Monday, 21 December 2015

Advent activities - week 3

We've missed a couple of days, but Bob and I have continued doing different Christmassy activities this week, from our activity advent calendar.  Here's what we've been up to:

Snowflake painting:
I found this technique on Pinterest (originally from TenKidsAndADog) and knew Bob would love the reveal part. I used masking tape to create a snowflake shape on a card pizza base I'd hoarded, then got Bob to paint it and remove the tape. I had expected that we'd hang it up as a big decoration, but Bob said he'd like it to be a Christmas plate for sweets, so we sprayed it with glittery lacquer. The lacquer has been open a couple of years and was quite splattery, so I still need to even it out with some glitter glue before Christmas day.

What we used: Card base from a pizza, masking tape, acrylic paints in blue, white and silver, Crafters Companion silver Spray & Sparkle
Crafting notes:
  • We mixed the paints together, but not smoothly, so we'd get a nice colour variation
  • After the painting was done, we patted the sponge onto the card, to get rid of streaks
Peppermint creams
These were another Pinterest find (originally from here), but we modified the recipe a little as Bob liked the idea of chocolate chips rather than dunking them in chocolate. 
What we used: 2tbsp butter, 2tbsp single cream, 2tsp peppermint flavouring, 4 4yo's handfuls of dark chocolate chips, and as much icing sugar as needed to reach a smooth, stiff, non-sticky consistency (around 3-4 teacups, quite a bit more than in the original recipe).
Crafting notes:

  • Creaming the butter, cream, mint and sugar together was a bit hard for Bob, so I got it started and then he had a stir. We added the chocolate chips last, kneading them in like bread.
  • We used ready made icing sugar, but we made a little icing sugar by crushing granulated sugar with a mortar and pestle first, to show Bob how it's made. The transformation is more fun if you use unrefined sugar, as there's a colour change from golden to white. I also had Bob taste the sugar before and after crushing to show that it tastes different.
  • Before cutting, we rolled the mixture into sausages, wrapped in clingfilm and put into a kitchen towel tube so they didn't flatten.

Fairy make-over
Since I discovered her in my parents' decorations box 10-15 years ago, my childhood Christmas tree fairy has graced the top of my tree every year. I have been soppily attached to her for a very long time - I remember my Mum adding some blue glitter to her skirt when I was in my early teens because she was looking a little old, but I didn't want to replace her.  Over the years I've tried to spruce her up by spraying her with shimmery paints too, but nothing has hidden the fact that her crepe paper dress is now well over 40 years old. This year I thought it was time to give her a proper makeover, and to let her become Bob's fairy, not Mummy's.


What we used: Rainbow crepe paper, tinsel, holographic star stickers
Crafting notes:
  • The dress is made as a tube, bunched together around the fairy's body and secured with an elastic band. The skirt is then flattened out.
  • We added tinsel around the top of the skirt to hide fraying on her bodice, and replaced the tinsel on her head.
  • We kept her original wings for now, maybe we'll replace those next year!
Reindeer fridge cakes
These delicious cakes were inspired by a recipe for mud pies in "The Cooking Book" by Jane Bull. 

What we used: 3oz Butter, 4oz broken chocolate digestives, 1tbsp cocoa powder, 1 of each of our hands full of mini marshmallows, chopped dried apricots. To decorate: melted chocolate, 6 glace cherries, 12 snowball decorations, dark brown writing icing.
Crafting notes:
  • We melted the butter and stirred in the other ingredients before squashing into paper cases. Next we poured over melted chocolate and decorated with half a glace cherry, and two snowball decorations with a little dab of writing icing.
  • Bob *loved* breaking up the biscuits with a pestle in a big bowl. We used a metal bowl because of the bashing!
  • This activity was great for talking about numbers and dividing. We made 12 cakes with 4 colours of paper case. The glace cherries were cut in half, and there were 2 eyes per cake. Bob wasn't sure about counting 24 eyes, so we counted the number of pairs instead.

