Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Spellblogger - Getting messy with paint!

I had fun with this Spellbinder set called Paint.........


I loved the paint splashes die, and added to the effect by adding lots of blobs and splashes of paint onto the background, I dripped paint, flicked paint, splashed paint.........I was in paint heaven! I added some glossy accents to the paint on the palette and the tip of the brush. 

Pop over to the Spellbinders page and take a look at all the latest die sets available, and see some great inspiration on the blog as well.......

Sunday, 23 April 2017

5 Patterns for Daring Cardmakers, and a tale or two from Paris

The dare over on Daring Cardmakers this week was to use five pattern papers on your project, I kept it small scale and used some hexagon shapes against a stencilled background, the butterfly was a free die from a magazine



So Kath and I are back from our adventure in Paris. Once we had got over the trauma of a two hour wait at passport control to enter the country, we found our hotel, and quickly wished we hadn't......let's just say that it hadn't had a good spring clean since the last millennium. Various elements of the room didn't work, a light in the bathroom would have been a luxury, and the loo stopped flushing, at regular intervals, leading to a bizarre conversation the next morning

"Room 201, the toilet is not flushing"
"When did you notice this?"
"In the middle of the night"
"Did you report it?"
"In the middle of the night?! No!"
"You should have reported it"
"Would you have sent someone to mend it in the middle of the night?"
"No"
"Well, I am reporting it now - will you send someone to mend it?"
"No, it is too early, you should have reported it in the middle of the night"

Added to this were various incidents on the Paris Metro, where we couldn't work out the ticket machine, which took our money but failed to spit out our tickets, leaving us pressing buttons and trying to make our plight understood to some disembodied French person at the other end, while a long queue of impatient Parisiennes formed behind us, clucking and tutting at our incompetence - when it reached the point when we thought we may destroy the rather fragile French/British alliance permanently, we cut our losses and left without the tickets, until a really kind person talked us through what we had to do, after that there was no stopping us, we whizzed about on that Metro like pro's.....

The weather was freezing, I mean really really bone chillingly cold. We had both optimistically packed nice little tops, which we had imagined would look fetching as we sipped an aperitif or two on the Champs Elysee. The reality was rather different as we layered up every garment we owned in an effort to get warm, and that was just in bed in the non functioning hotel.........

Does it sound as if we had a super time? Despite all of the above, we did, we really did. We laughed until tears rolled down our faces as one disaster after another unfolded. We met some really lovely people, and some people who were so rude it was hilarious. Thanks Kath, I hope the trauma doesn't need intensive therapy to recover from........xx 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Spellbinders - One die, three ways

Today for my Spellblogger post using Spellbinders products, I used the Tiny Floral die from the Joyous Celebrations collection, and had fun making three totally different cards.....

This is quite a small die (2.50" x 2.65"), but it's easy to make it fit a whole card front, just overlap the die as shown in the photo below.... I used die cut sentiments from the Celebrations two die set on each card


The shape of the flowers reminded me of pansies, so for this first card, I left the waste white card in the die, and coloured the petals with ProMarkers before popping them out....


Then I slotted them back in as an inlay onto the die cut which had been mounted onto a white card base


Here is the finished card, I added a dot of liquid enamel in the center and added some little dashes of black pen to the lower petals, to mimic pansy markings


 For the next card, I used distress inks to make an ombre background, and mounted the tiny flower die cut over that - little clear gems added sparkle




and lastly, I die cut just a strip out of white card, and again used distress inks, but this time I coloured the panel and left the background white. I managed to continue an ombre look with some different colours of liquid pearls for the centers. The sentiment square was cut using the Pierced Squares set


Friday, 14 April 2017

Daring Cardmakers - Spring Garden

The dare over on Daring Cardmakers this week is Spring Flowers - there are some really lovely designs on there from the design team this week. Pop over to take a peek, and join in with the dare if you feel like having a bit of a floral frenzy....



For my card, I used a clearly besotted stamp and did a lot of fussy cutting around the blooms with my Fiskars fingertip craft knife. The pierced square dies are by Spellbinders



It had to be quite a quick card, as I am still up to my neck in wedding invitations. The inserts have arrived from the printer, and I am almost feeling as if I am on the home straight.

