Saturday, 18 November 2017

Northern Lights

The current mid-month challenge for our DT at Stamping Sensations is to try something new. This month it is my turn to step outside my comfort zone!

Living in the north of the UK gives us the chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis, if conditions are favourable, and since we moved up here a few years ago I have been lucky enough to see them just once, back in October 2015. Not a good photo but at least I saw it.

I follow the Aurorawatch UK website, which sends out alerts when there is the possibility of aurora. Alerts range from green (no geomagnetic activity) through yellow and amber to red (aurora likely). Last week there was a red alert (which doesn't happen very often), meaning that there was a very good chance of seeing it if the skies were clear! Unfortunately not from here, though, as it was too misty.

However, it reminded me that I have been meaning for ages to have a go at the Northern Lights technique, so that is my something new for this month.

I had a look at a few tutorials, and learned that there is more than one method of producing the effect, using various colours of card for the background. The one I decided to follow was by Emma from Inkylicious. I won't go into all the details of the technique because you can check out Emma's excellent video here.  If you want to have a go, Inkylicious have put together a fantastic Aurora Borealis card kit with everything needed to make Northern Lights cards. Emma's method uses black card. Mindful of our one layer theme this month, I worked directly on to the base card (after quite a few practice attempts!). 

Having produced my aurora, I created the scene using landscape stencils which I made myself (though the Inkylicious kit includes a mountain/valley stencil), and white pigment ink for the stamping (all stamps by Inkylicious). I used a stamping platform to stamp the main elements so that I could go over each one a couple of times to get a good dense white and make sure they stood out against the background. I added highlights with a white gel pen and some shading to the hills with a white pencil.

I didn't get the sweep of the aurora quite how I wanted them, and I think less would have been better (got a bit carried away!), but I'm reasonably happy with the final result as a first effort. It was a fun (not to mention messy!) technique to try, and I'll certainly be having another go!

There's still plenty of time to join in this month's Challenge, where our theme for November is One Layer Christmas Cards. Full details and entry rules, along with plenty of inspiration from the DT, are on the challenge post, which you will find here. It's definitely worth entering, as we have some wonderful prizes, but please do remember to check out the rules to ensure that your project is eligible. We look forward to seeing your creations!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

And panic is beginning to set in.......!

Well, there are about seven weeks to go until Christmas, and I have made the grand total of TWO Christmas cards! Don't know where the time has gone this year, but I can now understand why retired people say they wonder how they ever had time to go to work! I seem to be busier than ever, not that I'm complaining! Much better than having nothing to do!

Anyway, one of the cards I have managed to produce so far is for our November Challenge at Stamping Sensations, where our theme is

* * * * *  ONE LAYER CHRISTMAS * * * * *

We would like to see Christmas designs which are one layer only, ie. stamped directly on the base card, with no matting or layering and no die cuts or embellishments. Also, may I remind you that we are a stamping challenge, so we must see a stamped image, sentiment or quote as the focal element of your artwork. This means that stamping must be the central point of attention and interest.

For our main winner, we have a fabulous prize, this super storage collection by Tattered Lace!

I made my robin card with Hobby Art stamps. The robin, branch and leaves are from the gorgeous new "Robins" Set, which has been designed by the wonderfully talented Janie Burnett-Bleach. The little background scene uses stamps from various Hobby Art Scene-it sets.

NB. The black edge around my photo is not part of the card! It is definitely one layer, I promise! I tend to photograph my cards against a dark surface so that they stand out better and the background of the photo doesn't detract from the card.

To build up the picture I used no less than 18 masks! The robin was stamped and masked first, followed by the branch, then the background scene and finally the leaves, with each mask left in place until the final leaf was stamped. Then the nerve-wracking bit - removing all the masks to reveal the finished picture. That's when you find out if it has worked or not!

Fortunately, I think it did! A fiddly technique (lots of cutting out of masks!) but worth it. I completed the design by adding some shading with pencils around the various elements to define them, and giving the berries highlights with a white gel pen.

If you've never tried one layer cards  before, don't be afraid to have a go. They can be as simple or as complicated as you wish! Masking does not have to be involved! A clean and simple design would work equally well. You could add some subtle colouring or go for a monochrome effect.

My teamies have risen magnificently to the challenge, and you can see their beautiful results on the Challenge Blog. I look forward to seeing yours!
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