Thursday, May 14, 2015

Spring Colours

Hello and welcome!  I am thrilled to now be able to tell you that I was invited to be a guest creative guide over at A Vintage Journey this month and my project has been posted on their blog today.

I was so excited and honoured when Chris contacted me a couple of months ago to see if I'd be interested and of course I leapt at the chance!

As many of you will know, this months theme at A Vintage Journey, hosted by Astrid, is 'Spring Colours' and here is her brief:

"To celebrate Spring (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere), I have chosen Spring Colours for our theme. The theme itself of course is fairly easy, but it is important to remember that this is a Tim Holtz inspired challenge, so when choosing our top 3 entries, we want to see Tim's influence clearly represented in your project. If you describe it in your post even better! You do not have to use Tim products, though his wonderful Distress range of course offers plenty of choice, but we do want to see that your project is inspired by one of his wonderful techniques that he so freely shares.
You can make anything you want, as long as it clearly follows our challenge rules."

As soon as Astrid's brief was revealed to me last month (I was treated to an early peek of the theme :O) I thought of the soft greens of new leaves, the powdery blues of a Spring sky and the ephemeral whites and pinks of cherry and apple blossoms.  After a bit of brainstorming, I created this Spring Colours mixed media canvas that incorporates many elements representing what Spring means to me.

I have a full tutorial below on how I made this canvas for those of you who'd like to know the 'how to' but here's a quick over view just in case you don't have time to plow through it all.

I added lots of Tim Holtz goodness here; distress inks and distress stains for the sky blue background with overstamping and some spritz and flick; the Spring greenery on the right was stenciled with transparent texture paste through Tim's 'Blossom' layering stencil; and Tim's 'Honeycomb' frameworks die was used to create the honeycomb on the left out of Grunge paper.  I added some of the honeycomb offcuts back after either dry embossing them, adding remnant rubs or covering them with some paper from Tim's 'Wallflowers' paper stash.  All of the offcuts were also covered with either a coat of Glossy Accents or Rock Candy distress crackle paint for a little more texture.

The cherry tree branch was die cut from Tim's 'Bird Branch' die and the cherry blossoms were cut from tissue paper with the 'Tattered Florals' die.  I wanted the flowers to have the fleeting and delicate feel of real cherry blossoms so thought tissue paper was the perfect choice.  The wee bird clothespin was stamped with a text stamp and I hand cut and stamped a hang tag with the word 'sing' since the woods are full of cheerful birdsong in the Spring.  Butterflies and bees abound at this time of year so I added the little bees from a K&Company chipboard set and the butterfly was stamped onto a fragment charm using Tim's August 2008 challenge technique. The 'dream' typed token had the lettering emphasized with some distress paint and both the fragment charm and the typed token were 'tied' onto the cherry blossom branch with some button thread colored with distress ink.

What would Spring be without bunnies and daffodils?  The cardstock images were fussy cut and mounted on pop dots for dimension behind the green Spring 'grass' that was hand cut from a strip of paper that was coloured with distress inks, spritz and flick and some overstamping.  As a finishing touch, a word band saying 'capture life's moments' was attached to the bottom along with two alcohol ink coloured mirrored stars.  For me, this canvas just shouts Spring, I am so pleased with how it turned out.

And now here's a step by step tutorial for those of you who would like a more detailed explanation of how I made my Spring Colours mixed media canvas.  I will warn you though that there are a lot of pictures and I tend to talk a lot so consider yourself warned LOL!

 I started with an 8" x 10" stretched artists canvas and coated it with gesso.  After the gesso dried, I colored the right side of the canvas where I wanted my leaves to be with distress inks - Bundled Sage, Mowed Lawn and Peeled Paint.   I then stenciled with Ranger transparent texture paste through the Blossom layering stencil and let it dry.

After the texture paste was dry, I used a baby wipe to remove the excess distress ink and voila! green leaves!

Next I coloured the whole canvas with distress stain - Salty Ocean and Broken China.  It was too dark for the look I was going for so I added a thin coat of gesso overtop with my fingers.  I did some spritz and flick, dried it with my heat tool and then augmented the blue coloring here and there with distress ink in the same colours.  I took a baby wipe and bunched it up and used it to 'lift' some of the blue colour near the top of the canvas to simulate clouds.  Any excess distress ink, stain or gesso was wiped off of the green leaves with the baby wipe at the same time (the texture paste acts as a resist so it comes off easily).

