About Me

My photo
I'm a retired primary school teacher, who started paper crafting in 2008, when I had a fancy to make my own Christmas cards. Since then, I have tried all sorts of techniques and styles - and I kind of like them all. I have been lucky enough to be on blog teams and large design teams and to do a bit of freelance demonstrating - and I love the challenge of working with different products. My crafting style is very varied - from junk journaling and art journaling, bookbinding and journal making, to quilting and patchwork - and of course I still make cards. This variety keeps me interested - and my crafty stash growing!! I'm always seeking inspiration for new projects.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Ooh baby, baby!!!

Just a quick one. A good friend is expecting twins, and this morning I went to her Baby Shower. Another good friend asked me for a book that she could get everyone to sign, and then she is going to stick in photos that were taken during the morning.

This is what I came up with - am quite pleased with the results. The 8"x6" chipboard cover was painted with Eco Green Butternut acrylic paint. The ginhgam card in various colours was bought from my local market, apart from the dark blue which was a scrap left from a Kanban set. The scalloped circles are die cut from Bazzil card, and the dummy motifs were on a card border strip that came in a cheap scrapbooking kit from The Range. The whole thing was sprayed with Crafters Companion Spray and Shine, and bound using my trusty little Zutter Bind it All. Normally in my notebooks I used 80gsm paper, but as photos are going to be stuck in, I used 120gsm paper (Staples Text and Graphics).

We had a lovely morning - lots of chatting and catching up, with lots of tea and cake thrown in for good measure. Now have to get myself sorted for the next three days. Then have two days to re-group and get ready for Studland Country Fair. Then one day after that to get ready for my holiday!!!! Busy, busy, busy!!

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Nan's Buttons!!

At the end of last week, I had a break from crafting and spent some time researching my family tree. I have been working on this for several years - working in fits and starts, and moving slowly back into my family's past. The lady in this photo is my Nan (my Mum's mum). I don't have many memories of her - and that makes me sad in that I was 9 when she died - not exactly very young. My eldest niece is now 10, and I know how close she is to my Mum. If (heaven forbid) anything were to happen to my Mum (or my Dad), I wonder just how much would she or her younger sister would remember. I know I spent lots of time with my Nan - every Saturday afternoon she would look after me, my sister and my two older cousins so my Mum and my Aunt could go shopping on their own without the kids(something they still do to this day). It's sad that I don't remember.

On Monday, I took my Mum to two local cemeterys to look for the graves of her grandparents - strange I know, but I'm finding gravestones a good source of information, and I didn't have accurate death dates for them!! Mum quite enjoyed herself, as did my two nieces. My sister was less impressed - she said that graveyards gave her the heebeejeebees!! 

So, what does all this have to do with buttons? Well, the lady in this photo is my other Nan - and of course this is her wedding photo with my Grandad. Now this Nan I knew very well - and she was the last of my grandparents to pass away - just one year after my Grandad. I inherited her button box - along with all her other sewing things which I still use for all my mending. But until this week, all the buttons had just been left unused. I had sorted them into colour groups ages ago - but hadn't really been inspired to use them for anything. Until now!!

I had been wanting to have another go at making some gift bags - and finally got round to it. The bags are made from pearlescent card which gives them a lovely sheen - and although at 14cm x 18.5cm x 7cm not overly large - I'm happy that they are a useful size.

I chose to delve into the buttons to decorate the bags. Now this might sound quite straightforward, but, as my friends know, I am an organised person, and generally like things neat and tidy. And that does tend to mean that, in my crafting, I like my colours and embellishments to match.

But when you have a totally random selection of buttons, that is not easy. I have to admit that I had a real crisis with these two blue bags. They were the second and third bags I decorated. My husband brought me up a cup of tea during this process to find me pushing buttons round and round on my craft mat, desperatly trying to find a configuration of the buttons that I was happy with. His helpful suggestion (which I didn't take) was to just throw the buttons up in the air and see where they landed! He very nearly had them thrown at him!!!

Eventually, I was able to find a layout I was happy with - and from then I found it easier to accept that the buttons didn't match, had never matched and were never going to match!! So it was a case of actually going for less symmetrical, and more eclectic mixes and layouts!!

I'm really happy with the results on all the bags. And I'm sure my Nan would be glad to see that I'm finally putting her buttons to good use.

The bags were finished with ribbon handles - they're reinforced with an extra piece of card hidden under the folded bag top, so should take a reasonable weight.The bottom is also reinforced with an extra piece of matching card. The card and paper mounts for the buttons were cut from various scraps using Spellbbinder dies on my trusty Cuttlebug. They are all embossed with dots, using the That Special Touch of Mica Masks - the larger mat was embossed with the middle size of the three dotty masks, and the smaller mat with smallest dots.

 I am now looking into making a bigger size of bag - but that's going to have to wait a while as I am away for a few days (going to watch cricket!), and then it's all systems go to get ready for Studland Country Fair on Saturday 27th August. Am nervous but still looking forward to it.

Am sure I will have to spend some time next week practising how I want to set my stall out!! And my Nan's Buttons will definately be making an front row appearance!

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Take Note!!!

I thought things would slow down once I finished work. That I would have time to craft at my leisure, whilst ably tending the garden, making the house sparkle and gleam, baking gorgeous creations and cooking mouthwatering dinners for when my husband arrived home from a busy day at work!! Ha!!! The house is a mess, the garden is just about holding its own against the onslaught of weeds, and I nearly ruined his tastebuds with too much chilli in what was supposed to be a sophisticated seafood pasta!! Oh, and I didn't cook the apples quite enough, so the apple and blackberry crumble (yes I did go blackberry picking - and I made my own crumble mix!!!) was, shall we say, a little firm!!!

