Distress Stain Steampunk Bird

This week’s Monday Mojo email is all about Distress Stains so I thought I would share with you this tag that I made for the recently launched Chocolate Baroque Challenge Blog.


I made this not long before we moved house, at a wonderful playday with Lesley, Judith and Debbie.  We were discussing the challenge blog at the time and finalising the details of how we would set it up, then we came up with the idea of picking some colours there and then to start the ball rolling.  From my distress tag swatch, if I remember rightly, we picked out Squeezed Lemonade, Mowed Lawn, Peacock Feathers and I think the red is either Festive Berries or Barn Door.

I started by swiping some Squeezed Lemonade Distress paint onto a couple of tags, then stamping the foliage frond with the same paint.  When dry, this acts as a resist to the more liquid stains.  I put Mowed Lawn and Peacock Feathers distress stain on the bottom of the tag and the red at the top.  I sprinkled some water on and dried it quickly with a heat tool to stop the colours blending too much into brown where they meet.

I stamped some Punky Flowers onto the tag, then stamped the bird and coloured the branch.  The bird was stamped twice onto the second tag and I cut one whole bird and an extra wing to decoupage on top.  I did add a nice green ribbon, but don’t have a photo and it is still packed away “somewhere”.

I do love playing with distress stains, so I dug them out this week and had a little play session.  Here are some of the backgrounds and tags I created.

distress stain bg

distress stain music

distress stain tags2

distress stain tags1

I just love having a stack of tags and backgrounds like this to hand, they’re great for the times when I don’t want to get all messy, but need some coloured backgrounds ready to go.

If you haven’t checked out our Challenge Blog yet, head over there and take a look, there’s some fab inspiration from the Design Team, plus some really super submissions coming along.  You still have time to play as it’s a monthly challenge, so you have until August 19th to play along and if your entry qualifies, you could be picked as our prize winner!

Happy stamping!


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 …?



A Charming Patina


We have had a lot of cool new products on the website lately and I have been a little bit like a kid in a sweet shop.  One of the recent additions was the Vintaj Patina kits and I need to go public and state that I am officially in love with them.  I was so impressed with the gold and silver that I decided to get the colours in.  I have used them on metal charms, but did you know that they can be used to create a resist too?  Here’s some charms that I painted and you can see there’s a range of finishes from the slick shiny black of the top hat to the chalky verdigris finish on the filigree embellishment.

All these charms started out as plain brass or metal – click on the image to see an enlarged version.  As you know we also now have the Dylusions sprays on the website and I used a mixture of the patinas and Dylusions on the block behind the charms which was painted first with crackle paint.

I still haven’t fully explored the possibilities with these Patinas, but I love what I’ve seen so far.  They clean up with water and mix with water based products and a little goes a long way.  They contain a little ball and need shaken up before use like a lot of metallic products do and they come in the same type of bottle as the Ranger alcohol inks which means they have a fine tip, but they are liquid so don’t hold a rigid shape if you ‘draw’ with the bottle.

They are waterproof when dry and this means you can paint with them, then add a wash of colour over the top and your patina will stay put creating a resist type look.  I only know that from the scrap paper under my work when painting these charms, I haven’t actually put that little nugget of information to a creative use – yet!  (I’m thinking cut’n’dry and stencils …)

I’m starting to sort through my craft stuff ready to pack away and I’m building three piles.  The ‘definite keep’ pile, the ‘stuff to get rid of’ pile and there’s a third one evolving, which is ‘stuff I want to keep, but not pack up in the hope I’ll get time to play with it over the holidays’ pile .

Guess which pile is biggest (hint, it contains the Vintaj Patinas)!



A week of Christmas Inspiration – Day 4

Christmas_cards _201207

I want to start by saying thank you all for the encouraging comments – I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to and it’s doing me good to get back in the groove – I just love inspiring people!  I know some people struggled yesterday to leave a comment and I noticed that the blog was painfully slow myself.  Not sure why, but I’m hoping that it was a temporary glitch.

Todays card began life as a large tag, but I trimmed a tiny bit off the top to turn it into the background layer for this card.  The tag was coloured using Distress inks and Cut’n’Dry foam – Tumbled Glass at the bottom, Antique Linen in the middle and if I remember rightly Tea Dye at the top.  Might be Tattered Rose … I did the background a while ago.

I then used the same inkpads to stamp the word Joy (from Steampunk Christmas) repeatedly down the card and rubbed a little Vintage Photo ink around the edges.  I then embossed the snowflake tree (also from Steampunk Christmas) in white at the bottom.

What you can’t really see now is that I also took a Versamark pen and drew a hill for the tree to stand on which I embossed in Sparkling Snow WOW embossing powder.  That is mostly covered up now by the chipboard town shape.  I also added my favourite Stardust Stickles to the centre of the snowflakes on the tree.

Winter Town laser cut chipboard

The chipboard shape is from a Magenta laser cut set called Winter Town.  I almost discontinued this product after we had them sitting on the shelf all year doing nothing – then I thought I would just have a little play and they’re charming so I’ve brought it back from the brink.

I used Chipped Sapphire Distress Stain to colour the chipboard then left it to dry thoroughly before patting a Versamark inkpad all over.  I embossed it with a sparkly powder – I think it was Clear Hologram Sparkle because I have that one in a large tub which makes it convenient to just drop in shapes like this.

After cooling, I used a sponge to add a little versamark to the top and embossed again with Sparkling Snow.  If I make some more cards with the rest of the shapes, I will probably add a snowy hill that shows up behind the town.

I finished off with a sentiment from Warm Christmas Greetings stamped in Versafine.  The whole thing is mounted onto a slimline copper pearl card – I’m back to that copper and blue combination again aren’t I?!