Sunday, 31 March 2013

Happy Easter... you dear Reader!  I hope you have had a chance to make the best of our bank holiday weekend, whatever that looks like for you!

I have had a couple of very intensive days crafting which have been really great fun, and am looking forward to showing you some of the fruits of my labours. Here is the first:
It's my newly tarted up lampshade - thanks to Stampin'up's' new flower trim.  Took about 5 minutes to "make" with a bit of tombow glue! I'd be most disappointed if they don't continue with this in the new Annual Catalogue (comes out on 1st July), but it's possible that they won't, and then what will I do when I'm at a loose end?  I guess I'll have to consider stock-piling it...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Going the extra mile...

...before you shut me down for uttering dreaded management speak, IT'S OK, I'M TALKING ABOUT MAKING CARDS!

I was reminded a couple of times recently that homemade cards have more possibilities for extra touches than your less personal shop-bought cards.  One of things that makes them really special is adding a bit of decoration to the inside of your card, to the back, and to the envelope.  I did this by accident recently on my celebration cards.

Here's the outside:

And as I had a little chick shape left over (cut from the bird builder punch), I decided to stick it on the inside and stamp another greeting:

I often stamp a little something from my Creatively Yours stamp set for the back.


I admit that I haven't often remembered to embellish the envelope, but why not, it's no effort while your stamps and inks are out?

If you would like to share how you add extra touches to your cards, please add a link!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Stampin up flower trim... so pretty, and I've seen lots of delightful cards made with it.  And yesterday, my daughter picked up a strand and said "that would make a pretty hairband".  Of course, I could not resist, given I make tiaras, and within half an hour, there it was:

I just love this stuff!  As it is fabric, the flowers are easy to colour, using a little spritzer, dauber, re-inkers, Stampin'Markers, anything really, if you want them to match something.  Get in touch to order this lovely versatile embellishment, only £6.25 for 1.8 metres, I can also supply tiara bands in gold or silver for this project. This would be so lovely for little bridesmaids and very economical - this project only took 1/4 of a pack.

Here are some other gorgeous projects I found on the interweb that use the little flowers which are very easily cut apart:

This from my lovely lovely upline Vicky, look at those subtle neutrals that work so well together:

And this adorable project from Fran looks good enough to eat, yum yum:

...and how cute is this from Laura? I am definitely getting that handbag die on my next order, it comes out at 7.3 cm x 4.4cm  x 3.5cm, perfect for a little gift.

And here is your whole nearly-two-yards ready for you to use, ooh, so much to use, so little time!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Had a great day ...

...doing craft with lots of lovely visitors to my open house.  Thank you to everyone who came by to have some crafty fun together today and a special welcome to my blog if you're calling in from the open house.  I hope you enjoyed your visit and look forward to seeing you soon!

There was a small casualty today, that I had planned to show you,but it got a bit... well....dipped in some tea actually.  But I'm going to show you anyway - just try not to look at that big stain at the bottom of the card!

This uses lots of goodies from the spring catalogue:
* The lovely lovely more amore paper
* Primrose Petals coordinations cardstock
* A builder brad with a large gem
* Paper Lace ribbon
* Super pretty organza ribbon in primrose petals

If you'd like to get your paws on any of these products, just give me a call.  I promise I'll not dip them in tea before I hand them over!!!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

I can play now because... Stampin Up spring catalogue samples have arrived!  The first piece of deliciousness I noticed is this lovely fabric bundle (129308) and Designer Series paper (129311) from the "Tea for Two" range.

As my sewing machine was still out from the quilt I just finished, and scraps of wadding were still hanging around (I am not naturally tidy - ask my husband.  On second thoughts, don't get him on the subject),  I decided to make a quilted notebook cover, it literally only took 40 minutes, I think it would make a great gift, and it's removable and even washable.  Watch this space for more designs, I just love making them.

The A6 cost 25p each from Poundland, and you can get 4 covers out of one Stampin Up fat quarter, which costs just under £3 (comes in a pack of 3), a scrap of wadding, so under £1 for the base, then go mad on embellishments!  That ribbon is sooo pretty, also from the spring catalogue, I kind of held back as it's all so pretty already, but next time...   Do get in touch to order any of these products, but don't delay - they may not be available after the end of June, and there are some great freebies available through the Sale-a-bration season which ends on Friday 22nd March (click the icon on my sidebar -->)

The catalogue really doesn't do the fabrics or papers justice, they have to be seen to appreciate how very pretty they are, which is why I am having an open house day NEXT SATURDAY, 16TH MARCH, between 11am and 7pm.  If you are local, please come by to have a look and for a free make and take. 

I made a one week wonder...

... quilt.  That's not a special type of quilt, just one I made in under a week!  I knew I had to get on with it as it's a gift for someone whose birthday is next week. If you were considering trying your first machine-stitched quilt, this would be a really good one to start with as it's not too big (just lap-sized) and uses all squares of the same size (5"), so is easy to cut and assemble.  This quilt is for my elderly friend Ruby's wheelchair, last time we went out we had to use something entirely unsuitable that kept dragging on the ground.

 Rita at Red Pepper Quilts is almost entirely to blame (in the nicest possible way) for this quilt: it uses "Noteworthy" fabric that I first saw on her blog here  and I quilted it with quarter inch "tramlines" either side of the seams, which I also first saw chez Rita.

