Sunday, 14 December 2014

Advent activities: halfway report

Earlier this month, I posted about how I made a (rather last minute) advent calendar full of activities for my little boy.  We lost a couple of days to illness, but so far we're doing well.  Bob has only recently become interested in crafting, and his endurance for it is still pretty low, but we've finished a couple of projects together - here's our half time report:

Foam chains

This foam chain is made from a Craft Planet kit that slots together, so needs no sticking.  The plan was for quite a long chain, decorated with stickers and punched out holly leaves.  Bob got bored of the sticking after one loop, (I've done soooooo well not to 'finish' the project), but he enjoyed making the chain - it's as long as Bob is tall.  I can see the start of a Christmas tradition...

By the way, the painting the chain is decorating is by my Dad #prouddaughter :-)

Lolly stick snowflakes

Between my addiction to Waitrose's dark chocolate and ginger ice creams and Bob's penchant for rocket lollies, we end up with quite a few lolly sticks that I can't bring myself to throw away, so I was pleased to find something fun to do with them.  We painted them white, smeared glitter glue all over them and then stuck them together.  I resisted the temptation to even out the paint or the glitter :-)

Bob really enjoyed this project as it meant he got to use two of the things he covets the most in my craft room - my heat gun (to hurry up the paint drying), and my Big Bite (to make hanger holes in them).  He also enjoyed painting the craft tray with glitter glue once we'd finished :-)

What we used:
Craft Planet
Big Bite
Silver thread
White acrylic paint, silver Glitz It glitter glue

Pottery decorations

We painted some decorations at Hitchin's "Pots of Art" studio (highly recommended by the way!).  They have toys for the children, and Bob found these hard to resist, but he did paint a couple of things.   I helped with the star on the tree and did an extra coat of red on the spiderman after he'd finished, but otherwise it's all his own work.  I was especially impressed with how he did the spiderman - For one eye, I guided Bob's hand around the shape first.  He then repeated the movement on his own to paint both eyes, and this was his best ever job of staying in the lines.

Snowy fairy cakes

Bob loves to use the food processor, so loves making cakes.  These are made to a modified version of a Mary Berry recipe for Queen Cakes from her "Fast Cakes" book (inherited from my Nanna).  We halved the sugar, added cocoa powder and mixed spice, and decorated with white vermicelli to look like snow.  We started decorating with sugar paste holly leaves too, but they were mostly going straight into Bob, so we gave up before he had too much of a sugar rush!

Coconut snowmen

We made up some coconut pyramid mixture and formed it into snowmen using two sizes of measuring spoon to make balls.  We did add dabs of orange food colouring for their carroty noses too, but that didn't really show up after cooking.  Bob didn't like the flavour, so lost interest in adding any more decoration, but he did enjoy using an electric grinder to chop up coconut strands when we ran out of dessicated coconut :-)

Other stuff

We've also put up our tree and some other decorations, spread out over several days.  The first bit of decorating involved a visit to the loft, which Bob thought was very exciting!  Bob's bed is very tinselly, and so, for a while, was one of the dogs :-)

What's coming up?

For the second half of advent, there'll be a couple of parties, Christmas biscuits, sausage rolls, glass painting, and card making.  I still have a few blank days, so I'd love to hear from you if you have any suggestions.

Happy crafting


Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Crafting Cafe December Challenge - Favourite Makes of 2014

There's no sponsor over at the Crafting Cafe this month, instead the challenge is to share your favourite project of the year.  There are some lovely things being shared by the design team, so please pop along and see.  My faves are here.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Activity Advent

I bought an advent calendar kit when Bob was tiny, but hadn't had a proper think about what I wanted to do with it until this week.  As is, the kit makes up a greetings card in the style of an advent calendar, with just pictures inside each window, but I wanted to make it something more interesting, and I didn't really want to make it sweet-based.  This week I finally decided to make it an activity advent calendar instead.

I made up the calendar as a flat project in two layers - the window layer and the back, putting the pictures that came with it aside for other projects.  Instead, each window opens to reveal a Christmassy activity to do with Bob.  Quite a few of them are crafting projects to do (decorations and cards), but there are also cooking projects (like Christmas biscuits, and the Christmas eve sausage rolls). trips to Christmas events, and preparation things like putting up the tree and other decorations, one room at a time.  I thought it would add to the excitement if the house gets gradually more Christmassy as December goes on, particularly if it all happens with his involvement.  It also makes a nice compromise between giving him a good long time of having decorations and my own preference of putting things up very close to Christmas.

I've fixed the two layers of the calendar together with brads, so a different sheet of activities can be put in each year, and so that things we always do at weekends can be moved around year to year.  I haven't finished planning all the activities, so they're all in pencil at the moment.  I'd love to hear about any Christmas activities you like to do with your little ones.  I'll report back every few days with what we've been up to!

Happy Crafting!