Overstamping came next, I used 'Chestnut' pigment ink by Recollections and a variety of stamps from my stash.  I just stamped randomly here and there but kept in mind where the branch and honeycomb would be going so that some of these stamped images would still be visible once they were added.  These are the stamps I used, many have discontinued I'm afraid so I couldn't find any links for you:
Stampers Anonymous 'Flourish' wood mount stamp (discontinued)
Inkadinkadoo for EK Success 'Scroll' wood mount stamp (discontinued)
Recollections 'Script' wood mount stamp (discontinued)
Crafty Secrets 'Wildflowers' Clear Art Stamps (discontinued)
Crafty Secrets 'Born To Fly' Clear Art Stamps (discontinued)
Tim Holtz Visual Artistry Clear Stamps 'The Journey'
Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz  Collection 'Bird Feather'
Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz Collection 'Mesh & Linen'

Time to die cut!  I folded some grunge paper as shown in this Sizzix tutorial by Catherine Scanlon and die cut the 'Honeycomb' frameworks die.  I tore it to size to fit up the left side of my canvas and colored it with distress ink - Squeezed Lemonade, Mustard Seed and Wild Honey.  I added some Rock Candy distress crackle paint here and there and, once it had dried and cracked, I emphasized the cracks with some Walnut Stain distress ink.

I coloured a few of the honeycomb hexagon offcuts with Wild Honey distress ink and then added the words 'sweet' and 'shine' using 'Words' remnant rubs to two of them.  On three other offcuts, I used Tim's 'Typewriter' texture fades folder to dry emboss the letters B, E and E and then emphasized the embossed areas with some Walnut Stain distress ink.  On the remaining two hexagons, I chose some small images from Tim's 'Wallflower' paper stash, cut them to size and glued them onto the hexagons.  I randomly added either a coat of Glossy Accents or a coat of Rock Candy distress crackle paint to all of the offcut pieces.

Next I die cut two branches from kraft cardstock using the Bird Branch die.  I cut off the birds (and saved them for a future project) and colored the branches with Distress ink - Tea Dye, Gathered Twigs, Brushed Cordury and Vintage Photo.

The little bird on the clothespeg was found at Micheal's and I sanded the edges of the bird, coloured the bird and the clothespeg with Walnut Stain distress ink and then stamped a typography stamp over top of the bird (from 'Born To Fly' Clear Art Stamps by Crafty Secrets) with black chalk ink.  I hand cut a little tag from some manila cardstock and stamped the word 'sing' onto it using some individual alphabet stamps to place into the clothespin.  The wee bees are from a K&Company chipboard set I got on clearance awhile back, it is called 'Nature Icons' by Susan Winget.

Tissue paper flowers were die cut next using $1 store tissue paper and Tim's 'Tattered Florals' die.  I used the two smallest flowers on the die and found it cut much cleaner if I cut several layers of tissue paper at one time.  I gently coloured the larger of the two flowers with distress ink - Spun Sugar and Tattered Rose - and coloured the smaller flower with Mowed Lawn.  I then 'scrunched up' all the flowers from the center to form blossoms and glued the smaller green flower into the center of the pink cherry blossoms with a small drop of Glossy Accents.

The grass was made from a piece of copy paper that I coloured with distress ink - Mowed Lawn, Peeled Paint, Cracked Pistachio, Bundled Sage - spritzed and flicked with water and then overstamped with an Ellen Vargo Eclectica stamp.  The paper was folded on itself a couple of times and snipped with scissors along the top edge to make the 'grass' texture.

The bunny was cropped from a vintage etching I found on The Graphics Fairy and printed onto heavy cardstock.  I coloured one bunny image with Distress markers - Antique Linen and Spun Sugar - and Wild Honey distress ink using a water brush.  I fussy cut two of the bunnies (one coloured and one uncoloured) to mount on the canvas.

Daffodil images from a Dover Pictura collection were resized and printed onto heavy cardstock.  I fussy cut two of each image and heat embossed one of each image with clear detail embossing powder

Are you still hanging in there?!  If so you are a trooper!  Getting close to the end, won't be much longer now :O)

The words on the Typed Token and the Word Band were highlighted with Old Paper distress paint (click here for a quick tutorial on the how to by Tim) and then both metal embellishments were coloured slightly with some Ginger alcohol ink.

The butterfly fragment charm was made using Tim's August 2008 technique challenge (it's amazing how it works!) and I used Caramel and Pesto alcohol inks to colour the fragment and a butterfly stamp from a Crafty Secrets 'Born To Fly' Clear Art Stamp set.  The tip I'll give you after you read Tim's tutorial is to QUICKLY wipe off the archival ink after stamping your image, it dries pretty darn quick and I had a couple of oopsies because I hesitated too long.  Have your cloth at your side and ready to wipe the charm as soon as it's stamped to get the clearest results.

I coloured a couple of mirrored stars with Pesto alcohol ink and glued them to each end of the word band with E6000 glue to make sure they stayed put.

