Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Today I learned...

... about a concept in graphic design that I'd never heard of in quite some years of extensive blog hopping: Trapped White Space.  Now, please forgive me if you already know about this (I know some of my readers have degrees in graphic design, so special apols to them!).  This concept clarified a lot about what works and what doesn't in page and card layouts for me, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Basically, "Trapped White Space" is where your design creates a dead-end patch of plain space between the design elements, that stops the flow of the eye and creates a meaningless focal point. Here's an example from Joey at

(By the way I'm not picking on her, she highlights this as the problem herself)

I have trawled the internet for a technical explanation, and the best I've found with relevance to card/scrapbook design is by the inspiring Susan Raihala here, which was where I found out about it in the first place!  Here's the essence of it:

Trapped white space illustrated (it sort of blocks the eye)

... fixed (opens out delightfully)!

In case you are not familiar with her "Simplicity" blog, Susan is a big fan of white space and often shows really useful before and afters like this, which is so generous of her.  Why not check it out?

It would be great if you could share any posts or other examples below...

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas... and all. This is one of the cards I sent this year, I just love the snow themed white on white, inspired by Sarah Sagert's beautiful framed art, that I featured here.

I used a few of some precut "Joy"s but I ran out and I don't have a "joy" die cut.  Then I remembered I had a "jolly", so I just cut that out of glitter paper and removed the ll's.  Sorted!

I hope you are having a lovely holiday. x

Friday, 19 December 2014

Maybe it's me...

... or is "bokeh" everywhere at the moment?  In case it's not come up on your radar, it's originally a camera filter effect meaning "blur" that makes a pretty shape with all the lights, quite often circles but you can use other filters too, like this star filter pinned by Byulcho Hwang:
☆  ★  ☆    Stars, stars, stars... Oh...I will have to make a star filter for my camera this year!

I noticed that there is an adorable bokeh card in the Stampin Up Project Life Hello December kit, featured for example in Cindy's  Artisan Team post :

Cindy laments that there is only one of these designs in the kit, and I can see why, it is so pretty. Well, my little crafting ears pricked up and I decided to investigate how to create the bokeh effect on cards, and here's what I discovered:

Stencil method
Make a circle stencil by cutting circles into card or acetate using punches or dies.  Sponge white pigment ink through the stencil (eg SU's craft ink) until the card is covered. Remember to give it time to dry.  I suggest dabbing your sponge rather than rubbing, because rubbing gives a bit of a "rim" round the circle that I personally don't like much.
Stamp method
Stamp with a variety of circle stamps or round sponger/daubers with pigment ink. I've even seen it done with the little round eraser on the end of a pencil. Consider doing several stampings before re-inking, or stamping "off" first to get a variety of depth of colour.
Vellum method
Cut circles out of vellum and layer them up on top of your design. You can colour the vellum circles in pastels too if you want.

In all of these methods:
A blurry background, made with watercolours or sponging etc, works well as does an ombre one.
You can overlap the circles with each other, and over the edges of the card
You can do the circles [or other shapes] all the same size, or if you do mixed sizes, do the bigger circles first, applying smaller circles with more/darker shades of ink
Aim for odd numbers especially of the bigger circles
You could add some pretty sprinkled glitter/embossing powder on some of the circles...
If you want multiple colours on a dark background like fairy lights on a tree, try stamping white first then over-stamping with colours.  To avoid the colours smudging be sure to heat-dry your layers.

Do you know of any other "bokeh" paper techniques?  Please do post below, and look out for an example on this blog soon...

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Things that make my heart sing...

... part 2.

Hope you enjoyed yesterday's non-crafty post, I just love that little chap!

Today I saw this beautiful, beautiful piece of paper art.  It's easily achievable without being simplistic, and it made me smile when I saw it.  I love the layers of silver/translucent and white, and the pop of gold.  I can see this as a wedding gift too, It's from Sarah Sagert's Stampin Up blog, and it's part of the excellent weekly Artisan Blog Hop...

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

My Christmas message to you...

,,, would have been sincere and probably rather boring, but this young man has said it all and made my day, so take a break from Christmas stuff and I hope it makes your day too! 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Yum, gingerbread...

...right?  Wrong!  It's a quickie post today about this cute "biscuit" I made for the tree.  I just took some Simply Pressed Clay by StampinUp, smooshed in a bit of mixed spice/ginger/cinnamon and a few drops of tangerine tango and crumb cake re-inkers, rolled it out and stamped it with a house from my holiday home stamp set.  I used a craft knife to trim it down, poked a hole in it, and let it dry overnight.

Nearly ate it a couple of times before hanging it safely on the tree!  It smells lovely too.

There are so many card making possibilities here, and especially for puns, any thoughts?

Monday, 8 December 2014

My spiral flower wreath...

....has gone all "Christmas".

When I first saw this post on pinterest and started this project I thought it would make a pretty Easter Wreath...then maybe an autumn birthday... then maybe Hallowe'en.  But I am a bit of a dreamer and tend to create more in my head than in the real world, so it was only today that I finally finished something worthy of the front door! I made the wreath out of some pages of an antique dictionary I found in a charity shop, which I cut with the brilliant Spiral Flower Bigz cutter from StampinUp.  This one ended up with over 100 hand rolled roses, secured with the brilliantly sticky tombow glue, and as I finished it I realised I had just the embellishment for it: my beautiful "Peace" ornament made for me by Michelle from Denver for Christmas 2012.  I think they look like they were made for each other, what do you say?

Luckily, this wreath is repurposable; I will be able to replace the beautiful embellishment and hopefully re-use the wreath base for many seasons to come!

Felting fun...

...last Saturday afternoon with a group of four lovely ladies, introducing them to felting. Everyone made a piece of flat felt to turn into flower corsages and two white beads that got turned into a snowman tree ornament.  Here are the pieces they made, we were really pleased how they came out! I just love the little snowmen and they are so easy to achieve.  The layers on the flowers are so effective, and I couldn't resist adding my favourite needle felted teacup to the photo too!

This event was organised for a birthday party (there was cake, yum!), why not consider it for your next significant event?

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Tuesday's Christmas Luminary class...

...was a great way to start the Christmas season.  We had mulled wine and gingerbread biscuits, and enjoyed creating lovely tea light shades with the super versatile "Holiday Home" stamp set from Stampin Up.  The nice thing about this project is that there's a bit of everything - stamping, colouring, paper piercing, die cutting, glittering...   And my favourite part of running a crafting session is that whatever you suggest, people will add in their own creative touches with flair, and this project was no exception. Several ladies chose to use different houses, one added a gorgeous snowy tree, another the cutest snowman, just look at these....

Jenny used a single tree from the row of trees in the "Lovely as a Tree" stamp set, and sparkled it up with some silvery Dazzling Details
And Lesley added this cute little snowman from the "Holiday Home" set sitting in front of the houses, coloured in with the wonderfully useful signo white gel pen.

And here are the lovely ladies who came to the class.  It's not a flattering picture, sorry ladies, but at least you can see that we have a laugh!

We had such a happy time chatting and crafting, I hope to welcome some new guests in the new year, maybe it will be you? - check out the events page above!

I started my Christmas journal yesterday, which is always a sign that I have embraced the inevitability of Christmas (hope to be photographing more of this once there's enough to actually show!  I was wondering when Christmas starts for you, and with what?

Get in touch on 07814 918232 to order any of these products or check out the catalogues at