What I used:
Papermania "Noel" A4 advent calendar card kit
Whispers permanent markers (to colour the numbers)

Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Crafting Cafe November Challenge - Not a card

The challenge over at the Crafting Cafe this month is to create something other than a card.  I've used an elf image from one of the sponsors, Artbymiran to alter a notebook, although to be honest, the result could easily be a card if I just changed the words.  Oops!  The elf in the picture is sitting on a present, so I've created a present list book, to keep both my gift ideas, and a record of presents received, to help with the thank you notes.

I hope you like it.

What I used:

Image: Elf Colouring Page by Artbymiran
Papers: snowy wrapping paper, dark green mulberry paper, Anita's Classic Christmas Black 6x6 papers (for the present)
Tools & Colour: Whispers brush markers, See D's Christmas Alphabet stamps, Marianne Designs Creatables die "Pine Tree Branch", iridescent glitter glue

Crafting notes:

  • Instead of colouring the present, I used a scrap of Christmas paper and cut it to the same shape as the present.  I then added scraps of red card for the 'ribbon'.
  • To create the tree, I used a pine branch die to cut lots of sprigs, some of which I cut up for variety.  The particular shape of the die meant that I was able to use the spoil in places too, where I'd cut two sprigs close together.
  • I added glitter glue to the 'snow' at the bottom of the picture, and the tree.
  • I kept most of the design flat so that the notebook will last (I want it to be in use for ideas most of the year), but I did add a little thin foam tape under the elf's legs to give some depth.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Layout 15: Bump Buddies

I don't think I've ever been this happy to see a project finished before.  I suffered a quite debilitating case of crafting block over this project, which was 'almost there' way back in, wait for it, *August*!  The first 80% was done so fast, then I ground to a halt as I changed my mind about the title and struggled with matching colours for the baby names and the flowers by the photo.  I wanted those pieces to match each child's clothes and ended up having to paint flowers and lettering to get even close. *Sigh*  Anyway, it's done now, and I hope you like it!

What I used:
Papers: Boofle Designstax, Forever Friends Kraft Designstax
Tools: Boofle buttons embossing folder, XCut trimmer, Whispers brush markers, Chalk queue 'blues', Forever Friends number stamps.
Embellishments: Papermania buttons, Papermania cardstock alphabet stickers, various silk and paper flowers, Craftime mini mulberry paper tags
Sketch: From Dec 2012

Crafting Notes:
  • Whenever I have layers overlapping, I always gut the lower layers (i.e. cut out sections of card/paper that would otherwise be covered up).  I'm not being stingy, it just seems good practice to me, as I rarely get round to using products before they're no longer available, and you never know when that saved rectangle might be just what you need!  This layout has a lot of large overlapping layers, so it's an ideal candidate for gutting.  Using a trimmer makes this a lot quicker and easier than messing about with a knife and ruler.  Here are a couple of tips for making sure your gutting doesn't show:
    • Allow about 1cm overlap all the way round.  Use this and only this for sticking, otherwise the step will be visible.
    • Mount your photo (or whatever you have at the top) onto plain card so it's well supported.  I generally do this anyway.
  • When sticking down buttons, I prefer silicone glue to a glue gun, as it dries with some give and so is less brittle.
  • I spent a loooooong time shuffling buttons around the page to tie in with the buttons in the image, but I couldn't see it as anything other than a messy distraction from the photo.  Once I gave up, I felt the page was a little blank.  Finally I found a solution!  The very last thing I did to the page was to emboss buttons onto two corners.  This had the added benefit of stopping all the detail being on a diagonal on the page!
  • I embossed the buttons by hand using a section of an embossing folder.  To choose what to add, I embossed onto scrap card first.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Tinkerbell's present

Bob has two best friends his age and luckily one of them is a girl, so I get a break from diggers, rockets, trains and tractors :-)  She turned 3 at the start of October, and she loves Tinkerbell.  I had a lovely image of Tinkerbell waving her wand in a decoupage book, so I made an easel card, mounted Tinkerbell on a spring and used a present as the prop, so it would look like Tinkerbell had magically made the gift appear.  I don't think Bob really wanted to give it away - while it was in progress, he kept asking to go into my room to "see the fairy" :-)

Here it is, I hope you like it!

