Handicrafts by Kate Perry and other ramblings

Monday, December 16, 2013

Praying or Peeping

I don't do much 'cute' but I have always loved these two little angels called Praying and Peeping, by Judi-Kins. I don't even know whether they exist now. I certainly bought them a good few years ago, after my sister gave me a Christmas card with one of them made on shrink plastic. Now that really was cute!

I probably over used them a bit that year, but they haven't seen ink since, so I decided to get them out and have another go.

I love the way the naughty one's toes are curling and her halo has slipped!
I raided my all-white snippets box (the fullest one of all), and found ten little pieces so I stamped each angel five times. I then went through the Christmas snippets and found several pieces from free magazine booklets I think. I dug out some dreadful pink DL cards with envelopes that have lurked in a cupboard for years. I like mauvy-pink, but these were a shade I would never choose to use, so I thought I'd cover them with paper and just leave a narrow border on each side. Hence my use of mauve, and white papers covered in pink and purple snowflakes. There was also one in deep mauve with pink stars all over, but I forgot to photograph that one before giving it to someone. The two blues pieces are a paper that I really like from my computer library, and I have printed it out in every shade of blue, so I nearly always have odd bits of it in my snippets box. I then coloured one of each angel to match the papers, cut them with a spellbinders label die - I'm not sure what number it is), and quickly assembled five cards. One has already gone, but here are the other four. The words were from a See-D's set.
I shall pop over to Pixie's Snippets Playground with these, and see whether anyone is lurking under the playhouse with some mulled-wine. Perhaps I'll see you there.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A pair of jolly Santas

I am looking for quick and easy designs for my last few cards, and once again my silhouette machine came to my aid. A while ago I downloaded a cutting file for a Santa face from the Silhouette store, so I loaded it into the software and resized it to fit on a 12cm square card. I duplicated it so the two sat nicely on an A4 sheet and cut them from double-sided adhesive. While it was cutting, I used some light-weight white card to make two base cards.
The next task was to weed out the bits I didn't want, which seemed quite easy after some of the detailed vinyl I have done lately.
It was then a case of removing the yellow backing sheet and carefully placing the image, sticky side down onto the base card.

I peeled off the remaining white layer to reveal the sticky image, and covered the whole area with red glitter. I don't use glitter very much since I discovered stickles glitter glue, but I have quite a collection of it from years ago. I rooted around and found some ultra fine, red pearl, which worked very well. I rubbed it in to make sure everything was well covered and it formed an almost velvet cover, with very clean edges and no static problems to clean off. So I decided all they needed to finish them was a simple red peel off greeting. And there we have it: A pair of jolly Santas, and two more cards for my collection.

Friday, December 6, 2013

I Love Red Candles at Christmas.

Wow I'm back. It's not often you see me twice in one day. Thanks to those who have already visited my earlier post. I do appreciate it.

This morning I made my chili and ginger jam as planned, so the house is quite pungent! I shall take some up to the sale this evening. Our village art and craft expo goes on until Sunday lunchtime, but we take it in turns to man it after the first busy evening. I am on duty tomorrow morning.

I have also retrieved all the decorations from the back of the garage so this evening I will be tackling the tree, but first I decided to make one more card. I have nearly reached my total now. Just a few more to go.

This card has made use of one of a pack I acquired around fifteen years ago. It is probably from the time when I lived near Shrewsbury and frequently visited the QVC surplus store. They sold mountains of returned orders, opened packets that had had bits used for demonstrations, damaged packs, odds and ends all bundled together, and they were nearly giving them away. I bought all sorts of bits there, sometimes with no idea of what was in the pack, hence a few oddities now lurking at the bottom of my cupboards! 

The pack of cards all had a Christmas die-cut aperture, sort of like a stencil. They weren't large enough for iris folding, and I wasn't inspired to use them at the time. But I guess my crafting has changed since then, and when I spotted them the other day, I could see that some of them had potential, and could be a good way of using up some more of those snippets. So I chose the candle aperture. The red paper behind it is from a challenge I entered a couple of years ago. I can't remember what colour it was originally, but I had fun at the time with a red and gold mica spray recolouring it. The yellow behind the flames, and for the flower centre was made by modge-podging a serviette onto white card. I don't remember what project that was for! Anyway, they have found a new home now. The red for the flower and green for the leaves were also oddments from my snippets box. Both dies were blue so I think they were Marianne's. I used glitter glue to define some dripping wax on the candle and add some glitter to the flames and flowers. Most of my stickles are pretty old now and they are getting a bit thick, so I had to resort to a fine paint brush to spread them out today. But they still sparkle, so that's the main thing. I might add a small sentiment later. I haven't decided yet.
Right. So that is one more to link to Pixie's Snippets Playground, (I have managed three this week Di), and then I'm off to find the lights for that tree. Once they are on, I love doing the rest of it.

Merry Christmas!

