Tuesday, 23 April 2013

It's the spring...

...it really is!!!!

"Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, I love you,
All is groovy."

                                             Paul Simon

Sunday, 21 April 2013

A tour of my crafting space...

...shouldn't take too long!

I occasionally come across a tour of someone's huge crafting space on youtube, and am encouraged how much more stuff some people have than I do!  But I do fit A LOT into a small space - here it is, by request:

When I bought it, my ambition was to get all my Crafting stuff stashed in here.  Well, I have not succeeded yet, and there will never be room for Felting/Quilting/Glass making which are so bulky, but I am slowly getting there with the rest.  The design makes it very easy to just stand there and put a quick project together, as everything is so close to hand.  I love the shallow drawers, it makes it very easy to find everything, and you really notice what you have, which in turn is making it easier to realise what I don't use and can pass on. For instance, I have decided to clear my remaining non-Stampin-Up cardstock as it is so much easier to match the colour families to each other. The unit is from storage4crafts (and I'm not on a bung, honest!).

If you're from the UK - hope you're enjoying our FABULOUS weekend weather!

Friday, 19 April 2013

The Round Tab punch...

...has not been in the StampinUp catalogue for a while.  I have noticed a lot of people looking for one on various forums and the original punches are now quite pricey.
I saw a couple of great work-arounds using the round punch by Anthony Warwood on facebook;  this is his blog, I'm sure he'd send you instructions if you get in touch!  But I don't have a round punch (yet), so I thought I'd try with the extra large oval and bird builder punch instead.  Here's what I came up with:

First, cut, fold and mark your oval:

Here's how you line up the folded oval in the bird punch. Line the mark on the fold up with the beak of the bird, and the other mark with its chest and punch.  Repeat on the other side:

And the blue is what you end up with, shown against the original Round Tab punched piece:

That'll do for me, hope this helps someone else too!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Another find from last weekend...

...a vintage photo!  Have you ever found a photo of you that you have no recollection of?  (not counting the facebook one someone took after your big night on the tiles, obviously!) This one turned up when I was visiting my parents last weekend.  It seemed like such a happy pic, so I decided to scrap it (duh!!!!).  I scanned it, fixed some of the damaged bits, cropped off most of the rug (I remembered instantly how scratchy it was!), and did my best to reduce the shadows.  The colour is pretty much faded for ever, but I guess that gives it a certain sense of nostalgia!

I mounted a lovely page from MME on a piece of "more mustard" (if you want some, order fast as SU are discontinuing it) which I matched to my patterned paper by edging it with lovely warm "Pumpkin Pie" ink.  I put the letters of the title on the photo itself because I wanted to keep the focus on the smiles; maybe that's why choosing the journalling spot and the minimal embellishment was so hard!   The first English version of "Seasons in the Sun" came out in 1961, so it might even have been playing-  I dare you not to hum it now, I am!

Thanks for calling by!  x

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A charity shop find...

...really delighted me this weekend.  It's a dictionary from 1929!

I bought it to use the pages for crafting.  Some people find tearing up books an awful thing to do, but in this case, it is missing quite a lot of pages and is in poor condition. For the moment, I'm spending some time looking through it, and my favourite entry so far is this:

Life must have been a lot simpler in some ways then!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Only available while stocks last...

.. the lovely but unassuming Watercolour Wonder crayons. from Stampin'Up.  I thought they were just glorified Crayolas, but no!  In fact, they are sticks of pure water based colour but with a waxy texture, which means as well as using them for anything you would use water colour for, they have additional versatility.  They come in colour families of 10 but are unfortunately being withdrawn due to a problem with the supplier so this is your last chance to order them!  Regals are already sold out, but at time of writing the others are available. (UPDATED TO ADD: SUBTLES only remaining...snap them up while you can!)

(Here's a roundup of some of the techniques I've spotted around and about on the interweb...

