Saturday, January 18, 2020

Hello Bluebird | Storybook Cottage

In the highlands, in the country places,
Where the old plain men have rosy faces,
And the young fair maidens quiet eyes...
~ R L Stevenson

Once upon a time in a village far away sat a little cottage waiting for spring.  With the gales of winter past, tiny blossoms blanket the hillside and new lambs spring to-and fro playing silly lamb games.  Raindrops splash against the window pane and she is reminded March in the highlands can still be cold and damp.  She pulls her cape tighter, preparing for the long journey...

Hello Bluebird Friends!

I'm sharing another sweet storybook card with you today that encompasses some of my favorite friends.   Our scene opens up through a make believe portal to a little cottage in the glen.  I used the sweet Storybook Friends stamp to build a landscape around my sketched cottage on a round panel cut from Fabriano Artistico Hot Press watercolor paper.

Once I sketched and stamped the foundation I laid down a light glaze of watercolor and set it aside. I will go back to it later.   To begin building the scene I like to stamp the elements on masking paper and fussy cut them.  The slightly tacky paper allows me to arrange and rearrange until I am satisfied with placement.   And in this case I did change it up in the end (she smiles).   I didn't use some of the pieces you see here, but wanted you to see the process and how it can aid in building your design.

All the little characters were stamped with Distress Antique Linen ink on the Fabriano Artistico Hot Press watercolor paper.  I prefer hot press for the smooth white appearance.  The difference between hot press and cold press in a nutshell is the surface and texture of the paper.   For this piece I've used several different watercolor mediums.  The cottage scene and landscape is watercolored using Schmincke Horadam pan watercolors, and all the little storybook characters are watercolored with Kuretake Zig Watercolor Brush Pens.   I like to use my pens a little differently by putting some of the watercolor ink on a small clear block and picking up the watercolor from there.   This helps me avoid harsh lines and get closer to that no-line watercolor look.

To ground the scene I cut a little opened book from patterned paper as a visual for the story. Last, I arrange all the characters around the die-cut circle for the final layer.   And, like my other storybook cards I've sprinkled some happy moments in stardust form along the path and around the cottage using Stickles Stardust glitter glue.  All of the characters are adhered along the circle with glue or raised when appropriate with 3M double sided tape for additional dimension.

Those who know me know that I like to add in patterned paper when I can.  I looked through my stash for a small pattern and found this wheat colored lattice pattern - perfect!  I cut a circle one size smaller in the lattice pattern and adhered it over the cottage scene.  Then I placed the circle with our characters over the scene.  The path to our storybook card is complete.

Stamp sets used on this card:

A dainty tea awaits our friends as springtime blossoms in the highlands.  I hope you've enjoyed your visit today and will create your own storybook card to share with us.

Very sincerely,
Susie Lessard ~
Friday, January 10, 2020

Hello Bluebird | Transitioning Stamp sets + Valentine Party

Hello friends,

Happy New Year and welcome to my front porch!   Just a short visit today to share a sweet little Valentine card with you created with some previous released Hello Bluebird Stamp sets.   Using your stamp sets this way is a nice way to continue stamping right after Christmas without straining our budgets.   We usually have our Christmas color palettes still on our desks and with just a few tweaks we can start creating Valentine's Day cards (my favorite).   A friend and fellow designer told me the other day that Valentine cards are her favorite to create (don't tell Christmas!) isn't that cute?  It certainly brought a smile to my face.

I started by jotting down some ideas in my notebook and creating a faux mock-up of the card.   It's a two-fold process for me;

  •  1.  Gets the creative juices flowing and,
  •  2. Allows me to move elements around, and brings the design visually from head to paper which helps my creative process.  

For my card I've used the Hello Bluebird stamp and die set(s) listed below.  All images were colored with Copic markers and patterned paper from my stash.

