Monday, October 24, 2016

Inspire Me Monday: Colouring White

Hello everyone, it’s Christine here today with a colouring tutorial. And because I’m Canadian, we’ll  have lots of extra “U’s” today too! We’ve just come through a fabulous week of the Happiest Holiday release at Power Poppy, and today I thought I’d follow-up with an easy tutorial showing how to colour WHITE! It seems funny, doesn’t it, that you have to add colour to make something look white?   But, there are some simple steps that really make a difference in making your white stamped images pop, and look more realistic.  

It would seem to make sense that white stamped on a white sheet of paper should just look white. But when you look at it without colouring, it really just looks flat. Here I’ve masked and stamped several of the paperwhite images from Glistening Paperwhites with some of the greenery from the set. I added some colour to the greenery, but left the paperwhites alone, just to illustrate the point. The reason those paperwhites don’t look right is because they need some help to create contrast. Contrast between light and dark is what makes the flowers feel more white.    

Look at this beautiful example of paperwhites in nature.  If you look critically, you can see that even in those white paperwhites, there are a lot of other colours in the petals giving you contrast, shadow and detail.  I can see cool gray, warm yellow, green and then crisp white in these blooms.   And yet, when you look at them, everyone would say those are white paperwhites, right?  It’s actually the contrast between the shadows and crisp white that give the paperwhite flower it’s “whiteness” to your eyes.  

So, how can we do that in our colouring?  

1.  Contrasting Background

One of the ways to give your stamped images pop, is to give the background a deep contrast in colour.  

With these first paperwhites, I took some B60 - B66 markers and added a very deep blue background fading out the colour with a colorless blender. You could also do this with masking and an airbrushing system, but I don’t have one, so I just used the markers. Start with your lightest marker, and use a swirly motion with your colouring to give it the feeling of a soft mottled background.  Closest to the image I added darker marker colour, blending it out with the lighter marker and then coming back in with the Colorless blender to swirl the background. I also added some pointillism to tie in the different depths of colour together. You can see how much more white the paperwhites look just by the depth of the background. Ignore my blob of B66 that dripped there....I made sure that didn’t make it to the final card!  

Here you can see that I’ve coloured in the centers of the flowers and then used the B63 marker to bring some slight shadow to the petals of the blooms.  You really don’t need to add a lot of colour into those petals because you do want the primary look to be white.  

I’ve also read another good tip for background colouring.  Whatever colour you use in the shadows of your petals, use the contrasting colour as your background.  So, because I used a B63 in the shadows,  another good background colour for this design could have been a yellow or orange.  It would really make the white pop.  I chose to go with blue because I used yellow for the flower centres.  

2.  Cool Shadows

When you look at a white flower, what you’ll often see if you look closely is gray in the shadows.  It’s an obvious choice for shading. Here you can see I’ve added C1 - C5 markers into the shaded areas of the petals with small strokes. Marcy always illustrates her image with such good cues as to where the shading should go.  

The biggest tip I can give for adding shading to white is to use a light hand.  What makes something look white is not the shading really, but its the CONTRAST between the bright white that is uncoloured, and the shading.  That’s what helps your eye read white, and see depth and realism.  In otherwords, don’t overcolour or overblend the shading in your petals.  To much shading will just make your image look muddy and not white.  Be sure to leave large portions pure uncoloured white and just add some soft shadow strokes in the depths.  It will look much more realistic this way and then will still feel white.  

Warm grays will also work in this type of image, but it will give you the overall feeling of a warm white.  
You can see I didn’t blend some of the deeper gray marker strokes, left it quite unblended actually, and yet it still demonstrates depth to the petal and reads as a white flower.  
Of course, even with the cool gray shading, I couldn’t help but add some pretty soft bluey-green to the background, as it makes such a difference in adding to the contrast.  This colour is one of my favourites for backgrounds!  Plus, because it’s softer - it’s really easy to blend out.  Another tip was that I added just a few strokes with the Y0000 in some of the highlighted areas of the petals to make it look “sunny”.  You might not even be able to see it well in the photograph.  But again, it’s so important to leave a good portion of the petals pure white, so you establish contrast.  

3.  Colourful Shadows

You can also add unexpected colour into your shading and the image will still read white too!

On these paper whites I used a combination of purple and green to create shading in the petals.  Green occurs naturally in paperwhites and the coolness of the purple also works well here. The same principle applies here too - even if I am adding purple and green into the petals, and again... I leave large portions white so you have a good contrast.  

You’re not limited to traditional blue or grey for shading in white, other colours still work well! Cool colours are often the best in shading because in colour theory - cool receeds (or looks farther away), and light or bright advances (or looks closer).  