Christmas present card:
We were supposed to have a craft party with one of Bob's best friends, but they were having such fun running around and playing that we only made one project - a card. Bob wanted it to feature a present, so we cut a square and added stickers and a bow. It was dark by the time they finished, hence the bad photo. Bob's is the one on the right.
What we used: Papermania contemporary Christmas paper, silver bows, Papermania foiled stickers, QuicKutz nesting square dies, Glue dots.
Crafting notes:
  • I had the children die cut the present squares so they could make them themselves, and because Bob loves using my Big Shot :-)
  • I didn't direct their stickering, just made a few sticker sheets available to them, so I thought it was interesting how similarly they decorated their presents.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Advent Activities - week 2

As I posted last week, my son and I have been doing different Christmassy activities every day, from our activity advent calendar. We've been out a lot this week, and had visitors, so a couple of times we skipped or scaled down some activities. Here's what we've been up to:

Day 6: Lolly stick Christmas tree (from Pinterest)

What we used: Green food colouring, reclaimed lolly sticks, Craft Planet large lolly stick, Papermania teardrop and star gems, PVA glue
Crafting notes:

  • Instead of painting the lolly sticks, we soaked them in a strong solution of water and green food colouring.
  • The gems are not self-adhesive,  and are quite small and fiddly. I added blobs of glue to the lolly stick where Bob wanted them, then laid out some gems the right way up. Bob picked them up by licking his finger and dabbing on the gem. He got quite fast towards the end, but he'd had enough when he'd done the edges of the sticks, sadly I couldn't pursuade him to add any more 'baubles' in the middle!
Day 7: This project is top secret, as it's a present for Nanny & Grandad, who read this blog :-)

Day 8: Should have been making Christmassy cakes, but a visit from Nanny & Grandad was just too exciting :-)

Day 9: Tots group Christmas party. We didn't make anything at the party, but all the children decorated paper Christmas trees at the start of the month, to decorate the tree for the party. Bob loves my Crop-a-dile Big Bite, so he made holes in his tree and stuck thin paper behind to look like lights when hanging up.

What we used: Green card, thin yellow paper, Crop-a-dile Big Bite, Craft Planet mini glitter glue
Crafting notes: We sandwiched the thin paper between two tree shapes. We stuck the stalks of the trees together, cut the holes through both trees at the same time, then stuck the thin paper in between before sticking the trees together.

Day 10: Marshmallow snowmen
These looked better in my head, and I struggled to find full size white marshmallows, but we enjoyed making them, rummaging through the cake decorations for things to use, and of course eating them at the end!

What we used: Princess marshmallows, Cake Angels mini marshmallows, Tesco white designer icing (as glue), Tesco plain chocolate chips (eyes), Dr Oetker regal-ice, Morrison's mini dinosaurs with legs removed (noses)
Crafting notes:

  • The snowman is made from 1.5 large marshmallows, with a mini one in between to make space for the scarf.
  • The scarf and hat are regal-ice. The scarf is some of the swirly icing left over from Bob's birthday cake.
Day 11: Fingerprint reindeer baubles
I found this project on Pinterest, but it was originally from A Little Bit Funky, and we conscripted Daddy to make a family of reindeer.

What we used: Artiste acrylic paint "chocolate", black Sharpie pen, Papermania red adhesive gems, Craft Planet black glitter glue (for the eyes).
Crafting notes:
  • Paint on baubles is very slippy, so I held Bob's thumb for the print. I also held his hand while we added the glitter glue eyes.
  • I drew the main stem of the antlers, but Bob did the rest. I love how huge they are!
  • We used an egg box to hold the baubles still for decorating and drying.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Advent Activities - week 1

Last year I made an activity advent calendar for my son - a calendar with Christmas activities for us to do together. It worked so well last year that I've updated the activites for this year. Like last year we'll be doing a mixture of craft projects, cooking, trips out, and home decorating.

