Blushing Baroque Beauty

hi everyone

this morning I sent out the first of my Monday Mojo emails (the re-run) and this is the new piece of artwork that I was inspired to make from the tutorial.


If you missed it, don’t worry, you can click here to see the archived version online.

I thought I’d just give you a bit more information about what I used in the card as I didn’t go into huge detail in the email.  The lady made me think of clothes made from opulent heavy brocade fabrics so I knew I wanted to include a few layers of rich colour and pattern.  The repeat stamping on the gold pearl base card uses a pair of small stamps from Brocade Backgrounds which are stamped in Archival Saffron ink.

The honeysuckle panel is from Elegant Edges and the colour on that is from PanPastels.  I stamped with Versamark onto a golden yellow card and dusted red and green pastels over the top – more details on that in next week’s Monday Mojo Magic email.

The lady is from Chapel Road Artstamps and she is what I think of as a ‘fine-grained’ stamp, created in a similar way to old fashioned newspaper photographs using a pattern of tiny black dots known as half tone.  This type of stamp can be a little tricky because you need all that fine detail to stamp correctly for the image to work, so the best way to stamp is to use a good quality dye ink like Archival on a glossy coated card.  You might even consider using a brayer to ink the stamp as it is possible to pick up lines on the stamp from the edge of the inkpad.

I stamped her onto a glossy card that I’d already coloured with a skin tone ink.  I coloured her eyes with a Memento marker (though that doesn’t really show up in the photo) and the lips the same.  Her cheeks were coloured with PanPastel using a tiny applicator.  You’d think that a powdery substance like PanPastel wouldn’t stick to glossy card, but you only need a tiny bit for the pigment to stain the coating.

Monday Mojo Weekly Challenge


Now I really am trying hard to get you to actually do some crafting yourself, so I’m encouraging you to dig out your stamp with a weekly challenge based on the Monday Mojo emails.

You can choose to create something based on the tutorial (this week’s is repeat stamping) or you can choose to just focus on the colours I’ve picked out.  Of course there’s nothing to stop you doing both!

This is just for fun, there’s no winners or losers and I can’t promise I’m going to have the time to do a round of blog visits, so if you want me to see your challenge, the best place to put it is on the Chocolate Baroque Facebook Group which I try to keep an eye on every day (it’s the easiest to see on my phone when I’m away from the computer).

So have fun  and if you’re not already signed up for the Monday Mojo Magic email, you’ll find the sign up box in the side bar here near the top.


Two Roads

I am trying to get back into blogging and from next week, I’m re-running last year’s Monday Mojo email series, but attempting to create a new piece of artwork each week. If you are not already on the list, check out the side bar for a sign up box.  Monday Mojo is a weekly email tutorial delivered to your inbox early on a Monday morning with the idea of starting your week on a note of inspiration and creativity.


Last night I knew I only had about half an hour in my craft room, so I just wanted to create something quickly, without too much equipment or fuss.  So this little tag came about using a kraft tag, Versafine inks (Onyx Black, Satin Red and behind the text is Spanish Moss) and coloursoft pencils.  I stamped the leaf around the edge with Satin red, then stamped the bird on a branch with black and coloured it with pencils.  I stamped the leaf again on a separate tag with Spanish Moss and stamped the words in black, then cut them out and edged each piece with the red before gluing onto the tag.  The stamps are all from Woodland Dreams.

I made it with no purpose in mind, other than to just create something.  Now I’m looking at it and thinking about the house we are hoping to buy at the moment and I can see the text making a good writing prompt for a journal page about the move.

I sprayed some journal pages last week with a mix of old and new Dylusions colours, so I think this tag will sit quite well on one of these.




Thanks for visiting – I hope to be back on a more regular basis.




Product Review: Faber Castell Papercrafter Crayons


I’d love to claim this as a drawing of my own, but it’s actually from a book – one of the Zenspirations series by Joanne Fink called Inspirations, Designs to Feed Your Spirit.  Each page is printed on one side only and perforated so you can remove them from the book and use them to make your own wall art or put them in your journal.  They also make a brilliant starting points for Zentangling – just think of all the patterns you could tangle in those trees!

I mentioned in the Chocolate Baroque weekly newsletter a couple of weeks ago that I would show you what I’d been doing with the Faber Castell Papercrafter Crayons and the picture above shows how I have used them to create texture over the trees.

crayonsThese are wax crayons that come in a plastic tube with a screw up mechanism, so you can choose how much of the crayon you want protruding as you work.  You can cover large areas quickly by exposing a longer section and colouring at an angle or you can just work with a small tip.  They are hard enough to sharpen to a fine point, so you can use them for detail work.  (Note, I tested in winter – they may be too soft to sharpen in very hot weather!)

Did you ever do brass rubbings?   The image below was my first experiment, just scribbling crayons over paper with a stencil beneath the paper. (Stencils are Switchback and Squiggles.)


I mixed up the colours a bit, then once I’d finished with the stencils, I went over the top with Distress Stains and of course they just run off the wax and stain the paper.

I tried rubbing over a rubber stamp too – this is Dotty Snowflake, one of our Big Bold Background stamps.