I am sure I am not the only one who does this, but when I am 'up to my eyes' with so many things I need to do that I don't know where to start, I often go off and spend half a day doing something completely non-urgent and irrelevant. So this week, as I checked through my Facebook page I saw a photo of a Christmas sign, painted on wood and hung amongst some greenery. The lady who posted it wanted to know what font was used so she could make a similar sign with her Silhouette machine. The general consent was that it was hand painted but I thought it should be possible to make something like it with a bit of messing around. I can't resist a challenge. So I used a combination of Corel Photoshop, my scanner, my ancient light-box, good old Windows paintbox, and a bit of imagination, and finally the trace function of my silhouette software, and I did it! I now have a cutting file for the words Merry Christmas, that while not being identical to the original sign, is a very close approximation. I had 'wasted' many hours, but had great satisfaction from doing it, and I was then able to get into gear and tackle the things I really needed to do!
So last night, I decided that the least I could do was to use it, so I off-set the file to make two layer mats and cut them all out of bits from my snippets box, using my Silhouette of course. (I think the middle layer is a rather confused design, but the plain white on top does show enough to read what it says. A rather larger snippet was used to cover the front of a DL card, having first matted it onto olive green card, also from my snippets box.
And here is the card I made. It really is white and green, though it looks more like pink in the photo. It was a little bit plain for me, so I finished it off with a line of glitter glue along the writing and some on the snowflakes in the background. It is amazing what a difference a bit of sparkle makes!
I don't like that photo at all so I have tried doing another one. This shows the colour and sparkle much beter, but I cut the end off! take your pick!

When is a snippet not a snippet? To me, once I have cut into a sheet of paper or card, if the piece left is smaller than A6 size, it goes in my snippets box. But in each box(I have four colour coded boxes!) I also have a clear pocket full of the real tiny pieces. But when I find a piece in my box that is large enough to cover a card, I think, 'that wasn't really a snippet at all'! What do you think?
Anyway, I used up several pieces from my snippets box for this, so I am off to link it up to the Playground again. Then I have to go and make some chili and ginger jam. I ran out of it at my sale last night and took some orders, so I had better not procrastinate any longer.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Using up the bits.

Craft magazines are a rarity here, partly due to the cost of P&P and the fact that shops have to buy a minimum quantity with no returns for any unsold copies. But there is one shop over in Albox, a half hour drive from here, that I visit occasionally, and they do have one on sale each month. It is not the one I would chose so I only buy it when I like the free papers in it! I usually do use these, which means that I am left with lots of little off cuts, and a load of toppers to match them.
I have only made a tri-shutter card using kits from Hunkadory, which I wasn't keen on, because they use such good quality card, that the end result was very heavy, and not suitable to post to UK from here. So when I saw a tutorial for making one recently, and I'm sorry I have forgotten whose blog I saw it on, I decided to have a go at making one from scratch. This meant that I had lots of small areas to cover, and it was a perfect way to use up my snippets of red and pale green papers, and one with little characters all over it, as well as several of the toppers that went with them.

So here is the card I made, which I will be linking in to the Snippets Playground where there is a two-week long party to celebrate their 100th (and 101 st) week under the management of Di. Well done Di!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas cards for two special little boys

I fully intended to post these in Crafty Hazels challenge last week which was to make a card for a child, but I didn't manage to find the time, so I am entering them in her monthly extra challenge instead, which is always anything goes (as long as it's Christmas).
Whenever possible I make individual Christmas cards for my grandchildren, so these are for two little brothers, aged 7 and 9.

The images are both from the Paper Shelter. When you buy a digi image from them, usually you get a ready coloured image as well as an outline one for colouring, plus a printed background, and the same background complete with the coloured image. So there is plenty of choice as to how you use them. In most cases I like the backgrounds so I do use them, but I then decoupage the outline image (having first coloured it of course!). I find this more satisfying, and I enjoy using my copic markers. So that is what I did with both of these cards. I coloured them first, using the printed coloured images as a guide, so that mine would tone with the backgrounds. They were quite fiddly to cut out, but they made a nice pair of cards, so it was worth the effort. I added some glitter glue to the backgrounds and some white 'snow' to Santa's hat and jackets for added dimension.
I shall go and link them to Hazel's challenge for December now.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WOYWW 234 and a Friend for Happypotamus.

Hello everyone, I have something a bit different to show today.  (Well yesterday really, because I am writing this on Tuesday night). 
Winter has arrived in my corner of Spain, with chilly winds and cold nights. I don't mind the cold nights because last week we felt it was time to put the duvet back on the bed, and I like the weight of it after using just a sheet all summer. However, I digress. Although it is cooler, and we have had a little rain now, most days are still sunny with blue skies, so I am making the most of the last chances to sit out on our sheltered porch for the afternoon. Hence my desk this week, is the somewhat scruffy cane settee outside the back door. And what am I doing there? Well I am putting the finishing touches to Fatty Lumpkin, a fun  little pony made from crocheted African flower motifs.
Some of you may remember that I used these motifs recently to make a hippo, (Happypotamus), but the pony proved to be a lot more awkward to assemble. There is no stitching involved. the motifs are all crocheted together, and he was quite a handful when I got to the last few. But I stayed at  'my desk' until he was done, and here he is.
He will be going to my sale of work in the village next week, so I hope he doesn't get too attached to his new friend Happy.
Here they are together. Like me, they are enjoying the last of the sunshine.
I expect I will be moving my desk back indoors next week, and lighting a fire next to it if it gets any colder!
By the way. if anyone is interested in the patterns for these, and other similar animals, they can be found here.
Now, if you'd like to follow me to Julia's blog at the Stamping Ground, you can join me as I visit other folks work desks and see what they have been busy with this week.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Final Rudolph day for 2013!

