally thought the flowers came with the barn based on the packaging, but they don’t.  You have to be careful when you buy these stamps to make sure of what’s actually included – sometimes you get more than you thought you were getting (there’s one set that has a barn on a cliff, and the set also comes with a lighthouse), or less (mostly foliage and flowers – there’s a separate foliage set, flower set, and tree set, but some of the projects do come with flowers).  And, of course, there are new sets coming out that debuted at CHA, although to me, they pretty much look like the old sets, although I think some of them have critters now, like a bunny or a squirrel or something like that.  They also have this pretty cool die that’s coming out- it’s a 3d frame, with an easel, so you can stand up your watercolor masterpieces.

So, that’s all for now.  Next, I’ll share my latest nonpolitical obsession, to fountain or not to fountain, that’s the question.