Crafting notes
  • The paper is the matching paper from the decoupage book and has a glossy finish that marks really easily.  It was the only piece I had and inevitably got marked, so I covered it in clear pigment ink and sprinkled over holographic clear embossing powder to turn it into a smooth glittered paper.  I added glitter glue to the present's bow to match.
  • The fairy decoupage is a bit delicate for the attentions of a 3 year old, so I stuck the bottom layer onto acetate and added only one more layer.
  • When heating embossing powder containing tinsel it's best to heat from the reverse, so you don't blow away any of your sparkles.  I also use the low speed on my heat gun.
What I used:
Images and paper: Papermania gift die cut, StudioLight Disney Classics mini decoupage book, Craft Planet star stickers
Tools: Me To You "Primrose" embossing folder, Heat It Up 2 speed heat gun
Other: Glitz It holographic glitter glue, Heat It Up holographic embossing powder, clear pigment ink, Papermania spring mounts.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Crafting Cafe October Challenge - Think Pink

The challenge at the Crafting Cafe this month is "Think Pink", and it's sponsored by Aurora Wings.  I chose their "Marie Antoinette" image and knew straight away that I'd use the famous misquote "Let them eat cake", but I assumed I'd have to either print out the message or build it letter by letter.  So, I was very happy to find that one of the papers in an old Papermania set had not just the quote, but a cupcake too.

I'm usually fairly minimalist when it comes to embellishments, but the image is so detailed and sumptuous that it seemed right to go a bit more busy than usual, but I did compensate by making the background more simple :-)

I hope you like it!

What I used:
Papers: Papermania "Little Cake Shoppe" (A4), DCWV Spring Glitter Matstack (A6).
Image: Aurora Wings "Marie Antoinette" digi stamp.
Embellishments: Papermania adhesive stones, various paper flowers, fringed ribbon.
Colours: Whispers brush markers, holographic glitter glue

Crafting notes:

  • I picked out parts of the feather, jewellery, and cakes with glitter glue.
  • The ribbon matches the dark parts of the image better in real life!
  • The image is matted onto a pink card saved from some packaging - I always keep an eye out for unusual shades!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

3 year olds don't nap

Within days of him turning 3, my little boy's 2 hour daytime nap disappeared, and with it went my crafting time.  It's taking me a little while to adjust to our new routine, not least because I'm pretty knackered by the time my 14 hour shift of being Mummy finishes, but hopefully I'll carve out some regular crafting time soon and normal service will be resumed.

I do have one project to share though - a mini Christmas mobile decoration that I've made for Country View Crafts.  Full instructions, kit list and photos over on their blog as usual.  I hope you like it!  I've included a couple of photos, as it was a nightmare to photograph.  It's nicer in real life, honest!

Happy crafting!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Mum to a 3 year old

Long before I discovered papercrafting, I loved making novelty cakes.   That was in my 20s though, when most of the people I knew lived nearby and were young enough to get away with eating cake!  Since the rise of internet forums and the passage of time, neither of those things are true any more, so my cake decorating fell by the wayside.  One of the things I looked forward to about motherhood was having a good excuse to make cakes again - the only snag is time.  While I can make a card a little at a time, cakes have to be done at the last minute, at least if you want them to be nice to eat.  I had a few ideas for cake designs, most of which would have taken longer than a nap's worth of time, so would have been impossible to keep secret. In a moment of weakness I actually looked at the ready made cakes at the supermarket, but that really wasn't what I wanted to do, so I came up with a simple design that took under half an hour to do, but still had something no bought cake did.  Here it is:

The 'X' really does mark the spot too.  Bob's first job after blowing out his candles was to dig for chocolate treasure.  Here's what's underneath :-) :

Chocolate coin treasure under the big red X :-)

The treasure really seems to have made an impression - he's mentioned it several times since!

For his card, I wanted to feature one of his favourite cartoon characters - Dashi from the Octonauts.  I found a couple of nice pictures (of Dashi and the Octopod) by searching for colouring-in images, and I've coloured these with Papermania brush markers.  When making cards for children, I really like to make cards that do something, but that will also survive being played with, so I added a couple of magnets to the Dashi image and decorated some mount board with an ocean scene full of fun creatures for her to 'swim' around.  She's moved using a lolly stick with magnets at the back.  A sheet of acetate over the top protects her from being lost or damaged, and keeps the stickers safe from little picky fingers, although it does restrict her movement just a little.  He can't read yet, so I didn't bother with a greeting :-)

Dashi 'swims' around to look at all the creatures

This goes at the back to move Dashi around
I'd love to know what you think!

Happy crafting

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Oscar loves diggers

This month Bob and his two best friends celebrate their 3rd birthdays (!).  The first birthday was a couple of weeks ago and it was Oscar, who loves diggers.  I had lots of fun making a lumpy building site card using kitchen towel, paint, and bright stickers.  It's always a bit stressful making things for very young children, as their favourite things can change overnight, so I was very relieved to see Oscar wearing his JCB t-shirt the day we visited with his card :-)

Here's Oscar's card.  For step by step instructions with photos, please take a look at my guest designer post for Country View Crafts, here.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

The Crafting Cafe Challenge - Shades of One

The September challenge over at the Crafting Cafe is "shades of one", and I've been really surprised at how much fun it was to work with shades of a single colour.  There are two sponsors this month (Bugaboo Stamps and Scribble & Scrap Crafts), and both gave us such lovely images to work with that I couldn't choose between them, so I have two projects to share:
Image from Scribble & Scrap

Image from Bugaboo Stamps
I normally print digis onto glossy decoupage paper, but for both projects I wanted to do some painting, so I chose a good quality printer paper.  For the pink project I painted Radiant Rain onto the paper first, using horizontal strokes, then squirted Cosmic Shimmer Mist over the top.  Once printed, I painted the border with a couple of coats of Radiant Rain.  I finished with some pink glitter glue in the flower centres.  For the sympathy card I did some light colouring with watercolour pencils, just on the girl, and then blended with a water brush.

