A blog devoted to the cards I make in my tiny upstairs space. When my sister stays there, she calls it an "artist's garret". I'm not an artist, but am an enthusiastic cardmaker - hence the title "Cardmaker's Garret".

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Watercoloured Branches and Pine Cone

Christmas is coming faster and faster and I still need Christmas cards so my reminder card for December's CAS Watercolour challenge is yet another one!  This month it is "Anything Goes" as long as it is clean and simple, and includes watercolouring.

I recently bought this Penny Black stamp and love the way it lends itself to the techniques I learned from Jill Foster (see this video for the way she lays down colour on the stamp using small ink pads or markers and then adds details by watercolouring, and this one where she colours the stamp while in the MISTI, then going over it with Versamark and clear embossing powder so that it is really easy to do either a watercolour wash or sponged background).

With the stamp in the MISTI, I coloured it with Memento Dewdrops, stamping and repeating till I had the basic image on my mixed media paper.  I then put some ink from Distress inks onto my palette and, using water and a paint brush, I filled in the details and added shading.

When all was dry, I restamped with Versamark and clear embossed.  I could then add the icy blue wash around it to ground the image (without worrying about the brown or red running into it).

I added some glitter to the snowy bits of the branches and the pinecone.

As well as making it easier to add a background wash, I really like the way the heat embossing makes the image have more definition.  I did another version without the heat embossing to show the difference.

I used a very neutral coloured wash and kept it away from the image as best as I could.  I added some sequins as well as the same bits of glitter to this one.

I'd be really interested in knowing which one you like best!

Be sure to check out the other mid-month inspiration from the Design Team at CAS Watercolour, including Guest Designer, Hideko, and link up your card by December 24th!

Stamps - Penny Black, Rubber Soul sentiment
Ink - various Memento Dew Drops and Distress inks, Versamark (on first card only), sentiment on first card - Versafine Crimson Red, sentiment on second card - SU Real Red
Paper - mixed media cs, red and white cs
Size - 6.75x4.75"
Accessories -  glitter, clear embossing powder (on first card only), sequins (on second card only)


  1. Beautiful Brush Stroke Stamping on both your cards, Susan. I love how you heat eb your 1st card. I need to do that more often..then I would not be afraid to add a watercolour wash. TFS both links. I have watched both videos more than once, but need to watch again. Your Christmas cards are always so inspiring my friend. Hugs and Happy Holidays.

  2. Both are beautiful and very creative Susan. Love that stamped image and of course we must not have favourites but for me it's the first one....but only just x

  3. love that stamp and your amazing cards, incredible work with the mini ink pads. P.S I love both equally :)

  4. Susan, I've never achieved effects like this with this technique! You not only have a crisp image but fabulous shading too. LOVE both of them and could not choose a favorite. (trying this from a different browser so will see if it works).

  5. Love both cards Susan. It is such a lovely image and your colouring is just perfect. If I had to pick, I would choose the deeper colours of the embossed version. Great work on both cards Susan! xx

  6. Beautiful pair of cards and always beautifully watercoloured. The clear embossing is a fantastic technique. Love the blue shading to give it the wintry feel.

  7. I love both versions, Susan! The pine cones and berries are so realistic looking! Excellent job with inking and watercolouring!

  8. Two beautiful cards using this lovely stamp Susan! Lovely techniques for coloring them! Julia xx

  9. Gosh it is difficult to pick a favourite as they are both very pretty Susan, but I think there is a little better definition in the first and I do love that blue you have used in the background. x

  10. Both of the cards are absolutely BEAUTIFUL Susan!! I like each of them equally as much...sorry, I'm not much help, am I?!! I have that stamp in my NBUS pile...after seeing your beauties, I think I need to get it out and show it some love! :0)

  11. wonderfully done cards mf....love that PB stamps and have to get mine out to play with! I am way behind with commenting, been super busy creating with my little ones.
    xx Karen

  12. Wow, both cards are simply beautiful, Susan! I can see the difference between with and without clear heat-embossing. Thank you so much for showing us both! I've never tried this technique, but you definitely inspired me! Hideko :-)


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