Yes, this time next month we will have exchanged the gifts, eaten the turkey (some of it anyway), watched the inevitable Disney film, and hopefully visited or at least chatted with family or friends, and maybe some of us will be wondering what it was all about. For me Christmas is a lovely season, when we celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, and the rest is just the trimmings. So while we have four more weeks for those final preparations, this is our last chance to post a card on here for Rudolph Day, and here is mine.

Actually, as you can see, there are two of them! When I was browsing through the files in the silhouette store, I spotted this little image and thought it was quite sweet, so I added it to my basket (as you do!). My cards for UK are all done and dusted, but I still need some more for friends out here, so this week I decided to give it a try. I went through my boxes of snippets looking for off-cuts of pearlised paper as I know that is the best for cutting with my machine. One of the good things about the silhouette is that the carrier mat is marked off with a one inch grid, and when you have loaded your design in the software, you can bring up the grid behind it, so you know exactly where it will cut. This means I can copy the image several times, I did four of these, and put four separate off-cuts of paper on the mat where it will cut, so it is a good way to use up the bits. I hope that makes some sense to the non-users of a cutting machine. Anyway, I found four small pieces of light brown paper to cut the deer, and then some larger pieces of brown for the trees. Unfortunately I only had two pale blue pieces so I had to cut into a new sheet for the other two backgrounds, so I made a new off-cut! Emptying my snippets boxes is a bit like filling a leaky bucket. It aint gonna happen! But not to worry. I had some quite big off cuts of the brown paper so I also cut two frames using a new Die'sire die.

For the first card I cut a narrow brown mat, and put a piece of silver holographic paper between the mat and the background so it shines through the stars and snow. Then I added the tree and deer and mounted it onto a 12cm square card. I see I still need to find a small sentiment stamp to go along the lower edge. For the second card I put the backer directly onto the white base card (15cm square this time), and put glitter glue in the star and snow holes. Then I trimmed the tree and added it with the deer, and put the die cut frame on top. And I did stamp a sentiment on this one. I also used some of the stars cut from the background, to decorate around the edge.
I still have two more sets of images from my cutting session, so for speed I will probably make another one of each of these.

Do you know, the pearl paper that I use for cutting is the same all the way through, so there is no right or wrong side, but it was only as I added these photos, that I noticed I had reversed all the image for one card. I must have been making them in my sleep!
I shall now go and link these up to Sarn's blog at Stamping for Pleasure, and also to Pixie's Snippets Playground.

Friday, November 22, 2013

For a baby girl.

A few weeks ago, a Romanian couple at my church decided they wanted to hold a 'proper wedding' ceremony in front of God and their Christian friends, so we did our best to make it a very special occasion for them. (They had been married in Romania some years ago). Mario and Florentina already have a little girl Andra, and this week their second daughter was born. (9.2lbs. Phew!). I was asked to make a card for everyone in church to sign on Sunday, so this is what I made.

It is very pink!, but with my male-orientated family, I don't have many opportunities to make pink things, and they like the style that we might describe as 'a bit over the top'!.
I raided my 'pink' snippets box and found a piece big enough for the background, which I lightly embossed with baby hands and feet. Then I found some heart-pattern pieces for the outer frame and the lace border, and some deep raspberry pearl card for the mats. The image is 'Sleeping baby Tilda'. I don't usually go for the magnolia range. I don't do 'cute', and they were very over-used a year or so ago. But I did like this one, though I had to give her mouth. They don't ususally have one which takes away their character for me. The lace was made with two Spellbinders edge dies, the frame and swirls are Marianne dies, and the flowers are a combination of die cuts and flowers from my stash. It felt unbalanced with the empty space on the left, so I added three pieces of white card candy and two tiny pink gems.
As I used up some very ancient snippets for this, I am entering it in the 100th edition of Pixies Snippets Playground.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


