Friday, June 29, 2007

Beady Eyed

It's dare day again, and I think it's caught us napping!

No doubt more cards will appear as time goes on though!

It's Saffa's turn to dare us this week and she's chose one of my favourite card-making embellishments - beads! All we had to do was incorporate aome sort of beads into our designs. Huge sigh of relief, some of the recent dares have been much harder for me.

I have a few commissioned cards to make, and I decided to use one of them for this dare - it's not needed till the end of July, so it's a bit of a novelty for me to have it done already!

I made the heart from a thickish wire, wove some finer wire randomly around and through it, then added a variety of gold, silver, white and clear beads of different shpaes and sizes on another piece of the fine wire and wound it through the heart.
I'd planned to add bead strings to the bottom of the heart, and a feature bead in the centre loop but in the end I decided it would look better without. any extras.

The paper is by Imaginisce and is just so gorgeous, I used 2 from the "Now and Forever" range here.
Gold Stardream and the dark brown borders are from pda
Wide, satina nd organza ribbon from Ribbon Oasis

We're really lucky to have the Manicstamper herself; aka Sheila joining us as Guest designer for a couple of weeks. I don't know anyone who doesn't admire Sheila's work, and the way she is so willing to pass on her expertise to everyone. It's fab to have her on the team.

Looking forward to seeing your cards for this beady challenge, don't forget we love to see what you come up with every week.

The Team's cards are on the DCM blog, and all the ins and outs will be appearing on our personal blogs so don't forget to go along and check them out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Gimme Some Lovin'

This week the DCM's Little Extra midweek challenge is do make a Love themed card.
There's a lot of wedding talk around on the design team with two weddings coming up soon. So inspired by this we'd like you to put some LOVE into your cards this week. Wedding, Anniversary, Engagement or simply to say "I love You" - there are lots of opportunities to get lovey-dovey and slushy so get out all the romantic stash out and show us what you can do.

Oh happy coincidence! I got two birds with one stone as this card was a commissio for a couple who are having a Blessing in Church back in England soon - following their wedding which took place recently in Venice (all right for some, eh). Predictably when a rush order for something romantic comes in I fell back on my old faithful Love vellum and gorgeous gold Stardream card from pda. Just for a bit of excitement I did battle with the Craft Robo and cut the letters (courtesy of a kind UKS member) from a dark red card which I then mounted on gold mirror card. a personalised greeting, some dark red ribbon and tiny red and gold heart-shaped brads complete the card.
If you've got a few spare minutes and need something crafty to keep yourself occupied, why not have a go at this challenge? There are some fab examples of Love themed cards on the DCM blog, and hopefully there'll soon be lots of messages left there to direct us to many more gorgeous romantic lovey-dovey cards.

Next up I've got my little nephew Dan's birthday coming up at the end of the week and I really wanted to use Joanne's wonderful little Craft Robo Aliens to make this card. I've made (with a lot of help from hubby) these rockets, flying saucers and ringed planets with my Craft Robo and I'm quite chuffed at how they've turned out.
I also cut the speech bubble with the robo-thing. I also spilt the whole pack of those teeny tiny googly eyes all over the desk (and floor) - obviously it had to be the tiniest of the three different sizes I used on the card hmmmm.

And lastly, a little sneak peek at a card I've just sent off for another of the "end of the week" birthdays. I know I should wait, but I couldn't resist adding just a glimpse of it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Green Green Grass

This warm and wet (very) weather we've had over the last couple of months may not be what you'd call "Summery" but it's been perfect for getting the grass growing! We've spent weeks trying to tidy up the patch of ground at the bottom of our garden, the previous owners had cleared the overgrown shrubs from there, but left several big old stumps and the rest was just bare earth - apart from all the weeds - and looked awful.

Last year was too hot and dry to do anything except dig out the stumps, but this Spring it's been our main garden project. There's quite a rise from the house to the back boundary which really foreshortens the view - it looks quite a small patch from the house, but believe me, it's NOT!
After clearing the weeds we dug loads of the soil out to try and make it look better and flatter. Most of the soil went under the conifers at the back to make a raised area which I'll be planting up with some shrubs eventually - it'll look nicer than the tatty conifer trunks. It was too much of a job to do all in one go so we did sections at a time, dug out the extra soil, levelled it off and put grass seed down and this weather has helped get the job done, the grass looks pretty good now. There's still a patch to do, but there are lots of bluebells in that bit which I want to dig out and plant elsewhere so we'll probably do that part next year.
The picture at the top shows shows how it looked last summer, and this second one shows it now, but from the other side. There's a sort of vague plan to use that old brick base from a long gone greenhouse as a little veg bed - so a lot of the soil has been going in there too.