Transforming the Treehouse Scene and Merry Mice from Christmas to Valentine's Day was simple.  By choosing elements like the dainty pink/red flowered patterned paper, red heart with sparkly arrow, a heart shaped door knob, clouds dotted with hearts for foliage, and valentine letters sealed with sweet pink hearts change the landscape from Christmas to Valentine's Day.   Just add your creativity and imagination.

You're invited to a Valentine Party!

One element I always try to include in my design(s) is the sweet Hello Bluebird icon.  I think it's so lovely and it just melts my heart each and every time I look for that special spot.

I hope you've enjoyed this look at transitioning stamp sets and will give it a try in 2020!

Susie ~
Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Hello Bluebird | Happy New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year's Eve
Your Hello Bluebird Stamp friends!

A slimline card for your enjoyment today.   Colored with Copic markers and arranged with some of our favorite characters from this past year.   All wishing you love and laughter, health and happiness in the coming New Year of 2020!

Thank you for all your support, encouragement and online friendship.  And most of all, thank you for inspiring me with all your beautiful artwork.   I'll see you soon with some sweet Valentine inspiration.

Very sincerely yours,
Susie ~

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Hello Bluebird | Happy New Year

Hello friends and Happy New Year!    Are you ready to ring in a new decade?    Are you reflecting back on the past 10 years?  Or is it enough to wonder where the past year went?!? (she smiles).   This year is going to be a big page turner for me.    I'm as busy now as I was when I worked in the marketplace.   In the past ten years I became a grandmother for the first time, celebrated 50 years of marriage, and made two huge moves! 

Today, I am delighted to share one last card for 2019 with you from Hello Bluebird Stamps.   I wanted this to be subtle, artful, finely woven in black, white, and sliver.   Free from color, but vested in a clean design.   Designing this way isn't always easy - what is the take-away?   For me, it causes me to slow down and think.  It provides a clean canvas for creativity, and a dreaming place for new ideas.

For this card I used both new and old stamp sets.   Happy New Year from the 2018 North Star set, and the die cut tress from the 2018 Frosty Littles, and the 2019 Snowball Fight.   Instead of stamping, I chose a black/white print for the trees.   The greeting is embossed with fine sliver embossing powder on vellum and laid over a panel of soft stone card stock.   This panel is now adhered to a 3.75 x 5 piece of 110 lb weight Neenah Solar White card stock.   The little trees are applied with Tonic liquid adhesive as are the numbers die-cut from silver card stock using the Charlie Numbers die set.

The panel is complete and ready to be placed on top of the final 4.25x5.5 patterned card base with 3M adhesive tape.  While void of color, the patterns, and dimension provide interest.   A few black gems finish the card. 

I thought it might be nice to see what you liked this past year on my IG gallery so I've included my Top Nine cards for one last look.   All but one (the first card) are created with Hello Bluebird Stamps and dies and use different mediums.   From Copic markers, watercolor, and pencil to layered, scene building, and clean and simple you've encouraged me all the way!   Thank you!
My Top Nine Cards for 2019

White Washed Putz Houses with Glitter Roofs
But cards are not all I enjoy creating.  This Christmas I created some some white washed Putz Houses to decorate the inside of my china cabinet.   Back with twinkle lights they add warmth and elegance.

Snowmen and Santa's each with a story take their place in my 3-tired stand.   A vintage snow sled from years gone by and snowman stand at the ready for the fun to be had.
Christmas in Charleston 2019

And from my front porch to yours, thank you.   Thank you for your visits, comments, encouragement, and the inspiration you bring to me.   May 2020 bring you hope, peace, and blessings for your good and God's glory.

Until next time
Sincerely yours,
Susie ~ 
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Hello Bluebird | Thinking of You with Love...

"I wrote in a song that in the long, long trip of growing, there are stops along the way...
~ Mister Rogers

Hello Bluebird Friends!

Christmas is only eight days away - to a child it must seem like a long, long trip of "are we there yet?"   Today I'm taking a look back through my own childhood stops along the way.

