Having a happy day

With mother’s day around the corner, I have taken a break from Christmas cards and grabbed a different card kit (still trying to reduce storage space needed) to make my wonderful mum a card. Mother in law’s is made – she cross stitches too, so the little stitched bucket of flowers will be winging its way to Hull when His Lordship gets round to writing the card.

Although this card is a quick make and made from a kit, it’s a kit I like as it leaves plenty of room to be creative and put your own spin on your makes.

 I based my card on this sketch from Tuesday Morning Sketches (#234).

I have Pinterest boards of rectangular and square card sketches for those times mojo or inspiration is running low. I find them especially helpful when I have a kit and have been staring at a topper, unsure of how I want to use it. 

With today’s card, I liked the topper but as it’s big (95x95mm), I found it kept overwhelming my ideas for a layout. I felt the sketch I chose meant I was encouraged to keep the background relatively simple which best showed off the papers.

What do you need?

  • Hobby House Sweet Blossom members’ gift from Create and Craft – this included my topper, background papers and the pearlescent card I used for matting and layering
  • Kraft card
  • 6×6 white card blank
  • Peach crochet lace – mine was from The Works, I wish I’d bought two as I use it often and have only got 2 inches left
  • Flat backed pearls
  • Glossy accents
  • Purple pen

How to:

  1. Cut a piece of Kraft card to 145x145mm. Onto this layer a piece of peach paper with white polka dots and a piece of the floral striped paper from thekit, each measuring 140x70mm. Make sue the outside borders are even, if the central line isn’t quite right it doesn’t matter as you’ll be covering this.
  2. Wrap a piece of crochet lace around the middle of the card, covering the join in the papers. I put a little bit of All Purpose glue in the middle as it would behidden by my topper and gives a but more stability, then I fastened the ends behind the card so the front looks neat.
  3. Glue, or use double sided tape, your card front to the card blank. This is earlier than I sometimes do, but it means I then don’t smudge other elements.
  4. Cut a square 100x100mm of the darkest (maroon, maybe) pearlescent card from the kit, and a scalloped edged square from the peach pearlescent card measuring 110x110mm – I used my Scan’N’Cut for this, but dies or pinking shears should work. I always hollow out my layers to save card and because I find by keeping the weight of the card front down it helps it to stand well.
  5. Use the purple pen to ink the edges of the topper and both squares. Make sure you’ve trimmed any little notches on the topper where it was fixed into the sheet or these will soak in more ink and look uneven.
  6. Layer up your squares and topper, then stick centrally on your card. I didn’t use 3d foam for this and the layters already made my topper stand proud, but it would work if you want lots of dimension.
  7. Finally embellishments. I put a bow made of the crochet lace to the left of the topper, on the lace which was already there (I use All Purpose glue for sticking fabrics, I find it holds really well once dry, but it’s quite yellowy so be careful). I put 3 pearls in the bottom right hand corner, and finally I used Glossy accents to pick out the middles of the white flowers. 

Getting organised in many ways

I’m still trying to reduce the storage space my stash needs by working at actually using up sheets in kits. So far I’m two sheets of A4 down…

As His Lordship and I work most weekends, I never really managed to get into a routine of doing craft fairs. I do, however, do a fair for the local hospice at the end of November. My mum pointed out when I last saw her that I won’t really be able to man my stall this year as I’ll have a teeny baby in tow, but she is going to step in because she’s wonderful.

She also made another good point: as Dot grows, making cards and other treats is going to get less easy, so it’s going be a year of Christmas crafting with as needed fun in between.

The kit I picked up to use today was the Kanban Vintage Christmas collection. I love this, the colours are muted and vintage, with gorgeous old fashioned, traditional images which are perfect for Christmas and the season in general, and the sentiments are lovely, including Happy New Year as well as more typical ones. The set includes toppers, backing papers and inserts. 

I have mainly used Kanban gold card for matting and layering. I like that it’s subtle but festive. I do like mirri board, but it can be a bit too much for some projects, a bit too shiny and in your face.

One of the great things about this kit is that there are sheets with loads (12) relatively simple toppers, as well as sheets with fewer but more complex designs. I picked out a couple of toppers I liked to play first, then chose a sheet to try to use up, so the photos should show the order. I have added a few stash essentials, but these are mainly using the kit.

Using a sweet Santa I liked and a sentiment

Simple pyramage, only decorated with a ribbon but I love this

The sheet I chose to try to use up today

Replaced the front with acetate so the inset could take centre stage

Punched snowflakes from the waste from the toppers sheet, and the horizontal ribbon was also from this waste. The vertical ‘ribbon’ was cut from the front sheet introducing the collection

And this is what’s left of the toppers sheet

Using up stash. Slowly

With Little Dot expected in November, I am aware that I need to somehow create space in our house. The things of mine which are by far most bulky are my coats (one to go, the others are justifiable) and my crafting stash which is certainly not being donated away.

