Feel free to leave comments on blog posts- & thanks for doing so. Comments need to be 'approved' (filtering out the pesky spammers) so don't worry if comments don't appear immediately.

16 December 2012

More cards....

This card is a variation on the snowflake/present pile tags I created a few posts back- & I'm showing it to you so I can answer a question I've been asked.... which was about the ink I use for the snowflakes.  I use clear embossing ink and clear embossing powder over a white card - I find the clear embossing powder holds the detail of the image better (because it is finer).. (I'll have some other handy tips for you in the next couple of days...)
Here is a card using Mini-8 - the candle - this image is one of my favourites and I think it works so well with the 3 small candles on plate03..
I like how the 'ghost' images (tone-on-tone) fill in space on the background but aren't distracting... gives the card a lovely vintage feel...(makes me think of Dickens novels...)
I might put the Christmas crafting to rest now - except for when its used on wrapping of presents- I'd plan to pretty up gift cards/vouchers and there has been some great inspiration out on the web... I'll keep you posted...

14 December 2012

Still making Christmas Cards?...

... oh, that'll be just me then!

The cards shown today are some of those I made for a class planned for The Craft Barn that sadly didn't run... the idea was quick-ish last minute cards:

First up is my lovely little snowman:
I drew a line 1/3 way up the card and stamped the snowman (archival black). Around him and under the line I stamped and embossed snowflakes (Mini07, clear ink, white powder) onto the base card.  I added a die cut strip (Sizzix/Tim Holtz On The Edge Snowflakes) along the drawn line to give Snowman a base.. a bit of bling in the form of sparkly gel pens and gem stones and its done.

Next is a really simple quick'n'easy card- lovely festive colours & a bright clean look (photographing items is tricky in the winter- the light is so cold/blue)
The crisp white and cherry red is lovely (and not coming across in the photos..)
The wooden snowflake on the left was covered in 2 layers of embossing powder and while it was still hot sprinkled in the Ranger's loose Stickles glitter (love!) then heated so that the embossing powder encapsulates the glitter - so lovely and sparkly.  The stamp used is JOFY Mini06.

Lastly today is one of my favourite cards, and a 'go to' technique for making quick batches of cards:
I like to create a big piece of motif card - a 'masterboard' - and then cut it up into smaller panels to use on cards.  On this card I kept the masterboard really simple: I stamped lots of Snowflakes (mini07) in clear ink and embossed with clear powder - this protects the crisp whiteness of the base card.  I coloured it using Iced Spruce Distress Ink (a big favourite of mine this christmas) - I could have added more texture to the background by water splashing it but chose not to so that the snowflakes remained the main feature.
I attached the panel to a DL card and framed it by stamping the line/star motif from JOFY08, I stamped the large star (plate08) on to kraft card, cut it out and attached it with 3d foam to the card. A wooded star - another favourite this year- buttons and gems to embellish and then it was done.
Masterboards are soo useful because pieces can be used on different sized cards and the cards will all look different but the same too- creating a 'batch' or 'set'- great for the lead up to christmas when time starts to get a bit tight....

All the items used on the cards can be bought at the Craft Barn:  www.thecraftbarn.co.uk  - JOFY stamps, Embossing powders, distress inks, card blanks, wooden snowflakes and dies.

Onwards and upwards with the christmas crafting....

ho ho ho

12 December 2012

Deck the halls....

... it was time to decorate our home - festive tunes on the stereo and a glass (or 2) of bubbly stuff and the decorating was go, go, go

This year the tree is the right way up (!)
I love decorating the tree- getting the decorations out each year and choosing what colour scheme to go with- this year I chose a really simple scheme- White...
I've wanted to make a garland of pompoms for a few years but the thought of making enough pompoms to go around the tree (ours is 7ft high) was daunting but then I found out a shop was selling bags of white pompoms as 'snowballs'... LIGHTBULB moment! So I bought 3 bags & strung approximately 100 (yes, I counted them lol) onto a length of cotton yarn... LOVE how it looks - the tree is so pretty (even if I say so myself!)... And I managed to decorate the tree this year without injuring myself at all! (if you want to know what happened last year and what an upside down christmas tree looks like go here)

I've also created a wreath for the front door - something I haven't done for a while:
I'm really happy with this- love the combination of the colours - & I can't tell you how excited/pleased I was to find those black sparkly snowflakes when I was looking for something in our boxes of decorations...
The wreath is a combination of lots of my favourite things - kraft card, glitter (black glitter - v glam!), buttons, calico, my stamps - love it - would it be wrong to hang it all year?? (inside, not outside!)
Happy to use my stamps on the wreath too - a lovely fun contrast to the darkness of the snowflakes, and the Kraft tones down the blinginess of the baubles. The pieces are all attached by hot glue... gotta love a hot glue gun!