To finish it off, I added a very soft swirly background with the BV0000 and G0000 markers.  See how the contrast between the light background and the petals create enough contrast that it makes the flowers look MORE white?  

Soft and pretty, and even with the colourful shadows - the flowers still looks white.  

So here are the 3 coloured images.  They all look white, but are all coloured differently.  Which is your favourite?  

Now, how about I show you some completed card examples?

The lovely contrast of the deep blue in the background is a personal favourite of mine. 

Here the combination of the cool gray shadows and the soft bluey-green background is also really effective.

And though I didn’t have enough time to finish the third colouring sample into a card, I thought I’d show you some of my other designs I created for last week's release,  just to focus on different ways of colouring of the paperwhites.  

On this white on white design I made use of blue in the shadows of the petals.  Because I also left lots of pure white without colouring, when you first look at it you don’t see blue, you see it as white. 

And on this design, I made use of grays, blues and yellow to bring the petals to life. Even with all that colour, it’s because of the uncoloured areas that you see depth, but can still call them paperWHITES!  

Thanks for joining me today, I hope you have fun making white come to life!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Our website is alive and kickin’

Hello friends,

Some of you may have experienced quirkiness with the Power Poppy website not loading properly or at all yesterday. I’m terribly sorry for any inconvenience and frustration. Everything is back up and running smoothly and transactions should proceed without a hiccup. I do hope you’ll come explore and get the stamps that you’ve been eying all week.

We continue our two big sales on digis and clear stamps, and I will extend them a day to make up for the website downtime on Friday.

Note: If the website still does not appear for you, you may want to clear the cache on your browser window (press shift + refresh at the same time to do so) and this will enable the website to fully load.

Thank you so much for your time. I sure appreciate you!!

Friday, October 21, 2016

FIVE New Holiday Sets with Special Savings, too!

Hello to you! It’s the very exciting day when I get to unveil the stamp sets I’ve created in FULL — so you can see all of the images, details, sentiments, and surprises that come with each set. And if you find them as irresistible as I hope you do, they are available for purchase in the Power Poppy shop now so you can go scoop ’em up. All sets are ready for shipping starting today.

On to the Holiday fun that we’ve been previewing all week long. You may not believe this, but the Bloomies have ONE MORE CREATION to share with you today, to get you all riled up and in a tingly tizzy for new stampy goodness! Introducing the five newest members of the Happiest Holiday Collection:

Wow, wow, wow! There they all are, and I hope the images are ones that speak to you. Each little tidbit is designed and drawn straight from my heart.

I am proud to introduce EVERY MEMBER of the brilliant Bloom Brigade as they share a special card they’ve made for the final day of this release. I am already giving them a standing ovation! These ladies put their full energy into coming up with cards to inspire us, and I am so grateful to each of them. Be sure to leave a little note on their blogs, they are all so dear, with a creative ZING that emanates from each and every blog post and sprinkles its way onto each of us! Can you feel the zing?

To further entice you to pick up the sets that may have captured your fancy, I’m offering special savings now through Monday. These savings are good for ALL in-stock clear stamps, not just for the Holiday ones. You can grab the birthday sets you’ve admired, a sentiment set, botanicals, and get your new holiday set for free! Our digi lovers are not left out in the cold, there’s a deal for them, too. Check this out...


Here are the details:
Buy ANY 4 clear stamps and get a 5th clear set FREE
Enter discount code: INTHECLEAR at checkout
Buy ANY 5 digital sets and get a 6th one FREE
Enter discount code: DIGILOVE at checkout

These promotions are good on all in-stock clear stamp sets at Promotions cannot be combined in the same transaction. However, customers can complete one transaction for clear stamps, and one transaction for digital stamps if you would like to take advantage of both specials. Offer ends Monday, October 25 at midnight central.


That’s it for me, folks. Time to start getting orders shipped out! Woo hoo! Be sure to pop back by on Monday when Christine will have an all-new Inspire Me Monday to share that will knock your socks off. And Tuesday, we’ll add a remixed digi to our collection with lots of fall-y flair.

Enjoy a peaceful, beautiful day, my friends. Thank you for sharing a precious part of your day with us! 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Holiday Preview Day 5: Glistening Paperwhites

Hello there! Once again, you all amaze me with your kindness and your cool comments and observations — what a ball to read the reactions to our Fully Stocked stamp preview yesterday. Thanks for letting us know what you think. xoxo!!

A few quick notes before we get to Day 5, our final day of Holiday previews before our FULL BLOG HOP on Friday — check this out:

Oh yes! On release day, we will share a sale promotion throughout the store. Come join me for the announcement here on the blog Friday morning.... eeeee!!