The rubbing is a lot softer than the stencil, but this is a stamp with a lot of background detail so a crisper image would give a different look again.

I was using standard copy paper for my experiments because it is nice and thin, but if you flood it with wet colour like Distress Stains, it does buckle and need flattened.  I ruined one when I tried to iron it while it was still a bit damp.  (Because you’re dealing with wax, if you do want to iron, make sure you put some clean copy paper over the wax and lift it off straight away to stop it sticking).

Here’s a couple more experiments, the first two are with the Squiggles stencil using thin card (160gsm) which didn’t buckle much at all.  I used Black Soot Distress Stain over various coloured crayons.



This one is the Swirly Garden stencil


And the Peacock Doily stencil.


Then I tried a much thicker card with a bolder stencil (Blazonry) and it required a little more pressure to get the stencil image to show up.  I suspect fine detail would be lost on a thicker card, but a bold stencil like this one works fine.  The crayons are hard enough to do the job – anything softer wouldn’t pick up the edges of the stencil as clearly.


I painted over this with Golden Fluid Acrylics and these will cover up the wax so I rubbed or scraped it with my flat Wedge Tool  to make sure the rubbing showed through.  I added some stamped script with Archival ink.

But my favourite has to be tissue paper – it takes rubbings beautifully and shows up all the detail.

gothic windows Here I’ve used stamps from Gothic Angels and Distress Inks and rubbed over it afterwards with a purple crayon and the Church Windows stencil.


So back to my picture – I coloured the whole thing with Derwent Coloursoft Pencils, then I placed the Cut Circles stencil under the trees and rubbed with ochre at the top and two shades of green, darkest at the bottom.  I dabbed some Fired Brick Distress Stain onto my craft mat and used a waterbrush to pick it up and blend it over the trees.

Red is the opposite of green on the colour wheel so I knew that the contrast would make the rubbing show up.  I had already coloured the trees with a layer of green pencil, so the red over the top has a more brown tone as red and green make brown when mixed.

Of course there’s lots more you can do with these crayons than rubbings.  They can be used in all sorts of mixed media work and they will create a beautiful coloured resist to any water based medium, though thick acrylics, gesso, gel, etc will cover them to a certain extent, but you can rub or scrape over the paint to reveal the crayons.  You can even let it dry and scratch back into the paint to reveal the wax layer beneath.

I’ve determined that as long as they are not too thick, you can stamp over them – Archival ink worked very well for me.

You can also get creative with heat and melt them on an encaustic iron or with a heat gun.  They are full of pigment, so melted, they retain all their colour and don’t separate like cheap wax crayons can.


I’ve deliberately made the photo of this tag large, so if you click onto it you can see the detail.  I pushed up about an inch or two of crayon and used my heat gun to melt it onto the tag.  I used a couple of shades of blue and purple and while the wax was molten, I used the crayon to scribble into it.  The finish is smooth and polished -  very tactile and not the least bit sticky like beeswax can sometimes be.

I try to buy products for Chocolate Baroque that I like and would use myself.  Despite what people think, I don’t have one of everything we sell in my own personal stash (I wish!), but from time to time there are products that I get in that I really want to try out myself and these and the Gelatos from Faber Castell really called to me.  The Gelatos are a soft, squidgy, smudgeable, water soluble crayon and the Papercrafter Crayons are a hard, waxy, water resistant crayon.  Both have their role in mixed media and both have earned a permanent place in my craft room. For a start, these crayons have just given my box of stencils a whole new lease of life as rubbing plates ….


A couple of cards

Mackintosh Lady

I wanted to share a simple card made with the Mackintosh stamp sets.

I stamped the lady from Mackintosh Windows onto white card and coloured her with Copics. I cut it out with a thin white border and layered it onto a background made with Dylusions sprays.  I sprayed onto very absorbent watercolour paper – the more absorbent the paper, the softer spray inks blend (try blotting paper sometime and you’ll see what I mean).  I stamped the background with the rose border and layered it up very simply onto an aqua layer and plain white card.

I like to have a few cards ready made that have no sentiment.  They are useful when you need a card in a hurry, a birthday, a get well or even just a thinking of you card.  You can add the words that are appropriate at the time and the recipient will be grateful that you have sent a hand made card.

Sometimes though, the words are the focus of the card.

sending a smile

This little card says it all really.  Again, the background layer is Dylusions, this time sprayed onto a textured card.  The sentiment (Amazing Birthday) and the floral edge are stamped with Archival Magenta Hue and the flower is made from scraps, including leftovers from the sprayed background.  The brad in the centre of the flower is a standard brass office paper fastener pressed onto a Versamark pad and embossed with WOW Sparkling Snow embossing powder.

If you’ve never tried customising your own brads, then my top tip is get a lump of polystyrene or blu-tack and put the brad in it before heating – you can do a whole batch in one go.  Poke holes in a piece of card to store them or even give them to your crafty friends as a little gift – just be sure to use an opaque powder rather than transparent, unless you want the brass colour to show through.


I’ll leave you with a little teaser – we launch new stamps over on the Design Team blog tomorrow …

castle teaser




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