But I have been busy crafting away, so I suppose I can't have it all. I do have some urgent cards for family to create - they are all in various stages of preparation - but as ever, I have so many projects on the go, that I sometimes loose track.

So, I  have been busy working away in preparation for the Craft Fair on 27th August - and here are my latest creations!! Notebooks!!!! I made some other designs for last Christmas, but have checked and realised I didn't blog about them.   
A5 - Pink & Gold - Butterflies

 I have made a variety of sizes - from 8"x8" down to 4"x4". All the covers are made from chipboard, painted with Eco Green Acrylic Paint. The final articles are sprayed with Crafters Companion Spray and Shine (although the 8"x8" are a bit glitzier with Iridescent Spray and Sparkle), and bound on my Zutter Bind It All, with Bind It All wires.

This A5 example is painted in Aged Gold, and the pink swirl backing card is from DCWV Luxury Cardstock Stack. The flower and butterfly motifs are from some packs I bought ages ago in a supermarket!!

8"x8" - Lilac & Lemon - Flowers & Butterflies
The 8"x8" is painted in Lilac. The backing card is a plain purple cardstock I had in my stash, along with a piece of lilac gingham card bought from my local market. The large scalloped circles are cut from DCWV Sweet Stack. And again, the butterflies and flowers are from that supermarket purchase.

A6 - Chocolate - Cupcake Tag

The A6 Chocolate notebook is painted in Mulch (love the name of that colour!!), with the chocolate brown backing card from WRMK White Out collection. The green is a scrap I think came from another DCWV card stack, and the yellow is from the Sweet stack
The tag is from DCWV Sweet chipboard elements, with scraps of ribbon from my stash!!

4"x4" - Chocolate Orange - Starfish
The little chocolate orange notebook is 4"x4", painted in Pumpkin!!  The chocolate backing card is from the Sweet stack with the orange from WRMK White Out collection. I have no idea where I got the starfish from - there were some shells too - they've been in my stash for so long, just waiting for a suitable project.

Finally, this blue notebook is A5 in size, and once again features the butterflies and flowers mentioned earlier. The patterned card is from Kanban, and the yellow card is a piece of Bazzil.
A5 - Blue & Yellow - Butterflies

 All the cards are filled with approximately 80 sheets of blank paper (80gsm). All of this is hand cut by me on my trusy guillotine.

There are several others along the same vein - butterflies and flowers, cupcakes, and the seaside, but once again, Blogger has a mind of its own and is turning the photos on their side again - so won't give you neck ache this time.

I am still toying with the idea of putting the notebooks on my website, but will have to have a serious think about postage costs. So watch this space....

I will sign off here - until the next time!!

Monday 8 August 2011

I'm officially excited!!!

Have been busy fusioning as ever - this time some wall hangings using Sheena's mountboard shapes. Sweet peas on the hearts, Wild Rose on the ovals, Berrries on the squares ad Poppies on the circles. Have begun work on daisy and pansy versions, so will post those soon.

All the backgrounds are crackle finishes - with Brushed Cordouroy Distress ink used to bring out the cracks. The edges and backs of the mountboard shapes were embossed with either gold or copper, and the hangings were joined with twine! Am pleased with the results.

BUT the real reason I'm excited is because Sheena is bringing out a new Christmas Paint Fusion range!!! I'm sure you have realised from previous posts, I am loving the whole Paint Fusion style - and am painting pretty much anything that moves. And now I am going to just have to find the money for this new set - plus DVD!!!

Sheena is on Create and Craft on Friday with the Pick of the Week - and is offering one lucky person the chance to win a great blog candy - the whole new set of Christmas Paint Fusions stamps with the new DVD!!! OMG - how wonderful that would be. So pop on over to her blog to be in with a chance to win!!

Good luck!!!


Thursday 4 August 2011

Keeping myself occupied!!

Having finished work just over a week ago, I've been keeping myself (and my husband) busy with all sorts of jobs around the house. The extension has been painted (mostly by my husband), the patio has been pressure washed (completely by my husband), the veg patch has been rescued from disappearing under the weeds (that was totally by me), the front and back lawns have been mown (husband again), and the flower bed and pots have been weeded, tidied and rearranged (me again!!). Just the windows to be washed, and parts of the bathroom tiles to be re-grouted.

Today has been a day of rest. Although I did try out my new Zumba disc on the Wii (I use the term "new" very loosely as I've had it for months and it hadn't, until today, actually made it out of the box) - and he went for a 6 mile run!! But a friend visited in the afternoon, which called for tea and cakes (a selection of donuts, danish and buns), which rounded the day off brilliantly!!

So, in amongst all of that, I have been looking into filling my time with other things. Firstly, I have applied for a stall at Studland Country Fair on Saturday 27th August - will post more details when I get confirmation. I am also looking into getting a stall at Highcliffe Castle for their Christmas Craft Fair on December 3rd, and hopefully I'll be at Putlake Adventure Farm again this year. I am continuting my search for suitable places to sell my stuff - and to hopefully promote the website - so will update you with my progress.

In addition, I have been asked to do a card making demo for a Ladies' Night in September. I am awaiting the details, but am quite excited about it.

With all these things in the pipeline, I have started work on new notebooks, with other things planned, including some new gift bags!!

And I've decided to go a bit more up-market with my "point-of-sale packaging"!! Ooooh errrr missus!! Basically, I have bought some bog standard takeaway-style white paper bags with handles, and some of the small paper bags like you used to get in the greengrocers!! I have customised them with my logo, printed onto labels and stuck onto the bags. Not quite your Harrods standard - but a step up from handing out supermarket carrier bags!!! Oh, and you will be able to use them as "shopping baskets" at the next card party - yes I did listen!!!

So, as I get the new items completed, I will post more info. And I'll keep you up to date with where I will be and when.

Speak soon.