I love watercolor and watercolor techniques and I'm still trying different techniques to see the results. That was probably the biggest thing I had to learn when I started trying to incorporate watercolor into my work. You have to relax and try different things and be willing to use some things for purposes not originally intended. This is how I came to be working on a project for the Addicted to Clean & Simple Challenge.
On Thursday, I got a fantastic surprise in the mail from my friend, Yana Smakula. One of my favorite of her cards featuring Altenew's Magnolias for Her Stamps and Coordinating Dies was delivered by my postal carrier. To say I am over the moon to get one of Yana's cards is putting it mildly! While there are many designers whose work I like, I think Yana is the one I most want to be like. Her love for Gold equals my own although neither of us use it 100% of the time. But it is a go to for both of us to instantly add a bit of elegance to a project. If you aren't familiar with Yana's work, I linked her name above to her blog or there is a link to her blog on my sidebar where you can see more and she does fantastic YouTube Videos as well.
I was playing around with some ink "smooshing" in some "different for me" kinds of colors and while I didn't care for what I did as a background panel, I couldn't help but think of what lovely fall leaves they would make. I love the Color Pop Autumn Kit that Papertrey Ink released last month, but I've had these My Favorite Things Falling Leaves Dies that I've been wanting to try out and they were absolutely perfect for creating these leaves. A lot of the trick for getting these well blended colors is an abundance of liquid, or in my case shimmer spritz, added to your watercolor paper. I used several types of watercolor paper here and I can't honestly say that I think one is better than the other in this particular application. Since I wasn't dragging a brush back and forth over the top, it all held up fine without pilling. I knew I was going to let it just sit to air dry for a while. The Arches Hot Pressed took the longest to dry as expected. I used Canson Bristol, Arches Hot Pressed, & Fabriano Cold Pressed watercolor papers.
One trick I like to use for heavily textured watercolor paper (such as the Fabriano) is running the very slightly damp paper through my die cutting machine with an unmarked, uncut plate on the top and the embossing pad to help flatten it out. If you use a cutting plate that has marks in it, those marks will end up on your panel. The embossing pad won't leave marks, but it does not make it as smooth as an unmarked cutting pad. I have a cutting plate just for this purpose and I keep it in a separate place so that I don't accidentally cut into it (the voice of experience again).
Once I saw the card that Yana had sent me, I really wanted to try shaping my leaves in the same manner so I had to ask her a couple of questions about how she did it. Now, I've watched her do it in YouTube Videos but the reality (as always) and seeing it in person was even better. It took my breath away when I took it out of the box she sent it in, so I absolutely wanted to mimic that look. To achieve this, it is better to do it when your paper is slightly damp or you can give it a light mist of water. I didn't want to get mine too wet because the dies I used here both cut the shape and emboss the veins but if you put too much water on it expands the previously compressed paper and takes a lot of the embossed detail out.
Once I had all of my leaves die cut and shaped, I made two card bases; one from Kraft and one from Dark Chocolate Cardstock. I also cut a Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle from Scarlet Jewel Cardstock in the largest size to use as a mat for the Kraft card base. For the Dark Chocolate card, I used the Noted: A2 Scalloped Die to cut my card base, then I cut the "Bountiful" die cut from the Color Pop Autumn Kit out of Gold Metallic Cardstock and placed it on a Paper Clippings: Birthday Details Banner cut from Rustic White Cardstock. I placed my leaves going from the upper left to upper right and upper left to lower left. Since this is a birthday card for my brother, I didn't put any sequins or shimmer on the card. After I finished assembling it, I wondered if the Scalloped Notecard was too much but my husband said it was fine. I guess we shall see. I still have several leaves left for additional projects. I put them in the stamp pocket with the dies so that when I need them again, I can find them.
This completes my projects for today and for the Addicted to Clean & Simple Challenge. Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out my projects. I really love it when you take time to share your thoughts with me.