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.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Less Is More - Week 52 - A Sketch

This card is for the Less is More Challenge Sketch this week. Initially, I struggle with the concept, but then I had a bad night's sleep, and the ideas flew round my head like a flock of birds.  The final result bears very little resemblance to my original ideas, but I think it fulfils the brief to keep it simple. It is rectangular, in landscape format, and the band is vertical.  It has minimal elements, and plenty of area clear of image or embellishment. 

The clear area on this card is red, rather than the usual white.  I used two different computer packages to get the result I was after.  Roxio Photosuite gave me the exact shade of red I needed to match the rose, which I love because it is so delicate.  It is a watercolour painted by our daughter many years ago.  I loved it, and scanned it into the computer, and it has appeared in other projects over the years (with her permission).  Once I had the colour right, I transferred the various elements into My Craft Studio to complete the composition and to add the sentiment. 

It looks and sounds such a simple card to create, but as you all know, a simple card leaves you nowhere to hide - it has to be right.  You cannot hide behind the usual butterflies and other embellishments.  This is actually the fourth version of the final design.  The others just were not quite right, and will be chopped up to make parts of other cards in the future (I cannot waste card, it is too useful).

I am hoping to pop back later in the week with a couple more offerings when I get my head round them - perhaps after another sleepless night.  Hope you all have a good week.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Lots of Challenges Today

This first card is for the Die Cut Dreams Sympathy challenge this week. All the parts, apart from the sentiment, come from a pack I bought from QVC ages ago.  I bought it mainly because I thought the cards themselves were very pretty, soft colours and delicate edges.

The flower stickers came with the pack.  They add a little dimension, but they fold flat for posting.  they are stuck only in the centre and you can bend and roll the various elements to make them stand up.  They have an element of memory in them so they do stand up a little when they are released from the card.

As usual, the sentiments I had were the wrong colour, so I used a silver peel off, and the brown and yellow Dufex pens to colour them to a more coppery colour to tone with the flowers.

This card is for the Stampalot monochromatic challenge.  As in the card above, the peel offs were coloured to tone in with the card.

The photos are family ones of my one set of grandparents.  If you look hard, you can see that they were taken in the same place.  They were obviously showing off new bicycles.  The originals were black and white, but I changed them to sepia shades which made them clearer.

I printed them on watercolour card, and then aged it with Old Paper Distress ink, before mounting it on dark brown card.  The whole thing was then matted onto a plain cream card from my oddments box, which I also aged a little with the same ink, then added the coloured peel offs.

I have a lot of old family photos which I do like to use in my crafting.  These are just two of them.

 Card number three is for the 52 (Christmas) Card Throwdown, which was for a card with Christmas flowers in some form.  I am also entering it into Sandra' new challenge for Rudolph Day .

The artwork and the shaped card comes from a My Craft Studio design, I think from Nancy Watt, but I may be wrong there.  It is another card with dimension, but can lie fairly flat for posting, and even comes with its own matching envelope.  It is one piece of card for the base, printed from the computer, then decorated with the decoupage elements.

As is usual for me, I did not use all the elements, but I did add a few red gems to give a bit of Christmas bling.

This is a real bits and pieces card, so following along those lines, I am entering it into Di's Snippits Playground for this week, and into Sandra's Rudolph Day.  However, as it uses a die cut from my Silhouette, it also fits into the Less is More Challenge for Cut it Out
for this week.

The central cut out design is part of a much larger set to make a cut out card by LCM Griffiths.  Having cut it out, I decided that it was far too complicated for me to put together in its entirety, so I have been using each element as a separate item.  I matted it onto a small scrap of dark blue card, before putting it on to the base card.  That in itself is a real Use it Up item, going back to my first start in card making.  I bought far too many card blanks to do my son's wedding stationery, and still have a box full of the cards and the envelopes to match, and nearly a ream of matching cream paper for the inserts.

My final card for today (phew, I hear you say) is a slightly tongue in cheek entry for  the Allsorts Needles and Pins.  You will not see any needles and pins themselves in this card.  However, without this building and others like it, you would have no needles and pins.  The central photo is of the Forge Mill in Redditch, which is now the National Needle Museum.  It is one of the surviving needle making mills, powered by water from the pound you can see in the picture.  Having fallen into dereliction, my husband's uncle formed a group of enthusiasts to bring it back to life.  Sadly, he died before the Queen came to open it officially as a museum.