Here's what we've done so far:

1st: Christmas jellies

Our silicon gingerbread man mould didn't want to let go of this jelly, but that was a bonus as far as Bob was concerned, as that just meant there was more jelly to lick off the mould :-) He decorated jelly man using various cake decorations, including mini snowballs
2nd: Foam chains

Bob made one of these last year too, and got bored just as it was as long as he was tall, so I thought it would be fun to do the same this year too. Last year he couldn't make the links on his own, and didn't want to decorate them, but this year he was able to do it all himself, and added stickers to every link.
What we used: Craft Planet foam chain kit, Craft Planet Christmas stickers

3rd: Lolly stick reindeer
I found this project on Pinterest and, as last year's lolly stick snowflakes were so popular I thought it would be fun to make, and we weren't disappointed. Bob was able to do this pretty much on his own, with me just holing things for him. We stuck the sticks together with silicon glue dots, so we wouldn't have to wait for glue to dry.
What we used: Lolly sticks, Craft Planet pom-poms & googly eyes, holographic foil snowflakes, Stick It glue dots.

4th: Decorations

This activity kept us busy for ages, with sparkly stars at the windows, tinsel around the bed, and a mini feathery tree. I've never decorated this tree before, but Bob found some of my decorated baubles and hung them up. I really like it!

5th: Trimming the tree
Today's activity was trimming the Christmas tree. I normally spend ages trying to achieve a random, eclectic effect with the tree, but it turns out all you need is an enthusiastic 4yo :-)

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Layout 17: January scrapbook challenge "New Beginnings"

By the time I set the themes for my monthly scrapbook challenges on do craftsCraft Talk forum it was already March, but the geek in me wanted to set a full year's worth of challenges. So, me tackling January's theme at the end of November isn't quite as tardy as it seems!

I used a sketch from Pagemaps and, as the photo I chose was quite stark, I decided on a clean and simple, almost spartan, layout. Being able to see a photo and its story together is pretty much the point of scrapbooking for me, but finding a way to include the journalling without detracting from the page's aesthetics is always the bit that gives me the most headaches. I find it hardest of all when I'm doing clean and simple layouts like this one. Editing the words down to short bullet points did the job for me here. It did mean I lost some vaguely interesting (to me) detail, but the main thing I wanted to preserve with the journalling was just how long it took me to figure out why I felt so unwell!

Here's my layout and the sketch I followed:

What I used:
Papers: DCWV "The Paper Stack" 12x12, unknown aqua 12x12 paper
Embellishments: K&Co Studio K transfers "Family", Anita's sticky ribbons, Craft Planet Waterfall Stickers "Holidays" (rub on arrows)
Colours: White acrylic paint, Caran Dache watercolour pencils, Whispers brush markers.
Tools: XCut heart punch

Crafting notes:
  • The photo is a simple one, but the news it a bit heavy, so I added paint splatters to make it look as though the photo had splashed down hard on the page.
  • I didn't have paint the right colour, but I did have a watercolour pencil. Rather than spend ages trying to mix the right shade, I scraped bits of the pencil into a little white paint and used this for the paint splatters.
  • There was no colour scheme to pick up from the picture, so I used bright complementary colours and a clean and simple layout, in keeping with the subject.
  • The only pen I had that matched the aqua colour in the layout was a Promarker, which bled too much to use for the journalling. Instead I wrote the journalling out 4 times with water based pens, alternating a pale green colour and a brighter blue/cyan to achieve the right colour and intensity.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Layout 16: Then and Now challenge

The theme for my November challenge over on Craft Talk was "Then and now" and I found a great sketch for it on Grand Diva's blog. Here's my layout and the sketch:

What I used:
Papers: Daisy & Dandelion "A Winter's Tale" A4 papers, Serif Craft Artist snowflakes A4 paper from 2011 Crafts Beautiful collection, Core'dinations 12x12 "Black Iris"
Embellishments: Crate Paper "Random Collection"Alpha labels, Mark Enterprises white snowflake border peel-offs, Papermania chipboard die cuts "Accents" and "Tags and Frames"
Tools: QuicKutz nesting oval dies, Papermania 5x7 Clear Stamps "Alphabet (script)"
Colours: White acrylic paint, blue Sharpies pen, Ancient Page die ink "bordeaux", white gel pen, Whispers brush marker (blue), Whispers dye ink "royal blue", Adirondack alcohol ink "denim"