For the second week running I have the photos ready, but haven't found time to write the post, so although it is nearing bedtime, I am still going to join in  with the Wednesday workdesk trip. See Julia's blog, Stamping Ground to find out all about it.
I decided this week to give my room a complete overhaul. I was tired of
having no floor-space, and constantly barging my hips etc as I hovered between the work table and the computer desk. It was a mammoth task as there is no spare space in here, so everything movable had to be dumped on our bed in the room next door. This exposed rather more dust than there should have been, plus a lot of long white hair. (I wonder whose that could have been?). So I had a good clean up and then I had to enlist the help of hubby to lift the desk over the table and rearrange everything, including all the wiring. I have got fourteen items always plugged in, and three sockets with only one of them being earthed! So there are adapters coming out of adapters and enough overload to give an electrician nightmares.
Still, this is how it looks now. My desk is back under the window where the light is good to work by, and the sun is not too hot for a few months. The windows are actually quite a poor fit and it was getting draughty around my shoulders when I sat at the computer for too long. Now I can swivel my chair between the table and the computer, the only drawback being a very small space to use the mouse. 
Also, on what was the computer table, I have my printer and silhouette cameo set up with space for them to both work as they should. The coloured cover and all the 'stuff' on top of the printer, is to prevent Arwen from making it her bed again. I'm sure all her hair was the main cause of the last one failing. She actually left my room and hid under our bed while all the moving was going on. She is back now, but she is not happy with the new arrangement!
But it didn't stay this tidy for long as last night I spent my time wrapping up lots of little chocolate bars and sticking them together to make these.

Folk who follow JoZart on here, may remember these when she made them and wrote a post about it last year. I wanted to make some then, but I couldn't get the candy canes out here. I spotted some in the pound shop when I was in UK back in September, so I brought a couple of boxes back with me. (My sister thought I had lost the plot when I bought them, but she will see what they were for now). Mine rely rather more heavily on selotape than Jo's did, but my hand-eye coordination is bad right now. The doctor has given me stronger painkillers that are making me go 'do-lally', and my eye appointment came through yesterday, but it is not until 8th January, so for now it's a case of, "if in doubt.. add another layer of tape"!
Well I have made it before the clock strikes mid-night, so I'll go and link this up and see what some of you folk are busy with this week.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Not a card - Now that makes a change!

I've been working hard on my Christmas cards so I thought it would be fun to do something different for a change. I had been sorting out a drawer in my craft room and I came across a box containing four clear glass 'eggs'. I have had these for at least ten years, because I bought them after a workshop when we had turned them into glittered ornaments. I actually remembered how we had done them too, so I hunted out the bottle of 'Simple Solutions Acrylic Medium 2' which we had used to stick the glitter, and I was amazed to find it was still as liquid as when I had bought it. So I then sorted out a selection of glitters and mica pigments. It is so good to be using some of these materials that have hibernating in my drawers for years, 
So this was my desk as it was on Tuesday night. Unfortunately I didn't have any time to post it on WOYWW this week. Here I have swirled the solution around inside the third 'egg' and it is draining back into the pot . The first two are done. I find an old egg tray is a perfect way of keeping these safe while they dry.
I made one each of red/gold, and shades of purple, blue and green. I love the way the glitter sparkles through the glass and the pearly mica powders fills in any gaps. When all four were done I put the tray in the one room where the cats never go (these won't bounce on my stone floors!), and I left them overnight to dry completely.

Then I glued the tops back on and tied a small length of tinsel around them, and to finish them I cut a Santa and his sleigh from black vinyl using my Silhouette cameo machine, and carefully transferred it onto the outside of the bauble. This was a very fine cut but it worked well. The shiny glass is extremely difficult to photograph, but here is the finished green one. I expect I paid quite a lot for these ornaments as they were sold as art items, but that is money long forgotten, so I will put a reasonable price on them and try to sell them at our Gallarte (the village arts and crafts group), expo at the start of next month. I usually only have mince-pies and jam at the Christmas expo because I am too busy to make anything else!

I follow the Silhouette facebook group, where most of the members are American, and they are making a different sort of bauble that I also wanted to try, but I have not been able to source clear, empty baubles out here. I gather they are plentiful in shops like Michaels and Walmart, but they seem to be non-existent in Spain! I found one lot in UK but to post a tray of 18 to me, they wanted £26 postage!! So I sorted through my own decorations and I found three small glass balls with fine, irridiscent fibres in them. I was able to remove this with fine tweezers, so I decided to give it a go. 
The balls were rather small so I had to cut some very tiny images. This is my cut image still on its backing sheet, after I have weeded out the bits I didn't want. (I see I had missed one area between the lamp-post and reindeer's tail, but I did remove it later). To give you an idea of size, the grid on my very worn cutting mat is one inch squares, so my little image is less than 2 inches. But when I am using vinyl, even the very fine lines cut so well. 
I then cut a circle the size of the diameter of my glass ball, from a plastic page pocket, and using transfer tape, I carefully placed my image just below the centre of this. The next job was to roll the circle up to post it through the little opening at the top of the bauble. If the circle is just the right size it should spring out to fit. Mine was a spot too big so it wouldn't open flat, so I had to persuade it to come out again so I could trim a minuscule amount from all around it! This time it did fit. Then I used a long narrow spatula to add small amounts of glitter snow both in front and behind the transparent layer. A right fiddle but quite effective! I replaced the cap with a little dab of glossy accents to ensure it stayed in, and tied a ribbon around the top with a small dazzler in the centre.
Again this was a pain to photograph, but it gives you an idea of what it looks
like. I shall do the other two that I have, and I would love to do some more but I won't be able to buy any in time for this year. But I may order some to be delivered to one of my sons, and I can collect them sometime, ready for next year. There are plenty of places selling the splittable ones, that come in half to put a small gift etc inside, but I don't want these. Though I did think the second type might work with these, and even be a lot easier to handle. But the glittered ones need the smooth glass (or plastic) balls without joins. I still have both the egg and round bauble that I made at the workshop all those years ago, and every year they hang on my tree, so they are not quite as fragile as they look. It was fun to do and I have a lovely glittery room now!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Working with Digi-stamps