I hope you like them!

What I used:
Pink project:
Papers: Papermania handmade velvet papers
Image: Bugaboo stamps "Silhouette - Butterfly Flowers"
Paints & inks: LuminArt Radiant Rain "Pink Azalea", Cosmic Shimmer Mist "Lava Red", pink glitter glue
Embellishments: Goldlabel black peel-off greeting, Papermania black adhesive stones
Tools: QuicKutz oval and circle dies, XCut circle die
Beige project:
Papers: K&Co "Life's Journey" 6x6 papers, beige scraps
Image: Scribble & Scrap "Vintage Photo Sheet 6"
Paints & inks: Ranger Distress Ink "Vintage Photo"
Embellishments: MiC Crafts adhesive pearl, Beige chiffon ribbon
Tools: Purple Cows deckle edge trimmer, Flower punches, Do Crafts "Stamp & Greet" stamp set, watercolour pencils

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Wintery trees candle, for Country View Crafts

September already (!), and time for another guest designer post over at Country View Crafts.  This time I'm sharing one of my favourite techniques - melting a tissue paper design onto the surface of a candle.  In the past I've always used stamped images, but this time I thought I'd try a die cut design.

There are step by step instructions and photos on my post on the Country View Crafts blog here.  I'd love to know what you think!

What I used
Inks: Ranger distress inks "black soot", "peeled paint", "chipped sapphire", "spiced marmalade", "vintage photo", Tattered Angels Glimmer Glaze "midnight rendezvous"
Tools: Sizzix Movers and Shapers die set "Mini pine tree & holly" by Tim Holtz, XCut nesting circles die set, Ranger mini mister, heat gun
Other: Stickles "silver", "diamond", white tissue paper, greaseproof paper, white candle

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Layout 15: Manda's March Marmalade

When I first started demonstrating for do crafts, I was part of a doubling of the demo team, and someone had the lovely idea of the old and new demonstrators getting to know each other by doing circle journals together.  If you haven't encountered circle journals before, it's where everyone starts an album with a theme of their choice, which is then posted around the group collecting new pages as it goes.  At the end, everyone has a full album and has contributed to all the other albums.

As projects go, it was not a huge success - several albums were lost in the post and, as demo workloads increased, we all struggled to meet the posting schedule.  However, it was lots of fun creating the pages for all the other albums and, for those of us lucky enough to get our albums back, it was a real treat to see all the different crafting styles.  I chose "My Favourite Recipe" as my theme because I like to cook (and eat!), and because I love that what and how you cook is a reflection of your experiences and the people you have known.  I cook grated carrot and parsnip because of friends we had in the early 1990s, and I make mushroom risotto because I fell in love with it in Italy, etc, etc.  My album didn't make it round the whole circle, so it's far from full, but it did collect some lovely recipes, and it made it to some great crafters, so I decided recently that it deserves to be completed.  Here's the first of my new pages, about my first attempt at marmalade last year.  I've tried to keep in the style of the rest of the book - layout fashions have changed a bit!

A close-up of the recipe in case you'd like to try it!
Here are a couple of pics from the original work I did for the album - my first page, and the contents page at the back.  The idea is that everyone completes a tag as a signature for their page.  I made my tags like plates that are stored in a dishwasher - the front of the dishwasher pulls down so you can put them away.

My original page for the album from 2007
Fridge and dishwasher with plates for the contents page
Happy crafting!


What I used (Marmalade page):
Papers: DCWV "Nana's Kitchen" 12x12 stack, Core'dinations peach cardstock
Tools: Tiny flower punch (ancient magazine freebie), See D's "Whimsy" and Studio g alphabet stamps

Crafting notes:

  • I chose the main backing paper because it reminded me of slices of citrus fruit.  The same goes for the flower punch I used for the recipe steps.
  • I chose the flowery paper at the edges of each page because the chequered pattern is a little nod to the gingham 'tablecloth' in my original page for the album.
  • I spent ages going through my stash for some orange card to mat the photos but incredibly couldn't find anything to match.  In the end I made frames from strips of the chequered border of the flowery paper.
  • I hand drew a simple jam jar for the titles and used it as a template.
  • I added lace to the bottom of the photos, and the chequered paper to the jam jars because all home made preserves should have little gingham and lace hats! :-)

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Crafting Cafe August Challenge - Poppy Photo Inspiration

If you've arrived from the Crafting Cafe blog hop, welcome, and I hope you find something you like on my page.