Crafting notes:
  • I spattered the black iris card with white acrylic paint to give a subtle snowy effect.
  • I cropped the images so that the centre of the eyes in both photos could be aligned with the top edge of the vintage snowflake paper behind.
  • I didn't have chipboard shapes the colours I wanted, so I coloured them with inks.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Layout 15: Furry, Scaly, Leggy

The last few scrapbook pages that I've made have been for challenges and, although I'm not up to date with all the challenges I've committed to, I fancied doing something just for fun. This layout features photos from a very lovely day out at an RAF families' day. Ultimately I'll make lots of pages about the day, so I've journalled only for the photos in this layout.

Here's the sketch I used. I found it on Pinterest, but it's originally from Brenda Ragsdale's blog (Grand Divas Creative Corner):

What I used
Papers: DCWV "The Stack 5" 12x12, DCWV "Old World" stack 12x12, Creative Imaginations Sonnets "Moss stripe" 12x12, Papermania "Nature's Gallery" A4, Core'dinations dark grey card
Embellishments: Papermania AlphaMinis "Curly Font White"
Colours: Promarker "Cool Grey 5", grey Sharpie pen, grey, white gel pen, dark grey Zig Art & Graphic Twin
Tools: XCut nesting circle dies, QuicKutz nesting circle frame dies, XCut flower dies (for the spider body)

Crafting notes
  • Black lettering looked too stark for the title, so I coloured white letters with a dark grey Promarker to match the dark grey fabric print paper I used to mat the photos. To get the right colour and a textured finish, I built up 3 layers of grey, covering less completely with each layer.
  • I don't have much of any of the papers in this layout, so they're heavily gutted. The beige layer is mounted on stiff card (recycled packaging) to give a smooth base for the photos.
  • The photos, taken indoors with a phone, are not great quality. Heavy cropping helped to focus attention on what was important, but I also made my son more prominent by choosing paper colours that highlighted his clothes.
  • The spider legs, web, and eyes are drawn on, but his body is die cut using a flower centre die so he looks hairy.
  • As the page will (hopefully!) be one of many from the day, I wanted to include an element for the event that could be repeated in other layouts. I think the corner quarter circle is general enough that I should be able to fit it into most other designs.
  • Both the Promarker and the Sharpie pens bled too much for the journalling, so I had to use a Zig pen instead.

Thursday, 29 October 2015


When, after my little boy was born, I realised I'd never want to return to giving craft demos and imagined that I'd supply my cards to all the local small shops and all my friends, just as one of my other friends has. Sadly though, mumbling invitations to pop round for cards any time while blushing with embarrassment has not proven to be a terribly effective self-promotion style, and I don't exactly have Clinton's quaking in their boots. However, this week I had two commissions, so yay! The first is for an elderly couple celebrating their wedding anniversary, the second is for the husband in that couple celebrating his 80th birthday. Maybe I should try mumbling just a little bit louder? :-)

What I used
80th Birthday card
Papers: DCWV "Old World" 8x8, plum card
Embellishments: Anita's A4 die cut decoupage "Pastimes & Leisure", Papermania "For Him" A5 Decoupage card kit (greeting)
Tools: XCut nesting dies "Doorplate", XCut alphabet dies "Italic"
Other: Anita's A5 card blanks

Anniversary card
Papers: Papermania "Exquisite" 6x6
Embellishments: Papermania Vintage Notes A4 die cut toppers, Papermania mini brads, various paper flowers, Papermania lace trims, Papermania adhesive pearls
Tools: QuicKutz nesting oval dies, Papermania Confetti clear stamps "Anniversary Sentiments", various flower punches
Other: Anita's square card blanks, Clearsnap chalk ink queues (pinks)

Crafting notes:
80th Birthday card

  • I added "1935" to the wine bottle label as the vintage. To match the style of the rest of the label I used a pencil and went over the digits several times.