1) Outline and blend.  Lay your colour down by drawing a single line inside a stamped or printed outline.  Use blender pen or water brush to draw the colour out gently and fill in the shape. Use on already stamped images to add shading, like Vicky did here:

2) Colour and blend. Colour in your image with the crayon (if you stamp it, stazon is a good choice) then blend if you like with water to get a lovely even finish (this image from Jessica)

3) Use the crayon as a palette.  Using your implement of choice (aqua painter or paint brush), lift the pigment straight from the crayon, or scribble the crayon onto non-porous surface and lift it from there.   You can create a great travel palette by scribbling each colour onto a folded piece of acetate, it will only take a few minutes... (this image from Michelle)

4) Create Backgrounds. Lightly scribble rows of colour dry onto watercolour paper and blend to create subtle backgrounds for over stamping.

5) Use the crayons direct on your stamps instead of ink to achieve a watercolour effect.  Colour quite heavily over your stamp with the crayon, then spritz the stamp or the paper before stamping.  Spritzing the paper will give a more vivid image.

6) Turn your watercolour crayon sharpenings into a watercolour wash by mixing them in a small pot with a few drops of water.

7) Use a sponge brush to create this Batik effect
Stamp and emboss in clear on a piece of paper (mulbery paper is very effective).  Wet a sponge brush and stroke it with the crayon.  Dab the colour onto your paper, but dry it often as it becomes very fragile when wet. When you have got the colours you like, place a piece of photocopy paper over it and iron. Repeat a few times until all the embossing powder is removed and you are left with the lovely batik effect below.  See here for more details.

8) Sprinkle and iron crayon fragments.  Here is a card I recently saw on Michelle's blog, and fell in love with the pretty effect of the flower:

Isn't it cool?  Just shave tiny fragments of your crayons onto watercolour paper, using a craft knife.  Arrange them as you want, then lay another sheet of watercolour paper on top.  Iron on a medium heat, and like magic, you have two prints in this very quirky and appealing style.  Here's a video that Michelle made of how to create the card.

Have you got a favourite watercolour crayon technique? Please leave a link to your project here and remember to order these soon before they are sold out.

Stampin Up colours...

...are being refreshed!

It's out with the old and in with the new at StampinUp!  After a careful review of the colour families, StampinUp have had a re-shuffle and are bringing in some new colours.  This means that a few colours are being retired, and it's going to go like this:

Say Goodbye! Say Hello!

Some people will recognise old favourite in-colours from recent years making a come-back, I'm delighted to see Pool Party and Wisteria Wonder back in the frame, and Crushed Curry looks yummy (much tastier than More Mustard!).  I must say I'm so sorry to see Baja Breeze going, but I am planning to stock up on card stock soon as possible and Soft Sky looks like a lovely substitute.  It's time to decide if there are any retiring colours you can't do without, and order them pronto before they are out of stock.  Don't delay, because some products are already sold out (for example the baja breeze re-inker is no longer available.)

The new colour families will soon look like this:
Stampin' Up colour refresh

The new sets of markers, spots, designer paper etc will all be available when the new annual catalogue launches on the 1st July, unless you're a demonstrator who will have sneak peek access from the 1st June.

Contact me without delay if you want to ensure you have plenty of your favourite retiring colour products!

A challenge from less is more...

...really inspired me. The challenge, here, is "Black and Lime" and these colours together are so fabulously zingy, it almost actually makes my mouth water!

My entry could be a bit more "less", if you see what I mean, but I hope it still qualifies, it is certainly lime and black!

I used the stampin'up blossoms punch to cut out the flower silhouettes in black, layered three together, then just trimmed the tips of the blossoms.  I used teeny silver brads to attach them to to the background, and a designer builder brad grunged down with staz-on as a centrepiece.  The grungy machinery look was inspired by this month's "Craft Stamper" Magazine's Clocks and Cogs feature.

I have a feeling this might be my this year's "man" card...

A weekend away...

...at both sets of parents, just back!

