Welcome to my blog

I hope you enjoy reading my posts, and please leave me a comment. I always enjoy reading them, and will try to visit you in return.

You are welcome to copy any of my designs, as long as you do not take credit for them yourself. I am very happy for you to sell them. If I have used anyone else's design, I always try to give credit where it is due. If I have missed anything, please let me know and I will put things right.

This is intended to be mainly about my crafting stories, as a personal record of what I do. However, I interpret crafting quite widely, not just paper crafting but other things too. I have a butterfly mind and like to change from one thing to another depending on what I feel like on a given day - knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, cards, baking and several others.

Friday, 25 June 2010

25th June 2010 - another pastel card

This card used the same method and the same stencil as the last one, just a little more use of the co-ordinating pastels from Lidl, and a different embellishment to create a slightly different effect.

A quick application of cheap hair spray fixes the pastel to stop it rubbing off. I just used what I had to hand.

25th June 2010 - mixing mediums up

This card was an early one, done when my craft box was quite a small one. I printed the base card with a background paper, downloaded free from the net. Then I added a shaped vellum wrap, embossed and cut with one of my few stencils. I had found a huge box of pastels in the bargain section of Lidl, and used them as chalks (applied with twists of cotton wool - large economy pack) to highlight the embossing andshade the vellum to match the card. A small embellishment and a peel off Happy Birthday finished it off.

Pastels applied to things that appear to have gone wrong can really create brilliant results, that everyone thinks you have spent hours doing.

Monday, 21 June 2010

21st June 2010 - Embossing

This is the embossed design of pansies. The original design for this one came off a Joanna Sheen disc, which is all I had with me this week. I just traced it onto parchment with white water colour and them embossed and shaded it. I will mount it and use it when I get back off holiday.

Relaxing is such hard work - 21st June 2010

A little bit of tweaking and this holiday photo of an old bridge over the River Tavy will probably find its way onto a card sometime in the near future. Our weather so far has been incredible. In fact, we have spent today in the cool of the caravan site on the Lizard Peninsula. We shall go down later to Mullion Harbour to let the dogs have a good swim, lots of fun, and cooling off too. After swimming they both sleep all night - peace for us.

I have done some crafting while we have been away, just a bit of water colouring, and some embossing, trying out new techniques. I have loads of very old embroidery transfers and have experimented with several different techniques. I have scanned them all to computer, so I can print them out whatever size I wish. Printing onto acetate and using pens to colour in can be very effective, then cutting then to mount them in aperture cards. Just mounting them onto plain white card is also good, covering the edge of the acetate with peel offs or some other type of frame.

Another effective technique is to either print them onto vellum, using My Craft Studio Professional, changing the outline colour to pale grey. Then you use your embossing tools to trace the outline, using as much embossing as you wish to achieve a satisfactory result. The shading tool can transform a basic embossing into something really pretty and delicate. Don't try to emboss deeply to begin with, go over each line 3 times gently to avoid puncturing the vellum. Pansies are a really good flower to start with for embossing and shading. I will try to post a photo of pansies tomorrow, once I have transferred it from camera to computer.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Use what you have 2 - 13th June 2010

This is another card done early on, and I would make changes if I did it now. It still uses silver birch bark from our own garden, but also has bark from another tree, which sheds it naturally - the prunus serulla, which produces brilliantly coloured coppery red bark. Again the card was basic white hammered card, trimmed with the decorative scissors. This time, the silver birch hearts were mounted on white glitter card and gold mirri card, but the border down the edge was cut from the prunus bark. I did put strips of glitter down the red bark, but I would probably not do that another time, just let the beauty of the bark speak for itself. The Happy Birthday peel off finished it off.

Use what you have - 13th June 2010

This is a card I made quite early on, when I did not have much in my box. Our silver birches in the garden were shedding huge pieces of bark, as they do each year, and I wondered what I could do with it. I picked the cleanest bits and flattened them under a heavy weight. Then I used the Sissix to cut out the two hearts, which were mounted on a small bit of red glitter card, and then on to an offcut of gold mirri card. The outline heart was stuck directly on to the glitter card and the other placed over the top using foam pads to give dimension. The base card was basic white hammered card, edged with decorative scissors, with a small piece of Happy Birthday paper glued around the crease. It was finished off with a Happy Birthday peel off at the top. The whole thing cost very little, but involved thought and hunting for things to use, bark that was free, and bits of embellishment that were just off cuts.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

June 12th 2010 - Use your brain power and time to save money

This card is an example of achieving an effective card without spending a fortune in money, just time and thought. This is one of Joanna Sheen's images, really clear and sharp. I saw it demonstrated on TV, printing on to expensive gold paper, and thought it was so good that I wondered if I could do something on the same lines. In my cupboard, I had some plain gold printable paper, so I tried printing on that on best quality print, with quite good results. Then I sprayed it with 3 separate layers of Spray and Shine, which really made the tiger pop out brilliantly. The Happy Birthday sentiment on the front was printed on vellum on text print, and instantly embossed with gold. That way you can choose exactly what you say and the design of the font etc to personalise the card completely. Both the image and the sentiment are mounted on gold mirri card, and then onto the base card from the Stardream and Majestic range from PDA Cards.

