Handicrafts by Kate Perry and other ramblings

Friday, November 30, 2012

A more traditional Christmas card, for Rudolph

Early this week I posted my rather unconventional Christmas card for the last Rudolph day on Sarn's Stamping for Pleasure blog. It was really interesting reading your comments. Thank you so much for taking the time to write them. One or two really liked my card but some of the others reminded me of my days of writing school reports when we were told we must write something 'contructive' about each child, when all you really wanted say was 'your son is a a pain in the butt!' Believe me, I had no illusions that everyone would like it.
However I did say at the time that I would be back later with a more traditional card, so here it is.

I made this using a purchased decoupage sheet. I bought two copies of it, and as they always have too many layers, especially for international posting, I managed to make three cards out the two sets.
I used three or four layers for each topper, and made a frame with nestabilities labels 23 and gold mirri card. The background is a flecked sandy coloured card and I made a rough hill-scape at the base using torn paper and pan pastels. The tiny Bethlehem stamp is by Art Impressions, but I am unsure about the make of the star, which needless to say, I have stamped a bit crooked!
Now I shall link this to Sarn's blog, make the last few inserts and then start on the card writing marathon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I nearly didn't make it this week, and as you can see, there is nothing to show on my desk today except my new eBosser machine that I bought to replace my aging cuttlebug, (the jury is still out on how good an idea that was), and the wonderful stickles glue carousel that Julia showed us a week or so ago. It is a brilliant concept and mine is already full! The glass kitchen mat, I picked up at a table top sale last week to give me a firm layer when I am colouring, so I don't pick up all the cuts and bumps on my green mats.

I have to eat my words about the 'really use boxes' and storage company being slow to deliver. I received an e-mail within a few days of my order, to say the parcels were ready for collection by the courier, and even as I was just starting this post, a white van drew up outside, and they have arrived! The sad thing is that I have just too many dead-lines in this run up to Christmas, so they have had to go into the garage for a couple of weeks at least, before I can begin to think about sorting out my room.
My actual desk today was a table at my Wednesday group where I was asked to help with a group of ladies who were having an introduction to bobbin lace making. I kept an eye on these three, and between them they kept me busy all morning, but they were all doing well by the end of the session. They will need one more week to finish off their work. But look at the concentration on those faces!
This is what we were making. I actually did mine last week, in a pretty silver thread but it doesn't really show in the photo.

My afternoon work desk is in the kitchen table. I am in mince-pie mode now, with orders for sixty dozen so far, and that's rising! I started last Friday and had another session on Monday. I have done twenty-four dozen so far, and need to do a few more today. Then I have to get some of them wrapped up for a sale down in Mojacar tomorrow.

So now I will link this to the blog of our lovely hostess Julia, and this evening I will be back to visit as many of you as I can. But first I must do the mince-pies, and label some jars of jam and pickle for the morning.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Something different for the last Rudolph Day

Well here we are at the last Rudolph Day of the year (the 25th of each month when Sarn invites us all to create a Christmas card and link it up on her site, Stamping for Pleasure). I decided to make something a little different for my last post - though I may come back with something a little more traditional in a day or two.

This week I read a post on one of my WOYWW friend's blog, where she mentioned that Delicious Doodles had a range of Alternative Christmas images, so I popped over to have a look. When I saw one I knew it was exactly right for one of my sons. I don't see the fascination with them myself, but he has several skull-related decorations on his clothes and around his house, and his partner is the same. So here is what I made.

I wasn't sure what to do with it, but having printed it on a white card, I then printed it again on some white starburst paper and cut the skulls out. Next I flipped the image and printed it again on the reverse of some black starburst paper so I could see to cut out the bones. I layered these onto the first image with silicone glue. It was a bit tricky because some layers went under one bit and over another, but it all went together fine.
This little close up shows the sparkle on the paper better than the main image does.
I wanted to add a touch of colour, so, as my son says red is acceptable on such images, I added tiny self adhesive, red gems as eyes, a red bow and a small red greeting in the centre. Then I layered the whole image onto some more black starburst paper, and then onto a square white base card. I made a frame from a narrow black peel-off, and a silver one that I coloured red with a permanent marker. 