The small photo inset in the corner is of our daughter's wedding, which was held at the Mill, continuing the family connection with needles.  As you can see, it was a wedding with a difference.  My husband's family have been involved in the needle making trade for several generations in the area.  It does seem dreadful that all the needles are now made abroad and just a few are packed in Redditch and Studley, all that talent lost to our country.  Thirty years ago, Redditch needles were sent all over the world, but not now.

I have now to assure you that none of the materials used in these cards were bought for the job.  So I am keeping up with my pledge to Use It Up in 2012.
I am now off to link up to all these various challenges.  I have had fun this week, even though I did not finish all I wanted to do.  See you all later, I hope.  Have a good week.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Delicious Doodles - Winter Wonderland

This card could fit in several challenges at the moment.  First of all, nothing new was used in the making of this card so it fits well into the Use It Up in 2012.  A lot of it came from my Christmas bits box, so it also fits into Di's Snippets Challenge.  It is winter and in shades of blue and white, so it also fits into the Delicious Doodles Winter Wonderland challenge.

The base card is a full sheet of dark blue pearlescent Stardream card from PDA.  The trees on the front were cut from a card we were sent a couple of years ago., and the background is from a My Craft Studio background design.  The stars on the top of the trees were left overs from silver peel offs.  It was matted and layered onto silver mirri card.  I then just embellished the card with a silver holographic peel off and some little gems to finish it off. 

Craft a Scene

I am reposting this, although I only posted it yesterday.  However, Mr Linky will not allow me to post two cards from one post.  It keeps spitting me out so I am am splitting the two cards apart into separate posts..

This second card, following on from yesterday, was done in a more sensible manner, with another set of Hobby Art stamps, with a really Proven├žal feel to them.  This time, I used the Clarity coated stock, and did some masking to get the trees etc in the right place.  I brayered the background and tried to get a vivid sunset look to it.  I used the Promarkers to colour in the houses and the trees etc., going over parts to try to show shade areas.  I mounted the stamps on Clarity handles, which was great as it allowed me to see exactly where I was placing things.    The pathway is not quite as I had envisaged, so I need to explore that in the future to improve things.

I am hoping I have now fooled Mr Linky and he will let me play in the Craft a Scene Challenge for this month.  I really enjoy playing around to create the scenes as I want them, and once I have finished this month's cards, a lot more playing will follow.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Craft a Scene Challenge

This first card is from the Hobby Art Countryside stamps.  I have used them before, but not really gone into the masking bit too far.  This one is not quite how I intended it to be, but changing your mind when you are halfway through is not helpful.  I had originally intended it to be done in sepia, so I had stamped on watercolour card.  Then I thought I would brayer the background and do a resist to get the clouds.  Mistake!!  All I got was the texture of the card showing through.  A change of tack was needed, so I then used the make up sponges to work the ink into the"holes" in the card, and do the rest of the background colouring.  The colouring of the various elements was done with my meagre collection of Promarkers.

The second card has now moved to the next post, as Mr Linky would not let me enter two cards from the same post. 

This card  is intended for the Craft a Scene Challenge for this month.  I really enjoy playing around to create the scenes as I want them, and once I have finished this month's cards, a lot more playing will follow.

WOYWW - 138

Good morning to you all, especially my new followers.  You are very welcome and I hope you enjoy what you read and see here..  The weather is improving today so I am feeling more cheerful.  Doesn't the weather affect the way you feel?  It certainly does for me.

Anyway, although I am rather late this morning, at least the photos were taken this morning with mostly natural light.  The card you can see is one I have done for the Craft a Scene Challenge, and will appear properly in my next post.  To the right of that, underneath the bits left from the make, is a set of Pilkington Winter Scenes.  Those are ready for my next make, which is a Winter wonderland make.  I am still debating exactly how that one will go, but the ideas are there in my head.  I may have a go at that after I have been to have my hair cut this afternoon (can't wait for that - it has got so long and I just keep forgetting to ring up for an appointment). 