Today's Tip: At some time, you will almost certainly start on a project which goes wrong. don't bin it or destroy it yet. Put it to one side for a while, then have another look. If you still cannot see a way to recover, keep putting it away and going back to it. It is very rare that a project is totally unrecoverable, and inspiration will hit at some stage and give you something to be proud of.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Use your own photos

This card was very simple once I got a decent photo, which was just being in the right place at the right time. The bumble bee was so co-operative. The photo was matted and layered onto silver mirri card and then onto a backing paper. The backing paper was created from the original photo, by selecting a small area, and blurring it in my graphics program. The base card (Stardream and Majestic range from PDA Cards) was creased and folded to form the main card. The base was covered with the backing paper, the image mounted. The sentiment is matted and layered in the same way as the main image, with the text coloured to match the purple of the crocuses. It is fixed with silicone glue, with a thin layer at the front and built up at the back to create an angle.

First ever posting - 11th June 2010

I thought my birthday was a good day to start this blog. I was inspired to have a go by Silverwolf (Shaz), who is such a talented crafter.

My name is Margaret, and I have been (and still am) happily married to Geoff. Both our children are now married and have given us lovely grandchildren to play with. After years of having nutty Burmese cats, we now have two even nuttier working cocker spaniels to keep us busy and amused.

I only got started on card making 4 years ago when we were asked to do the wedding invitations for our son's wedding. The design
was very plain and simple, with gold peel off stickers - just what they asked for, and carried through to the place cards. Of course, I bought far too many cards and far too many peel offs, so what do you do in that case..... you've got it - you buy more stuff to help you to use it all up. Then you need more equipment and more stuff because you do not quite have the right colour to do the next project. And so it goes on until the craft box becomes a craft room to give you space to work, then you find you are restricted to a small area to sit because the stuff has taken over. It is so addictive.

I have always crafted in some way, starting with embroidery at school. My aunt taught me to knit and she was a very strict teacher, insisting that I kept my fingers on both needles at all time. I cursed her at the time, but I have blessed her many times since for giving me the skills to knit evenly and fast. I taught myself to crochet from a book. Cross stitch started about 10 years ago when I have a bad bout of vertigo and needed to do something where I could keep my head and eyes
perfectly still to avoid feeling sick.

I used to do cross stitch cards for those I thought would value the time and thought I put into it, but now, most of my cards are papercrafted. I keep pictorial records of all the cards I make, together with the date and who it was for - helps to avoid sending the same or similar card to the same person. It is also good to look back and see how I have progressed and to see how I could improve in the future.

I love trying new techniques and I do watch a lot of the craft programmes on QVC and Create and Craft to pick up new ideas. I generally record them and watch the bits I am interested in later. Every so often, I ring Silverwolf and pick her brains about a better way to do something, and find a better and cheaper way to achieve a good effect. The latest craze is to type your own wording to personalise your card, print it out and emboss it. Silverwolf showed me how to do that 3 years ag
o - nothing in this world is totally new.

Acetate is also one of the "in" things to use. Again, something I have been using for 12 months or more, either as a wrap for a card or as an enhancement for the main image. I notice that is now being used a lot on t
he various programmes. A technique that looks good, especially for the stained glass type of image is to print the image as normal on good paper, then flip it on your screen (most graphics programs will give you that facility) then print it onto printable acetate. Cut the acetate with a good border outside the image, turn it over and position it accurately over the paper image. Holding it safely in place, lift a corner and apply adhesive in an area which does not show. Once it is fixed, you can carefully lift each side to apply adhesive, cut it out and use on your card. To hide the adhesive, you could create a border to place over the top. You could also back the acetate image on to silver or gold mirri card.

Commercially produced craft materials are a good way to start, but I do enjoy finding my own ways to produce similar or even better results. The images on Joanna Sheen's discs are brilliant, and can be used in your own graphics program to manipulate them to suit your own project. Do not forget to take your camera wherever you go, and keep your eyes open for anything you could use later. A huge bumble bee on purple crocuses made a fantastic easel card earlier this year. A friend's photo of bluebells carpetting the ground made a superb backdrop with a wrought iron gate (cut on the Silhouette) placed over it. The same friend also took a lovely silhouette of her dog with the backdrop of the Lake District. A little manipulation created another easel card for her birthday this year - something very personal for her.

I intend to add to this blog on a regular basis, adding pictures of some of my cards, and any hot tips I get or discover. Hopefully, I can live up to this. Keep watching.