I bought my first digi-stamp around a year ago when I wanted to enter a challenge and had no suitable images on my rubber stamps. I was a bit unsure at first, but now I have quite a collection. I was surprised to find that they can be coloured with my much loved copic markers without the ink smudging. The other advantage of them is that they can be resized to fit any shape or size of card, and of course, any fancy frame that you have a die for.

So last week I went through my collection of digis and printed out a few Christmas images in a variety of sizes. These are the stamps I used. (I have over printed them with the place I bought them from, so they cannot be copied. It is only fair to the folk who design them). The one in the bottom right corner I printed off several times, and used them to make the set of blue cards in my previous post.
For the others, I passed several happy evenings colouring the images, and sorting through all my snippets boxes for co-ordinating papers and card. I cut out a selection of die-cut frames and put together these cards. Some of them have a couple of decoupaged layers, but I mostly keep them fairly thin, for ease of posting to UK.
I found all sorts of odds and ends of ribbon and labels, to finish them off with, and also 'blinged' them a bit with stickles glitter glue.
Now I have enough made to start writing all the ones for overseas posting. I am hoping to put them in a parcel that a courier-friend is taking over for me next week. Then my son can hand-deliver the local ones, and pay British postage for the rest!
Now I must start again on all the ones I want for friends here in Spain!
Seeing as I used up so many of my paper, card and ribbon off-cuts to make these, I shall pop over to Pixie's Crafty Workshop, and link them up in the Snippets Playground.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Blue Christmas

I mentioned in my regular Wednesday post that I was making a run of blue Christmas cards. Well I did, and here they are.

Most of them are all the same design, made using papers from a digi scrapbook kit called Once upon a Christmas from G&T Designs. I found I could fit three backers and toppers, plus three of the baby images (A Day for Daisies digi-stamp), all onto an A3 sheet of paper. So I printed out three sheets so I could make a run of nine cards. I cut my own 15cm square base cards which left me with small strips of card from each A4 page, and I used these to print off a few more of the baby images in slightly varying sizes. I coloured all the images with copic markers, fussy-cut them, and used silicone glue to mount them over the image on the topper. I enjoy dong that though the straw from the manger made it rather more 'fussy' than I would have chosen! I used a Memento Paris Dusk inkpad to distress the edges of the top layer. The words are a cutting file for my silhouette cameo that I bought from Designer Vinyls, but for these I simply added the png file to the toppers before I printed them.

When I came to assemble them I realised that two of the backgrounds had not printed right to the bottom. I don't know why as the third page did it fine! Anyway, for those two I cut a lace border in dark blue card so they fitted the base card properly. I finished each of these designs off with some new Stckles glitter glue called Silver Ice which is much nicer than silver or just ice! I put some on the star above the manger, and randomly on some of the background stars.

The extra baby images were also used. I made some die-cut frames for them, and also printed out some different backing papers , so altogether I have a baker's dozen of cards, and I am quite please with them. They will all help me reach my target of 160 cards by the end of the month! 

I am entering this for Aud Sentiment Challenge 92: Inspirational Christmas.
My Heart Pieces digital stamp challenges ; Anything Christmas
and Make it Monday Challenge 164: Anything goes.

I don't always enter my cards for challenges. It mainly depends on whether I have time to search for suitable ones, and whether or not I think I will have time to visit other entries to comment, but sometimes I do like to, so I was pleased when my sister pointed me towards a new blog called Challenges for Days, which lists the challenges available, each day (the ones that have asked them to of course!). They are currently offering some blog candy to anyone who promotes them, as they want to get known more widely. So if you are looking for some inspiration it is worth paying them a visit.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Hello again. I have a quick post for you today as I am still in Christmas card mode and don't want to lose the burst of enthusiasm that has helped to boost my tiny collection so far, up to a decent collection of around 75 cards this week. That is still only around half of what I want, so I need to crack on with some more sets. Tonight I am making a run of blue and white cards. I did the prototype earlier this week so I know what I need. I have just printed and cut out the backgrounds toppers and base cards. Now I need to colour all the little images, cut them out and start an assembly line. Hence the box of pens on my desk, with the colours I will be using already selected.

