Saturday, August 27, 2011

Squash Book Tutorial

I thought I'd add the instructions for making a "Squash Book" on here.  This is a book I made a couple of years ago as a class for a cyber crop

Ingredients for the basic album
3 sheets of card, Bazzill is good
thicker card for the covers
Selection of toning patterned and plain papers

Tools etc
Good quality glue
Double sided sticky tape
Bone folder

Use a bone folder to get good creases on all the folds

1. Cut 3 perfect squares of card.  I made mine 8.5inches (21cms) square.  It’s important to make the squares accurately so that the book folds properly.

2. Make just one diagonal fold on each piece of card
   3. Open up and fold edge to edge (like folding a card) but do this both ways.  When you’ve made all three folds each piece should look like that in the second photo
 4. Lay the three pieces of card as shown in the photo below with the diagonal folds going vertically and the middle card overlapping one corner-square of each of the other two.
 5 Apply glue to the whole of each of the two corner-squares where the sheets of card overlap. Stick down carefully so that the squares match.  Take care here or the book won’t fold properly.                          

6. Squeeze in the corners of the outer pieces of card as shown.
Just push the top and bottom corners along the diagonal fold lines and press down firmly
7. Keeping the folds tucked in, turn the whole thing over and now squeeze in on the remaining diagonal lines.
Press down on the whole lot and you should have a square book – put something on top of it to stop it all springing out again!

 Next make the covers.

 I used mountboard, but you could use something thinner – or maybe stick two pieces of card together to get a more sturdy cover

1. Cut two pieces of thicker card that are a bit bigger that the book you’ve already made – I made mine just under 0.5cms bigger on each edge.  If when you’ve cut the squares they seem a bit too big, you can shave off some more.
 2. Cut 2 squares of whatever paper you want to use for your book which are about 2cms bigger all round than the covers, stick one of the squares in the middle of each paper square.
 3. Pre-fold all the edges and make the mitred corners – it’s easier to form the shapes before you apply the glue.
 4. Stick down all the corners and edges as shown
 5. Cut a long piece of ribbon.  There needs to be enough to around the whole book and have enough to tie a bow, so be generous, you can discard the extra later.
Decide which is to be the back cover and make a line just under halfway down where the ribbon will go.  Use double sided tape (DST) to fix the ribbon in place.

6. Put DST just inside all the edges of the back cover – remember the actual book pages are slightly smaller than the covers.  Add a bit more DST over the ribbon just to make sure.
Carefully line up the cover and the back of your book and stick down firmly.

7. Repeat the sticking process with the front cover – this time you don’t need any ribbon as the piece you’ve already added goes right around the book and holds everything in place.
Remember that if you are using a paper with a “one-way” design you’ll need to match up the patterns nicely on the 2 covers.

8. Bring the ribbons round to the front and tie a bow to close the book, cut off any excess ribbon.
Now it’s ready to decorate and fill.

Here's what my completed book looked like with photos added

 Here's another example of the Squash book. This was made as a gift with spaces for the recipient to add their own photos and journalling:

I hope you like this book idea and will want to have a go at making one for yourself, they are fun to make and fun to share.
I'd love to hear what you think so please leave a message - and if you make one of these books do come and let me know where I can see it!
Thanks for visiting

One I Made Earlier!

I made this card some time ago as a possible project for Funky Hand's page in"Simply Cards and Papercraft" magazine's  
"Best of British" supplement which came out a few weeks ago.  In the end I went with a handbag card using the fab wobble card template and papers from the "Craft the Year Away" CD, shown right.
Whilst I loved the handbag card, and chose to use that for the magazine, this flowery one is probably more "my" style - whatever that is, and I loved putting it together - flower, ribbons, lace and lots of pretty papers - it can't get much more fun than that.

I'm blogging it now because Funky Hand has a Bank Holiday Sale on atm, with 25% off Funky Hand branded products and because for this card I used a download collection that had completely slipped my attention until I was looking for something for this card - and these papers are absolutely beautiful - a gorgeous, dreamy mix of cream, brown and soft pink.  
The download is called "Huge Funky Love" and you get all the papers you need to print out and make one of Funky Hand's famous Word Books, plus full sheet paper designs too - which of course you can resize to get smaller versions of the designs if you like.
The Rundown:
All papers printed from "Huge Funky Love" download by Funky Hand
Most flowers are made from the same papers:
2 hand made roses, several coiled roses. large, layered flower made with Spellbinders dies
Additional flowers:  "flat" Prima flowers; pink, brown, cream,  2 wired roses; pink, cream
Brown Seam Binding, White Lace, Imaginisce i-rock pearls and pink gems, fancy jewel brad.
Spellbinders dies. EK Success border punch, pc generated sentiment

Funky Hand Shop
Hope you like the card.  Have a fab weekend - even if the weather looks mucky!
Thanks for looking

Friday, August 26, 2011

Naturally Krafty!