And if I may share a note of excitement. I stopped at the grocery store last night and was rolling by the magazine aisle, and lookee lookee at what I found:

Might be a little hard to make out here, but I am holding the brand new issue of CardMaker magazine with Power Poppy featured on the COVER!!! The work of our very own Bloomie, Stacy Morgan, is highlighted on the FULL cover. Inside, you’ll find a very special feature and Q&A with ANOTHER of our Bloomies, Christine Okken. Can you believe this? But wait, there’s more. Power Poppy stamps are featured in a number of cards and tags throughout the magazine. And one of our fave customers and recent winner of the entire Holiday release, Donna Phelan, has a card featured, too! Go pick up a copy and you will have enough inspiration to last you through the Holidays! (Be sure to grab some new stamps, they used so many from our Happiest Holiday Collection.)

And now, back to today’s stamp set preview... what do you think of these refreshing winter colors?

Aren’t they a pleasant addition, if not a detour, from the traditional red-and-green holiday palette? I sure think so, because I don’t like anything too traditional, I always want to make things a little more unique and special. With this new stamp set, you can showcase the winter-wonderland tones of chalky blue-green and frosty white, crisp green and bronze or silver... really, there are so many directions you can take this beautiful bough, composed of Seeded Eucalyptus, Paperwhites (Narcissus jonquil) and Juniper! Presenting the next must-have set from Power Poppy: Glistening Paperwhites.

With our newest Holiday botanical, you get four large images with which you can create the most magical wintertime cards. Scripty sentiments range from Christmas through New Years, and will work for you all season long. I’m very proud of this one, I don’t think you’ve seen anything like it before!

Just wait until you see what the Bloom Brigade has done with this one, you are gonna FLIP OUT!! Seriously. Flip. Out. These cards are breathtaking, and I hope they inspire YOU to sit down in your craft space and rock out some fresh new card designs....

So grateful for this wonderful week, for friends coming around to say hello, for a fun surprise on the newsstand, and now... I have to race up to school for my kid’s conferences! Time for more coffee!

Be sure to come back tomorrow for ONE MORE CREATIVE PROJECT by the Bloomies, plus I will announce the big savings we’ll have storewide — a gift from me to you!

Thank you, dear ones!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Holiday Preview Day 4: Fully Stocked

While it may seem early to be getting into the Christmas spirit (the leaves are still plenty green here in St. Louis, Mo) we are feeling all kinds of festive here at Power Poppy and on all the Bloomie’s blogs. We are showcasing super-creative cards made with my new Holiday stamps all week long. Have you been hanging out with us to soak up some inspiration and get giddy about our new offerings? Start here if you’d like to go back to Day One and read what propelled this collection to take shape. And thank you SO much to everyone who has a left a comment, I appreciate reading them, and the time you took to share your thoughts and feelings.

A quick throwback today as I introduce the preview of this new set of clear stamps. A few years ago I did a post about my children’s Christmas stockings, which I made out of felted wool. (Read the complete post with a few detail photos.)

These were crafted completely with vintage fabric and trimmings, and you know, looking at them here, I can say two things: I was inspired by the stockings my mom hand-stitched for my brother and I were little (quilted and appliqu├ęd with velvet, buttons, and beads), and, that I absolutely adore little details! Especially details that have a nostalgic quality. What a ball it was to come up with the ideas for each of these stockings and then seek out the trims in my stash, the perfect green rick-rack or pearl buttons (much of it sourced on eBay or from local estate sales). In fact, I love little details so much, that it is a challenge for me to imagine a simple stocking without any fluff adorning it. Why even bother? If those things are gonna be hanging on the mantel for days, might as well be something super swell to look at during their tenure.

In this vein, I’ve created a stamp set that features three stockings that are loaded with little details. Each one has a theme, and each one is stuffed with gifties and greenery. I’d love to share with you... Fully Stocked.

You’ll see in the Bloom Brigade’s cards today a whole bunch of examples of what you can do with these stockings. In Fully Stocked, you’ll find a stocking to fit the gardener on your list, another one for children and the young-at-heart, and yet another with vintage European flair — it is made from a linen tea-towel with embroidered details. I’ve included an accent image to coordinate with each stocking, plus three sentiments to suit them all.

Sound like something you want to see in further detail and full color? Me, too!! Let’s traipse around the web and check out what our talented Bloom Brigade designers have made with Fully Stocked:

I hope you haven’t gotten enough of us yet, because honey child, we are STILL ROLLING OUT another preview tomorrow, and this one, well, it’s pretty sweet! I would love to see you ’round on Thursday for a peek!