You can also see various 'sticking' materials, my favourite pair of scissors and the tiny decoupage snips that I use for the little awkward cuts. The memento ink pad is to distress the middle layer.
And then there is that box at the back to the left of the picture. It is labelled 'Finished cards' but that isn't quite true as a good three-quarters of them need an insert! Every year I say I will do the inserts as I make the cards, but something else always needs to be done first, so it gets left. I do have a folder on my computer of Christmas and Birthday inserts in all sizes, so a lot of these will  get a printed one. But  a few will be stamped, and I also like to stamp a Biblical Christmas verse inside, especially when, as with this year, I have made a lot of cards depicting snow scenes and robins rather than the Nativity. Christmas is important to me as a Christian, so I like my cards to reflect on the real reason for the season. So I  am hoping that box on my table will inspire me to have an 'insert day' this week, so at least half of my cards are ready to write and send!
Thank you to everyone who visited my blog last week. I hope I got back to you all, and a few more beside. I'll do my best to visit you all again this week. But first I will link this up to Julia's Stamping Ground, ready for the happy trip around the work-desks of the world tomorrow morning.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Winter scene for Rudolph Day.

Well the penultimate Rudolph Day (25th of the month),  has arrived, so once again it is time to make and show a Christmas card.

This month I have used a new stamp I bought recently in UK. I thought it was time for it to get inked up. 

I used Memento olive grove to stamp it, and added the minimum of colour with ciao markers. I used the same markers to colour the holly wreath which was all part of the same stamp. Then it was time to mount it up and I realised that I had made the same mistake I always do. In my effort to get several images onto one sheet of paper, I forget to space them out sufficiently to use most of my dies! However, there were a couple I could cut with my fancy oval die, and mount onto a red mat. Others I cut with a plain oval and removed the centre from a red fancy oval so I could use it as a frame. One had to be fussy-cut around the image and mounted onto a complete red oval because it had no 'spare' white area around it. (I really must learn from my mistakes!)
Another recent purchase was an A4 embossalicious folder, with an all-over holly design. So I ran a few sheets of paper through the machine with this and used them as a background. On some I lightly added some green ink to the raised area, but I left the others white. I mounted them onto a white base card, with a thin red mat for the larger ones,  and added a small red peel-off greeting, and a red bow in the opposite corner to balance it up.
The images on a red frame fitted onto an A6 card but I needed to make a couple of slightly larger ones for the white frames on a red mat. So that is another set of six cards ready in my box. I am finally beginning to catch up.
So now I just need to link this up to Sandra's blog, Stamping for Pleasure.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A set of cards that nearly didn't get made!

Along side my digi-cards, (See yesterday's post), I have also been working on a few 'proper' paper-crafted Christmas cards. While browsing the internet recently, in particular, craftsuprint site, I spotted this cutting file that I rather liked, so I purchased it, and this week I thought I'd have a go at using it.
Sadly my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine has been developing a fault lately which has got progressively worse, and when I turned it on to cut these cards out, it wouldn't read the image or cut it at all. I have about six weeks left of my two year guarantee so I thought I might have to send it back. But I knew the postage was around £76 two years ago, so would probably be more now, so it was a tough decision. However, I wrote to the company I bought it from, and they suggested that I contact the technician at Graphtec, (the home company for the machines). As soon as I saw his name I knew he was someone who has been very helpful to me in the past when I had my original CraftRobo machine, so instead of e-mailing him I rang him up. 
He listened to my machine over the phone, and made some suggestions for me to try. Then he got a bit too technical for me so I called for Chris to come and talk to him, and he was given some really sensible and helpful advice. Chris then did something - involving my computer and printer - and hey presto, my machine was working again! Once again I am really impressed with the customer support from this company, and the fact that Brian was able to diagnose the problem and suggest action to remedy it, just by listening over the phone, when we ourselves had no idea how to do it. 
So thanks to him, I was able to continue with making my cards.
The image has three main layers, plus the capital A and M, and the base card. Opening the files in the Cameo software, I resized it to fit on a DL card, and using one A4 sheet for each layer, I was able to fit three to a page. So I cut each page in each colour, and by alternating them both ways, I was able to assemble six cards; three on a blue base and three on white. 
It is a bit of a  'labour of love' to glue them all together, but I soon got in the swing of it, and had all six finished in an evening. I just added a small gem stone to the centre of the star as embellishment. Being me, I was not too happy with the empty corner, top right, and had to fight the urge to add a stamped greeting, but I think it is probably best without.
The only thing I am changing before I use the file again, is to remove the cut triangle in the letter A on the third layer. I think it should be left white. But I think I can change that quite easily, so I shall do so before I save it to my library. I might get a few more made in a different colour combination later.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Yay! I'm back - for this week anyway. Maybe I need some lessons in time management, because I never seem to have a spare minute these days, to post on my blog, nor to comment on everyone else's. But tonight I have been busy chopping up several bulbs of garlic and a huge bag of root ginger, to make a new batch of my Hot chili and ginger jam. It now has to simmer gently for an hour so I am going to use that time to prepare this post for the morning. Excuse me if I pop back to the kitchen to stir the brew every now and then. And what am I back for? Well, of course it is for the weekly blog hop hosted by the lovely Julia over on her Stamping Ground, so if you would like to see what crafters around the world are getting up to, pop over and join in the fun.

Obviously my 'work desk' tonight was the kitchen table, so here is my desk from the night before, when I actually did do some crafting.

