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Scents of Provence

Some photographs were taken in the boutique “Scents of Provence”
363, St-Paul Est, Montreal
Tel: (514) 395-8686
Thank you very much!


Provence… Endless fields of sunflowers and flowers, breathtaking markets, fish, herbs, good wine, the sea, fun and culinary discoveries and a lot, a LOT, of sunshine in the sky and in our hearts, and in all the inhabitants’ smiles…

Country there herbs perfume the cheese, country of olive-trees, lavander, truffles, tilia, aromatic herbs, olives, honey, almonds and fruits and vegetables.

Country where we celebrate gluttony for these homegrown products by having holidays in their honour on various specialized markets… Fête des « Olivades » in Nyons, Truffle Market Richerenches, Tilia festival in Baronnies, Fête du citron in Menton…

Country where people take the time to stop, chat, take an aperitif, enjoy life…

Country of vineyards where wine is life and legend at the same time. To name just one: Châteauneuf-du-Pape – « The wine of kings, the king of wines » as said by Alphonse Daudet.

And the mouthwatering delights of Provence… Who doesn’t know the Fleur de Sel de Camargue, or the cartons of Carpentras – little scoffed candy, bouillabaisse, candied fruits, nougat and how many more still…

And all of this with, of course, the history, the roman influence, the medieval history, mysteries, legends, troubadours, provencal language, folklore, festivals, holidays, the amazing architecture of the castles but also the tiny streets and pittoresque houses restored with so much love and patience.

Provence makes you discover, at the same time, both the glutton and the gourmet in you. It’s impossible to resist, impossible not to succomb…I wish this for you!

As for me, I’ll never forget when, with my friend, early morning, we rode our bikes to the producer’s market to fill our baskets with bread, dairy products, homemade jams, fruits, cheese, sausages, etc. And coming back home we sat down in the little flower garden, totally carefree while eating, drinking and chatting, chatting, chatting…


Dye-based, pigment, solvent, Distress, StazOn, chalks, Brilliance, Colorbox, Versafine, Versamagic, Versacolor, Vivid! Ancient Page, alcohol inks… and I could go on and on… No wonder why people get mixed up with all these.
I often compare inks with French grammar: when you think you get the general idea, you find that there is always one (or more) exception to the rule.
I don’t know all the inks, nor have I tried them all. I do have … a few… (Ok, I’m an addict) and I’ll talk about the ones I have been using the most.
So off we go then…

(Versacolor, Versamagic, Versafine, Colorbox pigment, Colorbox chalk, Mica Magic, Ink it, Fabrico, Brilliance, Dauber’s duos to name just a few)

These are opaque and creamy inks, which usually come with a foam pad. Most of them are slow drying which makes them perfect for embossing.
They won’t dry on non-porous surfaces such as glossy card, vellum, and acetate unless you emboss them.
Exceptions (here we go…): chalk inks (Versamagic/Colorbox) dry rather quickly and will dry on glossy card, even if they are not embossed. They dry too quickly to be embossed on matte card.
Brilliance inks can be used on non-porous surfaces making it the perfect ink to use on shrink plastic, dominoes, style stones etc… It can be embossed if you are quick.

(Adirondack, Distress, Ancient Page, Vivid!, Kaleidacolor, Archival, Impress, Marvy Matchables, Memories, Nick Bantock, Stamp it!, Vintage Inks, Marvy Heritage amongst others …)

These are water-based, non-permanent and fast drying inks. Most of them cannot be embossed. If they are ‘acid free’, you can use them to stamp on your pictures. They usually come with a felt pad, which makes inking up your stamps easier.
Exceptions: Distress and Adirondack inks are wetter so can be embossed. You still have to be rather quick with the Adirondack inks though.
Distress inks are best embossed with Distress embossing powders.


StazOn ink : This is a permanent, solvent based ink which can be used on all sorts of surfaces : leather, fabric, plastic, acetate, glass, glossy card, wood etc…
It will require a specific stamp cleaner (StazOn stamp cleaner) to clean your stamps.
Fabrico ink is also a multipurpose ink.