I have so many ideas running round in my head at the moment, but just not enough time to carry them out.  Life is definitely getting in the way of crafting.  I have done nothing for about four days - horror!!    It has been a busy week, including having the windscreen replaced on the Freelander, not a good thing to have. 

My other project this week is to get the voice recognition software built into Windows to work properly.  We both have Kindles, which are wonderful, especially when we go away on holiday - we can take hundreds of books with us without taking up too much space or weight.  We are gradually replacing worn and tatty books with the Kindle version.  However some of the authors we particularly like are not produced in the Kindle version.  So we decided that we would do the job ourselves.  At the moment, I could type four times faster than reading to to the computer and having to correct what it writes.  Hopefully, though, the wretched machine will learn and speed up, and we can get some of our favourites onto the Kindle as pdf files.

Anyway, I am off now to do some crafting, and to post the details of my card as well.  While I am busy,  why don't you slip away and visit a few more people, whose blogs are linked to the lovely Julia's blog.  We would all love to hear from you, and have the chance to visit you in return.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Rosettes galore

This is my first attempt at doing rosettes.  Everyone seems to be doing them so I decided I would have a go.  The only problem is that I do not have the die for doing the hard work, and I cannot justify the cost now I am signed up to Use It Up in 2012.  So it was down to just cutting strips of paper and circles (I already have one circle punch), and experimenting to see whether I could produce something reasonable, working out the correct width of paper to match the circles.  After several experiments, I thought of using some of my gorgeous foils to make something striking, hence the bright red.  I have already done one card with black and red and liked the contrast, so I managed to find an A5 piece of black card for my base card.  I wrapped the spine with a strip of the red flowered foil, made a rosette from the same paper and attached that with my trusty silicone glue.  Once it was put together, I laid it on my desk and put my hole punch on top to hold it in place.  The sentiment was a silver peel off which I coloured with a red Dufex pen.  I was quite pleased with the result and I hope the intended recipient will not have time to study my blog before she receives this card.  This design was intended for the UKScrappers 52 week challenge, but I am late again.

 On my desk here, you can see some of the other experiments and the makings for a few more.  I shall store these in yet another box for future use.  After doing the cutting, I took the strips downstairs and did the folding while vegetating in front of the tv, then glued them together the next day.

I hope you will be encouraged to have a go at some of these things even if you don't have the gadgets to do them.  After all, gadgets were just invented to make the job easier, most things can be done by hand, even if it takes a little longer.  Just have a go and have fun.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

WOYWW - 137

 This is a scheduled post, so this is actually my desk on Tuesday evening, but it won't change before tomorrow afternoon.  Could be tidier, but I can see some of my cutting mat, so that is good.  Tomorrow, I need to clear everything off as I have some sewing to do, if I can remember where my machine is and how it works.  It is not my favourite job, turning up jeans and other trousers - boring, but necessary.  Once that is done, then I have permission from myself to have a real blitz on stamping and brayering etc - whooppee....

The first card with lilies and the dragonfly  is one of the many decoupage sheets I have bought or printed out.  I am determined to get through as many as possible to clear some space in that area.  Most I have had for so long that I cannot remember who designed them or where I bought them, so I apologise for that.  However i do not apologise for using them up.  I often find I do not use all the layers given, for two reasons.  It makes the card too bulky, and it just looks too heavy for me.  This is another card that qualifies for the Use it Up in 2012 Challenge.

This last card is a get well card for my sister in law, who has just come out of hospital, and is very limited in what she can do at the moment.  She is someone who usually flies around the countryside, with so many activities that it make my head hurt,  The image is from Joanna Sheen's Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, a lovely soft image.  It is decoupaged, but as usual not all layers are used.  She seemed to like the card, but I suspect she like the fresh bread and the Victoria Sandwich more.

Now, if you have got right down to here, I am sure you would like to pop over to the home of Julia Dunnit, the wonderful lady who brings us all together each Wednesday.  I hope to meet many of you over there.  Have a wonderful week.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Craft a Scene

This is the first of my entries in the Craft a Scene Challenge for this month.  The title for this month is Anything Goes.  The stamps I used are from the Clarity range from Barbara Gray, and one of my first attempts at creating a scene for myself. 

I used slate grey Adirondack for the stamping, and the trees were done on the first generation ink.  The reflections of the trees were second generation ink.  The fence and the gate were drawn with a thin black pen. 

