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.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Holidays over for now!

This is Marwood Hill Gardens in North Devon - such a photogenic location and source of images for future crafting. Another great week away with friends.  We have been so lucky with the weather this year.  This time, the first part of the week was really beautiful, ending up the week with gale force winds and torrential rain.  The only other problem we had was almost a benefit - no phone coverage on site and no internet access.  That meant I could not update the blog, but I did do some crafting while we were away - some dry embossing with designs I had already printed out at home from the latest parchment disc from My Craft Studio, some water pencil colouring of prints, and a large amount of cross stitch.

This week, my work is to really and completely tidy my craft room in preparation for a partial rewire of the house, during which the electricians will need easy (!!!) access to all areas of the house.  Most of my stache is stored in cupboards with castors.  However, the piles of boxes on the top make it difficult to move them, not to mention the piles of stuff on top of that......... Oops!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Peel offs

Two very different, but simple cards using just peel offs. In each case, I had two different colours of the same design, and used the outline of one, and infilled with the bits from the other colour.  It is a bit fiddly, but very satisfying.  The Christmas one one was easier, but the kimono nearly sent me demented, but the contrasted mix and match brings the design to life.  My favourite of these two is the Christmas one, but that may just be because I love holographic things.

Just the good, today

I got my pictures back!  I finally found the answer amongst the help files.  I had to go into my browser, and clear all recent history, and immediatedly the pictures returned.  Computers are so touchy.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The good and the bad

The bad first -  what has happpened to the blogs overnight?  I seem to have lost most of the photos on my blog for some reason - hopefully they will return just as mysteriously as they went.

The good - our loft is finally getting a good clear out, and one of the goodies that appeared from the depths was my old John Bull Printing Set.  It contains around 40 small stamps.  I have removed them from their wooden bases and intend to clean them up and mount them on Easy Mount or some such cushioning.  Then they will go well with the old embroidery transfers I have resurrected, and the old cigarette cards.  Nothing is wasted.  I did throw away all the wooden mounts, and the ink pad (which still had ink in it, but I do not know what type of ink).  I think the distress inks will suilt them best, fitting in with their age and style.  When I get them sorted I will post some of the results.  I even have all the letters and the frames in which to create the words for stamping.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Guide Dog Emma

These are three of a series of cards I created to donate to the Guide Dog Association during a visit to their centre at Leamington.  The picture came from the front cover of Sheila Hocken's book about her beloved guide dog, Emma.  I wrote to Sheila asking her permission to use this picture, strictly for this purpose, and she was very willing to allow me to do it.  They all used the same basic picture but were slightly different in the way they were mounted, and were finished off with a variety of peeloffs, some coloured with peeloff pens to tone in.  I created a simple insert for each and presented them in cello bags to keep them fresh and smart.  They all sold within 15 minutes for between £2 and £3 each, depending on size, my thank you for a free and enjoyable visit to the centre.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Another Silhouette card

This is a photo I took of a dog belonging to friends.  Using the Silhouette, I was able to cut even the fence slats accurately to give extra depth to the decoupage, adding bushes and the dog on the top of that.  If I had had to cut the slats by hand with a knife or scissors, I would not have done it.  The file is now saved and I can change the size or change it in any other way I like at the click of a button.

The card was sent to the owner as a special, very personal birthday card - no chance anyone else could send the same one.

Start looking at your own photos, animals, flowers, landscapes etc, and see if you can see where to split a picture to make your own individual decoupage.  When my mother was in a nursing home, I used the picture on the front of the brochure to create decoupage cards for them to sell in the home to make a little extra money for treats for the residents (always ask permission before using other people's photos - if you have a good reason, usually you will get permission).  I also made sets of notelets using the same photo for them to sell.

3rd July 2010 - Christmas is coming!

It sounds almost obscene to talk about Christmas when we are in the middle of a heatwave, but all the craft programmes are into it already.  This is one card I did a couple of years ago, just after treating myself to a Silhouette die cutting machine, which links to your computer as an extra printer.  It is just a series of rectangles and semicircles put together to make up the door.  It was rather fiddly fitting together the small rectangles to make the panels, and I recommend the use of silicone glue or something moveable so you can make the fine adjustmenst to get them right.  The letter box was offcuts (card samples, mainly) of black pearlescent card and gold mirri card, with a slight gap between them to allow the insertion of the Merry Christmas.  A strip of gold mirri card along the bottom, and white glitter glue added a bit more bling.  The wreath was from an old card, and scanned in, and reduced to fit, then decorated with red glitter glue.  The cat was one of our own pets.  I used acetate for the windows and a metallic brad for the doorknob..  All the designing and cutting out was done on the Silhouette, fiddly initially, but once it is there, you can reuse and tweak it for another time.

The Silhouette was, admittedly, a relatively expensive investment, but it does allow you to really go to town with more complex cutting.  It earned its place for me by allowing me to cut perfect circles and ovals.  There are loads of free files out there on the internet to download and use, but you can make up your own just as easily.

Any piece of equipment I buy has to earn its place again and again, and this one does.  I have a number of photos I have turned into decoupage, and several files of decoupage sheets downloaded from other generous crafters.  I transfered them into the Silhouette software, and created the cutting files.  Then it is easy to print on your existing printer, then transfer the printed sheet into the Silhouette for cutting.  It uses registration marks printed by your printer to tell the blade where to cut - clever that!

3rd July 2010 - getting ready for another holiday

Cornwall never fails to impress with its sheer beauty and the quality of the light.  This is Mousehole, taken as we drove through (nowhere to park).  We are home for a few days before heading back down the M5 to North Devon for another shorter break this time with friends.
Retirement is such hard work!