Black StazOn ink was used on the transparency. Stamps : Technique Tuesday. Papers are from Scrapmagie June kit.. Flower : Prima. Brad : Making Memories.

Versamark ink : also known as a resist ink as it will resist dye-based inks when used on glossy card. It will create a watermark on matte card (nice for backgrounds) when stamped on its own. As it’s a rather “sticky” ink, it’s perfect for embossing and can also be used with chalks and Perfect Pearls (although the Perfect Medium is more appropriate for those).

Topboss ink (Clearsnap) and Emboss ink (Ranger) are clear embossing inks.

Rainbow inks (Vivid!, Kaleidacolor) : these come in a larger inkpad, with different colors next to each other and are perfect to use with a brayer

Alcohol inks : can be used on non-porous surfaces such as glossy card, acetate, glass, vellum, dominoes, shrink plastic etc…. Just pour a few drops of ink next to each other on a piece of felt and add some blending solution which will help mixing the colors. You will create colorful polished stone effect.
Two main brands : Ranger and Pinata.

Distress inks : these have been formulated to produce an aged look to your projects. Their color is stable even when sprayed with water. They stay wet longer and therefore can be embossed (with Distress embossing powders for best results).

I’m not writing too much about Distress and alcohol inks as it is what my book (Les Encres, Carterie et Srapbooking) is all about. Sorry, this book is only available in French for the time being. Having said that, there are more than 110 projects in there, lots of them explained with step by step pictures (over 350 pictures in the book) which makes it easy to understand even if you don’t read French (so I was told…)

Spray inks (Colorwash, Sticky Fingers) : you can make gorgeous backgrounds very easily with those inks (messy workspace guaranteed but so much fun).
You can also use you dye-based ink reinkers to achieve this. Just pour a bit of ink in a spray bottle, add some water and you are all set. Ranger has come up with tiny sprays (mini misters) which is what I use all the time now.

When I started stamping, I used tissues or cosmetic sponges to apply my inks (like many of you I guess). Since then, I have bought, tried, tested and adopted Ranger’s Cut n’ Dry foam and have never looked back since.
This is a non-absorbent sponge, perfect for applying any ink. You will not waste ink anymore.
It is sold by the sheet (8.5 x 11”) which can be cut to size. I cut mine in rectangles (and use this for 2 colors) or stick them on doorknobs which makes it easier to apply the inks.

Cut n’ Dry foam (Ranger)
So my first advice would be : go and get some Cut n’ Dry and forget anything else.
The other advice would be : work on a plastic surface when you apply your inks (craft sheet, table mat… whatever work best for you). This will make things easier and you won’t get marks when you ink up your card. Your inks will be applied evenly.
A craft sheet is a good investment as it is also heat resistant.

You can also apply your ink with the “direct to paper” technique if you prefer.


The other tool definitely worth investing in is a heat tool. You’ll then be able to add embossing to your work and will be able to dry your inks and therefore work faster.
You can use the “usual” embossing powder which will cover your stamped image and leave a raised and glossy finish. This is the most commonly used type of embossing.
The Distress embossing powders will give you a different effect altogether. The finish is matte, with a rough texture to it. Shake the jar to make sure the release crystals are well mixed. Once you have heated the powder (which takes a bit longer than the other embossing powders), you let it cool and then rub off the crystals to emphasize the distress effect. Stamp in one color and use a different color to emboss. With 24 inks and powders available, you’ll get so many different effects.
On the tag below, Pierrot was stamped with black soot Distress ink and embossed with Vintage photo Distress powder.
But the wrought iron on the left was embossed with “normal” embossing powder, hence the shiny effect to it.