  • The dusky purple backing for the wine bottle is cut with the largest doorplate die. The plum matting is hand cut.
  • I used a double layer of foam pads along the centre-line of the wine bottle and the wine glass so I could give a more realistic curve to them.

Anniversary card

  • I couldn't find any card to match the darker heart in the topper, so all the edges are defined by inking in two colours of dusky pink. The lighter colour has nearly run out , but that has made for a very nice finish on the card edges and the flowers.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Glittery Belle

One of Bob's best friends was 4 this week, and her favourite film is Beauty and the Beast, so I made this card for her. I'm glad Bob has a girl best buddy too - it's nice to make something with glitter :-)


What I used:
Papers: Papermania colossal pack, Anita's matt gold card
Tools: Sizzix Framelits "Fancy Tags"
Embellishments: Anita's gold outline stickers, yellow ribbon
Colours: Sharpies, Promarkers, Craft Planet yellow and iridescent glitter glues
Image: Free digital colouring in page

Crafting notes:

  • I coloured the background with blue and purple Sharpie pens, using horizontal lines to give a streaky sky effect, then added glitter glue stars
  • I stuck a larger, uncoloured version of the image inside the card for the recipient to colour in.
  • I coloured the peel-offs with a blue Sharpie pen to match
  • If I had made this for someone older, I'd have added gems, but even at 4 years old I don't think that's a safe plan either for the 4 year old or the card!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Layout 14: September Scrapbook Challenge "Childhood"

The theme I set for the September scrapbooking challenge on do crafts' Craft Talk forum was "Childhood". I didn't set a sketch, but set an optional extra challenge of including squares in the layout instead. The photo I chose isn't great (taken indoors with a phone camera), and didn't need a great deal of explanation, but it marked the kind of ordinary event about which it's nice to be reminded - my son's excitement at the arrival of a big box :-) As there wasn't much to say, I cropped the picture and made an 8x8 page. I like the size for this type of photo, and now plan to make a whole album of clean and simple layouts of 'nice little moments' like this one. Hopefully I'll be able to do these a bit quicker than I manage the average 12x12 layout, at least as long as I can stop worrying about them being 'scrapped enough'. This layout was finished for a couple of weeks before I accepted that it didn't need to be any more complicated!  At least the delay has meant that I can use this as my inspiration project for the Crafting Cafe's "Clean & Simple" October challenge :-)

What I used:
Papers: Dovecraft 8x8 Designer Paper Pack "Masculine" by Jayne Bentley
Embellishments: Cardstock letters from Roald Dahl A4 Ultimate Decoupage & Paper Pack, stitch pattern ribbon, brick pattern brad, Doodlebug "All Mixed Up" rub on numbers

Crafting notes:
  • I added faux stitching around the photo with a pen.
  • I originally intended to make my own background with coloured squares, but then found I had some paper that was just what I wanted.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Layout 13: Crafting Cafe September Challenge: My Favourite Season

The theme for the Crafting Cafe's September challenge on Facebook is "My Favourite Season", and I thought I'd use it as an opportunity to clear a project from the 'in progress' pile.

When I started demonstrating for Do Crafts, I took part in a circle journal with fellow demonstrators and, as I hadn't really done any scrapbooking at the time, I always intended to make copies of all the pages I contributed to other people's albums. I didn't finish any of the copies, but I did make a start on most. This 6x6 double layout was one that was almost there and, as it was about what I liked about a season, I thought I'd finish it for this challenge. Winter is very not my favourite season, with its short days and cold, damp weather, but there are some things about it that I love and maybe if I read my journalling a few more times I'll stop feeling so miserable about summer drawing to a close!

The original of this layout was made in June 2009 for Jo Austin's "Winter Wonderland" album. I've made a few changes in the copy because I have some nicer embellishments available and I wanted a different title. It's unusual for me, as it doesn't feature any of my photos. I like the resulting focus on the journalling though, and think I'll make some similar companion pages for the other seasons. Hopefully it won't take me another 6 years to do those though!

