Three colour tag challenge

A couple of weeks ago, Lesley and I had a day of crafting while the boys prepared a belated Christmas dinner for us.  Oh, it was such a treat to be pampered – Lesley’s hubby (Chef) did all the cooking so we were left to our own crafty devices.

A couple of days before that, I’d updated my Distress stain tag swatch book and asked Adrian to choose me three colours to work with.


He chose Mowed Lawn, Pine Needles and Chipped Sapphire.  I picked out the relevant inkpads and began by swirling the colour on with Cut’n’Dry foam.  I then stamped with plain water (a stamp from Lace Fragments) and blotted the tag to ‘lift’ colour in places.  Here’s a close up of how that looked before I added any stamping.

three colour tags01

I enjoyed it so much, he gave me a couple more challenges and I ended up with these three:


My self imposed rules were that I had to use at least two of the three colours to create the background, but I could pick any Distress product in that specific colour to work with.  For stamping and foreground detail I could use any stamps, any colours.

So from left to right above, the colours and stamps are:

Lesley liked the idea so we took turns choosing colours for each other – sometimes we did a blind pick, sometimes deliberate.  This is what we came up with between us.

three colour tags10

And here are the close ups of my tags.  Can you guess what the colour trio is for each one?

three colour tags07 This tag uses distress stains as it turns out my  inkpads in these three colours are bone dry and falling to bits – time for a bit of shopping I think!  I used Breath of Spring and Amazing Birthday stamps.

three colour tags04 I used a mix of inkpads and paints for this one.  The wave was created with the paint, just lightly swirling the dabber top to create the shape, then using a paintbrush to add detail.  The stamps are from Seashell Collage.

three colour tags05 This was using Distress stains again and lots of water.  The image is from Seashore Scenes and is coloured with ColourSoft pencils.

three colour tags02 On this one I tried something Lesley had done on her first tag – put some paint down patchily then, when dry, use Distress stain over the top and the paint acts as a resist.  I used a stencil in the background too, then embossed the stamp from October Fairy.

The fun thing was that as the tag background came together, the idea for which stamp to use just came to me.  I read something recently about different types of creativity – there are some people that plan what they’re going to do from the start and then there are those that experiment and let the ideas develop.  These tags definitely fall into the latter of those two approaches and it was liberating and fun to work with no preconceived idea of what you would end up with.

Why not have a go yourself.  I’d recommend you make a swatch book – tags or small pieces of card you can punch and collate on a book ring or similar.  That allows you to fan them out and either pick colours that speak to you, or turn it over, close your eyes and pick them blind.   If you use Chocolate Baroque stamps, why not share your results with us on the CB Facebook group – click here to visit.  Or if you blog your colour challenge, leave a link in the comments to your blog post (remember to link to the specific post, not your home page).

Anyone fancy picking three colours for me to do my next tag with …?



X does not mark the spot

treasure map

Did you ever draw a pirate map when you were a kid?

I was transported back to childhood doing this project and thoroughly enjoyed it.  When I was a kid my favourite books were the ones with a map of a mythical world in the front of the book.  You knew it was going to be a good story if they started out with an unfamiliar map full of strange place names, hinting at adventures to come.

I started by stamping the quote on a mottled parchment paper and then masked off the edges of the paper and stamped various travel words from the Steampunk Travel and Steampunkery sets with Adirondack Pesto ink.  I took the mask off and drew a sketchy border around the masked area then carefully covered over the quote and splashed the stamped words with water.  Adirondack dye ink bleeds when wet, so the words became blurred and patchy.  It needed to look more worn so I decided to add some distress inks and set to with Bundled Sage, Old Paper and Antique Linen – all pretty subtle colours.  I may have added a hint of Brushed Corduroy as well.

I distressed the edges and crumpled the paper around the border before adding stronger colours and water.  While wet, I rubbed a Rusty Hinge distress pad over the creases and misted with more water then when that was dry, I flicked droplets of Distress Stain and water over it quite liberally.

This evolved over several evenings as I kept putting it aside to dry and coming back to it.  I began to pick out splodges and draw round them with a fine liner to create islands.  I used Copic markers to add a  blue line around the outside edge of each island and an ochre tone to the inside edge of each island.   I used Copics as a water based marker of any kind would have blended the Distress colours on the paper more, but Copics or Promarkers won’t move water soluble pigments around.  Some of the larger ones got some little mountains on them too, then I came up with the idea of a sea monster.

I dug out an old stamp set – Here be Dragons – and applied a little masking tape before stamping him (I practised on scrap paper first to get it right).  I then drew in little waves around the masked line and coloured him in lightly with pencils.  I think he makes quite a convincing sea monster.

This is a treasure map, but you won’t find an X on it anywhere.  The real treasure is in the words – a super quote from Steampunk Travel by Mark Twain (hence the American spelling).  It’s got me inspired to create another map with place names on it now – Embellishment Bay, Bling City, Distressville … hmmm, I can see lots of potential here…  So what would the treasure on your map be?

Spring Distress Inks


I managed to get a very quick bit of playtime with the new Spring Distress inkpads.  I used all three colours and I do like the palette.  I started by inking the top with squeezed lemonade and the bottom with shaded lilac, then I stamped a couple of different lace stamps top and bottom with peacock feathers and the bottom two corners with the corner stamps from Lace Fragments.  I misted the top with quite a bit of water and let the colour bleed and run down the tag.  I misted the bottom a bit too, but not as much.  After drying with a heat tool, I flicked a little clean water over and blotted it off.

I then stamped the phrase from Artistic Affirmations about three or four times over the background using squeezed lemonade and added a little more shaded lilac at the bottom.  The lilac stamped corners were a bit faded out by this point, so I added another lace border in shaded lilac.  I then stamped the words and border swirls with Onyx Black Versafine and added a piece of decorated Stampbord.

I can see the lilac and lemonade combination would work really well with our Elegant Iris stamp set – definitely Spring like.  I just wish the weather was!

PS – I’ve been tweaking a few bits and pieces around the blog – menus at the top, side bar content and a little slide show thingy at the top of the main page.  You’ll now find a list of links in the side bar, and in the menu bar right at the very top, there are now links to Cards, Mixed Media and Video which show you blog posts from those categories – like little galleries.  It’s a constant work in progress, but I feel like it’s a bit more organised now – hope you like it!

Steampunk and Lace

I thought I’d share a project that was recently featured in the Baroque Guild newsletter.  This is a large 8×8 inch card which features a polymer clay tree made with a stamp from Steampunk Christmas.  I also used all sorts of metal bits and pieces or faked a metal look with embossing powder.

The polymer clay tree was dusted with Perfect Pearls before baking, then enhanced with Mystic Green and Firefly Stickles.

I used Fired Brick and Aged Mahogany Distress Stains to colour Kraft Glassine paper which had been resist embossed with clear embossing powder first, using the cog stamps from Steampunk Christmas.  The pointelle lace and velvet ric rac are part of the eclectic Victorian mix that Steampunk is all about.

The robin backing paper is part of the Spirit of Christmas papers that I am in the process of getting onto the website.  I may be able to fit that in this weekend between washing machine shopping and visiting my family.  It’s my Dad’s birthday this weekend so we’re off to Cumbria to see him and the family – one of our personal goals this year is to spend more quality time with my family as they have been a bit neglected with Adrian’s parents taking up so much of our spare time.

Now I do appreciate that this isn’t exactly a batch card for Christmas, but I hope some of the ideas in it give you some inspiration.

Have a great weekend!