I am so far behind with my Christmas cards this year, and with the way my life is at moment, there is little chance of me catching up in time, so I made the decision to do a batch of digital cards. Not something I have done before, and not my first choice, but it certainly was a lot quicker. I used Photoshop and a digital scrapbook kit called Cameo Christmas by Pamela Rose designs. I chose a backing paper, a frame, and a swathe of flowers and greenery, and constructed my page. I then found a reasonably decent photo of Chris and I that we took to send to our African boy whom we sponsor for his secondary education. I resized it to fit behind the frame and saved the whole thing as a jpeg file. I was then able to use Publisher to size it down to fit on a 12cm square card, and could fit six of these on an A3 sheet of paper. So what you can see here is one of the sheets about to be cut up, plus green and red card for the bases, a very untidy box of ribbons, a sentiment stamp and ink pad, and my tower of stickles glitter glue. And of course a grumpy Arwen who objected to being moved to the end of the table. I have done so little craft recently that she thinks she owns the whole space and is extremely disgruntled when I move her off it.
So in one evening I was able to cut out four sheets of images (two dozen in all), cut score and fold 24 base cards, stamp 24 sentiments, and the worst bit - tie 24 little red bows, and then put them all together. And just to prove I did, here is a later shot of my desk, with all twenty-four cards, spread out while the glitter glue dries, with Arwen banished for an hour!
That is the closest shot you are going to get of them as I haven't decided who I will be sending these to yet. I shall make a list now and see whether I should make a few more. I am also trying to get a few sets of 'proper' cards made for my friends locally. The digi ones will be good for posting to UK, so most of them will go there.
Well that's it for this week. I think my jam is just about ready to bottle up. The kitchen is very pungent right now, but as I said to my sister earlier, at least I should be breathing clearly tonight!
I'll be back tomorrow to link this up and hopefully to visit as many as I can of you.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

For a Ruby Wedding Anniversary

As it is over a week since I posted anything, I thought I would just show you the card I made a couple of weeks ago for some friends' Ruby Wedding. It was needed on the same day as the rather elaborate wedding card in my previous post, so I needed to keep this one fairly simple.

I chose a big decorated heart stamp by Magenta. It is is one of the first stamps I ever had, so it must be pretty ancient now! I stamped it in Rhubarb stalk memento ink, and clear embossed it. When I had cut it out I mounted it on a burgundy mat cut with an 'around the page' punch by Martha Stewart.
Next I cut the rose leaf swirl from the Heartfelt Creations Bella rose die set, from gold mirri-card, and used the off-cuts to make the 40 years, using Britannia dies.
The rose stamp is also from the Bella Rose collection, and I coloured it with copic markers and cut it out with the matching die.
The sentiment was made on the computer and mounted on a Spellbinders label.
I was going to distress the edges in red ink, but instead I used fine gold peel-off borders to hold it all together.

Monday, September 30, 2013

I made the deadline for a Wedding card.

I am used to only making cards for family and friends, but this week I was commissioned to make one that I really wanted to do. But fresh back from my holiday, and with my son here for a visit, I didn't have much time.
We have two young Romanian couples who attend our church regularly. They speak their own language at home and are fluent in Spanish, but although they understand quite a bit, they are only just beginning to speak English. Earlier this year they were all baptised in the sea, along with others from our group, and although they were married in Romania some years ago, they decided that they wanted to be married again in church "In front of God and our new family here".  They are a part of a rather marginalised group of hard working folk who slave in the heat of the plastic greenhouses (where the salad on your supermarket shelves is grown) for very low wages, so we wanted to give them a special day. So we each did our best. Some made beautiful flower displays, others collected rose petals to spread on the path, organised champagne and glasses, found a last minute wedding cake etc and we all contributed to a 'bring and share' lunch. I was asked to make a card that everyone could sign, and as I knew there would be around sixty signatures and messages, I knew it would have to be a big one!
In the end it was more or less A4 size with a triple page insert. The colour was determined by the colour of the large sheets of card available, and as the only pastel shade was pink, that's what I used.
For the next layer I used heavy white paper cut around with a Martha Stewart 'round the page' punch (eyelet lace I think), and passed through my e-bosser with an A4 lattice folder.
The swans were a cutting file from a Tina Fitch CD that I bought for a family wedding card next year, so this was a good opportunity to practice with it. I cut them from stiff pearl paper and painted white glitter-glue on the feathers.

The church window was another file from my silhouette cameo library which I believe was free from Monica Bjork. I cut it from the same pearl paper as the swans and backed it with two layers of fusion film. 
I glued two strips if pale pink ribbon across the lower section and covered the join with some pearl trimming that I bought in UK last week.
The sentiment was computer generated and cut, along with its surround, using Spellbinders Radiant Rectangles, Majestic Elements dies.

For the flower spray I cut two of Joanna Sheen's Signature die Ivy flourishes, and one rose swirl from the Heartfelt Creations Bella Rose set. The larger flowers were made from scratch using ordinary copy paper and hand cut flower shapes, with a gem brad at their centre, and the smaller ones were deconstructed and reconstructed silk flowers.

