ggd guide
Rubber Stamp Carved Look

Ida's Watercolor Challenge

ggd guide
Special orders (requests for stamps not currently in stock) placed on the 15th of every month.

Ida Issues the October/November Challenge

And it's a "doosey!"

In the past few months many of you have "met" Ida Abshier through her work and have been impressed with her creativity.

Now you will have the opportunity to be taught by her, a technique that almost nobody does any better!

Check Ida's Watercolor Click Class .




Ida makes the directions sound so "easy." Anybody can do it, right? Well, like so many things that look so easy, this one is a real challenge to many of us who have tried it.

It requires a leap of faith and the ability to let go and let what happens happen. Hard for a lot of us.

Guaranteed, if you try this technique, you'll have lots of scrap paper left over. Not to worry! Both Ida and gg designs have hints for what to do with it.

This process might go well with a glass of wine, some soft music and no one around to hear you growl when your results aren't what you expect.

But, when you get the hang of it, you will be delighted to have this skill at the ready. It's lovely, free flowing, unique and definitely one of a kind.

Because this can be so difficult in the beginning, Ida has agreed to answer questions here each week and possibly provide new examples of recent projects.



Throughout the month , Ida will give us special "hints" and suggestions for the type of images that work well with the watercolor technique.

Play with the technique first...........then decide how you want to use the images. You'll be fascinated by the results that seem to magically appear when you let them!
Get out your felt tips, your water color brushes and lots of good quality paper. This is going to be exciting. Messy, but exciting!

More Samples: Ideas, Techniques, Samples: Page 3
                         Ideas, Techniques, Samples: Page 4

NOTE: If you are new to gg designs and/or have just stumbled across this page in an Internet Search, Ida presented her Watercolor Technique to challenge us to try something different in October. Very soon after things got started, her computer died! (A moment of silence please before the cursing starts!) Because Ida was unable to get on line much of the time in October, couldn't email (her spell check was in a foreign language!) and couldn't send scans, we extended the Challenge till the end of  November.
Ida's back now and though she's not yet in love with her new set up, it at least works!

Ida's Back!!! Boy Is She Back!!!

She has written to everyone and while her computer was giving her fits she made more lovely samples for us to envy and to emulate.

Here.....from Ida:

Hi Everyone,
Sorry I left you hanging in the air...been out of pocket! I will try to catch up.
am going to start all over again. Assuming my new PC cooperates....we are not friends yet...I could give it a name but it would be x-rated.

First of all I would like to thank Yogi for filling in for me....your answers to the questions were better than my own. Thank you so much! Thanks also to Jeanette for the driver advice.

All the work submitted by Sally, Yogi, Jeannette and Arlene is wonderful! Remember, everyone will have their own style and there is really no right or wrong way.

Here are a few favorite tips:
As for myself, I use the Marvy Brush Markers exclusively. If yours are dried out, pull off the cap and tap it upside down until the cartridge falls out... you can dip it into water or use an eye dropper to add more water. Sometimes it just take three or four drops. I have been using some of the same markers for fifteen or more years.

I also use the Marvy markers to make mats. Using one of the same colors used in your watercolor, color the edge of a white or light colored card, cut slightly larger, and mat your watercolor on top. This works well on Mulberry paper also... I always buy white and I can make it any color I desire. You can also make matching ribbon the same way.

Your spray bottle MUST release a very fine mist. Pick one up at your local craft store.

My favorite gg design is the Floral Background #2. I prefer using a large stamp
because if all of it doesn't come out well you can always use part of it. Most of my cards are made with a small square, matted and mounted on a larger card. I have a lot of little frames, in different colors & sizes and I try them on, so to speak, and see what part of my watercolor looks best.

You can also intensify color with a small brush. If a flower has a center, I don't always color that part of the stamp but add color afterwards with a marker or brush.