Sometimes I buy decorations to alter them (which I'm sure some of you do too) - buying them in the sales or when they're on offer like these:
..and I alter them- not because I didn't like them but because they suit an idea that's in my head or I can see how they can be altered:
This is the back and front of the same decoration.... Fresco Finish (great coverage!), buttons, die-cuts, and vintage book text.. :o)


I hope your festive plans are coming along nicely..
I've noticed (from being on both sides of the counter) that the shopping 'frenzy' has begun - good luck out there!
Take care..

9 December 2012

Let its snow, let it snow, let it snow...

... and it did! Essex, along with other parts of the UK, ground to a temporary halt last Wednesday with the first snow fall of the year...  It was pretty and quite brief- all back to normal by Thursday evening... but it prompted us to stock up on salt for the ground... and it was an opportunity for us to see what our neighbours are like when events like snow happen: people came out and cleared not only their own drives and pavements but those of our elderly neighbours... so nice to see that.

and talking of snow...
I've been making (among other things) little houses (& unusually for me- not birdhouses!) but they are little houses.. I've had the church-like house for 3-4 years, I bought them when I went to New York (actually I bought a few because they were in the sale bin! result!)  Cute to alter - I've given this one a winter feel...

with the church is an altered mini (& by that I mean tiny) birdhouse available from PaperArtsy- I used white puff paint as snow - how can you see that paint and not think of snow!
I gave the house a cotton reel stand (also available from PaperArtsy) and the star on the top is from JOFY mini02 - Love that star! lol
There will be more of these but just the two for now.. (other things to do: christmas cards to make/send, & the christmas tree won't decorate itself!)

Keep safe & warm

2 December 2012

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

Seriously, looking very much like christmas!! 2nd December- the decorations are going up, gift lists are being made, the tv ads & seasonal specials have started & all the TV talent shows are drawing to a close... & I wore antlers at work on Friday! (ho ho ho) (and no there aren't any photos to show you - what a shame!) (though I can assure you I worked those antlers, lol)
but, I haven't heard 'last christmas' by Wham! played in a shop yet so I can't be sure that its Christmas just yet...

aaaaanyhoo...  it is getting close to Christmas but there is still time for one last class using my stamps..
if you'd like some last minute(ish) inspiration for christmas cards please join me at the Craft Barn on Sunday 9th December for a class.... Call the shop, 01342 836398, to book a place... I look forward to seeing you!

ho ho ho!!

19 November 2012

another 'not so minimal mini'....

.... and more bunting (because you can never have too much can you!? lol)

Pennants use minis 01,02,03 and the very useful grid sketch from JOFY02... pennants are Sizzix dies, and one of my all-time-favourites dies Spellbinder 'floral flourishes'....
(and look - no sign of Iced Spruce or Evergreen Bough distress inks.. I'm moving forward! lol)

Have a good day

18 November 2012

Deck the halls....

... with pennants and bunting... tra la la la laaaaaa la la la laaaaaaa

Usually when I'm  playing around with new products I create tags but at the moment I am creating pennants instead (as I've said before I love a bit of bunting!)...

The above pennant uses the border strip from plate05 with the words on same plate dotted about - love how this turned out - the border is really easy to repeat if you mark on the back the position of the end blocks.
The motifs stamped onto kraft card are from minis.

Speaking of minis: I used the candle on mini08 on this pennant and combined it with the border strip across the top edge:
The candle is coloured with Distress Markers- being from the same palette as Distress inks they tone in perfectly, I like them a lot...
The embellishment on the centre tag is one of the snowflakes created with the Tim Holtz Sizzix die, aged with distress inks.. they're fiddly but i love 'em!
I know I'm shouldn't choose but I think the star pennant is my favourite - stars from several plates: top banner is plate01, big stars plates07 & 08, the white star top centre is from the minis over stamped with snowflakes (also on background) plate01.
I had fun creating these and they work as inspiration for other projects...  These pennants are about 15cm long - don't you think little ones strung on a piece of ribbon around a christmas tree would look cute...

and talking of favourites - distress inks - Iced Spruce and Evergreen Bough - my 'go to' colours this christmas - possibly using them a little too much! Jo, put the inks down, and move away from the worktable.. lol

...and just in case you were wondering - christmas is about 36 days away... just sayin'.....

14 November 2012

Shake your tail feathers...

This little chap was given new, fancier, tail feathers - and then I forgot to blog him/her! shame on me! so it gets its own little blog post! lol
ps - do not adjust your sets - the photos are black & white! :o)

Xtra Xmassy on Sunday...

... when I'll be over at The Craft Barn teaching a christmas card class - die-cuts, JOFY stamps and a bit of christmas prettiness thrown into the mix.. still places available so if you're feeling festive, or you need a bit of festive encouragement, call the shop (01342 836398) to book a place...