What I used:
Paper: Studiolight 12x12, plain white vellum
Embellishments: Papermania accent stickers "Snowflakes", Papermania mini brads, Anita's alphabet outline stickers.
Tools & Colour: XCut snowflake border punch, iridescent glitter glue

Crafting notes:
  • The frosting on the backing paper is hand done with glitter glue.
  • The journalling is printed on vellum and stuck down only by the accent stickers that overlap it.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Mum to a 4 year old

After weeks of counting down to his birthday, my little boy has finally turned 4. He's been looking forward to it for ages, so it was very sad that he spent his last day as a 3 year old vomiting. Happily he was a lot better for the day itself - he didn't eat much, but what went in stayed in, and he enjoyed having a quiet day in playing with his new toys. I left making his cake until the day, so I could be sure he'd be able to enjoy it - I didn't think watching his parents and grandparents eat cake would be much of a birthday treat, and nor would eating stale cake a few days late!

Here are his card and last minute cake. Neither will win any awards, but my son loved them both, which is all that matters.

What I used
Dinosaur card:
Papers: Basic Grey "Archaic" 12x12,
Embellishments: Basic Grey "Archaic" chipboard stickers, Basic Grey "Archaic" adhesive letters and numbers, Lasting Impressions Senti-Metals "Birthday copper", Papermania mini brad
Tools: Basic Grey clear stamps "Dino" (for footprints inside the card)
Colours: ColorBox Pigment ink cat's eyes "dune", "brown", Ranger Adirondack alcohol ink "meadow"
Pirate ship cake:
Tools: XCut Build-a-scene dies "Nautical"
Icing: Waitrose white fondant icing, Renshaw red royal icing, Dr Oetker's black regal icing
Embellishments: Dr Oetker's "4" candle, Waitrose stripey candles, Tesco pirate sprinkles

Crafting notes
Dinosaur card:
  • The oval on which the 4 is mounted is a 'pebble' cut from one of the Archaic papers.
  • I inked the edges of the square paper and the 4.
  • I used alcohol ink to age the copper greeting and make it less shiny.
Pirate ship cake:
  • The pirate ship and octopus tentacles are both cut using an XCut build-a-scene die. The dies aren't thick enough to cut icing completely, but I pressed them onto the rolled icing and then completed the cut with a knife. As well as making it quick and easy to cut the shapes, the octopus die left some nice detail as well.

  • The ship's hull die features 4 cannon holes, so I put the 4 birthday candles in there to look like cannons firing. 
  • To make the swirly sea and sky I added drops of blue food colouring to white fondant icing and part mixed it before rolling out. 
  • I don't really like regal ice, as it's too sweet, so I tried out Waitrose's fondant icing. It was much less sweet, so I'll be using this from now on.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Layout 12: August Scrapbook Challenge "And Relax"

The theme I set for the August scrapbooking challenge on do crafts' Craft Talk forum was "And Relax" and I had planned to tackle it in the middle of the month, when my oldest friend came to visit. She's a long time card maker, and this theme was going to be her introduction to scrapbooking. In the end we were too busy catching up to do any crafting, but I had managed some planning.

As it was my friend's first page, I picked a very simple sketch to follow, again from Pagemaps:

I chose a picture of our newest dog asleep just a couple of days after we collected him from the very excellent Heathlands Animal Sanctuary, as it makes me think of him relaxing not just after a walk, but also after the turmoil of abandonment, months in kennels, and his trip here from Ireland. While working on the layout, I decided to make it a double page, so I could include a picture of our other dog (also from Heathlands Animal Sanctuary) too. I'd love to know what you think.