Now I will send some scans, Maybe? Ida

P.S. I think we should get together and meet one another! A gg reunion. Wouldn't that be fun...we could all bring pictures of our kids and grandkids and great grandkids! I'm ready, any takers?

Ida battled her scanner and won! She sent many examples of the hints she shared above.

IDA: The first scan I sent with the hearts was done with outline stamps. I colored the outlines with Marvys and moved the color around with water and a small brush. I probably added yellow to the centers last.

ggd: Don't you just love the way Ida "moves the color around." She makes it sound so simple.....and maybe it is, when we all get brave enough to let well enough alone!

A question from Jeanette: Weaving?
I looked all over for weaving. I don't see anything about it.
: ) No, it's easy to miss........It's at the end of Ida's tutorial and the results are quite subtle. Would make nice backgrounds. They don't look like traditional weaving.
A response from Arlene Faber:"They don't look like traditional weaving.".................. That's because they are not woven. Ida describes those pieces as "mosaics" made of scraps of her messed attempts.

  Ida Abshier' s Watercolor Class Pg2 

IDA: Now, about the mosaics.......I think I cut two cards (already stamped) at the same time in order to match up the pieces. This was something I did a long time ago and I am not too certain, but I believe that's how I did it.

IDA: Most of my cards are made with a small square, matted and mounted on a larger card.

Here are some examples.

This is gg designs' small calla lily.
The larger version is shown below.
These also demonstrate the effect of color coordinating the mats as do the samples below.

Interesting that these are the same image, the same technique and yet have totally different results.


Yet to be mounted, and given Ida's suggestions on matting and mounting, can you visualize how you would like to see these finished and presented?

ggd: When we opened this file it was titled something like "Pot Pourri of Cut Ups." and we immediately fired back an email saying.....can't imagine cutting these up.

And from Ida we got: They have already been cut out of the larger floral background #2. That is what I salvaged from my screw ups.

ggd: Don't you love it when someone has the confidence to regard rejects as "raw material?"

Really, Really take these hints from Ida to heart:

If all of it doesn't come out well you can always use part of it . . . I have a lot of little frames, in different colors & sizes and I try them on, so to speak, and see what part of my watercolor looks best.

Use this technique and you'll find yourself with lots more finished cards
and a dwindling pile of scrap...and then of course, there are always beads!




These Samples came in early on. If you tried and got frustrated or if you havent' tried at all, there's still time for a bit of experimenting. This technique truly supports unique and individual interpretations as the samples below atest.

Sally is getting a head start on the Christmas Holidays.

In this sample, Sally accompanied the stamped feather image with a real feather.


We are always happy to see these butterfly images get used. They are free in exchange for a donation to a recognized cancer research organization or support group. Just send us a copy of your dontation receipt.

In spite of feeling frustrated by the whole process, Sally Bowen sends us these samples.




No longer available as a separate image.

Fearless as always.....Yogi shows us her "stuff."

While she uses really bold images for this card, it comes off with a lovely, delicate touch.
      <<< A closer look at the detail.

The gg designs stamps used>>>


This image from the above1/2 sheet set.

For a closer look at this card of Yogi's and the details see her blog. Link provided below.

Thank you Yogi, for two very different approaches to this watercolor technique.

On her site, Yogi describes in detail the process she used for these cards. It's worthwhile to browse her site just for fun and as a perfect place for a "how to" tutorial. Yogi sells her completed works but is exceedingly generous with her directions and hints if you prefer to do it yourself. Her site is:



From Jeanette Waters:

I'm so far behind that I did double duty by using this wonderful watercolor technique with my DT card for CowTown Stamps. I love this technique. My embellishment is real dried corn silk from our dinner one night.

I will be posting this on my blog tomorrow and on my Use Your Paper Scraps Group page.


P.S. I really wasn't in the mood to do this. But, once I started I had so much fun. I love this technique. Oh, I already said that.* I'll send another using a gg stamp.

*ggd: It bears encourage those who've gotten frustrated by the technique.