At first I thought it was all a bit over the top, but knowing the couple, I just knew it was a style they would love. We all managed to sign it before the couple arrived, and I think I can safely say we gave them a day they will remember for a very long time.
When it was time to repeat their vows, the bridegroom spoke in halting English, and the bride in Spanish, and then their friend did a reading in Romanian, so it was quite an international affair!
The smallest girl is their daughter, and the older one is the daughter of their friends. Florentina's new baby is due just before Christmas, so soon we will celebrating with them again.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A quick 'bobbin' robin for Rudolf Day.

With me spending a couple of weeks out of circulation this month, Rudolph Day seems to have come round even faster than usual. But here we are at the 25th again, and Sarn is reminding us that it is time to link another Christmas card to her blog, Stamping for Pleasure.
As I have been commissioned to make a large wedding card for Sunday, and I also need a Ruby wedding Anniversary card for the same day, I knew I would have to keep it simple for my Christmas card. So I used one of a sheet of robin toppers that I bought while in UK, and a sheet of robin paper from a lovely Papermania pack that I bought at the same time. Rather than using the frame that came with the topper, I hand cut one from green card, and also used a strip of the same card below the image. To this I glued a piece of snowflake paper lace that I had coated with white glitter. I used memento olive grove ink to distress the edge of the base card, and to stamp a simple sentiment. A little of the same glitter on the image completed the card.
This was a quick and easy card to make and there were ten toppers on the sheet, so hopefully next week I will be able to make a set of them. For now though, I will just link this up and have a quick look at what everyone else has made.
Well it is now Thursday evening. I did post this yesterday, but as my dear sister has just pointed out to me, it really does help if you remember to link it up to the challenge when you have done it! (She put it much nicer than that!). So it is now done! Better late than never. I think I need an early night.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Well, if it is really week 225, I must have been missing for quite a while, but as I arrived home safely last Thursday night I thought I would get back in the swing with a short post here. It will be a quickie as I have another deadline to meet, with a Christmas card needed for Rudolph day tomorrow, as well as a Ruby Wedding anniversary card and a Wedding card both needed for Sunday.
So for this week I thought I would just show you all the lovely bits of stash that I bought during my trip to UK. I finally managed to finish unpacking last night so I spread everything on my desk. As it is my birthday coming up very soon I asked Chris if he would put a 'little extra' in my bank account which he kindly did, so it would have been rude not to spend it, wouldn't it?!

So here is my desk:

 And in case you can't make it all out, there are some stamps ...

... a few dies and embossing folders ....

... my favourite magazine, some lovely papers and a sheet of robin toppers ..
...and a wonderful assortment of gilding wax, gorgeous Pebéo Prisme paints, dazzlers, charms, a cutting knife and some weeding tools, beautiful lace ribbon and other trimmings, tiny pearls, a silicone mould for making buttons, and some Sparkle medium, as well as other odds and ends. These are all the things I can't buy online as they don't justify the high postage, so it is good to stock up when I can.
So my birthday has come early and I am going to have lots of fun playing with all this. I am also, unfortunately, going to have to find a home for it all, and that will be a lot more difficult.
I already have a couple of cards to show that I made to take away with me, and now three more to make so I should be back before long. In the meantime, follow me over to Julia's blog and join in with the big desk-hop. It's lots of fun. 
My son arrived  (at 2 o'clock this morning(!), and he is staying for two weeks, but I shall try to find time to visit as many of you as I can over the next few days.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kirigami and more

I've been rushing around today getting ready for our flight to UK tomorrow, so I have only just sat down at my computer and realised that I have missed WOYWW again. I shall now be missing for two and a bit weeks, so I thought I'd do a quick post on one of my cards instead. This is the one I started a few weeks ago for my grandson. His birthday is actually on 9/11. but he is too young to be looking at my blog. There are far more exciting things to be doing when you are seven! I shall see him at the big family party on Friday but I will leave his card with his dad for the right day.

This was my second attempt at kirigami (the Japanese art of paper folding and cutting), and this time I was using a pattern for a triceratops. It proved to be much harder to put together than the lions I had done previously, and it was not very willing to stay together. So in the end I broke the rules of kirigami and added a few dots of glue to some of the tabs, to make it strong enough to be handled by a little fellow! Anyway, this is what he looks like.

This done, I turned my attention to the card front. I wanted to use more cheerful colours this time so I printed out a DoodlePantry digi stamp of a 'cartoon' triceratops, and coloured it with my copics. I then used adobe photoshop to design the layout using a digi paper pack called Cupcake birthday from Stitchy bear, a digi frame from Jessica's Art, and a sentiment from the same set as the dinosaur. I added the Birthday script and saved it all as a jpg. Then in Publisher I sized it to fit the front of my card and printed it out. I cut out the centre of the frame and cut my coloured image to fit behind it. Then it was mounted onto the white base card which I had distressed a little with a Spiced marmalade ink pad. A shiny number seven peel-off finished it off.
That's it then. Time to pack a case!