What I used:
Papers: DCWV 8x8 Scrapbook kit in a stack "Dog", DCWV The Christmas Cardstock 12x12 Stack
Embellishments: DCWV 8x8 Scrapbook kit in a stack "Dog"
Tools: Sharpies permanent pens, Papermania Portobello Road urban stamps (numbers), Studio g mini alphabet stamps, Ancient Page ink "chocolate", XCut nesting dies "scalloped heart".

Crafting notes:
  • The main paper that I chose is quite low contrast, with the doggy activity words printed with thin lines. That suggested doggy dreams to me.
  • I used a scalloped heart die to cut the heart on the right page, then trimmed off the scallops with scissors.
  • My handwriting is naturally very small, and my husband suggested that I try writing my journalling larger. I struggled with this, only achieving it by using a thicker pen. My Promarkers bled too much, but I was tempted by a special offer on Sharpies and these worked much better for me. I'm not sure I like the big writing...

Sunday, 13 September 2015

That time of year again...

...when Bob and his friends all have their birthdays. The whizzing of the years is always tinged with a little sadness, but this year it's especially so, as they're turning 4, so it's their last birthdays as pre-schoolers. Bob went to a birthday party today for a friend from tots club, and as I watched the children play I realised that it would probably be the last time we'd see most of them. The slightly older ones have started school, and the slightly younger ones will be going into full time pre-school, either way they've left tots club behind, and we're unlikely to bump into them at soft play any more. It's such a shame, as it's only been the last 6-12 months that they've really been old enough to play properly together.

Anyway, enough morose talk, here are the cards I made for this week's birthdays, both lots of fun to make, and Bob helped with the pirate ship - he loves turning the handle on the Big Shot :-) I hope you like them!

What I used:
Pirate Ship
Papers: card scraps
Tools: XCut Build-a-scene dies "Nautical", McGill hand-held two hole punch, blending chalks, Papermania white gel pen
Embellishments: Goldlabel holographic birthday peel-off
Papers: Holographic card, adhesive holographic papers
Tools: Sizzix Framelits with stamps "Balloons & Cupcakes", Whispers brush marker pens
Image: printable colouring page found on Pinterest
Embellishments: Goldlabel holographic birthday and number peel offs

Crafting notes:

  • The pirate ship and the sea are made entirely from offcuts and scraps
  • I didn't have a card blank the right colour blue, so I coloured the edge of a white card blank with the same pen I used for Spiderman.
  • The Spidey card has 4 balloons because, yes, I am that nerdy.
  • I used a very small two hole punch for the eye holes on the skull on the pirate ship. It was much easier to punch the holes and then die cut the skull around them than the other way around! I completed the face with a white gel pen

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Layout `11: June Scrapbook Challenge "Hot Stuff"

I'm a bit behind with my makes for the monthly scrapbook challenges I've been setting over on Craft Talk on the do crafts website, but I've managed to catch up a bit this week. The theme I set for June was "Hot Stuff", and I chose this Pagemaps sketch with a large circle in it, expecting to use it to suggest a sun:

 In the end though, the photo I chose was of my little boy's encounter with a flaming BBQ on holiday in France - he tried to put the fire out with his toy fire engine. He was even wearing a Fireman Sam t-shirt at the time :-) So, I switched the circle for a big water splash, and here's the result. I hope you like it.

What I used:
Papers - Papermania Colossal 12x12 paper stack (water paper), Papermania 12x12 smooth cardstock, bright and pale yellow, red paper
Colours - Anita's acrylic paint, red and yellow, red watercolour pencil, Zig Art & Graphic Twin pen, pale yellow
Embellishments - Fireman Sam sticker (from an activity book), Fireman Sam printed ribbon, Craft Planet rescue vehicle acetate stickers (for the blue lights)