Most of the background colour was added with a make up sponge as the brayer was too big to fit in the areas I wanted.  The colouring of the oast houses and the hops were done with my limited range of Promarkers, with some blending going on. 

I edged the picture with the gold Krylon pen, before mounting it on white card.  Just a warning, the Krylon is wonderful, but do not use it on photographic paper.  It sits on the top and then flakes off, leaving a mess.  Everything else I have used it on has been fine.

My next session of crafting is intended to be a really good play with my stamps and inks to see what other scenes I can put together.  Who knows, I might get something worth showing from that., even if it is only a "what not to do" example.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

52 (Christmas) Card Throwdown, Snippets, UIU2012, Going buggy

The rules for this week on the 52 (Christmas) Card Throwdown was black, white and a splash of red  and it should be for Christmas.  I have to admit that I went through several boxes and cupboards to find what I wanted.   I am trying to combine challenges wherever possible, so I wanted to get as much as possible from the scrap box.  However, the red bit was not possible, so the tree image came from My Craft Studio.  I stretched it a bit to get the height I wanted, apart from the star.  After printing it, I sprayed it lightly with iridescent glitter (Christmas has to have glitter, doesn't it?    
I had some bits of black card in the scraps box, but only as large as A6, which I used as the base card, plus smaller bits of black and white for matting and layering, so the card is another tiny one.  The sentiment is a basic gold peel off, coloured with a red Dufex pen.  Three red gems complete the embellishments.  

Once I got going with this one, I did enjoy the fact that it was another card done for next Christmas, I was using bits and pieces (Use It Up in 2012).  So I am also entering this in Di's  Snippets challenge as well.  I have just found another challenge for this card at Enfys Going Buggy Challenge.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Yes, they are Christmas cards!

This is one I did for the 52 Week throw down Challenge January sketch.  I am a bit late, but at least I did it in the end.  It is a very small card A6.  The two stripes are super sticky tape, with Martha Stewart fine glitter rubbed into them.  Then the bits in the middle are from magazine give aways, which I have had for years.  The whole thing is finished with a peel off sentiment.

 These two cards are inspired by a shop bought card we had this year.  It is so easy.  Again they are only A6.  The tree is drawn by hand using a Quickie glue pen.  You need to leave the glue to dry till it is just tacky before sprinkling the glitter over the top.  Gently pat it down, then you can rub gently to ensure it beds into the glue properly, then use a soft brush to remove excess glitter.  I used gold gems to add a bit more bling, and then finished off with the peel off sentiment. By the way, the sentiment on the card on the right is at an angle to cover up my dreadful attempt to write my own sentiment - lots more practice needed with that idea, methinks.  I would not win any prizes for my writing.  Does anyone out there remember the competition for good handwriting that used to be held by The Children's Newspaper?

All these three cards were made using bits and pieces of stash I already had, a lot of which came from my bits box.  So I shall also add these to the Use It Up in 2012 challenge.  I did have a minor struggle to finish them as we had a power cut, and I did miss being able to listen to my music at the same time.  However, it shows I can craft without my computer, and I can use bits and pieces that were destined for the recycling bin. 

Now I feel smug again, till I look at my desk.  Not my fault, I could not see what I was doing - power cut, if you remember.  That is my excuse and I am sticking to it.  I wonder what my excuse will be tomorrow.............

Fresh Bread - homemade from scratch.

This post is specially for Sam (Hetticraft) who requested to see some bread.  This is my latest one, and is a mixture of white and granary, half and half.  I do have a good breadmaker, but I have not used it lately, prefering to do it more by hand.  I do cheat a little as I use my trusty old Kenwood (about 40 years old) to do the hard work for the first mixing and kneading.