Oh dear - I seem to have got another dose of bad-bloggeritis! hehehe
So before I get on to this week's DCM, here's a tag I made using the August sketch on The Sketch File blog
I thought I'd make a gift tag big enough (about 8cms diameter) to keep and use as a little door or wall hanger rather than just throw away with the wrapping paper so used a thick card circle to build the layers onto.
I used:
Echo Park "Spring" papers, 
2 widths of fuchsia-pink grosgrain ribbon, 
Various Prima and wired flowers, Brads, Imaginisce i-rock gems
Craft Robo to cut the three largest circles and to cut the name,
Punch for small circles
I'm so far behind with my blogging that I still have this month's Crafty Templates projects, the box I made for Emily's gift and some cards that I've made but not blogged yet - I'll get round to it eventually though, I'm sure.- I'm afraid there won't be a photo of the Chocolate and Courgette cupcakes I made at the weekend though, because they've been eaten!
Today on the Daring Cardmakers it's "new girl" Fran's turn to set her first dare and it's a really lovely one too!
This week I'd like you to be...
Feeling Krafty
I'd like you to use 'natural' items on your projects, ie. wood, leaves, kraft card, balsa wood, cork, burlap, rope, natural twine etc. The choice is endless, you just need a bit of imagination!
There is a catch though - 
you must use 3 natural items not just a bit of kraft card!
There's a real feast for the eyes over on the DCM blog - everyone seems to have gone soft and romantic this week, maybe it's because all the frothy lace and flowers contrast so well with rather stark look of Kraft card.  Whatever the reason, the cards are just gorgeous so please go and check them out.
I resisted the urge to use a Kraft card blank as my base and went for smooth white instead
The Rundown:
My "natural" items are: Kraft card, raffia, shell button, real pressed flowers, natural twine coloured with pink ink.
I retrieved the corrugated card from some packaging to make the backing piece, damped some distressed and crumpled Kraft circles and split the layers to make the circles flower (it was tedious to do so I only made one!), used more Kraft scraps to make the coiled flowers.  
The pressed flowers came from a pack that has been in my stash for years
The ribbon embellishment is made from 2 shades of pink Seam Binding (from Creative Treasures), 
Raffia from the garden centre, pearly shell button from stash, 
Sentiment is a Cosmo Cricket sticker - I scanned the sticker so that I could make a template for the shape then cut it slightly larger using my Craft Robo
I spritzed over a lot of the card with a pinky-red Glimmer Mist - which came out a bit "spotty", but I quite liked the effect so phew..... I didn't end up throwing my arms up in total horror and panic!

Not sure what the Bank Holiday will bring - more rain by the looks of it, but there's nothing new there.  It's hard to believe that in April, May and June we'd had so little rain that the grass was completely brown.  Needless to say, it's not brown anymore hehe
Have a great weekend

Monday, August 22, 2011


I spent the early part of last Thursday morning willing the phone to ring, or a text message to pop up!  It was A level results day and I was waiting to hear how my nephew Charlie had got on.  Well, he did brilliantly and to say I'm proud of him is an understatement - he'll be heading off to Sheffield Uni next month to study Accountancy and Finance - now that sounds like my worst nightmare hehe, but his choice doesn't surprise me - at 2 he already knew the number of the checkout we'd paid for our shopping at, and which junctions of the motorway went where, and his first pet hamster was called "Hundred Million" hehehe
Obviously, the rest of Thursday was spent making a card for him:
I used:
Black and White striped paper: Funky Hand "Stripey Stripes" download
Kraft card blank
Bazzill card: yellow, orang, white, red
Blue Pearlised mirror card for backing the stars and for the lettering,
Black and White Bakers Twine

My Craft Robo had a really good work out for this card:
The Stars, Smiley Icon, hands, boots, Banner and Lettering is all cut on the Craft Robo

