‘Twas a dark and foggy night …

foggy halloween night

foggy halloween night

This spooky card features a Gelli print, paint and PanPastel and is typical of how I sometimes wish I’d planned out a scene before I started stamping.

The background is a Gelli print that started life as black pearlescent card.  I placed the Branches Crafter’s Workshop template onto the Gelli plate so that when I pulled the print, the template created the black trees on the left.

I stamped the castle from Nevermore first – I inked it with Smokey Grey Versafine, then just lightly touched the edges with Onyx Black Versafine.  I also stamped quite lightly as I wanted it to be a faint, ghostly impression in the distance.

I then stamped the fence with the bare tree from Bewitched Moonlight on the right hand side of the card and immediately realised that gave me a fixed skyline and my misty castle was floating high above it.  I added the tombstones on the left and used a Pigma micron pen to continue the line of the hill under the sun all the way out to the left of the image.I stamped the gap between the two fences with the toadstools, first in orange then in black.

I then added a very watered down black wash of acrylic paint under the misty castle to place it on a high hill and painted the sun, hill, fence and gravestones with thinned acrylic paint.

At that point, it was looking quite grungy and definitely Halloweeny, but it just needed something more.  I had the PanPastels out, so I decided to create some mist drifting across the landscape.  I used Payne’s Grey and Titanium white, plus a little Diarylide yellow underneath.

I finished off with a few bats stamped with Versafine Onyx Black and mounted it very simply onto an orange card.  I decided there was so much going on that I wouldn’t add a sentiment on the front.

This year’s Halloween will be the first time I’ve been in a town for about twenty years.  I’m not sure whether the local kids are into trick or treating, but I’m sure the big kid indoors will be hoping there’s some treats left over for him!


Back from Amsterdam


I really should be careful what I say, shouldn’t I?  After what I said in my last post, maybe I invoked Murphy’s law because shortly after that, our phone line went out completely!  And it is still out completely – no voice line whatsoever, but lots of static and crackles on the line.  What is weird is that we occasionally get moments online, but never for very long.  (Apologies to everyone on chat last night – my visit was cut rather short.)  It turns out to be a major fault affecting not just us, but several houses in the area.

Anyway, we’re back safe and sound from a wonderful weekend in Amsterdam.  I taught a bouncy boingy card class at De Posthumus Winkel, a gorgeous shop in the heart of Amsterdam.  I will put some pictures up here when the connection is back up (my photos are at home, I’m at work … ), but I have to say a huge thank you to all the lovely ladies I met – those who looked after me and those who came along to the classes.  I really enjoyed my time, but I definitely want to learn Dutch now so I can understand what you are all saying!

Now as I don’t have any new photos to show you, I thought I’d show you an old halloween project.  This is a canvas that was published in the old Guild newsletter back in 2009.  It is made with a stamp set called Twilight Zone and I have included the original instructions for you.

You will need:

  1. Cut a large label from scrap cardstock with the Labels 4 die and stick to the canvas with soft gel.
  2. Peel apart the printed napkin so you have just the top printed layer.  Apply a coat of soft gel to the canvas and scrunch up the napkin, then open it up and lay it over the canvas.  Press down and pat it down all over the front of the canvas, aiming for some texture.  Burnish it gently around the die cut, taking care as the napkin is quite fragile at this stage. Turn over the canvas and apply more gel to the sides and back, then wrap the napkin around and trim off any excess.
  3. Leave for about 5-10 minutes for the gel to set, then paint a coat of gel over the top of the napkin, sides and back as well.  This seals and protects the napkin from being torn by further layers of paint.  Leave to dry thoroughly.
  4. Stamp the spider’s web stamp onto white card using Tuxedo Black Memento.  Colour in the image using Copics or ProMarkers
  5. Mat onto black cardstock then give it a light coat of Soft Gel Matte or Glue ‘n’ Seal.
  6. Stamp the black cat with black Versafine and emboss with a sparkly embossing powder such as Black Glint or Clear Hologram.  Cut out then cover with Glossy Accents.  For the eyes, I fished out two tiny sequins from a jar of Beadazzles and dropped them onto the Glossy Accents – it’s a little difficult to control, so an alternative would be to add a couple of dots with a gold pen once the Glossy Accents is dry.
  7. Using a large flat paintbrush, apply iridescent gold paint to the edges of the canvas, aiming to lightly skim the surface and highlight the texture of the napkin.
  8. Spell out the word SPOOKY with the chipboard letters.  Mine were self adhesive, but because of the textured surface, I had to stick them down with gel or Glossy Accents.  Once dry, sand the surface of the letters to reveal some white, then colour over the white with an orange marker.
  9. Use the same orange marker to colour over the iridescent gold paint around the letters and around the edge of the canvas.  The transparency of the Copic (or ProMarker) ink over the gold paint creates a beautiful glowing orange colour.
  10. Punch about a dozen fern leaves from black cardstock.  Stick the stamped image to the canvas with gel, then arrange the leaves around the picture to create  a frame.  Stick them down with gel, then give them all a top coat of gel and leave to dry.
  11. Lightly spray the bottom of the canvas with orange and the top with purple spray inks and blot off the coloured picture.
  12. Apply vine rub ons to the corners and orange Stickles to the chipboard letters.  Finally, stick on the black cat and you’re done!