Ingredients :
8oz strong white bread flour
8oz strong wholemeal or granary bread flour
Approx half pint milk
1 egg
One and a half oz butter
1oz yeast (you could use dried yeast, but fresh is nicer)
1 dessertspoon of  honey

1. Mix the fresh yeast and honey gently until it becomes a liquid.
2. Warm the milk to blood heat (dip your little finger in, and if it does not feel warm or cold, that is right)
3. Add milk to yeast and honey mix and stir in gently.  Leave to one side while you mix the other ingredients.
4. Mix all the other ingredients, either with dough hook or by hand.
5. Check that the yeast mixture is giving off tiny bubbles, then add to the other ingredients and mix in thoroughly, until it all comes together and comes away from the side of the bowl.
6a. If mixing by hand, tip it out onto a very lightly floured board and knead together (If you want to see the right way, check out the videos by Richard Bertinet on YouTube)  It should be quite a wet mix to get a really good rise.
6b. If mixing with the Kenwood dough hook, keep the mixer going for about 10 minutes until you can see the mix beginning to stretch.
7. When well kneaded, then cover the bowl with cling film and put into a warm draught free place (the microwave is perfect - don't turn it on) until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
8. Scrape it out of the bowl onto a very lightly floured board, and fold it in thirds, turn it 90 degrees and repeat the process.  Keep doing that until you have a good smooth top surface, and the fold in underneath.  Press a floured finger into the top of the dough ball, and if the indentation pops out immediately, you know it is ready to continue.
9. Put your dough into a well greased loaf tin (2lb size), fold side down, brush the top with either milk or an egg wash, and cover loosely with a piece of well greased bakewell paper, and a dry tea-towel over the top.  Put it to rise in a warm place for about half and hour, the bread should be creating a dome above the tin sides.
10.  When the dough has risen for the second time, put it into a hot 200- 220 C oven for about 20-25 minutes.  It should be coloured but not too dark.  When you turn it out of the tin, it should sound hollow if you bang it on the bottom of the loaf.  If it is not quite done, Just put it back into the oven for a few minutes without the tin.
11. This is where the hard work starts.  You must resist the temptation to scoff the lot.   Allow it to cool thoroughly, the natural chemical reaction of the ingredients is still working.  If you eat hot bread, you can end up with severe indigestion.

Next time, I make a loaf, i will try to remember to take photos at every stage and post them.  Breadmaking is not hard , and very satisfying.  Have fun.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

WOYWW - 136

 I can't believe we are on the second post of the year already.  The time is going far too fast, and I have far too much to do.  A couple of pictures of my desk to start with, exactly as I left it yesterday, having finally finished four cards, just as our visitors arrived.  You can see some of the cards, just sitting finishing drying the silicone glue, but there is also a lot of general detritus, the stuff that is left over at the end of each project.  A good clear up is required before I start the next project.  I want to do some card making for stock, but probably also fitting in with one or two challenges along the way.  The best challenge I have found so far is called Use it Up in 2012 (if you want to know more, look at my earlier post), which rather fits in well with my ambition to reduce the amount of scraps, and kit remnants etc.

The cards I did yesterday actually followed that line to some extent, although I did have to print the toppers.  As I needed three children's cards, I had nothing in the box to suit, but all the backing did come from the left over stuff.  The toppers came from Hayley West's Nursery Rhymes CDRom.  The first one is "What Little Girls are made of", and after decoupaging it, I embellished it with some glaze on the butterflies, the lollipop, and the shoes, buttons and bracelets.  The sentiment is a silver holographic.  Then, to finish it off, I added a few gems, including on on the flower on her dress.  The skirt, in particular, lent itself well to shaping to get a bit more depth.

The next card goes with the first one, as it is from the same disc, and is "What little boys are made of".  The backing paper and the card came from the remnants box, so I could carry on feeling a bit virtuous.  Again, it is decoupaged, with some shaping where possible, and the sentiment was from the same sheet as the first..  As it is for a boy, I did not think that glittery gems were really appropriate this time.
This final card is from the same disc, and is, obviously, Jack and Jill.  It tested my skills with the blade this time, to cut out the gaps on the well and on the bucket that Jill is carrying.  I was quite pleased that I managed not to cut through the very thin bits that are left.  The only embellishment was a bit of glaze on the red flowers.  The silver border was a bit of a pain, as I cut the silver backing too tight (I cut it off on one side) so I used some silver Christmas ribbon to create another border on top.

These three children's cards are also being entered into the Snippets Challenge, as so much was from my snippets box, and into the Use it Up in 2012 Challenge, as the majority was from paper stash, and the images were from an already owned CDRom.

