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.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Sewing a card

Do you remember doing string art at school or making designs by drawing straight lines?  That is how I found this design, by doing a search along those lines on the net.   The central design of flowers and leaves was downloaded free, while the border came from a stencil I already had, and I cut the edge of the card to fit it.  I pricked it all out and used Guterman sparkly threads to sew the designs, only two colours, which I think made it more effective in its simplicity.  Dufex pens were used to colour the peel off to match the flowers as closely as possible.  The insert covered over the thread ends to tidy things up.  It was a bit fiddley, but well worth the effort.  You do need to be careful not to pull the threads too tightly otherwise it is too easy to pull through and damage the holes.


This is one of the samples I made recently for the 3rd birthday celebrations of My Craft Studio.  I used one of the images I was sent, and took the box shape from Joanna Sheen, resized it, and put my image on the top, and made 6 notelets to go in it, toegther with the envelopes from MCS (also resized).  I used Pinflair peel offs to decorate the top, and finished the box with some lovely gold ribbon from my stash to complete the project, which was actually shown on two of the programmes.

A Thank You Card

This card was for a thank you to friends after spending the day with them, for a yearly reunion.  While we were there, I took lots of photos of their garden, especially small areas of plants.  When I got home, I created a box of notelets, each with a different photo of their garden.  Then I took this picture of a primrose plant, and turned it into an easel card.  The main picture was mounted on to mirri card.  The background was produced by taking the photo and blurring it, and reducing the opacity (using My Craft Studio).  The sentiment was colour matched in My Craft Studio, and mounted with Pinflair glue.  Using photos like this means you can give a card that is totally unique to the recipient.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

I love learning new things

Thanks to Robyn Cockburn for her original design for this card.  I hope it lives up to her standards, but I did enjoy working it out.  This is for the Ruby Wedding of friends, so I added the 40 and the name tag, working in My Craft Studio with the new text feature, pricking them out using a grid to keep things straight, and then cutting them out by hand.  The flower in the middle  was coloured on the right side with Derwent water colour crayons and blended.  Then I followed a tip by Wendy Walters to burnish it with a large ball tool, and attached it using invisible thread - I do hate that stuff, the way it tangles.  The card is from the PDA Majestic and Stardream range.  This is the most advanced effort I have made with parchment, and although it takes so long, I felt a real sense of achievement in completing it.  I must say, though, I would not do parchment work cards for anyone I thought would not appreciate the time and effort that goes into it.

As as result of this, I now have a "little list" of new tools I really NEED.  They will have to go on my Christmas list for a couple of years, I think.

Friday, 15 October 2010

My desk!!!!

This is my temporary home, trapped in a corridor shaped area, between the dismantled double bed and the wall, while my craft room is being demolished and put back together again.  the airing cupboard with the hot water tank has now gone, which is the good news.  The bad news is that, as in most rooms in our  house, the plaster is only being held on the wall by the wallpaper.  That all has to come off and be replaced before things can start to get back to normal.  So we need to wait for the plasterer to be free to come back.  Meanwhile, my very kind husband has slotted most of my stash in its cupboards into this tiny space.  I have just enough room to sit on my swivel chair, and turn round with extreme care.  My computer is useable but I cannot find room to set up my Silhouette, or even get to the Sissix, but, I can still craft, which is good.  I cannot wait to get back to my new room, which should have treble the working space, now the airing cupboard has gone, and room to spread my cupboards, with shelves on the wall for discs and files etc, hooks for my reels of tape, my ruler and my two heat guns.  Bliss!!!

I have just finished my latest batch of samples, so I need to spend a concentrated session getting to grips with the rest of the birthday cards I need to do for this year, do a few more Christmas cards (having found the box with my Christmas stash in).  Then I want to sort out all my stamps.  I have some totally unused because I could not find them when needed, so an index is needed with a much better system of storage for them.

Indexing is also needed on the computer to enable me to find the actual file I need for a given project.  All my prerecorded bought discs are copied and stored on the external hard drive for ease of use.  My problem is with the mountain of other files accumulated over the years - photos, decoupage sheets (some mine, some bought or downloaded from others), parchment designs etc.  The trick is to sort them properly without losing them.  What fun!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Manipulating images

One minor gripe I have with My Craft Studio is that it does not handle pdf files.  This may not sound very interesting but when you have a lot of discs where all the images are in pdf form and you want to manipulate one of them to create a different format, it can be irritating.