<<<Here is Jeanette's "Iris" using a gg designs image.


Using images from gg designs' Butterfly Set, Jeanette experiments with Ida's Water Color technique.



Jeanette writes: I was playing around with my watercolor and butterfly stamps and here are a couple that I salvaged from my practice. The butterfly that I used on gold card stock looked really terrible on white. I cut it out, sprinkled some crystals on it and added it to the gold card.
Now, I'm really liking it.




Arelene Faber Does Watercolor!


OK, it took me longer than I thought, but I am attaching some results from trying watercolor technique.

My pens were Marvy and Tombow and on the old side*, so a bit dry. I had to spray them more than I expected to.

The second imprint from the purple carnation was too light to scan well.


*Great use for markers on the dry side.  ggd

Interesting how everyone's results are so unique, so personal.

This is true of all art work, of course.....but seems to show up markedly with this technique.

Has anyone tried the "leftovers" beads or Ida's weaving yet? We'd love to see those samples as well.    ggd

See Jeanette Waters' question in the "mail" section.



Another look at the "WaterColor" Technique


Tim Blackburn, a well known artist/soft block carver resently used a very similar technique for an exchange he hosts.

His explanation is so simple, so clear, we thought it might help some of you who are finding this approach difficult.  Thanks Tim, for sharing your expertise.

From Tim:
My old technique to get the colors the way they printed. I used various Adirondack ink pads putting several colors on a blank block. Then I did a spray mist of water over the ink...and printed. Here is what the pages look like before I pulled the black bindings.

Visit his Flickr page to see the results. He will be posting the finished pages later, so be sure to book mark the site.


We Get Mail!!!

From Yogi:

Thought I might help in answering some of the questions while Ida is figuring out her computer...

Getting blobs means you've got too much moisture. If you are using regular watercolors in a palette, do not wet your watercolors, but rather moisten the tip of the paint brush into some water, dab lightly onto a paper towel, then brush into your watercolor and paint your stamp image. Rubber resists water, but there will be enough color for your image to show. Continue coloring your stamp image. When MISTING with water. don't aim the mister at the rubber stamp, but rather in the air just above it and allow the moisture to fall onto the rubber stamp. Pay attention to what you've done. Rubber stamp onto your paper and see what results you get. Adjust the amount of moisture or color as needed.

Note, if you see too much moisture on your stamp, you can always stamp first on a scrap piece of paper and then onto your project.

Sally B:
See above for applying watercolor from a palette. Your watercolors are too wet.
It's easier to use watercolor markers like Tombows, or Marvy pens. They don't have the added water that you need for watercolor palettes, making it a little easier.

Part of this technique is the smearing and serendipitous effect that happens.

There is color sticking to the stamp even when it looks like it's all beaded up in one area. It's just not visible to the naked eye.

As to the misters versus spray bottles, I like the Ranger's mini mister which gives a relatively fine mist.


From Jeanette:

I'm back and had a wonderful time visiting my family.

I'll be glad when Ida gets her computer going. What a miserable time to break down.

The samples are wonderful. Of course Yogi's are beautiful as always. And, thanks to Sally, I've learned that your stamp can be an outline stamp.

Off to go through my gg stamps. This is a no fail challenge for me.....I can make beads from my failures and scraps. Good one Ida and Charlotte.

A question from Jeanette: Weaving?

I looked all over for weaving. I don't see anything about it.

: ) No, it's easy to miss........It's at the end of Ida's tutorial and the results are quite subtle. Would make nice backgrounds. They don't look like traditional weaving.

  Ida Abshier' s Watercolor Class Pg2 

A response from Arlene Faber:

"They don't look like traditional weaving.".................. That's because they are not woven. Ida describes those pieces as "mosaics" made of scraps of her messed attempts.