My final card for this month's birthday is actually from stock, and most of the work was done on it on holiday last year.  It is one of the digi stamps I printed out and coloured in while away, using either water colours or Promarkers.  I glazed the design to prevent any damage from light or damp, and then mounted it on a remnant piece of pearlescent card.  The silver edging was done with a silver Krylon pen, which saves extra thickness in the backing - saves money on postage.  I think it is particularly effective on a scalloped edge as it follows the edge perfectly.

I apologise to those people I did not get to visit last week.  I really did try hard, but now we have two Wednesday's in each week, time goes too fast.  Last Wednesday was only yesterday - at least that is how it feels.  Having added bread making to the weekly tasks, time seems to be going even faster, but it does taste nice.  I am now trying to work out the easiest way to make bread in the caravan, so that we do not have to buy "plastic" rubbish while we are away. 

After I have posted this and linked up to Julia at Stamping Ground, I shall have a wander round as many of your desks as possible.  Why don't you join me?  It is fun and free

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Use it up in 2012

Having been on a wander round blogs, just following random links (as you do), I came across Fran's blog  and her challenge to us all to resist the urge to go out and buy stuff (that includes internet shopping too) and shop in your own stash.   The idea could help so many of us, who are trying to fit more and more into a limited space.  I am definitely included in that group.  Not only is my scraps box overflowing, but I have folders of decoupage sheets I have bought or printed ready, and partial kits of stuff.  All this needs to go, but in a productive way.  Hopefully, Fran's idea will give me the push to use at least some of that up, and cut down the costs of crafting at the same time.  My only real condition is that I may need to replace things like glues and basic card and paper - that sort of thing is allowed, isn't it.  Anyone else going to join in?  If this strikes a note with you, pop over to Fran and join up.  See you over there, I hope.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

WOYWW - 135

I am still (sort of) tidying.  However, I do not seem to be making much progress with this stack of boxes under my desk, but while I still have enough room to put my feet while I work, I probably will not worry too much about that lot.  I did have one collapse the other day, but I just rebuilt the pile and it seems reasonably stable for the moment.  I am more interested in getting a few cards done for this month, and trying to make them fit some of the challenges that are around at the moment.  

My first card of the year, a birth card for the Spanish twins, can be seen in the post before this one, and i really hope that all the cards this year go together as well as that one.  Each piece stuck in exactly the right place with no lumps and bumps to sort out.  There isn't even a speck of glitter in the wrong place.  How brilliant is that, and how unusual.

Perhaps, it is justice to make up for the major hassle I had with that last Christmas card.  If you want to read about that little lot, you will need to look back to the earlier post, but, believe me, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  It so nearly ended up in the bin.  It was only that I did not have time to start again that kept me going on this card.

 Christmas has now finished in our house.  I sorted all the cards yesterday, keeping the ones so carefully made for us, and selecting a few of the others for tag making etc for next year.  Geoff decided that he would take down all the other decorations as well, but he did take photos of our main decoration - a little alpine type village.  We starting collecting these things about 10 years ago, buying extra bits each year.  I really do not think we have room for any more, and the style has changed too, and they new things do not really fit with the style of what we have.  We would love the railway and the ferris wheel, but we just cannot justify the high price of these two items.  You would think that children would love this illuminated village, but it does seem to be the older children amongst us that are most interested.  Perhaps, it is something that we think we would have liked when we were children.  The grandchildren are more interested in playing with my massage chair than the village.

I intended to get round everyone last week, but that idea fell apart when I found that after Julia had changed her theme, I had lost the colour changes which showed me where I had got to.  I had started with a system but that had gone a little by the wayside anyway, so when I lost my markers, I was totally defeated.  So, if I did not get to you, I apologise, and will try to do better this week.

Before you go back to Julia's Place, to look at all the other desks this week, let me wish you all a very Happy New Year, full of health, happiness and plenty of crafting fun.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Spanish Newborns

This is the front of the card I have been doing for the little Spanish twins, born on New Year's Eve.  For once, things have gone together very smoothly, with no nasty creases from sticking the toppers down.  I will not gloat too much yet, as I still need to stick the insert sheet in place, straight across the inside.

