My Watercolor Wheel and Tools of the Trade

Color Theory Lori Craig

As we’ve been winding down the summer and getting both of my girls settled into high school for the year, I’ve been hitting the books myself! I’m currently watching a FABULOUS watercolor class being taught by my friend, Michelle Wooderson called Close to Home A Watercolor Landscape Journey.

kinsale watercolor

In anticipation of this class, I did take a little Winsor Newton travel palette on vacation earlier this month.  I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the dock at my father-in-law’s home on the Chesapeake Bay and painting the day away… There is something so peaceful about being outside. I was happy with the trees… I’ve much to learn regarding water and sky…

Thus far, I feel like I am learning what I thought I wanted to know.  I highly recommend Michelle’s comfortable teaching style and the way she lays out her information.

cattle pen sketch lori craig

As I’m delving into the painting process, first, I wanted to show you the start of another painting…  On the left is a small sketch that I used to layout value on my final image and color selection before I start painting – I used an Aristo .5mm Mechanical Pencil and Aristo Click Eraser from Imagination International. Great tools for your desk or a small travel bag!

I’d love to get outside this weekend with my sketchbook, but I started this freehand from a photo that I took of the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills, not far from my home. Eventually I’ll paint the larger sketch above on the right.

value scale sketch lori craig

The mechanical pencil was great for adding value in my small sketch – light shading to heavy hatch marks allow me to color map.

You can see a quick Copic Warm Gray value scale on the left… And, it’s helpful in making a color map. This is something I often do with more detailed images when I am coloring with Copic. Once the map is created, you don’t have to think about the “where” and “why”  – if you are interrupted mid-project, you just check your map and go… like driving a car! The Copic class Vintage Value and Monotone workshop or the Intermediate Certification are other great resources to learn more specifically about shading and color value.

ROYGBIV swatches Lori Craig

One of my first colorful tasks was to finish swatching paint samples. I wanted to see if I had color gaps that I {ahem} should fill. It took a few minutes, but I’m thrilled to have swatches of true color that I can use when I’m working to color match … the actual pigment almost NEVER matches the packaging… We all know that!

I’ve started out with Winsor Newton watercolors… They were readily available to me, and a reasonable price point for a newbie. I had some that I purchased for the Watercolor for Card Makers class I took last winter… I did need to add a few tubes. I love the rich colors, and I won’t lie… the fancy silver tubes make me feel like a longtime artist! I’m a sucker for pretty packaging!

color wheel close up


After I selected a rounded color palette with my swatches, we really talked about the color wheel. I painted a large watercolor wheel that I can hang in my studio for reference while I work. This sheet is 10″ x 14″… I love seeing the colors run next to each other… I can’t wait to start painting!


So, what do you want to learn this fall? I’m so grateful that we can always keep learning, growing and stretching. Art is so good for the soul in that regard… Let’s hit the books!

More tomorrow… including a winner for my Concord & 9th giveaway!

Make a Wish and WIN from Concord & 9th!

C&9 full photo lori craig

I am thrilled to be back from summer vacations and lazy days to be celebrating something fun with you today! I wish today that we would all take a minute to give a big shout-out and crazy moment (ok… month long moment!) to celebrate the fabulous first birthday of Concord & 9th?  It’s a year that’s flown by, but it’s been full of beautiful, fresh stamp designs and beautiful artwork! Really love the Concord & 9th team! Class-act!

C9 Birthday Bash RECTANGLE




When the Concord & 9th crew asked me to help celebrate, I couldn’t wait to get inky, plus they even game me a $20 gift certificate <keep reading for giveaway details> to share with one of  you. I had to say yes! And to top it off, my friend and cohort at Splitcoast Lydia (THE BIRTHDAY GIRL HERSELF!) has a project and gift certificate to share, as well!

I pulled out a favorite Concord & 9th set in my stash, Wildflower and started stamping…

C&9 partial right lori craig

Actually, I started with blending foam and a beautiful rainbow of Distress Ink Pads to apply vibrant color across a sheet of Ranger Watercolor Paper, and then I stamped images from Concord & 9th’s  Wildflower set and “wish” from one of their earliest sets in Clear Embossing Ink and heat embossed them with white embossing powder. After that I spritzed and dripped H2O across the front for blending and texture drops.

When my rainbow was dry, I added a beautiful accent from Bouquet Die that I cut from white glittered paper over the top and applied a few sparkly sequins.

C&9 full photo2 lori craig

So fun! Do you know what else is fun? I have a $20 gift certificate to give away to the Concord & 9th store for one lucky reader! (I sure could use it because their newest set, Give Thanks – with a super fun stalk of wheat (swoon!) – became an instant favorite of mine! I’ve already bought mine and it’s en route, so I’ll give the gift card away to one of you!

Leave a comment with what state you live in and how long you’ve been stamping… I’ll draw a winner on Sunday night when I get back from teaching a set of fun Copic Marker Workshop classes in Dallas!

Since summer is officially over around here… look for more regular posting. I never stopped stamping, so I’ve got some fun things to show you in the coming days! Have a good one! ~ Lori

Edit to add: Comments are closed for this give-away! Thank you for entering. I will post winner info soon! Thank you!


