Cheep Cheep

Did I ever show you this tag?  I made it when we first launched the Steampunk Birds stamp set, but I can’t find it in the blog archive or over on the Design Team blog either.  I swear my memory is just not what it was and it’s never been that great to start with!

Anyway, this week’s Monday Mojo focused on realistic shading and if you have ever struggled with getting your rounded shapes to look rounded, then please click here to read it and download the practice sheet.  Shading takes practice, there’s no real shortcuts if you are new to it, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

In this tag, I have used these shading principles to colour the eggs and also the parachute in the background, the conical chimney on the birdhouse and the spiral of the birdhouse stand.  Looking at other people’s examples of colouring can often give you more of an insight than looking at a photograph.  My mum always said art is all about problem solving – how do you trick the eye into believing a flat two-dimensional object is three-dimensional? A lot of it is about where you put the shadows and highlights.


Here’s another recent example of shading on a flower.  The trick here is a good strong contrast between the darkest and lightest section of the petals.

Peony card

Neither of these two pieces are new, but my body called time out and declared a couple of days of extreme self care were in order at the weekend (I will be SO glad when my ovaries finally run out of eggs..).  I was in no state to argue so Sunday was spent in PJs, propped up in bed looking out at the sea and reading magazines and a fab new book that I pre-ordered ages ago (Paint Mojo by Tracy Verdugo).  After a stressy Friday with no internet at all and more BT incompetence to deal with, it was just the tonic I needed.

I’m going to leave you with a little question.  If I happened to be visiting one of Chocolate Baroque’s stockists near you, and if I were to teach a class there, would you (a) be interested in taking a class with me and (b) what specifically would you want to learn from me?  Leave me a note in the comments below or in the Chocolate Baroque Facebook group where I am asking the same question.


Bee Happy


The card I made for this week’s Monday Mojo email really sums up the weekend I’ve just had with Lesley and hubby David.  We visited the Mull of Galloway, ate in the fantastic Gallie Craig cafe there and climbed the 115 steps to the top of the lighthouse.  Since we came to Portpatrick, I have been getting outside more than I used to and getting my creaky knees and hips moving a lot more.  I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t have made it to the top of that lighthouse 8 weeks ago when we first arrived here, so I was feeling a huge sense of achievement, even before I was presented with this:


I think it’s a fantastic idea to reward visitors with a certificate, but I may have to have words with them next time about the type of ink they use to stamp the date – it smudged quite badly!

On Sunday Lesley and I spent the day in my studio getting inky and painty.  Lesley had never tried gelli printing before, so I set her up with my 6×6 inch plate and I think it’s fair to say she had a ball!


Of course it would have been rude not to join in.


We also decided to both tackle the Monday Mojo challenge and each create a piece inspired by the email – quite fitting actually as it was Lesley’s workshop which inspired this week’s tutorial in the first place.   To see the two cards side by side, you would honestly think we had planned ahead of time to use the same colours and sentiment, but that was pure serendipity!


I began this card by die cutting some cog/gear shapes from masking tissue.  I used the holes left behind as stencils and sponged yellow Memento inks through them – I used Peanut Brittle on the largest, and Canteloupe and Dandelion on the smaller two.  I then stuck down the die cuts as masks and swirled the same colours very lightly over them using a mix of the same yellows to give the soft shading you see.  You can use a sponge, but I prefer a good stencil brush and a swirling motion to get a soft blend.  The main flower stamp is from Honey Bee and the floral gears background stamp is from Punky Romance.  The sentiment comes from our Words of Wisdom stamp set.  There’s a little bit of clear Wink of Stella on the bees’ wings which the photo hasn’t picked up, and I added just a hint of shading to the petals with coloured pencils.

Lesley has put her card on her own blog so hop over to to take a look.

I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures of the most southern tip of Scotland.

Mull of Galloway

Lesley braving the wind and looking out at the Isle of Man

MOG lighthouse

Mull of Galloway Lighthouse taken from the Gallie Craig cafe.

How can we not be happy living in such a beautiful part of the world!


PS: Watch out for new stamps later today launching on the Design Team blog later today.


Gelli printed Christmas

I know I’m late on parade this week – lots of reasons, but partly down to a very patchy internet connection.  The good news is that we have had builders here digging up the pavement and we do now have the cable duct in place ready for BT to install a phone line.  When they will get round to putting tarmac over the gaping hole is another matter, but they did make an excellent job of re-seating the block paving on our drive that they had to disturb.  Can you believe we have been in our new home for 8 weeks!?!  It still feels awesome to look out at the sea every day.

I deliberately put more information in this week’s Monday Mojo email as I knew I’d struggle to do a blog post as well, so if you want a bit more information, please click here to read this week’s tutorial.


snowy scene03

snowy scene02

snowy scene01 click on any of the images for an enlarged version

The stamped images are once again done with PanPastel which was covered in issue 2 of the Monday Mojo series.

I’m keeping this short and sweet as I have a house to get ready for very important visitors – Lesley (our General Manager at Chocolate Baroque) is coming up with her hubby for some fresh sea air and crafting over the long weekend.  We completely failed to realise that the August bank holiday is earlier in the month in Scotland, so we are sticking to English bank holidays at the moment – wonder if anyone will notice if we adopt both?

Harlequin Pears


This week’s Monday Mojo email got me thinking about batch production for this year’s Christmas cards and inspired by last year’s bauble aperture card, I came up with a variation using a pear shaped die.   I got three cards out of one sheet of A4 card by cutting the long side into three equal strips (9.9cm) then folding each one in half.  The size also meant there were no problems getting the card and die through my die cutting machine.

I used the three different harlequin stamps from Harlequin and Tangled Fragments and stamped each card with VersaMark before dusting with PanPastels in shades of green and yellow.  I stamped and coloured the whole of the card front before die cutting so that I then had decorated pears to use on other cards.


I added a turtle dove stamped in Archival Vermillion and the greetings inside are all stamped with Archival Olive.  If I wanted to follow the Mojo tutorial, I could have cut a smaller pear shape to suspend in the aperture, but I decided to let the sentiment inside be the focal point.  When I actually come to send these cards, I will probably write my greeting on the back of the card.



I also made a couple of A6 topfold cards, one of which is shown here using the pear cut out with a little red PanPastel added to it. I stamped the greeting at the bottom then added a strip of card with ribbon attached above the sentiment.


Here is another card with a very similar layout, but no die cut this time, just the harlequin stamp coloured with PanPastels.


I’m starting to get quite a nice little stockpile of Christmas cards now, partly because I always try to make at least 3 or 4 cards at a time with the same colours and materials.  That’s just one of my little productivity tips in this week’s email.  (If you’re not on the list to get Monday Mojo emails, you will see a sign up box in the side bar here on my blog.)


How are you getting on with your Christmas card making?



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