Here is my inspiration project for the August challenge over at the Crafting Cafe challenge blog.  This month it's a photo inspiration challenge, with this photo of a field of poppies as the theme, and the sponsor is Ooh La La Creations.  The design team was able to choose images from their lovely Carnival of Colour CD.  The only snag with that for me is that I don't currently have a working colour printer, so I owe a huge thanks to the friend who printed things for me when I failed to sort out a print service in time.  That's one of the reasons my inspiration post is later than normal.  The other reason is that I had grand ideas for a scrapbook page that I've sadly not managed to complete.  Watch this space though, it's still on the list.  Luckily I know what a slow coach I am at scrapbooking, so I had a contingency plan for a clean and simple card, and here it is:

The paper and topper were so beautiful that I really didn't want to mess with them too much, hence the clean and simple design!  I'd expected it to be a condolence card, being poppies, but the result seemed really cheerful, so I plumped for a birthday card instead.  For the greeting I chose a banner with just a couple of letters printed red, which made me think of single poppies dotted around in corn fields.

I hope you like it!


What I used
Printables: Ooh La La Creations "Carnival of Colour" CD, "Dancing in the wind" design.
Embellishments: Hot Diggity Dog die cut greetings, Papermania adhesive pearls, white
Tools: XCut Leafy Lace border punch

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The C word!

I'd love it to be summer (well, late spring) all year round.  Once the August bank holiday is over, I start to get a bit morose about the shortening days and the proximity of months of wearing too many layers of clothes and hosing mud off the dog three times a day.  Christmas crafting is one of the few consolation prizes of winter's dreariness for me, and I tend to get started in earnest in September.  Here's my first Christmas card of the year, made for Country View Crafts.

The bauble is embossed onto card that I coloured using alcohol inks applied with water.  There are step-by-step photos and instructions on their blog, but I've included a list of what I used below.

What I used
Papers: Plain white card, DCWV Mini Scalloped 12x12 cardstock, gold mirror card
Tools: Sizzix Framelits die set with textured impressions 'Ornament', Inkssentials Cut n Dry stamp pad foam
Inks: Adirondack alcohol inks 'botanical', 'cranberry', 'gold mixative', blending solution, Distress ink 'peeled paint'
Embellishments: Gold thread, gold bow, adhesive gem

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Layout 14: Jamming with Nanny

Having made my 2014 target of 12 pages in about 6 months, I thought I'd set myself the goal of repeating that in the second half of the year.  I'm a bit behind already, but here's my second page towards that - a monochrome page to preserve some musical fun my Mum and Bob had last Christmas.  I thought it would be fun to use the same mask as I used on my previous musical scrapbook page, but with a very different effect, to match the bright, clean photos I'm using.

It was a fun page to do, at least partly because looking at these pictures always makes me smile.  I have a video of their jamming session too - what a shame we can't put Harry Potter style moving pictures into layouts!

I've written the project up here for the Country View Crafts blog, so there's lots of detail and photos to show what I did there, but I've included a kit list here too.

What I used:

Papers: Core'dinations 12x12 card "Black soot", Paper Mill black and white thin cardstock
Tools: That Special Touch border masks "Music" and "Piano keys ", Sizzix Tim Holtz 'Music' embossing folder
Embellishments: Papermania Alphamania cardstock stickers, black
Inks/Paints: Adirondack paint dabber "Snow Cap", Papermania black brush marker, Papermania white gel pen

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Layout 13 - 'Here Come The Girls' challenge

I love taking part in sketch challenges - using a sketch allows me to bypass all the shuffling around of bits of paper that usually eats up my crafting time, and I love to see all the different versions of the layout that people create.  My favourite challenge at the moment is the monthly challenge on the scrapbooking forum of do crafts' Craft Talk area.  It's a small and friendly challenge, and has a theme too, which really helps me get on when the pile of photos waiting to be scrapped seems a bit daunting.  July's theme is 'here come the girls', using either pastels or hot colours, and here's the sketch:

I love this kind of layout, with the panels of papers, though it is a little fiddly and by the time I'd finished I wished my tape runner hadn't run out - so many edges!  I had the perfect picture for the challenge too - a picture of me with my two best friends from university, one of whom was wearing a splash of bright pink.  I chose papers and embellishments that matched the style of the dresses and found a great quote sticker that eliminated the need for much of the journalling I'd planned - we see each other quite rarely, and I loved that we turned up dressed so similarly.

I hope you like it!