I’ve made a pact with myself to not buy any more, the purchase yesterday was before the pact… Instead I set myself the not so difficult challenge of using what I’ve got. Not only should this hopefully refuce the storage space needed (slightly), but I think it’ll be quite fun to revisit my old supplies.

Does anyone else buy things, get really excited bythem, then tidy them away and even at times forget all about them? I only do this with crafty bits, but I’m really bad for it.

I find kit cards as I call them, especially Hunkydory ones, can be fun for a one off quick make and tend to look pretty with little effort, but get a bit samey quickly, and I almost never seem to use more than one topper from a couple of pages before I tidy the kit away and get out a collection and dies where I can feel moree creative.

A while back I bought the Create and Craft member’s gift of Hunkydory Floral Breeze. It’s a pretty kit, lots of gorgeous flowers, bird houses, outdoors-y romantic scenes. I had made 3 cards before I put it away and forgot about it.

Today’s challenge to myself was to use up a page of toppers. I like to try to use the waste, get the most out of my stash, and this is Usk where I feel ii can add more of my own spin. Of the three cards I’ve made, one includes elements which came free with a magazine, the other two are purely from the kit, one using waste. 

The final photo is what’s left of the topper sheet. I will use it, but Dot’s making me feel far too icky for hunching over cards at the minute.

Cheerful birthday wishes

I’m feeling cheerful. It’s birthday season coming up for us so I decided to make a start on birthday cards. My own family and friends I make personal cards for, but for mum’s friends I tend to keep a stock in for her to choose from.

It’s been a very Scan’N’Cut heavy week on Create and Craft, a channel I often have on for a bit of inspiration. My Scan’N’Cut was a wonderful birthday present a year ago, but is very much underused; I love it,but mainly use it to cut mats and layers in perfect sizes and to make boxes. I thought it needed a bit of a challenge.

When trying to sort out my stash last week I found a pouch of Tattered Lace mini dies with’Celebrate’, 3 butterflies of varying sizes and a candle (if memory serves, they were a C&C members’ gift a while back).

 I thought the candle would look good as a background in nice bright colours, different sizes and differing angles. Trying to do this freehand or with dies would have been so time consuming, and I’ve only got one size in die so it would have been expensive, likewise with stamps. Scan’N’Cut to the rescue.

So, it was time for the technophobe to get clever… 

  1. I die cut the candle, then stuck it to a piece of white card and scanned it in, then saved it to the machine’s memory. 
  2. I opened the file, then asked the machine for 10 copies of image, I later found this wasn’t quite enough but it’s really easy to ask for more, or delete off spares.
  3. My paper I wanted to decorate was A5, so I moved the candles around an area I thought was that size – I should really have scanned in the paper first, then I’d not have had to add more, but I had taken pity on Kye who hates the noise and sits on top of my machine hitting the scanning.
  4. Once I’d got the area covered, I changed the sizes, making some bigger than the original, some smaller and leaving some untouched.
  5. Next, I changed the orientation of each. I like that the machine gives the option of 90 degree, 10 degree and 1 degree moves, it means I feel like I’ve got full control. I wanted to keep all the flames very generally facing upwards, so the most I rotated was 80 degrees.
  6. Once I thought it was ready, I put Kye out (getting batted for daring to expose him to the frost) and scanned in the paper I was using, my candles didn’t cover enough so it was a two minute job to request some more and cover the rest.
  7. When it was actually ready, I changed the blade holder for the pen holder and set the machine off drawing. 2 minutes later I had a lovely sheet of black outlines.
  8. I know I could have asked the machine to colour the candles, but a) I can’t remember how, and b) I fancied colouring in. I unloaded the mat and turned off the Scan’N’Cut.
  9. I used my mini Sharpies because they’re nice bright colours, but I couldn’t find a yellow I wanted to use, so after a little bit of hmming and haring I decided to use gold glitter glue instead which I actually really like, gives the background a bit more of a celebratory feel. Unfortunately, the ink bled a little, but it’s not too noticeable.
  10. I kept the actual card very simple, but layering my background onto bright blue, then black cardstock. I embossed a Happy Birthday sentiment onto bright blue, but it looked a bit lost so I used the offcuts to mat and layer up a one inch square to put behind it. Finally, because my background was narrower than I’d haveliked, I trimmed the card front down so I liked the borders and again used my offcuts to make a strip down the right hand side of the inside of the card which was now visible.

Refinding an old love

Isn’t it strange how quickly you adopt a new lexicon when you’re in a new situation? Two years ago I had never heard of TTC OR TWW, any of those terms related to trying for a baby, but despite not accessing any of the websites or forums which support couples trying, the acronyms have become ingrained.

Anyway. I say this because I am in the middle of my two week wait – the period of time between a fertility treatment and the day you do a test. It’s a strange time, feels absolutely out of my control.