I need to be organised, next Wednesday sees me jetting off to Paris on a bit of a jolly with my good pal Kath Stewart  , now those of you who follow our blogs know that Kath and I have a bit of a reputation for getting into scrapes when we get together. In fact, we managed to mess things up before we even leave home. We are spending a day at a craft show in Paris, and were searching for hotels nearby. We managed by a superb piece of mismanagement to book a hotel that we thought was just over the road from the Paris Expo. That would have been great - if the show was being held at the Expo. No, it is at another venue.....don't worry, I warbled, I will just google and see how long it will take us to walk from the hotel to the show...........

5 1/4 hours walking time!!!!

Okay, let's keep calm. Have a look at public transport. I kid you not, the only means of transport we didn't need to take according to the instructions was a boat up the Seine! We have to get buses, the Metro, a tram........

So after recovering from a joint nervous breakdown, we have desided that, blow the cost, taxis will be the order of the day. And these two crafting grandmas have to take separate flights and somehow meet up in the chaos of Charles de Gaulle airport before the adventure can begin....watch this space, it will be a miracle if there isn't a tale or two to tell...... 

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Spellblogger - Succulent Garden

Time to play with some more Spellbinders dies - this time I used the Succulent Garden dies which I cut in white and coloured with ProMarkers.......... 




As I seem to be going through a phase of loving clean and simple cards at the moment, this set was perfect (plus being bang on trend). For this next card, I used the Nestability Classic Circle to cut an aperture , then I used the same die to cut a circle out of copy paper, and used the negative as a mask to ink a circle in vivid colours - I wanted it to look like a desert landscape..... 

and I added some spiky bits to one cactus with a black fineliner pen. Do go and browse the US store and have a look, you will see I am spoilt for choice about what to play with next. (If you are in Europe, they do ship internationally...)



What strange plants they are. When I Googled them, people can't even make up their mind whether the plural should be cacti or cactuses - and these are guys from universities having that debate. Why should they suddenly be so popular? Have people got tired of dead heading and pruning roses, and think 'I'll get something that never needs watering, and can just sit in a corner doing nothing for a few years'. Personally, as someone who regularly murders houseplants, I think they are rather useful. The inactivity bothers me a bit, as even with a spoonful of water once every month or so, they don't really go for rapid growth spurts do they? When we were moving house, I discovered a cactus plant that I had totally forgotten about - it probably hadn't been watered or even looked at for about six years. It was still alive! I felt a bit guilty and bought it over to the new house, where it has a regular sprinkle of water, it still sits there looking exactly the same as it did when it was totally neglected.......weird

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Spellbinders Wreath

For my very first Spellblogger post, I used the fabulous Wreath die, and of course had to make one in my favourite white on white as a wedding card......



 There is also a smaller wreath in the set, and sprays of leaves and flowers, so this next card used the small wreath cut in kraft. The background doesn't show up very well, but I used a stencil and some glossy texture paste for texture, then inked over it with Simon Says Stamp sea glass ink. The sentiment is by Clearly Besotted



For the last card I used the large wreath in a different way, cutting side up, then a rubber mat and shim so that the outline of the wreath was embossed but not cut. Then I inked over it with distress inks. This was a bit of an experiment, but I quite like the result.........




Do pop over and have a browse in the Spellbinder Paper Arts store, (they have an amazing clearance section with some great bargains for those who like a deal) and the range of dies is brilliant. Let me know what you find!......

Monday, 3 April 2017

Some news.........

I was delighted to get an email from Spellbinders asking me if I would become a Spellblogger. What's a Spellblogger I hear you cry?  It's a new programme from Spellbinders, where bloggers from all over the world will be showing you the latest great products from Spellbinders, and giving some inspiration on how to use them.

A bit intimidating? Yes! Am I nervous? Yes! But having fabulous dies to work with will make me a happy bunny, and I will do my best to get my best creative juices flowing...

But first, I needed a new die cutting machine of course, so along came the Platinum, in a big box, all the way from America

It's a classy looking machine - I like the way the platform folds up so that even though it's a big machine, it sits neatly on my desk when not in use.......


and the platform just pulls down when you start work. Note the carrying handle on the top - but this is a heavy machine, with well constructed steel workings, so I won't be taking it out on many outings......not that I go to crops these days anyway


I really like the way the base plate has the various 'sandwiches' printed onto the plate. It looks as if the printing process is somehow ingrained into the fabric of the plate as well and won't wear off.  Note the size (12.5" x 8.5") - this machine will take really big dies, and also steel rule dies, as well as the wafer thin dies and embossing folders. You can get a magnetic base plate as well - so since I will be using it a lot and getting a bit fancy with my die cutting, I found one of those online and it is on it's way......