I love red, I do!   And I love Christmas with all that it brings.  But I am especially fond of Valentine's Day.  Valentine baskets, mailboxes, cards to create and color, cookies to bake and decorate -- February colored in pink and red; adorned in chocolate and lace!   Oh I'm in love with love itself!

And, with each and every Valentine card I create I wander down memory lane to second grade.  I drop a card into each doily trimmed basket and look forward to the party about to take place.  Sweets shaped like hearts and little candies that say, "Will you be my Valentine!"  YES!

So today I've created a Valentine's Day card for YOU using the stamps sets and the available companion dies:
I've also used the Stand Alone Die set, Gallery Frame #1 cut from red card stock.

How did I create this card?

I cut an A2 card base (top fold) in 110 lb Neenah Solar White card stock and set it aside.  Then I began stamping the images from the stamp sets listed above in Memento Ink (Tuxedo Black) and set them aside.  I also cut 2 white card stock panels (3.75 x 5.0 inches).   I die cut a heart from one, and ink blended the other with Distress Ink, Spun Sugar and a little Victorian Velvet.  Then I married the two with some adhesive, let it dry, and stamped my sentiment from the Banner Blessings set in VersaFine Ink (Black).  Sometimes I will do a "ghost" mock up that helps me with placement.  I die-cut the companion dies without stamping on them and move them around until I like the placement.

Satisfied with placement, I continue on.   I played with the idea of leaving the heart die-cut panel white, but decide to see what a contrasting color pattern might look like.  Hmm, I like that!

Now the fun begins - coloring!   All stamp images are colored with Copic markers.
  • Mouse = C00, C1;
  • Mailbox and Scarf = R22,24, and 27; E31, 32, 34
  • Bluebird = B00, B01; R00, R01
  • Flowers = B00, 01, 34, 64; R22, 24, 27; Y08
  • Leaves: BG 70, 72, G03
  • White Gel Pen
With all the images colored, I adhered them in place.  The only images raised with 3M adhesive tape are the mouse and bluebird.   I cut a slit in the mailbox opening and tucked one of the envelopes inside and that gives it a little height - enough that I can tuck an extra letter underneath.   The third letter is held by the little mouse.  I like to keep little negatives from dies, i.e., dots, hearts, etc.   They come in so handy for additional ephemera to put on your card.   For this card, thoughts of love using negative dots and hearts drift upward as the little bluebird gazes at the sentiment - Thinking of You with Love!

I hope you've enjoyed my card today.   Wishes for the Merriest of Christmases and a Happy New Year!  Be sure to visit the Hello Bluebird IG and Facebook galleries for new cards and inspiration from the design team.   Until next time ~

Sincerely yours,
Susie ~

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Hello Bluebird | Good Tidings of Great Joy

"And the angel said unto them,
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you great tidings of great joy,
Which shall be to all people."

Luke 2:10 KJV

Hello friends,

November is a list makers extravaganza!   There are shopping lists for Thanksgiving dinner, decorations, gift giving ideas for Christmas, and all the things in between.  November found me in my craft room creating Christmas cards, and participating in Tracey McNeely's 25 Days of Christmas Tags event.   And of course, preparing for our Thanksgiving dinner which is an event unto itself!

With company gone and the house quiet once more, I took a cup of tea up to my craft room and spent some time creating a card to share good tidings of great news!   A Savior is born - to all people!   Lord of Lord, and Kings of Kings.  Even the lowly animals of the forest know His name.

I love the pure innocence on the faces of our little friends as they hear the Savior's name whispered on the winds of joy through the winter night.   Can you imagine their excitement as they traveled to the edge of the forest to see the star that would light the way to the manger where the young babe laid?