It is not terribly festive is it? But I am happy with it because I know my son will love it. All my boys are 'special' to me, but even they would look at this and know exactly who it is for, so he will certainly know I made it 'Especially for him', so I am also linking it to Hazel's Christmas blog where the challenge is to make a card for someone special.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It's confession time. Each week, when Julia hosts our Wednesday hop around blogland to see what what our friends are getting up to, I always show my main desk, which is generally pretty tidy, if not empty, because any important project I am working on has to be stored away, out of range of my cat who lives in my craft room. Well the rest of my room doesn't match up to that, so just for this week I am swinging the camera round through 90º to show you the 'other bit'. Shocking isn't it?
The trouble is, that even when you have a room set aside just for crafting, you always end up with bits and pieces that have no home. You know you don't want to throw them away, but you don't know where to store them, so you put them on the side for later. Gradually the pile grows until you have a mess like mine! That area is a black hole. Things go into it and are never seen again. Every now and then I buy another set of little drawers to put some of it in, but they are very unsatisfactory. 

So watch this space, and one day in the not too distant future, it will all change. I have just ordered a lovely storage unit, filled with 'really useful boxes' in A4 and 12" x 12" sizes; hopefully enough of them to hold all of this and more. Two years ago my lovely other half bought me one of these units to hold all my papers and it is wonderful. I remember thinking then, that they were very slow at delivery, so I phoned them up and was told that it states very clearly on their site that delivery will take 28 days, so this time I am being very patient, and if I am lucky, the new unit will have arrived and been assembled, in time for me to have a good sort out in that quiet period just after Christmas, when there is no urgent craft to be done.

By the way, you probably can't see them very well in the photo, but on the right, immediately behind my little guillotine, there are two boxes filled with my stickles glitter glues. This is a useless way to store them, because they need to be upside down, so when I take one out to use, all the others keel over and I have to sort them all out again. So I was very impressed by the carousel that our lovely hostess Julia has been showing this week. I googled it and found one, so it is now on order, and that will be another storage problem sorted. Hopefully sometime fairly soon, I will be able to show off a corner transformed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Once again I am writing this on Tuesday evening ready for tomorrow's world wide tour around other crafting folks' work spaces. You can find out why we do this on our lovely host, Julia's, Stamping Ground

This week there is not a great deal on my desk, but I am busy all the same. On the left side there is a pile a papers. I sing in a choir called Cantante (Spanish for singer) and we have our first winter concert in my local bar, because we are raising money for our village charity that helps the disadvantaged children in our area. I am looking forward to it as we are based at Huercal-Overa, some half hours drive from here, so it is nice to have one concert nearer to home, which my friends will be able to come to. So I took it upon myself to make the posters for the village. I showed them to our choir leader for approval at the practice this morning, and this afternoon I set about translating them so I could also display them in Spanish. I then had to seek out a friend from the village to check that  my Spanish was accurate and now I have printed out a few copies in each language, plus a lot of smaller ones to hand out to friends. So tonight I am having a guillotine session, so I can start handing them out at my sewing  group tomorrow.

When that is done I shall move to the other end of my desk where I have a few Christmas cards all waiting for inserts. I did a count up of my cards this week and found I still needed a couple of dozen or so, so I looked around for some fairly straight forward ones and got ten done yesterday. First of all I printed out four copies of a nice little Silent night sheet that I bought  from craftuprint. It has three layers of decoupage on the angels and crib, which was fairly easy to do, and then I used some ready made white base cards and some off cuts of patterned paper to mount them up.

I am pleaded with the 'Merry Christmas' ones. These used a cutting file for my Silhouette cameo machine by Tina Fitch, also purchased from craftuprint. As you can see, the inner layer is very fine and delicate, and when it is behaving, the machine can cut these very well. Yesterday it was temperamental, and I ruined a couple of sheets of paper before I got the settings right. It was then a game and a half to stick them onto the second layer. In the end I used diluted PVA glue and a very fine paint brush, and had kitchen roll ready to mop up any over flow! The third layer is mirri-card and I was impressed at how easily the machine cut this. Once the three layers were assembled and set under a press to dry, (My huge Spanish dictionary is just perfect for weighting down glued cards while they are drying!), I quickly put together a simple base. Because I was happy with the end results - the red/gold set, I then made another set using blue card and paper and silver mirri-card. It made sense to make three of each as I could fit three of each layer on an A4 sheet of paper.