Enjoy your day and thank you so much for spending a little time with us!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Holiday Preview Day 3: Holly Golightly

When I’m working on holiday gift tags, or writing thank you notes, or even making the little tags that go on our stamp set orders, my favorite decorative flourish is a hand-drawn sprig of holly. To me, it’s the quintessential Christmas plant.

I draw the outline of my leaf with its pointy little edges, plus three berries. My hand knows the way, the pen makes a “swoop, swoop, swoop” motion, and then three lil’ circles. I have drawn so many of them through the years, I could probably draw holly and berries with my eyes closed.

OK, maybe not ... I just tried doing it with my eyes closed on a scrap of paper and I went off the paper and drew on my desk.

My silly experiments notwithstanding ... who doesn’t love Holly at Christmas time? It’s an expressive plant (botanical name is Ilex), if you study the glossy, twisting and twirling leaves, they’re mesmerizing and unique. The contortion of each prickly leaf — some of them appear to be recoiling or trying to roll themselves up, others are more open and flat, with their spiny points at the ready to defend the plant from herbivores and parasites. When you have a branch filled with healthy, thick green leaves studded with adorable red berries (did you know that only female Holly trees have berries, and they have to be pollinated by nearby male Holly tree in order to bear fruit?), they are just the simplest, most perfect way to kick off Christmas decorating.

Working on sketches for our Holiday collection, I thought through combinations of Holly and Mistletoe, Holly and Boxwood, Holly and Holly...
Yes, such a simple way to infuse Christmas charm — into decorating and into cards and tags. You really only need two colors to get things rolling when you use Holly. I know it seems odd coming from me, the queen of over-doing it in the art department, but the set we’re sharing today is bit simpler than most. It is one that beginners and advanced stampers and colorists alike will want to have on hand for the Holidays. Introducing Holly Golightly!

With images ranging from a botanical study, to a cute holiday tag, to a gentle country vignette, this set is one that won’t take long to color, and will still give you wonderful results! Holly Golightly (named after that most famous, curiously cool Truman Capote character) features lots of sentiments that can either fit inside the tag, or be used on their own. I already know that this is a set I’ll be reaching for this year! Quick-n-easy!

Would you like to see what the Bloomies have been up to with this new clear stamp set (which will be available in the shop on October 21)? Let’s go have a look!

And if you’ve missed the last few days of Happiest Holiday 2016 previews, be sure to scroll down a bit on the blog and catch up on some very inspiring cards made by our incredible designers. You are sure to be delighted!

See you back tomorrow... we’re rolling all the way to Friday with this good stuff! Tomorrow’s set is filled with so much fun, it’s almost hard not to share it today!!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Holiday Preview, Day 2: Action Santa

Good day to you! Before I get too carried away with today’s sneak peek for our Holiday 2016 clear stamps, I want to say THANK YOU for your kind and supportive words about my post yesterday. Reading your notes got me a little teary-eyed. OK, maybe a lot teary-eyed. Thanks for being awesome!!! And the cards we shared yesterday were really something special, weren’t they? I think you’ll love working with the Simple Joys set, and we barely scratched the surface with the images that come with it — so you’ll have to come back ’round on Friday to see it all! (Please? We’d love to show you.)

Today, we are totally switching gears. In one case, I mean this literally! For our next set features Santa at his most energetic. Do you realize how many interests Santa Claus has? I mean, on top of handcrafting toys, running a workshop of busy elves, commandeering a team of reindeer, and orchestrating the dispersion of gifts throughout the world in a single night — he also loves to dabble in hobbies. What a Renaissance man:

Check him out, dude! Rocking the drums. Cycling through the streets. And oh, do you realize that he’s a gourmet chef on top of it all? Back in the DAY, greeting card companies seemed to be trying to outdo one another with the hobbies they would sign Santa up for. Vintage cards supply so many wacky ideas, and you just don’t seem to find them like this anymore in the stamping world. All of these jaunty themes are so whimsical and surprising to me, and just plain cute!

So friends, my new set, Action Santa, is racing in to show off some of the exciting hobbies that Santa enjoys — along with ZOOMING as fast as he can to get those presents to where they need to go. It’s like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles up in here!

Our Action Santa set features Santa cruising in an old-school scooter as he races through the snowdrifts to bring good tidings on the double. A second large image features the jolly jingler mid-air as a stylish skier catching major air. Accents create a snowflake-sprinkled mountain scene, plus lots of coordinating “action-packed” sentiments.

Action Santa will be available in the store on October 21.

If you are up for seeing some of the coolest ideas you can imagine, come check out what the Bloom Brigade has done with this new clear stamp set. It doesn’t get much better than this!!!

For those of you who are fans of Power Poppy’s nature sets, or if you just love Christmas, you’ll want to stop back here on Tuesday, because we have only just gotten started around here. Have a great one!