The beautiful scripture from Luke 2:10 found in the Hello Bluebird set, Away in a Manger, set the stage for my creation.  I wanted to let the animals from the Hello Bluebird stamp sets, North Star Away in a Manger, Moose and Friends, and Snow Play tell the visual story on this card and opted not to use the traditional manger scene.

I used the newly release Winter Woods Overlay die and cut it from cold press watercolor paper.  I saved the negatives and put them aside.   I watercolored the trees with Schmincke Horadam pan watercolors using a wet-on-dry technique.  This means I used wet paint on dry paper.  The technique effect will leave "edges" which, when dry, achieves an interesting look especially when painting trees.

I adhered the overlay to my card base and then placed the negatives back in place.  I placed the animals in their order and then laid the sentiment down -- once I had the sentiment where I wanted it, I picked up the animals and put them aside.  Then I stamped the sentiment with VersaFine Instant Dry Pigment Ink, Onyx Black.

Watercoloring over this ink once it's dry is like a resist - I wouldn't use anything else.  But... be patient and let it dry thoroughly.  If you are in a hurry, use your heat gun.  Once the sentiment was dry I began watercoloring the night sky, which is the negatives from the Winter Woods Overlay.   Then with everything dry, I placed the animals using Nuvo Tonic Deluxe adhesive onto the card.  I did use some 3M adhesive tape on the fox and cardinal for a little dimension.

I should have splattered before I stamped the sentiment and placed the animals, but not to worry -- I carefully covered them with scratch paper and splattered away using, Finetec: Coliro: Mica Watercolor paint in gold, white gouache, and some brown Schmincke watercolor paint.   A few little negative stars from the Snowy Sky Scene die in white finished the card.   Simply stated and created, this quiet card shouts with joy --  A Savior is Born! 

As we enter this first week of Advent, I hope you'll find time to read the passage in Luke, and give thanks for the good tidings brought to all peoples that quiet night in Bethlehem.

Susie ~
Friday, November 29, 2019

25 Days of Christmas Tags with Hello Bluebird Stamps

Hello Friends!
I'm excited to be joining Tracey McNelly and the design team from Hello Bluebird Stamps today as we bring the 25 Days of Christmas Tags to a close.

I'm featuring stamps sets from the 2019 and 2018 Winter Release.   I love wee images, they're a fabulous value and a wonderful way to stretch your stamp sets. 

If you're new to the Hello Bluebird Stamps products here are some things to know:   Illustrations  are scaled to work with all the sets.   And, you'll find left and right images as-well- as little hearts, stars, dots, and the beloved bluebird in many of the sets.   Storybook characters and stand alone dies are endearing and make scene building a "dream come true!"

All my cards and tags today are colored with Copic markers.  Hello Bluebird Stamp products will be listed at the end of the post.

Patterned paper in bright primary colors and ink blended edges, and our beloved bluebird to herald Christmas morn.

Mrs. Claus sips her hot chocolate as elves are checking the list not once, but twice, and fox lights the way through the white and drifted snow!

And here come the little helpers to make that special delivery!

Christmas is coming and bear and fox are lighting the way - Peace on Earth are words they say!

From scene building, clean and simple, layered, traditional, elegant, or die cut designs; the strength of Hello Bluebird illustrations and die cuts provide paper crafters the opportunity to share their style in a captivating and creative way.   Ink blending, Copic coloring, colored pencil, and watercolor - all mediums work well and give a different look to these fun, whimsical, and always on trend stamp sets.

So Deck the Halls, Jingle all the Way, and Bring on the Merry, Santa's on his way!

Soft and elegant.  Holly and Pine dies create a lovely feminine presentation.

Couple this tag with coordinating card and a package wrapped in silver for elegant gift giving.

Thank you to all the Hello Bluebird friends, old and new -- we appreciate YOU!   I hope you've enjoyed my sweet offerings during this event.   And a huge thank you to Tracey McNelly for all you've done this month during the fabulous 25 Days of Christmas Tags event.
Warm Wishes, and may peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!

Susie ~

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