Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Best of Wacky Watercooler Blog Hops

 We are nearing the end of another year and this is the last Blog Hop of 2014. Just as there are many Best Of lists at this time of year, for everything from music to fashion to news stories, we thought we would do a Best of The Wacky Watercooler Blog Hops.

If you've arrived here from Jean Fitch's blog, I'm sure you are totally amazed by her creativity. I'm honoured to follow her in the lineup, but a bit nervous as she sets the bar high for all of us!

There is a bit of a twist with this one. We were each assigned a fellow Hopper and our mission was to pick what we considered the best of that person's Hop projects and use it as an inspiration. I was assigned one of our newer Hoppers, Priscilla Ivler. Although Priscilla hasn't been part of the Hop for very long, I still did not have an easy time deciding on which of her fabulous projects to choose. But I kept being drawn back to her August Blog Hop project you can see here. It's a Halloween theme using the fun set Holiday Home. But, what drew me in was the sponging she did to create a spooky-looking sky. It is amazing! And sponging just happens to be one of my favourite things to do.

So, with this as a jumping off point, my mind then went to the Bokeh effect which involves a lot of sponging and which I had been wanting to try. This seemed like the perfect time! So here is what I came up with:

The Bokeh effect is achieved by sponging several different colours onto Whisper White card stock. I used Lost Lagoon, Island Indigo, Pool Party, Soft Sky and Crumb Cake. Then I used Whisper White Craft Ink and a home-made stencil I made by punching various sizes of circles in a piece of cardboard and sponged the circles randomly onto the sponged background. Then using a Sponge Dauber, I "stamped" smaller circles on top of everything. One thing you want to do with this technique, is to make sure it is dry before proceeding. I let mine dry overnight. A heat tool can be used to speed things up, however my heat tool finally gave out on me while I was doing one of my other projects for this Hop.

After everything was dry, I still had no idea what I was going to do with the background piece. I sat and stared at if for a few minutes, and then the idea popped into my head that it looked like bubbles! Enter By the Tide and By the Seashore stamp sets. I stamped the coral and sea stars in Island Indigo. Using the little script stamp from By the Tide I stamped it randomly in Crumb Cake ink. More detail was added using the spatter stamp from Gorgeous Grunge, inked up in Pool Party.

Finished things off with more sponging around the edges of both the main image panel and the Crumb Cake mat. And of course a few of the Frosted Sequins for a little sparkle. Those sequins seem to be making their way onto a lot of my projects lately!

Thanks Priscilla for your inspiration!

Now, the next part of our assignment I thought would be really tough for me! It is to showcase what we think is the Best of Retired Products. Since I have a hard time letting go of things, I thought I would have a hard time picking from so many retired products. But, after a quick run-through of my retired stamps collection I had narrowed it down to three sets: Inspired by Nature, French Script Background stamp and the Canvas Background stamp. I knew I could not pick just one, so I used all three of them because they just all work so well together! Do you think so too?

This card also uses another of my favourite techniques - watercolour. This stamp is perfect for colouring with markers - Mossy Meadow, Tangerine Twist and Soft Suede - then spritzing with water before stamping on the watercolour paper. Love the texture you get with this technique. Both the French Script and Canvas background stamps were inked with Crumb Cake ink. With the inked stamp lying inked side up on my table, I placed the stamped image face down onto it and just randomly put pressure on different areas as I did not want the solid images. I like the randomness of the designs.

Tear one edge for a roughed-up look, a little sponging with Crumb Cake around the edges and mount the image on the Mossy Meadow cardstock base. Finish with an Early Espresso Candy Dot in each corner, and this is actually a very quick project to do. Hope you love it as much as I do!

And now we come to the third part of our Hop assignment - the Best of Current product. Well, given the Christmas season that is fast approaching and the fact that I and many other stampers have been working on Christmas cards, I didn't even have to think about this one. Hands down, my pick is Ornamental Pine from the Occasions Catalogue.

This card was inspired by many projects I have seen using this stamp and this technique. I don't know if the technique has a name but it is done by embossing the branch image with white embossing powder and colouring over it with Blendabilities. I used Old Olive for the pine needles and the Mocha from the Skin Tone assortment. Leave a little white showing through to look like snow. I stamped the branch on a piece of the gorgeous Under the Tree Specialty Designer Paper. This is my favourite pattern from that collection.

For the ornament, I first inked the stamp with Versamark and then Cherry Cobbler to pick up the colour and stamped it onto a piece of Whisper White card stock. It's sprinkled with Irridescent Ice emobossing powder for a nice shimmer. Unfortunately, it doesn't photograph well.

The sentiment, from Endless Wishes, is stamped in Mossy Meadow. Finishing touches on the ornament are a Linen Thread bow topped with a snowflake from the Frosted Sequins which has a Pearl Basic Jewel in the center.

What a fun way this was to round out our year of Blog Hops! You have a few more stops to make and next up is Teri who never ceases to amaze.


  1. great job on your projects Gail! thanks for the shout out at the end! :)

  2. Your cards are amazing, there is such detail in each of them. You inspire me!

  3. Love the way you used all those retired stamps together - I need to stamp my own backgrounds more often, it looks awesome!

  4. All of your cards are fabulous, Gail, but I think my favourite has to be your 'best of retired'- you did an amazing job with the backgrounds & colours. Glad to see you went ahead and used all 3 of your favourite retired sets - they worked wonderfully together ;)

  5. Thank you for being part of this wonderful blog hop. I think it's our best so far, don't you? I love your take on Priscilla's inspiration. The colours in your card are beautiful and you've definitely captured the Bokeh effect.

    You are just like the rest of us as far as the retired products are concerned: if you've kept it, you love it and thought it was special. I love your choices and the way you've used them. I don't own the canvas background stamp but have the other two. I really do love how they compliment each other. I don't know if there's a name for that heat embossing/Blendabilities technique but it sure is effective, isn't it? I love how you've used that Ornamental Pine stamp set. Thanks so much for sharing.

    By the way, I'm totally amazed that you were able to pull this off considering you've just moved and someone else packed your stamping products.

  6. Gail, your cards are stunning! LOVE the CASE of my card--your sponging/Bokeh effect is beautiful. And I also love your "retired" card--Inspired by Nature is a set I can't let go, and your combination of the stamps is SO effective! And I love the technique you used for your Ornamental Pine--it really does look like snow! Oh my...LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Fabulous job! Congrats!

  7. Fabulous cards!!! All three are just stunning, so I can't even pick a favorite! (Sort of a 'theme' I'm seeing, lol!) I definitely want to try the bokeh technique and the coloring over white embossed images very soon - you've inspired me! Have yourself a very Merry Christmas! :D

  8. Gail, your cards are absolutely gorgeous. Now I have to try the bokeh technique. Your retired card features one of my favorite stamp sets as well. You do beautiful work.

  9. By the way, I love your blog background, it was the first one I used when I started my blog.

  10. Gail, stunningly beautiful projects!

  11. Beautiful projects, Gail. Love the Bokeh, wish I had the Inspired by Nature stamp set and love the Ornamental Pine!

  12. You gals are giving me tons of inspiration!! The first card makes me want to go to Florida NOW!

  13. Great work! I love the ocean card, I'm a sucker for those stamps!


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