7 November 2012

Tree full of Tweets

Quick catch up:
On Saturday I had a really fun day at the Craft Barn's christmas inspiration demo day... lovely customers came and sat, chatted, and watched all the demos - a really nice day... I was creating tree decorations using Sizzix & Spellbinder dies - so.much.fun.  I displayed all my birds on a black tree so that they popped - a black tree is a bit unusual but its great for this sort of thing... and lets face it - its not the most unusual tree I have! (I think the upside down tree wins prize for most 'unusual' lol)

aaaaanyhoo... to the tune of '12 days of christmas':
Four floral birds:
Three fancy hens:
 Two steam punk doves (slightly sooty doves!  lol)
 And a county hen in a christmas treeeeeeeeeee

OK, that's quite enough singing.... on the tree there's also a robin:

Most of the birds I made with the dies were flat but a couple are lovely and dimensional:
I love these little guys! I enjoyed making the flat die cut shapes into something more dimensional. (to the shock horror of the people watching the demo I had die cut an Enid Blyton book to create them! how could I - not only had I cut up a book but it was an Enid Blyton book!?! But I'd like to think that Ms Blyton would be pleased that her book had been given a new lease of life and not ended up on a bonfire or in landfill.)

The paper I used to decorate them (apart from the steampunk & textbirds) is Festive Collection by Authentique. Die is Birds 3 from Sizzix, and Floral Flourishes from Spellbinder.

They are now going to fly away and live on the Craft Barn's christmas tree...  Fly my pretties.. Fly!  :o)

5 November 2012

ah... the humble toast rack...

.... or alternatively 'when is a toast rack not a toast rack'....  I had been thinking of ways to stand stamp plates on my demo table so that they were easily accessible etc etc etc  *lightbulb* TOAST RACK!!! perfect size, easy & light to transport, easy to clean... not so easy to find! (especially if you are me who had an idea of the exact type of toast rack that was required (see above photo) and nothing else would do! lol)lol I have scoured the local charity shops - scoured I tell you lol (and now I have two the same! = happy crafter!)
Ta daaaaa:  Look how perfect they are stamp storage:
Please go and rescue the poor neglected toastrack from the back of the cupboard (or the back of your parents crockery cupboard which is where they are likely to be - these toast racks were popular wedding gifts in the 60s apparently!) dust it off and use it to stand your stamps in while you're working with them... perfect!

4 November 2012

When is a card not a card.....??

... when you start making a card & realise it would be better suited as something else and you turn it into an 'object'!
Like this:
I intended/planned this to be a card and/but was itching to use the box canvas - then I had a little lightbulb moment! lol   2-birds-1-stone! lol
I love these 4x6" box canvasses that PaperArtsy have in their shop - such a dinky size but lovely and chunky at the same time..  love it - I can see me using these a lot...
(tree plate1, 'noel' plate3)

3 November 2012

'mini' doesn't have to mean 'minimal'

I am loving the lead up to christmas - the shopping centres are starting to be prettied up. The decorations around are a little more restrained than previously (a nod to the current financial climate?) - but having said that it was good to see the shops were busy even on the Thursday evening I visited our local shopping centre (01 November - early in the christmas lead up!) - there were lots of sales that people were taking advantage of.
It was also the opening of Santa's grotto - complete with a mini parade of majorettes (little young ones - very cute!), a brass band, and a big snowman, elf and penguin - very festive! :o)

Today's project is a small card (10x10cm) but it has lots of elements (but not too many! lol)...
The main background is created with a wash of distress inks that has been splashed (I still love that effect - so simple!) and then stamped (tone-on-tone) with Mini2.  The same images was then stamped on white and the coloured with Distress Markers.  The star has been 3mounted so that the die cut flourish could be mounted underneath.  It was coloured with markers and accents of sparkly gel pen... 
The 'noel' is from plate3 stamped onto a ticket...
so there you go - mini's don't have to be minimal!

Have a good day!

2 November 2012

Tweet Tweet....

Tomorrow I'll be demo'ing at the Craft Barn as part of the Christmas Gift Minifest making these and other things - really looking forward to it!  So please come along - these are such fun days packed full of inspiration for everyone!  And lets face it we all need inspiration - christmas is only 53 days away.... eeeek! lol 
I'm feeling so festive I'm taking my christmas tree with me!
HO HO HO!!
Look forward to seeing you!

I'll have a bluuuuueeee christmas..

... with all the decorations and cards I have that carry a blue theme.....
I really enjoy making cards like this - a standard size card (10.5x15cm) that opens up into something more:
(single baubles & 'noel' plate3, top scallop border & bauble garland plate6, snowflakes mini6)

Busy & varied weekend coming up - Demo'ing at The Craft Barn on saturday and then at Birds in the Barn on sunday... fun, fun, fun  :o)