I have been keeping busy to keep my mind off things, and during the not very successful sorting out of my card making supplies, I found an old cross stitch magazine.

Cross stitch was my gateway craft, and I had forgotten just how much I enjoy it. I very quickly (as in 2 episodes of the classic bbc Pride and Prejudice) stitched a card…

and found I had itchy fingers wanting more. I do have a lot of threads and patterns, but apparently no Aida or linen, so a trip to Hobbycraft with a friend was in order.

I fell in love with this little Peter Rabbit design. I am very aware it’s really nursery decor, but I think I can get away with it as a card if necessary. Fingers crossed, though.

This little bunny is really nice and simple, counted cross stitch but with very few areas where you have to concentrate on leaving space forother colours. It came together really quickly, too.

I’ve definitely been reinfected with the cross stitch bug. Been on EBay and ordered more Aida as well as on Amazon to make use of Prime and order a beautiful birds kit which I intend to stitch and frame for my mother in-law- they both work for the rspb, it should go down well.
Update: I tested on Saturday and iit was negative, went for bloods Monday and it’s positive! Baby D due in November all being well, it’s incredibly early days, but I’m buzzing!!!

I won an award!

Thank you so much to Blinking Cat‚Äč for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award! Such a lovely surprise. I really like Blinking Cat’s blog, she posts mainly about her crochet projects and I find they really make me want to get out my hook and yarn.

The rules for the award:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

I started my blog in April 2016. I don’t have any crafty friends, and I started blogging to try to meet other crafters, get ideas and inspiration from them (which I do so much from the blogs I follow) and to get a but of feedback on my own projects and hopefully give an occasional bit of inspiration myself. I’m really not techy and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this on my own, so didn’t even tell His Lordship about my blog until I’d had it 6 months. I get so much pleasure from seeing other people’s creations and thoughts, and from reading the comments people leave.

I hadn’t really got much experience of blogging when I started and iit was a steep learning curve – I did initially start with another blog but I soon lost my way and it lasted very little time. My advice is from what I’ve learnt:

  • Read other peoples blogs. It’s a great way of finding out more about and expanding your own interests. Also, you’re much more likely to get visitors if you’re an active member of the community.
  • Write about what you love. It’s really obvious when people are passionate about their content and people are much more likely to come back if your blog is of interest to them and shows your personality.

I nominate the following 15 blogs. These people have been supportive of me in my blogging journey, have inspiring blogs, and deserve recognition 

  1. Paperpuff
  2. Stitching Granny
  3. Mrs Craft
  4. Kelley’s DIY
  5. Charlie Louisa Designs
  6. Kathy D
  7. Patricamanhire
  8. Happy Ink Designs
  9. Idle Emma
  10. Inked Treasures
  11. Brenna Crocheter
  12. From Scratch Cards
  13. Chris and Shana’s Craft Shack
  14. Emma’s Crafty Cards
  15. Ruthie’s Crafting Corner

Distraction breeds creativity

Well I started today 3 hours earlier than I intended, so got some of my chores done early. I had a very grumpy cat when he was kicked out just before 6am, but he ‘helps’ far too much when I clean his litter tray, but I had a very smug feeling when my first load of laundry was out by 7am, kitchen generally cleaned and the dishes drying.

A side effect of my early start was that even after a 3 hour hair appointment, I ended up finishing my to-do list and thought I’d start sorting out the chaos which used to be my oh-so-precious crafty stash. 

I have dreams of having a craft room, or any space, but until a miracle strikes I craft on the living room floor and my stash is dotted around the house. I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, but due to the quantity of things I’ve built up (hugely inflated by the very generous stash I inherited) I can only really access two thirds of my collection and recently was very excited when I bought a paper kit only to find when it arrived ii already had it!

I put Create and Craft on for company/inspiration which is usually dangerous – they’re so good at their jobs and I’m so weak willed – but I resisted temptation. Then I pulled out a large package to sort through it.

The plan was to go through all my piles, label things and make them accessible and make myself a list to remind me what I’ve got to play with. This failed at the first hurdle!

First thing I pulled out of the first package was my Craftwork Cards Noir de Luxe papercrafting kit. I remember being so excited toget this kit, and it lived up to expectations, but got tidied away after I’d only made a couple of cards and has been sadly neglected since.

Well I couldn’t leave the poor beautiful papers again, and the little tag banner book reminded me of the email I’d had yesterday from Mojo Monday, and so my afternoon of sorting out became entering my first ever card challenge!

So, I would like to enter my first Christmas card of 2017 in Mojo Monday #485 challenge. I’ve actually kept very close to the sketch because I really liked how it let the topper talk for itself and I liked how the stars were carried through as a theme.

I used a corrugated gold card in the background as I really wanted the card to feel luxurious and festive. The tag banner, the grey star paper and thge gold stars are all from the Craftwork Cards Noir de Luxe papercrafting kit, and I added in a length of black raffia.