The main design is from Joanna Sheen's "Baby Love" cd.  I took it from the disc, using the snapshot too, and put it into My Craft Studio.  Then I copied it and pasted it so I had two (one for each baby), flipped the second one so I had mirror images.  The backing card is a very soft blue/grey, and I joined two pieces together, and then folded it so it just fitted (with a little border) the toppers.  the whole thing opens in the centre as you can probably see.
I felt that the toppers looked a little unfinished, so I ran the Quickie glue pen down the edges, allowed it to dry off, then sprinkled it with Martha Stewart silver glitter, rubbed it into place gently with my finger, before brushing the excess away with a soft paintbrush.  A few small gems gave the flower centres.

As the card is for Spanish twins, I thought I should make the effort to do the writing in Spanish, so off I went to Google Translate.  I hope it worked properly and makes sens to them, but anyway, I did try.  By lining up the two toppers in My Craft Studio, I was able to match up the names and dates on the front perfectly, and print them out on the toppers, all at the same time. 

The flat insert sheet was also from "Baby Love", with a lot of help from Google Translate, and was just an A4 protrait insert with all the writing removed, and my own writing inserted right in the middle using MSC again.

We are now looking forward to seeing  pictures of the two babies and maybe even on Skype.  The family made us all so welcome when we went over there, that we really feel  as though they are true family.

I am also taking the opportunity to enter this card into New Beginnings Challenge on the http://allsortschallenge.blogspot.com/.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

The card that nearly wasn't

This is the card I mentioned earlier in the week, the one that caused me so much trouble in its making.  Yo save you searching back to see what I am on about, I have copied its construction details below.  I had promised to show it to you, but having forgotten to photo it, I had to wait till we visited the recipients again last night.

My final card to be finished this year nearly sent me to an early grave.  The topper was already done, one of my stained glass variety of a Nativity stained glass window, with the acetate married up with the paper version underneath.   I needed a frame to cover the glue holding the two halves together, but then I discovered that nothing was the right colour.  OK, strong sticky tape round ti and Martha Stewart fine glitter rubbed into it.  That looks good.  Now back it onto black card.  Fine.  Now I need gold card as the final matt - problem, nothing matched the gold glitter.  Here we go again.  this time, spray glue on the mount, stick the topper on that and rub glitter into the edges of the matt.  Then the whole thing was finally stuck on to the black pearlescent card.  That looks fine.  Now all I need is the gold holographic sentiment - problem - I used all the gold ones, only silver left.  Out came the spray glue again.  I cut the sentiment off the sheet, sprayed it with glue and rubbed in more glitter.  Then I peeled off my newly glittered sentiment and stuck that on black card and mounted it in the same way as the topper.  All that was left the the simple job of printing out the insert, which was already set up.  Did I say simple........  What a mistake that was.  It printed fine, but then it needed to be trimmed.  After three disasters when bits got chewed off, I looked at the guillotine and found that the channel the blade runs in was clogged with glue and general stuff.  After I cleaned that out, things worked better and the card was finally finished, and was very well received.

Since then, I have made two calendars and two birthday books from Joanna Sheen's "Patience Strong" discs.  A couple of problems with that, too.  Forgot that they are interactive, so you need to remove the instructions before printing - that only took one complete reprint before I got that one sorted.  I think my New Year's resolution of choice should be to read instructions and check the previews before pressing the Print button.  It always happens, though, when you are in a hurry.

My other resolution is to build up a stock of special occasion cards to avoid the panic that sets in when they are needed yesterday.  However, that would not have helped in my other project for today and tomorrow, which is a birth congratulation   for twins over in Spain.  You may remember that we went over there for a wedding in August - spectacular.  The sister of the bride had her twin boys in the early hours of New Year's Eve, and as I wanted to personalise the card, using the boys' names and all the writing in Spanish, this card had to wait.  Birth cards are not my strong point - I struggle to get past the storks and prams scenario, but this one seems to be going together fairly smoothly so far.  Even gluing down the toppers onto the card went without a hitch, so I am hopeful.  If it works, i will show it to you later in the week.

In the meantime, i hope you all had a good time last night and that 2012 turns out to be a really good year for all of you.  I have loved reading your blogs and your messages to me.  your help with problems has been so great, showing just how generous crafters are.  I look forward to seeing much more of you all throughout 2012.