And while we’re on the subject of black cats, here’s another blast from the past – my Basement Cat album featuring the late, great Basil.

Click on the image to view the original blog post with more photos.

The good news is that a BT van was spotted heading for our house this morning, so who knows, we may get home to find a working line once again!


Firstly, I just want to say thank you for all your supportive and loving messages on the last post.  Adrian reads them all too and he is very touched by and grateful for each and every one, as am I.  Derrick is still with us, sleeping most of the time, but still here.

Meanwhile, life goes on and I have a card to share with you that I made a week or two ago featuring our new Halloween stamps.  Halloween is a very subjective thing and although I am no fan of horror movies or vampires or anything like that, I do find that I thoroughly enjoy playing around with Halloween stamps.  I still haven’t figured out why – maybe it’s having a theme to work with that gets my creative juices flowing.  Restrictions often stimulate ideas where too much choice can result in a paralysis of indecision.

So although I’ve not had a huge amount of creative time lately, I’ve had fun with these new stamps and wanted to share this card with you.

I decided to try making a Halloween card with no orange on it at all, as it seems to feature so heavily in all my other Halloween makes.  The stamps are mainly from the new A5 set Howling Moon with the owls and word from the little A6 set Boo.

I stamped the iron railing and tree branch corner onto thick white card with Versafine Smokey Grey and heated it to make sure it was completely dry.  I then embossed the pumpkin coach using an old embossing powder mix which is black with a touch of gold.  I sprayed the whole thing with London Fog and Paris Dusk Fireworks spray ink and the Versafine resisted the sprayed ink.

While that was drying, I sponged some Chipped Sapphire distress ink onto a sheet of the Tim Holtz Kraft resist paper (I made this a couple of weeks ago and didn’t have the Halloween resist pad in at the time – if I was doing it again I’d definitely use that).  I added a couple of old rub ons and distressed the edges with a distressing tool – it’s not something I’ve used much, but works really well on this kraft paper.

I coloured some twill ribbon with Chipped Sapphire distress stain and threaded on a jump ring with a Muse token (it says ‘listen’), an old key and a tiny glass bottle with gold glitter in.  I stuck that onto the kraft paper and stuck the whole thing to an 8×8 inch dark blue card.

I used a Martha Stewart punch to add the row of gravestones and stuck the stamped panel onto the card.  I stamped ‘Boo’ onto a scrap of kraft paper and went over it with Midnight Blue stickles – (gorgeous colour) then stuck it over the messed up word I had stamped directly onto the background.  Yeah, it happens!

I think there are quite a few stamps on the Howling Moon sheet that could be used for other occasions, not just for Halloween.  If you want to see all our Halloween stamps, plus other products that we think will work well for the occasion, we now have a Halloween department (and a Christmas one) on the Chocolate Baroque website – just look under products on the left of the screen.

Well I’m off to enjoy a very un-seasonal evening of warm glorious sunshine – we might just get the lawn mowed before the weather changes.  Have a great weekend everyone.