What I used:
Papers: Dovecraft "A Hint of Pink" 8x8 paper stack, Papermania capsule collection 8x8, pink swirly 12x12 paper from old do crafts goody bag, Paper Mill black cardstock 12x12, Paper Mill pink vellum 12x12.
Embellishments: Various silk and paper flowers, Papermania mini printed brads, do crafts felt flowers, Papermania Alphamania curly font (pink), K&Co "Smitten" glittered chipboard letters, Basic Grey "Periphery" undressed chipboard shapes (swirls), DCWV quote stack sticker "Friends", Papermania solid gems, black.
Tools: Papermania Summer Bloom stamps 'Picnic', XCut pokey tool, Studio g alphabet stamps, Forever Friends Hand Script Numbers stamps
Paints and Inks: Papermania capsule collection "red hot", Anita's acrylic paint "black", "metallic pink", Palette hybrid ink pad "Belle Rose", Colorbox chalk ink "Pink Pastel"

Crafting notes:
  • The circular bits of journalling/title looked quite blank once the lettering was done, but I didn't want to overpower the writing, so I stamped some swirls around the edges in very pale pink ink.  They were already stuck on the page, so I used the die cut 'spoil' to protect the page.

  • I couldn't find any pink paper quite the right colour for my matting, so I used pink vellum with white paper behind.
  • To make sure all the paper squares line up perfectly, I cut and stuck one at a time, so that each was made for the actual gap, not the expected gap, which isn't the same as often as I'd like!
  • The best match of paint I had for the pink swirl was metallic, but nothing else on the page is, so I mixed in a little white acrylic paint to dull it down, then added a pink chalk ink over the top once dry.
  • For the flower in the bottom right, I embellished the flower printed on the paper with die cut flowers:

  • To complete the tie-in with the dresses, I'd have liked to have included a black ribbon and bow somewhere, but couldn't quite make it work.  Ah well, maybe next time!
Happy crafting :-)

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Silhouette bookmark for Country View Crafts

My second project for Country View Crafts this month is a bookmark.  Coming from a family of bookworms, I give a lot of books as gifts, and I think it's always nice to give a hand made bookmark too, as it makes the present a bit more personal and complete.

I've made this bookmark out of grunge paper.  It's more durable and flexible than card, it copes better with getting wet, so you can have fun with paint effects, and it's lovely and tactile, not unlike leather.  For this project, I've coated it with paints and ink, and completed it with a coordinated stamp and emboss set from the Textured Impressions range.  I hope you like it!

Thanks for visiting, and happy crafting!

What I used:
Papers etc: Grunge paper
Tools: Textured Impressions "artistic fern" embossing folder with stamp, water mister, Cut n dry stamp pad foam, pokey tool
Paints/inks: Artiste acrylic paint "sage" and "vanilla bean", Distress ink "peeled paint", Ancient page "pine" permanent ink.
Embellishments: Aqua coloured raffia (from a box of chocolates :-) ), button, X-stitch thread

Crafting notes:
How the background looks when misted with water
  • The background was made in several layers, always making long brush strokes up and down the length of the bookmark.  First I painted two coats of sage paint, then I rubbed on distress ink.  Next I added smears of the vanilla bean paint and allowed to dry.  Finally I sprayed with water and blended a little with a paintbrush.
  • The raffia and button are stuck on with glue, with the knotted thread being mostly just decoration.  To make it easier to put the needle through, I used a pokey tool to make the holes first.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Crafting Cafe July Challenge - Get Fruity

The theme over at the Crafting Cafe this month is "Get Fruity" and the challenge is to use fruit or fruit colours in a project.  The sponsor is Lacy Sunshine, and I fell in love with their Tilly Dinosaur image as soon as I saw it, so went for fruity colours instead of actual fruit.  I combined the image with some conventional stamping to make a simple child's birthday card (handily, just in time for a party that had slipped my mind!).  I used some paper that is both near prehistoric in age and makes me think of reptile skin (although it's supposed to be cobblestones), and I let that drive the colour scheme for the card.  To finish, I decorated the inside with some dinosaur footprints  I hope you like it!

Inside: Uh-oh, are they T-rex prints?!
What I used
Papers: Sandylion 12x12 sheet "Cobblestone"
Tools: Promarkers, Whispers dye inks "Pine Green", "Green Green"
Embellishments: Papermania Daisy & Dandelion acetate greeting stickers
Stamps: Lacy Sunshine "Tilly" (digi), Christine's Craftyart "Trees and Fences", Basic Grey "Dino" (footprints).

Crafting Notes
  • I added the forest background by masking the dinosaur image and stamping trees in a couple of greens.  Just print and cut out a spare dinosaur image and use it to cover the 'real' image while you stamp the trees.
  • The ultra-thin border around the backing paper is drawn on using the fine end of a brown brushmarker.
  • I used a party greeting instead of a birthday greeting because I used the card for a little boy whose party was held in term time, a couple of weeks ahead of his birthday.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Layout #12 and Project #4 for Country View Crafts

I made it!  If you've visited my blog before, you may have seen that I resolved to do some scrapbooking this year, and that I set myself a target of 12 layouts for the year.  I had some good momentum going on in March and April, but came to a grinding halt in May and concentrated on other projects.  This layout (and in particular the stencilling in the bottom right of the page) was part of the reason - I feel like I've been thinking about it for ever!