Thanks for visiting today

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Writing's on the Wall

After last week's cutesy "so kawaii" challenge with Leo, this week the Daring Cardmakers were issued with quite a different challenge by Samm:
'Inspired by Banksy'
If you're not aware of who he is, then pop on by and take a look at some of his amazing street art across the world.
You could also try a Google Image search on "Banksy" to find lots of fabulous ideas for your card.
So now is your chance to dig out those stencils, use that paint, throw in a few ironic sayings and give your card some 'street life' and show us what you've created.
My first feeling about this was "PANIC"
Anyway, a challenge is a challenge so off I went to check the link that Samm suggested - by the time I'd looked at all the artwork there I was feeling more comfortable and wanted to see what else I could find.  A google image search is always a good place to start so I just put "BanksY" in to the box and, well, I found myself spending absolutely ages looking through all the images I found there.  Funny, ironic,clever, witty, meaningful, thought-inspiring, cynical - all of these words and more come to mind when you look through the vast array of artwork and street art you can see.  Don't say "I can't do this challenge" until you've had a look because I reckon there is something there to inspire everyone - either through the pictures themselves or the materials used to create them.
Here are some I nearly used:

But in the end I chose this one:
I used my Craft Robo to make a template for the furniture and then chose a photo of Uluru to put in the "window", the idea of sitting on one of these comfy "old lady" chairs looking out at a view of the Aussie outback icon amused me for some reason.
I started with a Kraft card blank and inked the whole thing with a series of my driest cream, ochre, brown and black Cat's Eye ink pads. I then drew in the lines for the planks and the nails, and embossed the card with the "Distressed Stripes" folder from Cuttlebug - I had to run it through twice as the card is 14cm sq.
Once I'd made the furniture templates and cut then out I used the pieces to work out where to cut the aperture.
I think I'll add a "New Home|" or "Home Sweet Home" message to this - but as I haven't made up my mind yet, I've left it blank for now

I used:
Kraft card blank, lots of Cat's Eye chalk inks, Black pen, Cuttlebug  "Distressed Stripes" embossing folder, Craft Robo template for chairs, curtains and table, White card, Spellbinders doily die for chair-back covers cut in pink, tiny mulberry paper flower Uluru photo (from our visit)

From being really apprehensive at the start of the week, t found myself really enjoying this one, I learnt a lot about Banksy's artwork and I enjoyed thinking about how I could put my own spin on it.  You can see how the other girls have found and used his inspiring artwork by heading over to the DCM BLOG,  We hope you'll like what you see and feel inspired to join in this week.
Thanks for looking

Friday, August 12, 2011

so kawaii?

Gosh, I've been a rubbish blogger this week - and for that matter,  I'm not entirely sure where the week has gone!  So before I get on to this week's Daring Cardmakers stuff I'll share the project I meant to blog a couple of days back and didn't!
The new August LO idea on The Sketch File went "live" last Tuesday and.this sketch is a bit different from the usual thing, maybe even a bit more challenging!  However the DT have risen to the challenge and come up with some fab ideas for using it. Carol and Jackie shared their ideas last week and this week's Tuesday Update it was Lynda and I showing what we've been making.  You can see them all over on the BLOG.

This is my circular easel card
I've used papers from the Bo Bunny "Gabrielle" 6x6 paper pad.  I wanted to show that just because the sketch has flowers on it, the project doesn't mean you have to use flowers, so I thought cutting out butterflies from the Gabrielle papers and attaching them so that they stood out from the card would work well for this. I added layered paper flowers, wired rose and a glittered brad, plus some highlights of Stickles and Glossy Accents.  Here are a couple of close-ups so you can click on them and see those lovely butterflies!

This week it's Leo, another of our newest Daring Cardmakers teamies who is setting her first dare:
Now, I love anything kawaii so this week I want you to travel to Japan to get your inspiration and create a card that is
so kawaii!

Kawaii means anything that is lovable, hug-able and basically cute! Think Hello Kitty and food with smiley faces. Most of the colours in kawaii are sugary, fun and bright so I want to see a little fun bright pop colour too.If you're totally stumped this week check out my favourite kawaii blog for some super cute inspiration,
I think we all enjoyed this one, I know I had a great time hunting around the web for zany kawaii images and ideas.  In the end I couldn't resist using these little dolls as my starting point,
Card 1 was a disaster - I think I just chose the wrong papers to use and the colours were far too washed out looking so I pulled it apart, gave the dolls a change of clothes and made this:
Papers: Echo Park "Summer Days"
Dolls, sakura flowers and "birthday" all cut with Craft Robo
Bunting hand cut from same papers
Heart, star and "Happy" all stickers from Fancy Pants "Wishful Thinking" project pack, the "Wish" card label is also from the same pack.
Ribbon, tiny flower brads, glitter spot, pink button-twine, mulberry paper for tiny coiled flower in doll 3's hair all from stash
Now I just have to think of something to do with what's left of the original card!
We hope you'll join in and have some fun with Leo's kawaii dare this week - it's a wonderful world to explore, full of fun, colour and inspiration. Check out all the cards we made HERE
Right, how did it get to lunchtime already?  It's a Work From Home day so the "What's For Lunch" cry will be on it's way any minute now....
Have a wonderful weekend, thanks for looking, please leave a message before you go....