Distress inks. PaperArtsy stamps

A FEW TECHNIQUES (but there are a lot more)

Resist technique
On matte card :
Stamp your image with Versamark ink; emboss it with clear or white embossing powder; ink up your card and wipe off the excess ink (on the embossed image).
You can go a step further and try out the faux-batik technique. To do so, cover your inked and embossed image with a white sheet of paper. Press a medium hot iron all over your image : the embossing powder will melt and stick to the white paper leaving a white image behind. This is one of my favourite technique.

Versamark & Versamagic inks. Hero Arts stamp. White embossing powder.

False-batik technique. Penny Black stamps.

On glossy card : stamp your image with Versamark ink. Dry it with your heat gun. Apply your dye-based inks with a sponge with quite much pressure. The more pressure (and ink), the more your image will show.

Versamark & Vivid ! inks. Hero Arts Stamp

Brayering : Ink up your brayer on a rainbow inkpad. When you ink up your brayer, always go forwards. When you get to the end of the ink pad, lift your brayer, and start again at the beginning. Apply several coats of ink on your glossy card for best results.

Kaleidacolor inks. Katzelkraft stamp.


2 techniques
1/ press your ink pad(s) on your craft sheet/table mat and use a paintbrush to paint your image. Mix the colors for a wider range of shades.

PSX stamp watercolored with Distress inks.
Papers from Scrapmagie June kit. Flower : Prima. Brad : Karen Foster.

2/ ink up your stamp with several inks. Start with the lightest and cover the whole stamp. You can then add darker colors on top of the first one. Spray a fine mist of water onto your stamp and press onto card. (watercolor card is a good choice for this technique but not compulsory). This technique works really well with leaves and flowers.

Leaf card : B Line Designs, PaperArtsy & Purple Onion Designs stamps.
Flowers card : Purple Onion Designs stamps
Distress inks for both cards.

1/ layering : stamp the same image several times and cut them out to layer them on a initial image.

PaperArtsy Stamps.Distress inks.

2/ Ink up a piece of card and stamp your image. Then stamp the same image onto patterned paper. Cut parts of the image out and glue them onto your first stamped card.
The dragonfly wings were embossed with crystal embossing powder.

Katzelkraft Stamp. Black Versafine ink. Crystal embossing powder.
Papers from Scrapmagie June kit.

Distress & Alcohol ink backgrounds.
Distress ink background : Ink up a piece of card with 3 colors (2 light + 1 darker one) with one of the Distress ink background technique. Stamp your background image with the same (light) colors. Ink up any die-cut or embellishment with the same colors too.
Alcohol ink background : Pour a few drops of inks onto the felt. Add the blending solution. Apply the inks onto your glossy card (they dry instantly). Stamp your image (here a Katzelkraft photo stamp) with Ranger Archival jet black ink.

PaperArtsy & Katzelkraft stamps.

Make your own embellishments to match your card.

girl ATC :The acetate letter G (Heidi Swap)was inked with alcohol inks..


- When you use several inks for a background, choose 3 colors : 2 light + 1 dark.

- All type of inks can be used on your stamps except alcohol inks. Try the Versafine for your main image, especially if it has lots of details.

- Alcohol inks and StazOn are not compatible. So if you make a background with alcohol inks, use the Ranger Archival ink instead.
If you have inked a piece of acetate with alcohol inks, you can use StazOn as long as you stamp on the other side.

- Store your dye-based inks upside down. You do not need to do that for pigment inks.


On this “Bologna” layout

- The chipboard were painted with acrylic paints and stamped with black StazOn ink.
- All the papers and pictures were “distressed” as well as the chipboard letters (title)
- The flower (top left) was distressed to match the layout and stamped with Distress ink (PaperArtsy stamp)
- The vellum heart was stamped with black StazOn ink (PaperArtsy stamp)
- The words on the pictures (Technique Tuesday stamps) were stamped with Ranger Archival ink.

If you want more on inks, in particular Distress inks and alcohol, find full with techniques and achievements in the Isabelle's book: Les encres, Carterie et Scrapbooking "

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