The photo I've used isn't great quality (the subjects are small, and it was taken on a dingy wet day), so I wanted a simple layout that wouldn't swamp the main picture.  To achieve this I used stencilling, stamping and journalling directly onto the background and a limited colour pallette, with only a couple of dimensional elements.  I chose a single background paper from Tim Holtz's "Destinations" stack, as it had the right feel for a damp January day and, with its five red stripes, picked out the red of my little boy's snowsuit, as well as suggesting both guitar strings and a musical stave.

Full instructions and lots of photos can be found on the Country View Crafts blog post but, as always, there are some crafty tips below.

Happy Crafting :-)

What I used:
Papers: Tim Holtz "Destinations", grey marl card, DCWV photo stack (wood paper for the guitar)
Embellishments: Basic Grey "Archaic" cardstock alphabet stickers, Guitar peel-off (as a stencil), Goldlabel musical notes gold peel-offs
Tools: That Special Touch border mask "Music", Bind It All, Tim Holtz "Music Stave" embossing folder, free treble clef stamp from a magazine, scratching tool, Cut n Dry foam.
Paints etc: Paint dabber "espresso", Ranger Archival ink "Jet black", "Coffee", Ranger alcohol ink "espresso"

Crafting notes:
  • I used alcohol ink to colour the gold peel-off notes.  It took 3 applications of neat ink to get the colour I wanted.
  • For the stencilled stave in the bottom right of the page, I built up the image in three stages using black and brown archival ink and a brown paint dabber.
  • To blend the treble clef into the background, I rubbed over with some archival ink using cut 'n' dry foam.
  • To make the guitar, I inked through a peel-off, then removed the peel-off and added other detail using marker pens.
  • The musical notes peel-offs started out gold, but I coloured them using three coats of neat alcohol ink.  It gives a less solid finish than permanent markers, so more suited to a project with a distressed style.
  • I wanted the page of music to look as though the busker had torn it out of his book to take out for the day, so I used my Bind It All as an expensive border punch and then had fun ripping the holes open.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

9th Anniversary

I love making themed wedding anniversary cards, so I was very pleased when one of my friends asked me to make one for her husband.  It's their 9th anniversary, which is pottery by the traditional list, leather by the modern list, and poppies by the flower list.  I had made a leather themed card for their 3rd anniversary, so I plumped for pottery and made this card with 9 poppies in a vase, taking the colour scheme from the poppies:  I hope you (and my friend!) like it.  Happy crafting!

What I used
Papers: DCWV "Elegant Wedding" 8x8 scrapbook stack, stitched mulberry paper
Tools: Papermania "Poppy Fields" stamps, Marvy le Plume red pen.
Embellishments: Pottery vase (ebay), Anita's gold line and Anniversary peel-offs,

Crafting notes
  • The vase of poppies is made up of poppy heads stamped from several stamps in the set, individually cut out so they could be arranged.  The stems are hand drawn, and I've stuck the flowers down with different thickness foam pads.

  • I use silicon glue dots to stick hard and heavy embellishments like the pot down. The dots stay flexible, so there's a little give if the embellishment is knocked.  Other glues dry so hard that I find embellishments tend to fall off if knocked.
  • The script paper is really for a wedding, but only one of the quotes is wedding specific, so I just positioned it carefully!
  • I put inserts into almost all of my cards, and I love to add little touches of decoration to them.  Here I've stamped a small poppy in the bottom right corner.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Pots of stencilling fun

Before I became a regular crafter I wasted huge amounts of time trawling through DIY and 'lifestyle' shops trying to find things I liked to match my decor, and pots for house plants seem to be particularly hard to find.  That or I'm just very unfashionable with my colour schemes!  Anyway, now I have a lot more fun making my own accessories, and I get to save time and money too.

For my third project for Country View Crafts, I've decorated a cheap, plain terracotta plant pot with a variety of paints to match my dining room.  The things I wanted to match are the wallpaper (a blue and gold design by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen) and the curtains (Crowson Tournament):
Fleur-de-lys motif on curtains

Gold and blue on wallpaper

I used a mix of metallic acrylic paint, glimmer glaze, alcohol inks/mixatives and crackle glaze to decorate my pot to match, and echoed the fleur-de-lys on the curtains by adding a stencilled lily.  Here's what I came up with:

Full instructions can be found on the Country View Crafts blog.  I'd love to know what you think.  If you haven't tried this kind of thing before, please do.  It's very simple to do and the result is something you can enjoy for a long time.

Happy crafting!