Apart from the (non-essential) magnetic platform, I got everything I need in the box - clear cutting plates, and an embossing plate for cut and emboss dies, and a rubber shim. Plus the invaluable Tool-in-One, I now have a spare, this is a pokey tool and a nifty little brush for getting all those pesky little bits out of your dies.


I got to choose some dies, so the machine is already cranking out stuff in a very satisfactory way for me............come back tomorrow to see a couple of my first projects




Friday, 31 March 2017

Wrap it Up....

It was my turn to set the challenge over on the Daring Cardmakers blog today, I decided it would be fun to use something that your groceries were wrapped in. So for my card, I made a shaker with a yellow net that held some lemons, and acetate from a punnet of strawberries.......


I added a swarm of little punched bees (Fiskars lever punch) and a sprinkling of bronze sequins and glitter.....Those bees look busy don't they?


If you enjoy challenges, do join in and pop over to see what the design team came up with HERE

The wedding invitation marathon continues, and wedding planning is in full swing. One thing I am learning is that as soon as the W word is mentioned, the price of everything is quadrupled! I called a guy about a wedding car to take my husband and Alex the bride a distance of three miles from our house to the venue. "What sort of car" he asked in a bored voice "two door?" "TWO door?!!!!"
Yes two door would be very suitable for a bride in a long white dress to clamber elegantly into the back seat. Or would she sit in the front next to the driver, while Mike has the luxury of the back seat all to himself. "Four door I think" I replied. "Okay, that will be £450"
£450!!!! for a three mile one way journey?
I don't think so, Uber drivers have nice cars don't they? Could we start a trend and make it wickedly witty for the bride to turn up in a taxi? Whatever we decide, it won't cost £450, that I guarantee.........

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The apple of my eye.....


Often the inspiration for a card comes from finding an obscure little sentiment stamp lurking in my stash - quite often one of those dollar sets of Studio G stamps that I used to collect obsessively when we lived in Florida. So when I found the 'apple of my eye' stamp, it set me on a mission to make some apple cards.....


So I simply used my Fiskars punches and a bit of imagination to come up with these....


 I was a bit stumped when it came to apple pips, but found that the leaves on the vine continuous border punch were exactly the right size and shape - I love it when a plan comes together!


Talking of the apple of my eye ......here is our darling little Molly who we have had with us for a blissful four day visit. She is just four months old now, and the sweetest little baby, she smiles from dawn to dusk! 



Friday, 17 March 2017

St Patricks Day for Daring Cardmakers

The challenge this week was set by Lythan, who asked for green and a glimmer of gold to celebrate St Patricks Day - I dusted off my trusty Cricut and came up with this card.......I used a stencil for the background, which I did in orange to tie in with the Irish flag colours


and since we will soon have an Irish son-in-law, I couldn't waste the card, and sent it to Declan, who is flying home to Dublin for the weekend to celebrate in true Irish fashion. So happy St Patricks Day to all of you who are going to celebrate.......

Be sure to pop over to Daring Cardmakers to see what the rest of the design team came up with, and do join in with the dare, we would love to see what you come up with

Thursday, 16 March 2017

A bit of a hiatus........

There has been a bit of a hiatus in the craftroom this week as I press on with getting wedding invitations made - our daughter is getting married in six months time, and the weeks seem to be flying by so I have settled down to the most boring type of crafting - repetition and me don't do well together!

So I am sharing a couple of makes from workshops at the recent Stitches trade fair. This first one was made using a Woodware stamp.........



and this hanging tag is the result of a fun workshop with the fabulous Andy Skinner.....


So tomorrow I have Alex and baby Molly visiting for a few days. Expect photos! 
We are having a bit of a multi generational girls outing - wedding dress shopping is the order of the day, so I may just burst with excitement......

Friday, 3 March 2017

My turn to set the dare.....

It's my turn to set the dare over on Daring Cardmakers this week, and I chose this wonderfully calm and cool home decor photo - lots of elements to choose from here, the neutral tones, wood, those square window panes, the rectangle framed photo, stripes....what would you choose?