Friday, August 05, 2011

August's Flowers

Throughout this year the first challenge of the month for the Daring Cardmakers is to use the flowers associated with that month as the inspiration for our cards.  August's flowers are Poppies and Gladioli and as it doesn't seem so long since I made a poppy for a card I thought I'd have a go at something using the Gladioli
 For my background:
I used Distress Inks and my ink blending tool/pads along with yellow, orange and a couple of pink shades directly on to the card blank
Swirls  Cuttlebug embossing folder on the right side of the card
Swirls then highlighted by swishing  the ink remaining on the (Fired Earth?) blending tool ink pad over the raised bits.
For the flowers I added extra punched and inked blossoms to some of the "Star Lily" stems I have in my (teeny weeny) flower collection.  I couldn't bear to cut any up to make the stems fuller, but fortunately my kikyou flower punch is exactly the same size as those on the stems. I added tiny gems to the centres and hand cut some leaves to add to the spray

The Vase:  I made a new vase shape and used my Craft Robo to cut 3 shapes from blue card. The first was glued onto the card and I added the flowers.  The other two were glued together to make a stronger piece for adding ink, Glossy Accents and some swirls of Glamour Dust, - at this point I left it to dry, then added another layer of Glossy Accents to seal in the glitter, plus 3 pink DewDrops (from Sarah's Cards) - I think blue or clear might have worked better, though.  Once dry I adhered the vase over the one already on the card.
The journal piece was pc generated, I added some gorgeous Creative Treasures lace down one edge, then added another piece of card to make the whole strip the same thickness. 
I tied a bow with green seam binding (also Creative Treasures) around the lower edge
A plaited length of pink button twine (The Ribbon Reel) was threaded through the loop and tied in a bow.
The strip was adhered in place and more pink DewDrops added on the lower edge
before adhering it to the side of the card
 As usual there are some really lovely ideas for using these flowers over on the Daring Cardmakers BLOG so please head over there to see them.  I hope you'll join in and play along with us.
That's all for today, I'm struggling to get things done this week and I have a bit of a list to get on with.  I think it's because I've had some really lousy wakeful nights - it makes it hard to settle down to things in the day time, doesn't it?
Anyway, fingers crossed things get better soon because I'm not a nice person when I'm lacking sleep!
Thanks for looking in today, please cheer me up by leaving a message :-)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Message from my friend Nicki....

Good morning 
Hope all is well in your corner of the world. 
I wonder if I could ask a favour .... as you have a blog and I don't! 
Two chaps I know are setting off this weekend on an end-to-end charity cycle ride and I wondered if you could put a link to their Blog on yours?
Here is theirs:
I know one Dom quite well (the one on the right of the photo) - he's the Art Manager at Kids Company and a really lovely bloke. The other one is his old school friend who I just met very briefly when I was over at the beginning of July.  As he said he's "just along for the ride!"
They will both have handmade Kids Company pennants on the backs of their bikes but I don't know what else they are doing publicity-wise. 
If you know anyone else with a Blog who may be willing to help, please do forward this message to them as well.  Every little helps .......
Love, hugs and sunny sewing
Nicki xxxxx

Nicki is an Englishwoman living in Switzerland who is a firm supporter of UK organization Kids Co.  She uses her fabulous sewing talents to make the most wonderful, usually personalised cushions and quilts for the sick and vulnerable children that Kids Co seek to help.
You can see some of the beautiful things Nicki has made for these children HERE - please do visit! 
Last week I discovered something which made the world seem a very small place.  A year or two ago Nicki brought to my attention the remarkable story of THIS little girl and showed us the gorgeous cushion she'd made for her, along with photos of Gabrysia with it. During our recent trip to Northumberland my aunt started talking about an amazing little girl in the family of some family friends and it all sounded very familiar!  As a small girl still living up there, I played with one of Gabrysia's Aunties - my immediate family moved south, we grew up, all the younger generation moved on and away.  You know how it is, I'm sure - you just hear snippets about what's going on with all those families you grew up with but that's all the contact you have with your "past life".  But sometimes connections are made when you least expect them and between people and events that you'd never thought would have any connection with each other.
Kids Company is a fantastic organisation and if you could lend your support by publicising by adding something (and the link) on your your blog about this bike ride, that would be fab.
Thanks for listening