Crafting notes
  • I replaced the circle in the sketch with a water splat. It wasn't until I added little splashes that it really looked like water though.
  • To make the flames background I painted vertical wavy lines in red and yellow onto yellow card, mixing the paints on the card to give a range of colours. I used the pointed wooden end of my paintbrush to remove paint here and there to give some definition and texture. I took my inspiration from the inside cover of Bob's Fireman Sam story book.
It's lucky the book isn't 12x12, or I might have been tempted to, err, 'repurpose'!
  • I wanted the title to look like the Fireman Sam writing, so I googled for the font and found a great site called Font Meme, with a link to the font. I printed example letters and stuck them face down onto yellow card to cut out. I applied red watercolour pencil to the bottoms and blended with water. I mounted onto pale yellow card and drew round the letters with a fine pencil (I thought a black pen would be overpowering)
I used less red in my version so it would stand out better from the background 
  • I didn't want the journaling to distract from the title and the photo, so I did it on red paper.
  • I applied PVA glue to the cut edges of the ribbon to stop it fraying.
  • The ribbon had a white background but, as the only white thing on the page I found it jarring, so I coloured with a Zig marker.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Wedding Ever After

2015 has been better than most for offering romantic crafting opportunities, with my silver wedding anniversary in the spring, and both a wedding and a golden anniversary in the summer. It was very handy then that do crafts offered me a sneak preview of some of their stylish new Wedding Ever After range. In particular, I've been using these two tools:

Flourishes die set
Banner embossing folder

I love that the flourishes set has so many hearts, it was just perfect for what I wanted to do for my in-laws' golden wedding card, as I was able to do all my die cutting for the background in a single pass through my machine.  I arranged the heart dies randomly over a piece of cream pearlescent card and passed through the machine, then put the card through again in the embossing folder to emboss another heart and a border. The heart dies emboss at the same time and I really like the effect, both on the hearts and the heart-shaped holes. It gives an especially nice finish on the small gold heart I cut and stuck to the embossed heart. I mounted the pearlescent card onto gold mirror card, then onto Oyster Blush floral paper, which also has a pearlescent finish.

I'm always mindful when making a card like this that the card is half for a man of an older generation, so I like to keep the design relatively simple. Here's the finished card - impossible to photograph well with all the mirror card of course!

What I used:
Papers: Papermania Capsule Collection "Oyster Blush" 12x12 paper, Papermania cream pearlescent A4 cardstock, Anita's A4 gold mirri board
Tools: XCut A5 embossing folder "Banner", XCut 25 piece die set "Flourishes"
Embellishments: Anita's wedding anniversary outline stickers

Crafting notes:

  • The card front I ended up with was too big for me to make a custom card blank out of 12x12 card, so I cut down an A4 card blank.
  • The triplet of hearts at the bottom of the card, and the layered heart under the greeting were made by combining an embossed heart (from the embossing folder) with very small die cut hearts from the flourishes set. I love the textured finish it gives.

I also used these tools with some other Wedding Ever After materials to make three types of wedding stationery for my friend's wedding - favour gift tags, dinner place markers, and thank you cards. The wedding colour scheme was a dusky purple, and I picked this up with blending chalk over a heart embossed using the embossing folder. I included this element in all three items so they would all match. I also used blending chalk for the greeting on the thank you card.

I embossed and chalked a heart on the back side of the card to fit into the die cut at the front

What I used: 
Papers: Papermania Capsule Collection "French Lavender" 8x8 paper, Anita's Matt silver card
Tools: XCut A5 embossing folder "Banner", XCut 25 piece die set "Flourishes", All Night Media blending chalks, Ink It Up silver pigment ink
Embellishments: Wedding Ever After organza ribbon "Silver", Wedding Ever After Crochet Trim, Wedding Ever After Satin Ribbon Roses
Other: Wedding Ever After card kit (stamp and card blanks with die cut heart)

Crafting notes:
  • The card blank I used for the thank you card came with a heart die cut in the front. The Banner embossing folder has a clear back, so it was easy to line up to emboss a heart on the back side of the card so that it fit through the cut heart.
  • I applied blending chalk with a q-tip to the embossed hearts, then fixed with hairspray. You can use artist's fixing spray, but hairspray smells nicer and is a lot cheaper!
  • I stamped the 'thank you' greeting in silver pigment ink, then dabbed blending chalk over with cotton wool.
Happy crafting!