DTGD16aislinnshannara Lori Craig

Just popping in with a sweet Dare to Get Dirty card that I made yesterday for Tabbatha’s challenge! I used Adorable Elephants from MFT colored with Copic Marker and Dainty Flower dies from Paper Smooches! I love how well these went together. The black frame is a Pinking Edge Square Die-namics cut from MFT! (I received these as a gift at a retreat I went to back in the winter! Super cute!)

DTGD16aislinnshannara Lori Craig close

We’ve just hit stride with mid-week challenges at Splitcoaststampers, so there is plenty of time for you to join us! Lots of prizes from AWESOME sponsors! :) You do have to be a Splitcoast Fan Club member to see the challenges and be eligible for prizes. Click here for the details on how to join the club.

Click here for the Dare to Get Dirty Chat Thread fun.

I am organizing watercolor supplies today in anticipation of a new class I’m taking with the awesome Michelle Wooderson soon. I’m really looking forward to building on the things I learned in last winter’s watercolor class that I took! Anyone want to join me?

Have a GREAT day, friends!

Dare to Get Dirty is HERE

LoriCraig DTGD2016StampMomma

It’s my favorite card making week of the year! A week that we celebrate the Fan Club at Splitcoaststampers with a lot of fun challenges and PRIZES from amazing sponsors! YAY!

This is a card that I created for the challenge that I’m hosting. I love the blues in this with the soft green leaves and sentiment – all from Verve Stamps! (Happy 9th Birthday, Verve!)

Lori Craig ItIsWell

I created this card by sponging Peacock Feathers ink from Ranger onto a white card stock and embossing flowers over the top. The images and sentiment are all from a beautiful Verve set called Surely Goodness (which is onsale right now 30% off!). I added Shine Bright sequins (Verve) and some dyed ribbon (seam binding with BG11 Various Ink refill to dye).
The Dare to Get Dirty challenges run July 30 through August 6th, with 5 or more challenge each day to celebrate our awesome FAN CLUB. So many Dirty Girls providing inspiration for an amazing week!

Click here for the Dare to Get Dirty Chat Thread.

You must be a Fan Club member to join in the Dare to Get Dirty challenges. Click here for the details on how to join the club.

I hope you have time to play along and win some fun prizes!

Don’t Be Fooled … Crazy Cats and Copic Class News

cute and fluffy lori craig

Don’t be fooled by my cute and fluffy exterior! :) I’m sharing another sentiment set today… The Tim Holtz Crazy Cats are so popular, and a few months ago, Mary at Seredipity had penned some phrases that coordinated for just the right amount of spunk. This one made me laugh!

I’ve colored my cat with Copic Marker (BG11, BG13, BG15) and added some fun embellishments from Imagination International.

1397QCLMeowmix_274x274 This full set of sentiments that I put together from Serendipity is called Meow Mix – other favorites say “miss you more than catnip” and “meow’s it going” … fun stuff!


screen tones

I am always looking for flat embellishments that won’t add bulk or risk of postage machine shred to my cards. On this card I’ve used XPress It Glitter Deco Tape – the glitter is super sparkly and flat – not chunky and you simply tear it off.

I’ve added a strip across the bottom from IC Screen Tones – a fun flat product from Imagination International. Screen tones are printed images and accents that on translucent, adhesive backed paper. You can cut them to the appropriate shape or size and adhere and they blend right into the paper that you’ve adhered them. There isn’t a visible ridge after you have burnished them to the paper with your finger tips and they look like hand-drawn art. Super fun! On this card, I used the Borders & Repeated Shapes 2. The sheets are large at 12.5″ x 9″ so you can make a lot of cards with one sheet!


DM 02 Lori Craig I have had a great summer hanging around the house, but it is just about time for me to pack the Copic bags for my next classes! I will be teaching Whimsical Faces & Hair, Vintage Values & Monotones and Dress for Success at the end of August in Dallas! You can find all of the details and see our full schedule HERE! We’ve got some great locations coming up: Charlotte, Chicago, Edmonton, Sacramento! Good times!

I think that’s about all for today! I did get my bedroom painted yesterday. Cleaning up the mess and putting socket and switch covers back on this morning! Crafting this afternoon! It’s going to be too hot for anything else! Bring on my markers and the AC.

Stay cool!


Make A Wish

Make a Wish Lori Craig

I’m back with a quick hello and some bright color today.  The sunflowers are starting to bloom here in Kansas! I saw a large field from the interstate just south of me last week… Last summer there was a field not far from me to north, as well. My camera needs to do a drive by and see if those blooms are showing off yet!

make a wish sentimentsToday I wanted to share another card that I put together for Serendipity Stamps. I certainly couldn’t pass up this beautiful Sunflower Die! It made a perfect pair to one of the small sentiment sets that I put together – Make a Wish – where the sentiment actually comes in two different orientations – one linear and one stacked for a more vertical greeting.  I couldn’t help adding a little sponging to my flower petals, Copic Marker shading to the leaves and some twine.