Big thanks to my lovely mum and dad and mum and dad in law for looking after us all so well: we're like a plague of locusts descending on them, but it's so very nice for us to see everyone and catch up. Because I had no catering duties, I enjoyed lots of craftiness this weekend, reader, focusing mostly on quilting.  I brought it all with me in this new bag that I managed to squeeze out of a piece of fabric from my stash:

It's made to measure to hold my cutting mat and ruler, tools and a few project pieces.  The spotty fabric, also used for the lining, is a retired StampinUp fabric.

Firstly, I made masses of progress on my community Linus quilt project, and also managed to draw my mother in law into some stitching! Thanks Marie!  I reckon we're more than two thirds there now:
It's beginning to look a bit grubby, I'm looking forward to giving it a good wash!

Secondly, I have nearly finished quilting a  little recycling project:

This project is my cheapest cheapskate project yet.  I filched the patchwork pieces almost entirely from jen-down-the-road's scrap bag, found the green linen (also the backing) in my sister in law's jumble bag, and used a somewhat damaged fleece blanket for wadding.  The only new part is the lovely "early espresso" satin ribbon border from StampinUp.  You will have noticed that some remedial tacking is required for the right hand side, but the hand quilted daisies on the left side are sitting more or less ok.  More of this one when it's finished (soon I hope), and more of my bargain hunting habits in my next post!

Thanks for looking, call by again soon. xx

Monday, 1 April 2013

Time for a new filofax...

...how extravagant!

Well, not really, I just took my old one and made a little cover for it with the new more amore fabric from Stampin'Up.

It's good that it's removable because it means I can wash it if it gets grubby (and it probably will as it goes everywhere with me!)  I just wrapped a piece of wadding round my filofax and used it as a template for the outside and inside fabrics.  I quilted the top and hemmed one long side of the inside pieces, then sewed front and back together following the drawn lines on the wadding.  Then I trimmed the wadding and clipped the corners, turned it right way out, and gave it a quick press before slipping it on to the filofax.

If you'd like a custom cover for your filofax or notebook, or to order some of this delicious fabric, please do get in touch...

Fabric fun...

...with a few projects using StampinUp's lovely fat quarters of cotton that I have been dying to have a go with.

1) First up, this is a design Jen-down-the-road has come up with for her church craft group:

this is not an instant project, it took me about two hours, but I love the result.  I think I could do it quicker if I had completed the first tasks you should always do at the beginning of a project: clear away other unfinished projects and assemble everything you need in ONE place.  Instead I must have gone up and down the stairs at least 10 times from one cluttered craft space to another.  Hmmm, lesson learned (maybe).

2) Second, a table top bin.

At the same time as project 1, I made a second bucket, but put both ends of the handle on the same side and added a beanbag full of rice to create a table top bin. I've wanted one of these for ages.  Both these projects and the next use Stampin Up's fabric "Summer Smooches" (125411), and some other scraps I had lying around.  The dotty lining is retired SU fabric too.

3) Third, a dinky pin-cushion

This came to me at nearly midnight last night, and in a moment of madness, (that all crafters will nevertheless understand!) I decided to do it there and then.  I finished at twenty to two, reader.  What a chump!  It's made from just 8 little paper pieced hexagons, aren't those buttons cute?  I stuffed some lavender as well so it smells lovely.

4) Another little notebook cover:

This uses fabrics from two different collections from the spring catalogue: the embellishment is cut freehand from one of the "More Amore" bundle (129307), the quilted cover from "Tea for Two" (129308).  Love that soft natural trim tape too! I have one place left on a class where you can make one of these on Monday 15th April 11:30-1.

There are lots more lovely fabric projects at this week's (and every week's) Linky party over at Marelize's, why not hop over there and check them out. Here's a taste of her beautiful work, I'm just in awe of the crisp precision she achieves...

I also have one more project to show you but I'm going to put it in the next post.  See you there!!