What I used: 
Paints etc: Tattered Angels Glimmer Glaze "midnight rendezvous", Artiste acrylic paints "Antique gold", "Metallic sapphire", Ranger Inkssentials crackle accents, Adirondack alcohol ink "rust" and alcohol mixative "gold", Ranger blending solution
Tools: That Special Touch "mini floral masks"
Embellishments: Blue adhesive gems

Crafting Notes:

  • To get a patchy paint effect on the background I brushed glimmer glaze over a lighter colour using a stiff brush.  I then dabbed more paint on using a washed baby wipe.
  • To make the crackle glaze effect more noticeable, I rubbed rust alcohol ink into the cracks.  To leave it only in the cracks I then wiped over the pot rim with some blending solution on a cloth.
  • I used temporary spray adhesive to help hold the mask in place and to minimise 'bleeding' of the gold underneath the mask.
  • I used alcohol ink/mixative on a cotton bud to touch up the design, and to add rust alcohol ink to the centre of the flower.
  • Don't forget to paint the top inch of the inside of your pot!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Crafting Cafe June Challenge - Love and Marriage

The theme over at the Crafting Cafe this month is Love and Marriage, and it's sponsored by Bugaboo.  As luck would have it, I actually did need a wedding card this month, so I was able to kill two birds with one stone :-)

Wedding and birthday cards are probably the most likely cards to be kept for a long time, so I always like to use the wedding invitation as a guide for the style and colours that the bride and groom like.  For once, I knew immediately which paper I was going to use for my friends' card the minute I saw the invitation, as I have some almost identical!

Invitation on the left, Papermania paper on the right

I chose Bugaboo's "Our Wedding Toast" image to work with, and coloured it with Promarkers, which I'm still not comfortable working with, but I do want to keep trying.  I kept the design for the card clean and simple, like the invitation.  Here's what I made, I hope you like it!

Happy crafting!

What I used:
Stamps and tools: Bugaboo "Our Wedding Toast" digi stamp, See D's stamp set "Celebration messages", Promarkers, Whispers permanent brush markers
Papers: Papermania "Flowery" Colossal paper pack
Embellishments: Organza ribbon, joined hearts metal charm

Crafting Notes
  • I made up the paper and orange card panel separately so I could wrap the organza ribbon round at each end for a neat finish.
  • I used a silicon dot under the ribbon to keep the heart flat and in place.
  • The joined hearts charm started out silver, but I coloured it with a permanent marker.
  • When cutting thin pieces, like the 'Congratulations' banner on this card, use low-tac masking tape to hold the piece in place.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Popcorn for Country View Crafts

Teddies aren't generally my thing, but there's something about Tatty Teddy and Popcorn Bear that I really love.  Typical me, liking the hairy ones that are more fiddly to cut out!

Country View Crafts has a sale on of Popcorn Bear stamps at the moment, so I chose a couple of sets to work with for my second guest designer post for their blog.  I've used them to make a card two ways - one for Father's day, and one more feminine for any occasion.

Both cards feature a frame made from striped paper, and layered backgrounds made using alcohol inks and watercolours.  Sadly I haven't inherited my Dad's skill with a paintbrush, but I think the combination of an alcohol ink layer over a very basic bit of painting helps to give the illusion that something arty has happened!  I'd love to know what you think!  Full instructions for the card can be found on the Country View Crafts blog, but here are pictures of the two layers I've used.  For the feminine card, I've added a layer of vellum between the acetate and the watercolours, to make the hills look more misty and distant.

The top layer is acetate with green and blue alcohol inks dabbed over

The back layer is a very basic landscape painted in watercolours

What I used:
Papers: Dovecraft "English Garden" 8x8 stack
Tools: Popcorn Bear "Thinking of you" and "Father's Day" stamp sets, Adirondack alcohol inks - lettuce, denim, botanical, Adirondack alcohol mixative - pearl, Adirondack blending solution, Adirondack applicator tool, Papermania watercolour pencils, XCut fence die.

Crafting notes:
  • The Popcorn bear stamps are sold unmounted and uncut, so the first time you use them you need to cut out all the stamps.  Leave a gap of a couple of millimetres around each image when you do this, or you'll find it hard to get a clean image.  You don't have to mount the stamps before use, but it's more convenient if you do attach them to something like U-mount. To use unmounted stamps without this, use a glue stick or temporary adhesive to fix the stamp to the mounting block and wash off thoroughly afterwards.
  • When cutting out a fluffy bear, I cut a smooth outline first, touching the edges of the 'fluff', then snip out 'V' shaped pieces of white from between the stamped lines.
  • I made a frame for the card using striped paper.  When marking where to cut the mitred corners, I use a pokey tool, as it's more accurate than a pencil, and it can be used to mark both strips at once.
  • To give the stamped flower embellishments some shape, I placed them on a soft mat and rolled a large embossing stylus around in the centre.
  • The images in the Father's Day card are from a single stamp, but I separated the elements and rearranged them.
  • The stripy paper I used for the frames isn't made up of parallel lines, so it wasn't possible to get all parts of the stripes to line up perfectly.  I concentrated on the boldest stripe - I really like the effect.