I have got round this problem using another program to convert the pdf to jpg format.  For this card, I took the image and the insert from the latest Joanna Sheen / Pamela West CD, and copied them into Roxio Photosuite, then saved them as jpg's (make sure you know where you have saved them to on your computer - you can waste hours trying to find missing images).  From there, I was able to then take them into My Craft Studio, and resize them to suit my needs.  The image on the front is as designed by Pamela West, cut out and mounted onto holographic card, and then onto the backing paper.  The insert was resized to fit the card I had, then I digitally punched out an oval, into which I put the text.  With My Craft Studio, you can match the colour of your text to any part of your design.  I picked the darkest part of the twigs, and then darkened the text a little from that to make it stand out but still tone in well.  To get the sentiment strip across the front of the card, I cropped the insert to keep just the section with the vertical lines, then turned them through 90 degrees to go across.  I found that I could not get the text to show up satisfactorily on that background, so I went back to the insert and cropped out a small section of the main background, and digitally placed that on top of the strip with the lines, put the text on top of that and printed it as one complete image.  Both the image and the sentiment strip were mounted on the card with narrow shaker tape to give some dimension.  This card was to be given by hand so I used the thicker shaker tape, but if it was to be posted, you could use the thinner tape, or just design the whole thing digitally and print it out as a flat design.  I did this initially to assess if the end result would be as I wanted.  Doing it on the computer first saves using expensive ink printing things you really don't want in the end.

 I thought this particular design from Pamela West was a good one for a male card, always a problem to sort out, especially if your subject is not too keen on sports or cars.

Using what you have

This is an anniversary card I made for friends who spend a large part of their year touring with their caravan and with Land Rovers.  The advert on the front was found on the internet, and I just aged it a little with distress inks round the edge.  Then I found an old black and white image of a trip to Europe by the Land Rover Club, changed it to sepia, mounted the advert on that and then mounted the whole thing on a hammered card, which I also aged with the same distress ink.  The insert was also the same photo, turned to sepia, with a section digitally cut out to add the text.  The program I used to manipulate the images was Roxio Photosuite, but I would probably use My Craft Studio now, which enables you to match the colour of the text exactly to bring everything together.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

My First Award

I was given this award by my Co-Mother-In-Law, the very talented Shaz, Silverwolf Cards.  Thank you so much for this, Shaz.  Your crafting and your blog have been a real inspiration to me, and your generosity in pasing on so many useful tips and ideas so freely.  Since I started paper crafting, so many people have helped me, and many without knowing, by use of their excellent blogs and forums.  There is always someone to help with a problem.

The rules for this award are:

1. Thank the person that passed it to you.
2. Copy the award to your blog.
3. Share three things about yourself that you enjoy doing.

4. Pass the award to 5 others.

This is my very first award, so thank you so much, Shaz.  It is very much appreciated and really made my day.

My 3 shares are
1. Rubber stamping, combined with parching (embossing stamped designs, especially the circular ones)
2. Teaching our nutty spaniels new tricks.
3. Reading - almost anything, particularly about animals, although like Shaz I do enjoy a lot of fantasy fiction.

Now for the 5 people I would like to pass this award on to
1.  Viv at Viv's Visuals
2.   Jennie at  The Artistic Stamper
3.  Eileen at  Eileen's Crafty Zone
4.  Julie at  Inspirational
5.  Estelle at  The Stampsmith

There are many others out there, whose work has been really inspirational, but I was only allowed 5 this time.  Every problem or query I have had, I have been able to sort out by looking at someone's blog, and asking a forum.  so thank you, all of you, and please carry on being so kind and helpful.

Monday, 4 October 2010

More TV cards

This is another of the Christmas Parchment sample cards, but this one did involve the use of parchment.  I took one of the designs for a Christmas bauble, and enlarged it, before printing it on parchment.  I embosssed all the straight lines, round the edge, and round the top and leaves, then cut it out with scissors.  I coloured the leaves and berries on the back with Derwent water colour pencils, then attached the parchment to red mirri card, which was also cut to give a narrow border.  Then I matted it onto gold pearlescent card, adding a ribbon bow and peeloff message.  I used a quickie glue pen to put a tiny dot of glue on all the crosses, sprinkling fine red glitter to bling things up a bit.

This card got picked out twice, by Leonie and Sandra, and then by Stephanie, so that was another boost for my ego.  I think it was chosen to show that even beginners can do something worthwhile with parchment.

TV Debut

I have been doing samples for My Craft Studio for about 6 months now, but this is the first one where I have had a chance to see my work on the programmes.  What a buzz!  I know it is a niche market, selling just to crafters, but to know that your work is considered good enough to show by other more experienced crafters is a huge confidence boost.  This particular program is the Christmas Parchment disc, which, initially sent me into a panic, as parchment work was my weakest skill, having only really started in June.  However, I took a deep breath and dived in. I soon realised that most of the images I had been sent were just as applicable to decoupage and other techniques, so that was where I began.

This card is one of the batch I sent in, and involves the use of one of my favourite techniques with acetate and is being shown by Stephanie Weightman.  The image was first printed on plain white card (supersmooth), then flipped and reprinted on acetate as a mirror image, sprayed with adhesive (Crafters Companion Stick and Stay).  The two images were married up with extreme care, then matted and layered on holographic mirri card, then the starburst background, created from the main image, then holographic card again before sticking the whole thing onto supersmooth card, and embelishing it all with peeloffs, and a suitable insert.  I really liked the carol toppers on this cd, which gave an element of the religious part of Christmas without upsetting the less religious people.  I created the insert from one of the backgrounds, matching up the colours and designs on the screen before printing anything.