Now I had better get on with that cutting up, or my cards still won't have inserts in them. I usually print my inserts but I need a new ink cartridge so I will have to stamp them tonight!
I will do my best to visit at least my regular group of friends tomorrow, and a few extras too I hope.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


It is five minutes off being Wednesday here, so once again it is time to open up our little crafty corners for the world to see. If that sounds like an interesting idea, pop over to our host Julia's Stamping ground, and find out all about it.
It has been a funny old week here in Spain. A dramatic change in the weather has brought us wild and windy days, and some very wet ones. It is also several degrees colder and although around 18 degrees may not sound very cold to you, our houses are designed to be cool in the summer and they have few features that make them warm and cosy in the winter! We have no heating except a couple of mobile calor gas fires, and with bare stone floors, and ill fitting windows, it is often warmer outside than it is in doors. So our thoughts are turning to evenings spent in one room with a blanket round our knees and the TV on. That means I need something to do to stop me nodding off! Usually I do some knitting, but having made a very large number of jumpers and hats for the fish and chip babies of Africa this year, I decided to do something different. The man who has shipped our knitting to Uganda now has an imbalance of little jumpers in his store and he has asked us to turn our hands to making blankets.
Spanish wool is not at all like what we are used to, being rather harsh, and usually nearer to aran and chunky weight than double knitting. But fortunately I know an English lady in a town near here who imports British wool and she has  a small shop in a wooden 'shed' in her garden. Monday was one of her regular sale days so I popped over and stocked up on a good mixture of colours.
As I finished a run of cards this afternoon and then cleared everything away, there is no crafting on my desk tonight  so I thought I'd show you what I am working on instead. I have two blankets on the go. (I get bored doing a big project so I like some variety). First I have a selection of pale, bright and darker colours which I am using to make strips of Tunisian afghan crochet. I am changing the wool to make it look like squares of each colour.
It is years since I did Tunisian crochet but it is very easy, and grows quite quickly. I have lost my Tunisian crochet hook so I am making do with a broken one, but for these short rows, it is long enough. I like the texture of the work, and it will make a good, warm blanket.

For my second project I bought some pretty pastel wools. They remind me of a dish of sugared almonds. I am using these to make a Bavarian crochet afghan. This is a new skill, but I followed a basic pattern to learn the stitch, and now I am set to keep going. After the yellow there will be a white round and then back to the blue again and so on until it is the size I want. I am not sure how I will get on holding it when it is a bigger piece of work, but we have only been asked to make our blankets one metre square or slightly larger, so I should be able to manage that.

And finally I must share something very special for me. As you are aware, our five sons came out together to help us celebrate both our birthdays a couple of weeks ago. Our youngest son, Ben, is very musical, writing songs, singing and playing the piano, saxaphone and guitar. He only does it for pleasure but he often puts a video on you tube, so I can see what he is doing. I was expecting him to come over, so I had borrowed a piano so he could entertain us all at our party. But he then surprised us by singing a little song he had made up especially for us. Many of our party guests were like us, older ex-pats, and we all miss our families back home, and our friends were very taken by the way we have stuck together as a family, and when Ben sang, 'there wasn't a dry eye in the house'. This week Ben has sent me  what he called "a rough, live recording" of our song so I am sharing it with you here. After all it is not every week that you get a song written especially for you is it? Click on this link to hear it. There is a lot more of his music on youtube, and if you are interested you can find him under the name Zerendipity. He writes and sings a wide variety of music and also covers  other people's songs. This is a link to one of my favourite covers.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Exploding Christmas card.

Today I have finished off the card that was a WIP on my desk in yesterday's post. It is a fairly simple Christmas card......

.......with a nice little surprise when you open it.

Sandra, over on Stamping for Pleasure, made a couple of these cards last week, and I asked her for some guidelines for folding the insert. She kindly did a very easy to follow tutorial which you can find here.

I decided to make mine for Christmas so I used a Chocolate Baroque ornate corner stamp and a very ancient Posh Impressions poinsettia stamp to decorate my square. I stamped some of the ink off onto scrap paper first as I didn't want the rather large image to be too dominating. The greeting is actually much clearer than it looks here.

For the cover I used a die-namics swirl die, and some Marianne dies to cut and assemble the flower corner. The backing paper is printed from a Crafter's Companion CD and edged with a Martha Stewart punch.

As I was quite happy with the finished card, I then cut out enough pieces to make another five flower corners. I have printed out sufficient backing paper so now I just have to stamp and fold another five inserts! I have done the first of these and this time I used a very fine, elegant Chocolate Baroque corner stamp, and two sets of Tapestry peg stamps. I used to enjoy using these but they haven't seen the light of days for a very long time. 

I think I prefer it to the large images, but I have crowded it a bit so I will spread the images out a little more next time. (Feel free to disagree with me. I am always open to suggestions!).

Right back to some stamping now. Thanks Sandra for your help.