For my three elements, I chose the overlapping circles of the coffee tables, a geometric black and white, and that vase with a pop of the yellow colour


Working from this photo made me realize how much I love the clean and uncluttered look of today's home decor. Having lived through various home fashion eras - at one stage every room in my house had matching curtains and wallpaper, and a fair few Austrian blinds bunched up at the windows, I thought I was so trendy (well, I probably was back in the eighties!), not to mention an even earlier phase of dark brown walls and splashy Heals curtains with huge orange poppies - I now love clean and simple (within limits), the problem being that all those past trends means that you never quite start again with a clean slate, but have to adapt the STUFF you gather as you wander through life......so my house will never be quite as cool, calm and collected as the room in the photo, as all my treasures, gathered over the years (heavily edited now, but still loved) can't be shoved into a cupboard and forgotten. Like most things, it's all about finding a balance....

Friday, 24 February 2017

Tear it up - for Daring Cardmakers

The dare this week over at Daring Cardmakers was 'tear it up' and here is what I came up with..... I tore out a page of an old A - Z (it happens to be my hometown)



and here is the final card, I rather like it! The little metal car is a brad I picked up in Frankfurt at the trade show four years ago, I knew it would come in handy one day.....



So in the middle of the bleak midwinter, our boiler packed up. The guy came, shook his head sorrowfully, did that pursed lips thing that tradesmen do when they are going to give you bad news, and announced the demise of the boiler. So on a day when gale force winds have swept the UK, we have had all exterior doors open, no heat and no hot water. It will be Saturday before the new boiler is up and running. Feeling just a bit miserable......well, a lot miserable actually.  

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

CHSI Trade Show.......

It's been a busy few days, time for the big UK trade craft show. I wasn't working, just a visitor, wandering around making a nuisance of myself and catching up with friends in the craft industry. I got a gift - Diane from my Fiskarettes design team made me my own little pincushion, like a little voodoo doll monster. I guess when I am tearing my hair out over a project that is going a bit haywire, I can take my frustrations out on my new desk buddy!


 I did go along to help set up the Fiskars stand. It looked pretty good when we stepped back to admire it.....
 Me with my Fiskarettes team mate Diane Williams, who is a permanent member of the team and a huge support to me, I haven't got a photo of Keren Baker, also on the team who was demoing the sewing tools on the stand - it was great to meet up in person at last with these two, who keep me sane when the going gets tough! Here is Diane again with my BFF Kath Stewart, longtime member of the Fiskars family......................



 This was a stunning applique piece

 Fancy knitting a tree anyone? Yes, the whole of
this display was knitted!






The quilts on display were stunning




and as always, the Paper Artsy
card displays were very inspiring.....

Friday, 17 February 2017

Geometric - for Daring Cardmakers

Once again I am being stretched by the Daring Cardmakers challenge, this week it was Leo daring us to make something geometric. Now since I am the very opposite of a maths genius, in fact, I am rather obtuse about angles, this took a bit of thinking about....

I started out with some black card, and added strips of masking tape in a pattern that looked sort of geometric...


 Then I used a Versamark pad to ink each little section individually, and sprinkled different coloured WOW embossing powder onto each section, heating each bit as I went along.....



When I peeled off the masking tape....ta da..it looks geometric to me. It looks a bit somber in the photo but is gorgeously gleaming in real life. This will definitely be a card for one of the guys. Do pop over to DCM see how the team tackled this weeks dare, and do try and join in - I dare you!


I recently found a white on clear tape for my Brother P touch label maker, and am in love with it - I can now type sentiments and put them onto black or dark cardstock and they really pop. I love this tool! 

The road repair guys sat and stared at the rushing water for a full day - well, it was raining, they probably didn't want to get wet. But before they went home, they set up temporary traffic lights right outside our house, and barriers around a bare patch of tarmac. Why? But next day, they had obviously had their porridge for breakfast and were full of energy, a large hole was dug, they shouted instructions to each other all day and seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of tea coming from somewhere - it certainly wasn't from me, my usual warmth and kindness towards my fellow humans had vanished as my exasperation grew the previous day. So all is well, the torrent has stopped, although the water seems to have made rather a large pothole in the road - shall I call the council? No, let's leave it for now.....I need time to get over the flood first