I’m going to be choosing wall color paint today for two rooms in our house, and I wish it were as easy as card color combos! I have troubles making long term color commitments! So, today, I’m going to Make a Wish that it goes smoothly, and I that quickly settle on just the right hues!

Thanks for dropping by… I’ll be back tomorrow with more fun!

Floating By – fun news & an intricate die tutorial

LoftyDreams Photo 1 Lori Craig

Something fun to share today… Several months ago Mary at Serendipity Stamps asked me if I would consider putting together some sentiment sets for her to coordinate with some stamp images that she had recently released. First I was honored, and second, I had never considered that before. But I thought, why not try? And, this week, I am sharing a few of my favorite sentiments with you!

LoftyDreams Photo2 Lori Craig

1398uplifting_274x274Of the sets I have created for Serendipity Stamps, Uplifting Words is my favorite! Great encouragements and well-wishes here that would work well for balloons, clouds, birds in the breeze…




LoftyDreams Photo 1 Lori CraigI’ve paired it on these projects with balloon elements from the Hot Air Balloon Reverse Die. The balloon is colored with Copic Marker (RV17, YR04, Y15, YG23, BG45, V17 and E23). The sentiment is stamped with Taylored Expressions Lollipop Dye ink. The Lollipop pink cardstock and the striped Rainbow Bright striped patterned paper are both from Taylored Expressions. The Stitched Mini Scallop Frame Dienamics are from MFT. The glitter paper was a gift to me from a friend… I have been hoarding it, and I believe it is from Stampin’ Up!

064hotairballoons_274x274 Hot Air Balloon Reverse Die is a plate that allows for a lot of creative flexibility… it cuts of both single hot air balloons or a full card-front negative. I lived in Des Moines, Iowa when I was a young girl, and I love going to the Indianola Hot Air Balloon Festival to watch scores of bubble beauties soar the Iowa plains. So pretty!


The balloon plate die does cut a LOT of little pieces (both of my cards today were created with the same die-cut – one piece of paper!) and those can be pesky to create with, so I reached into my bag of tricks for an incredible, paper-craft-life-altering tip from my friend and neighbor (love having her closeby!), Laurie Willison! Laurie has changed the way many people use intricate dies with her Press’n Seal – yes that stuff in your kitchen – Trick!

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Hello Friend!

hello friend lori craig

Hello friend! The Splitcoaststampers Product Focus team shared a review of a new ink product from Clearsnap today (you can read their review here), and I thought I’d share my creation!

lori craig hello friend close

I stamped all of my flowers from the Taylored Expressions Fresh Florals stamp set using a combination of pinks and purples from the ColorBox 4-Color Premium Dye inks and cut with the coordinating dies. I had also been itching to use the scalloped Frame-in-Frame 2 die from Taylored Expression – here I used it with silver glitter paper from Stampin’ Up!

ColorBox-4-Photo-6a  These inks are fun because they have four different colors on each seasonal (Fall, Winter, Spring) pad. Vibrant color and great for small stamps, journaling or planner decor.

The ink coverage was beautiful. I did not use a MISTI or positioner, and you can see how fluid and vibrant my flowers are above!

color box lori craig

I layered my Fresh Floral frame on a piece of embossed cardstock – Dotted Lattice Folder from Taylored Expressions! Love how this turned out!

I really have been stamping up a storm, so I’ll be back again soon with more! Thanks for stopping by!

Happy 4th of July

lori craig fourth of july eagles

On our way out the door to celebrate with friends, but just a quick drop in to wish you a Happy 4th of July from the heartland! I hope it is a safe and joyful holiday for each of you! 

Easy Eagles… always a hit! 

  • 12 oreo cookies – separated with cream center removed
  • 24 large marshmallows
  • 1/2 of a brick of white chocolate melted
  • 2 cups of coconut
  • cashew halves
  • black decorator icing

Roll a marshmallow in melted white chocolate and then into shredded coconut. While still soft, place a cashew halve into marshmallow to form the beak. Set on an Oreo half using melted white chocolate for “glue”… add black eyes with decorator icing. Let white chocolate set to firm for easy handling and transporting!

Happy Birthday, America!

Scatter Sunshine with Envelope Art

Sunshine Lori Craig_5870

I’m scattering kansas sunshine today… sticking this card in the mail to a friend who is a real blessing to me! Love these Simply Stamped Sunflowers and sentiment from Taylored Expressions. I’ve used them here with Taylor’s new premium dye ink and the Prairie embossing folder.

lori craig IMG_6434

I’m still working on my hand~lettering and taken to the old school postage look! I love the colored Copic Multi-liners for my hand~lettering. I like these because they are inexpensive, safe to use with water-color or Copic Marker, and they come in nine different colors with a variety of nib sizes.

Adding some postage flare is an easy way to make your hand-stamped card stand-out in the recipient’s mailbox! It was fun to shop for smaller valued postage stamps at My local post office doesn’t seem to have many options or variety anymore for 1-cent to 20-cent values… Ordering online, the shipping was super cheap and a one – maybe 2-day turn-around.

lori craig IMG_6433

Thanks for stopping by… I hope you have a beautiful day! And … let’s get those cards in the mail today, friends … scatter some sunshine!

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