I learn something new whenever I do a quilt, here is what I learned with this one:
1) it's a false economy to use bits of old duvet as wadding especially on a quilt that relies on a strict geometric pattern - the lumps can make your stitching go wonky!
2) If you want a pointy corner on your binding make sure the pleats on either side of the corner go in opposite directions
3) If you insert a panel on the back of your quilt be extra careful lining it up when you come to make up your quilt sandwich (mine was so skew...)
4) If you keep catching your fingers on pins or needle, and bleed on the quilt, it most likely will come out with cold water once you're finished!
5) It's not difficult to join two pieces of wadding by hand sewing the straight edges in a herringbone pattern (thanks Jen-down-the-road for telling me how to do that)

Thursday, 7 March 2013

I saw this Mojo Monday challenge...

...and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it!

I had pinned this cute Easter Bunny punch art that I saw on Leena's lovely blog as an idea for my Monday group and that circle in the sketch was begging to be a burrow. Plus I was dying to use the woodgrain embossing folder again, and here's what I came up with, hope you like it...

I just noticed I failed to add a greeting, ha ha, I think I'll look out a "sorry you're leaving"!!!

... and I used these Stampin Up punches to put it together, I just love how versatile they are:
Blossoms punch = cut 4 yellow 6 point flowers and 2 full sets of white
Bird Builder punch = cut three green branches
Ornament punch = cut 5 white, put 4 back in again to produce pointy ovals, cut off the tops
Owl Builder punch = cut two medium circles in white and a little heart in pink
Window punch = cut two in pink and put them back into the cutter to cut a 1cm piece off each
Also a large scallopped circle in white
Emboss a 4x6" piece of crumb cake with the wood grain embossing folder
Cut a 4x8" and a 4x2" piece of garden green

Stage 1
Stage 2
Fold the large green piece in half to make a 4x6 card
Ink the woodgrain in crumb cake and stick to the green card
Snip grass onto the small green piece of card and stick to the bottom of the green card
Cut the aperture using a die cutting machine or cut with scissors
Colour orange ink onto the yellow flowers and scrunch them up a bit
Assemble as shown below and in final card, starting with the front of the card/bunny's back side!
Ink in features like eyes and nose.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Crafting so much...

...I haven't had time to blog!  Here's another project that I did a couple of weeks ago with my Monday craft group.  I saw a shabby chic style lavender garland at a craft show, and decided to make one of my own; I love how this has come out, the effect is just as I had hoped.  Hope you like it; if you would like to make one and in the area, why not have a crafty evening with some friends, either at mine or yours - just get in touch!

And a couple of details.  In this shot, I can see some grey lace from a skirt my daughter threw out, a piece of one of my husband's old shirts, a bit of an old top of mine that was never quite right and some actual new gingham ribbon.

The garland at the craft show used soap hearts, but I couldn't find any at short notice, so made some with homemade clay, then scented them with essential oil instead.  The recipe for the clay is really simple:  1/4 cup corn flour, 1/2 cup bicarbonate of soda, 1/3 cup cold water.  You just cook it over a low heat, let it cool covered in cling film, then roll it out, stamp an imprint on it if you want, cut into shapes, and bake it on a low heat for about an hour, turning half way through.   I like the ones with the lavender mixed in best. 

I plaited Poundland cotton string to make the rope, and cut up various scraps of material into strips about 4cm x 15cm, along with ribbons, to knot around the rope.

Friday, 1 March 2013

For every cloud ...

...a silver lining.

My craft area has got a bit (very) messy lately and I have to say I didn't even notice that one of my girls had put the iron down on my tray of scrap paper pieces.  And yesterday when I did finally see and move it, I realised that the iron had leaked water all over my paper - sticking pieces to each other and staining leaked colour everywhere.  I was annoyed to waste so much, but then decided to rescue the pieces by cutting what I could with my three blossoms punch.  I ended up with a huge rainbow of flower die cuts, then I started playing! I did all sorts of cards with varying success, but this one is my favourite:

Not quite sure about the layout, but I really love the way the flowers work with the stamp.

Then I got to work with the StampinUp bird builder punch (so bloomin' versatile) to go for an Easter theme:

I wondered if I could use the idea for something not-quite-Easter and came up with this:

And finally, I had this idea on the train this morning and couldn't wait to do it as soon as I got home - it makes me laugh, I hope it does you too:

I used the really versatile Polka dot designer paper pack which I can tell is going to become a staple, and mounted the little chicks with dimensionals to give a shadow without inking.

The Celebrate stamp was part of a free set that I got during last year's Sale-a-bration, and that reminds me to remind you that this year's Sale-a-bration freebies are unlikely ever to be available again, so get them while they're hot - A gift free for every £45 you spend with Stampin'Up!, including lovely paper and stamp sets, an embossing folder, ribbons....

I'm bewitched... some pesky hexagons!!!

I have set out on a community project to produce a hand-sewn Linus quilt. I work with lots of different groups on crafty pursuits, the biggest of which is the Hi-days project for the over-50's based in Redhill.  I lead a group that makes a different craft project every week, and they have jumped at my suggestion of making a "Linus" quilt together.

This is my dressing table or "Hexagon Central":

(Sorry about the poor light there, it was probably about midnight)

It's going to be a square quilt with over 70 little hexagon flowers, each flower hand-sewn by a member of Hi-days and a selection of other crafty friends.  About a quarter of the flower kits are out being made as we speak, and I have been sewing the flowers together for all I'm worth.  This is what has been completed so far:

Jen-down-the-road, local quilt expert and generous advisor to yours truly, tells me that this design is called "Grandmother's flower garden", and uses a technique called English paper piecing where you wrap the paper round a paper template (hexagons die cut in minutes with my trusty BigShot).  I have used 7 coordinating fat quarters in Aqua and Red by Michael Miller, and will back it with the creased fabric that's showing behind the hexagons in the photo. It's linked with white sheet cotton. I reckon we're about half way to finishing the top if you count all the flowers people are working on as we speak...

If you're local and would like to take part, do get in touch, and I'll be sure to update you with our progress!