This technique is guaranteed to provide lots of "left overs," pieces that you are not sure about. Things that you might want to throw away. But don't! Good water color paper is much too expensive to toss! If you haven't already, while you're working on this challenge, get in the habit of cutting reject pieces into "inchies" or ATC card sizes, bookmarks or panels to fit a card size you commonly use. Unless you have a lot of storage space, these "at the ready" pieces are easier to store and use.

One of gg designs' favorites these days is to make paper beads from stamping scraps.They can be used as embellishments on the projects you are doing, since they are automatically color coordinated. Or they can be saved for idea starters for another day.

When making beads from 140 lb. watercolor paper you'll want to keep your triangle paper (the basis for a basic bead shape) fairly small. The paper is heavy and the beads attain a nice shape quickly. It helps to "curl" the paper gently over a scissors blade or the edge of a table. The beads form more smoothly. For a glossy finish Judikins Diamond Glaze works well or you can emboss them or, for a matte surface white glue or Mod Podge adds a nice finish.

While you can roll beads over knitting needles, BBQ skewers, tooth picks and straws, or even use two embroidery needles in the eraser end of a pencil, bead rollers are fairly inexpensive and make the job much easier. We've found a bead roller that has a large enough paper slot to accommodate the 140 lb. paper you are probably using for this project.  If you are interested, click on the illustration below.

Even if you don't want to use the scrap paper beads on Ida's Watercolor Project, it's a good tool to keep with your stamping materials "just in case."

Click on picture to get more information about the bead roller>>>>>>>>> PAPER BEAD ROLLER

A bit more about paper beads--
Paper Bead Making is a craft of it's own....but that's for another time and another place. For now, we are just interested in utilizing the left over papers to add to our stamping stash. Becasue they are automatically coordinated with your project they are a logical "add on." However if this whets your appetite for more check out these sites:


Aubrey's Beads  This is a lovely place to browse and see what paper beads can be!  might get diverted and forget you aren't trying to be a "jeweler" but just trying to add "pretties" to your projects. They sell a bead roller kit and have videos on how to make paper beads plus lots of examples of what to do with them. BUT....careful......remember, you're there (for now) just to get ideas for your stamping projects.   : )

Check out:

There's a cute Christmas Tree Necklace made of Christmas Wrapping paper beads. Even if you don't want to make the necklace, the trees would be great embellishments for some of your holiday cards.

Further Temptation:
Janice, of Aubrey's Beads has offered a free paper "strands" sample to ggd "viewers." Visit her site and write and tell her you "found" her here.

PAPER BEADS Paper Bead Crafts is a comprehensive site that you might want to book mark for later use. It even has beads to print out and make! But again, don't forget that at the moment you are only there to explore paper beads as embellishments for your stamping crafts. This is a Stamper's Approach to bead making. The "parent" site is "under construction" but this tutorial still exists and is worth a look to see a stamper vs. jeweler's look at hand made beads.

Paper Bead Party, a Club Scrap Video is fun to watch as are all the TV Weekly/Club Scrap videos. Use link provided or cut and paste:

These are just "starters." Don't get bitten (just yet) but do watch and check out these sites (and of course, there are many others) with an eye to how they will help you enhance your projects while using materials you already have in abundance.


Yogi's Beads!!!

Click on the illustration to visit her site and learn how she made these lovely "jewels."

And Jeanette's >>>


gg designs images Ida likes for the watercolor technique:


Ida's Favorites for the Watercolor Technique in two sizes.
Large--$8.00  $7.00       Small--$2.50 $2.00

And these images, used in the samples at the top of the page:
Morning Glories (Close Up) and Morning Glories, each regularly $8.00, reduced during this Challenge to $7.00 each.

Challenge Winner was chosen by random drawing.....since Ida was so impressed by the variety of the entries she just couldn't/wouldn't choose.

The winner is: Arlene Faber!


Works The kit and all accessories for your ordering convenience. Listing of images....always Classes, samples, links to other tutorials. Very helpful! Pictures of family, pets, projects. Monthly Drawing. Special Prices/Sales