Since I was using an inexpensive $1 store stretched canvas, it was stapled on the sides rather than the back so I needed to gussy it up some!  I painted the frame and edges with Brushed Corduroy distress paint and once it was dry, added a strip of Tim's 'Elements' tissue tape to hold the edge of the canvas down.  I don't have any of Tim's tissue wrap so I randomly stamped some images onto a piece of white tissue paper with archival ink:

and cut strips to cover the sides of the canvas (and  hide those ugly staples!) and glued it down with Modge Podge.  If your canvas is stapled on the back side, you can skip this step and just continue your blue distress inks and stains around to the sides of your canvas to finish it off.

So all that's left is gluing all the bits and bobs onto your canvas!  I used Elmer's white glue for the lighter elements and E6000 for all the metal pieces since I don't trust anything else to hold them in place.  It takes awhile for the E6000 to dry and is rather smelly (use in a well ventilated area please!) but it holds like iron.  The 'string' that I used to tie the fragment charm and the typed token onto the branch with is white button thread that I coloured with some Broken China distress ink.  The coloured bunny and the two bunches of embossed daffodils were mounted on pop dots overtop of the bottom images to give the canvas a little more dimension along the bottom.

If you have made it this far in reading my post, my hat is off to you and I do hope that you enjoyed the tutorial!

Thanks once again to the Creative Guides at A Vintage Journey for honouring me with a guest creative guide post and also for the wonderful 'Spring Colours' theme that inspired this canvas.  Have a great day everyone and if you haven't thought about entering the current challenge at A Vintage Journey I encourage you to jump right in and give it a try, you will have so much fun, I know I certainly did!  Happy creating,



  1. Amazing Deb!!! LOVE how you've taken so much care with every part of this super Spring canvas so that there's lots to enjoy. So pleased to have you join us at AVJ. Jenny x

  2. Wow Deb, such a wonderful creative project, love this gorgeous sweet Spring scene! Great step by step also and I adore the little blossoms on the tree branch. You have truly pulled out all the stops, this is just wonderful!!

  3. This is gorgeous Deb and thanks for the step by step.
    Happy crafting, Angela x

  4. Very Springy indeed! Love your bunny in the corner!

  5. Holy wowsers Deb!! I'm swooning over this one! Love the stencil you used to create foliage and your background sky is so beautiful! I can't believe you made cherry blossoms out of tissue paper, totally genius and I will be stealing...ahem, I mean borrowing that one!! I really enjoyed walking through the process with you, it's always interesting to see how an artist works! A wonderful spring creation my friend, and a big huge congrats on your Guest spot, they chose well!! hugs :)

  6. Just can't take my eyes off of the tree! LOVE it! Gorgeous Spring scene!

  7. What a lovely spring canvas you created Deb! your stenciled and stamped background is a wonderful backdrop for your lovely blooming tree, the grassy garden and sweet bunny! thanks for your inspiration as a Guest Creative Guide today! Julia xx

  8. Fabulous to have you guesting with us at AVJ - and what a wonderful spring canvas you created. I love the perky bunny sitting gazing up into the beautiful blossom, and the honeycomb texture is fab.
    Alison xx

  9. Deb this is stunning, I love your blossom and flowers, and the rabbit is so sweet. Have a fab weekend, Sue xx

  10. FAB FAB FAB, Deb!! LOVE this Springtime wonder of mixed-media goodness!! Great to see you at AVJ featured as one of our special Guest Creative Guides!! Isn't it fun!! :) :) I love all of the little details here, Deb!! I just want to touch this canvas, carefully and with ink-free fingers, of course :) :) It's just a delightful creation!! XOXO-Shari

  11. Fabulous canvas Deb and loving all the extra details you have thought of. Great step by step tutorial and your little rabbit is adorable. Congrats on being GD with AVJ, your a star !
    Julie x

  12. this is a awesome canvas. I love your tutorial too. The pictures and detailed explanation are just what my need more details brain needs :)

  13. Would you believe I have never seen cherry blossoms in person? Nope. Yours look so fragile and dainty here - very pretty. What a WONDERFUL tutorial you gave us Deb... thank you sooo much. Love your spring creativity - soooo precious and special. j.

    1. Thanks so much Joi and glad you found the tutorial helpful! Hope you will get to see a cherry blossom in real life one day, they are so delicate and beautiful. Ours have just finished flowering here, what a delight it was!

  14. So sorry I missed this, we had such poor internet access up in Scotland but I am glad I have had the chance to see it now! I just adore how you created the blossoms, they are stunning, the honeycomb looks fantastic and the little bunny is just too cute! Your tutorial is brilliant and you have taken so much care in creating this beautiful project. Again, I am sorry I missed this and it is wonderful to have you Guest for us at A Vintage Journey too! Hugs, Anne xx


Due to an inordinate number of SPAM comments lately I have had to turn on comment moderation. Your comment will be published as soon as it has been reviewed, thanks so much for your interest in my work! Deb xo