This is one of the cards I've just made for a commission, there's another one, but I'm saving that for tomorrow's blog. I love this Twirl set of Crate papers, those lemon, pink and lime colours are just gorgeous.
Other goodies used:
Prima Essentials "Lucid" flowers, the dotty one and the green one are also Prima
Ribbon si Maya Road plus some skinny ricrac
Brads and eyelets from the stash
Alphas QK "Studio" and "Olivia"

Friday, June 22, 2007

You've been Tagged

It's Friday, it's 10 am (or thereabouts) and that means it's time for the new Daring Cardmakers Dare to hit the Blogwaves.

You know, we're still amazed at the way so many crafters have taken to the DCM idea and run with it. We love to see all the messages and all the cards every week and to know that our friends enjoy the dares as much as we do. The worldwide crafting community is a very special one and I'm so chuffed to be part of it.

This week it was Rhi who came up with the challenge:

Hi, its Rhi here his week! Wow! What an amazing response for Lythan's {EM}Boss Dare and the FABULOUS little extra. It's great to see so many inspired cardmakers, thank you to each and every one of you who has joined in and shared your creation.

Now onto this weeks dare...

Everything we buy has packaging, some of it excessive, some of it beautifully designed. Tags, labels, stickers... all sorts of bits and bobs that we can recycle onto cards.

I dare you to make a card using a tag, label, sticker or anything else you can find, thats from packaging and would normally end up in the bin. Of course you can ink it, change it, distress it and add anything else you like!

If you're feeling brave, I DOUBLE DARE you to make it a card for a man!

Well, you'll need to get your sunnies on for my card this time, that's for sure.

I don't really think this qualifies for the double dare, but hey, you can't win 'em all!

I got some new crocs a few weeks ago and I left the tag lying around on Hubby's desk. When this dare came up I thought "Aha"!
After I'd rescued it from the bin (I guess he got sick of seeing it "cluttering" up the desk) I put it on my own desk and tried to figure out what I could do with it.

I really like the design of the crocs tags, the rounded square, the little tiny writing, the logo in the corner and those cute little holes.
Sp I decided to use the elements of the design to decorate the tag in my own way - a bit like using a card template, but on a tag.

The background is made using strips of two double-sided "Coastline" papers from Making Memories - lurking in that "wow it didn't look so bright on the pc screen" way, in the way some things tend to do. I've got some day-glo orange stuff that makes my eyes water when I see it in the box too!

OK, Are you ready? Did you get your sunglasses?

I decorated the tag with a flower where the crocs symbol is. I coloured in the white spots on the flower and the dotty ribbon with a marvy brush pen
The messages were printed on the plain side of the paper and fixed over the text bits on the tag.
I added some grosgrain ribbon behind the holes in the tag and as tabs on the corner, and used a flower brad through the "hanging" hole.
A few blobs of stickles glitter glue as fake brads, and also to give the button a bit of bling.

I hope it didn't hurt your eyes too much!

All the cards this week are, as usual fantastic and all so different. You can see them all on the DCM Blog and you'll find more info on how they were made on our personal blogs.

can't wait to see what all the darers come up with this time

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Thought I'd have a quick round-up of bits and bobs I've made lately and not blogged

First up, I made a right old mess of my desk.
The first photo shows it when it's (fairly) tidy, the one on the right shows what it looked like yesterday morning.

So obviously I had to have a bit of a clear up before I could actually do anything - for a start, I couldn't even find the projects I was working on - which didn't help get them finished.

Remember I mentioned I'd made another card for Lythan's (Em)boss dare, which I mucked up?

I thought I'd show you anyway so you could have a laugh. It started off well enough, I used a gel pen to doodle all the flowers, swirls and lines and then heat-embossed the doodles with gold powder. I was fairly happy with the doodled lettering and the flowers too, but when I espied the souffle pens sitting on the desk it started to go pear-shaped! The colours just looked horrible so I tried to make them look better by adding ordinary gelly roll ink - but it just made it worse. Not content with that little mess, I had the idea that Glossy Accents would make it all right again. NO No NO! Ah well, you live and learn.

I needed a bit of a confidence boost after that so I went back to my Black and White comfort zone and made the polka dot card with the pink embossed scribble flowers on it which is shown on my posting of last Friday. Mind you I doubt stamping will ever really be in my comfort zone!

We've completed the ^x^cm decorated squares swap over on Bubbly Funk. Everyone chose their own theme and we all made one square for each of the group. here are the squares I made:
the themes were, from Left to right:
row 1; Pretty in Pastes, Hearts, Nature, Flowers
row 2; Sea Life, Indian, Teddies, Seaside
row 3; Seasons, Something Soft, Defining Colours, Pastels

My thene was Pretty in Pastels and these are the fab little pieces of art I received, I was going to put them in a maze book I 'd already made but I'm now thinking of making another one especially for them and using the other one for something else. Well, any excuse to make another maze book is fine by me!
The squares are all so gorgeous, Thank you to Caroline, Di O, Di W, Rosie, Lynne, Carol, Chris, Chris A, Beth, Karen and Kaz for all the work you put in on them, I love them all.
Every single themed set looked really lovely once they were all put together. I really enjoyed doing this swap, it's amazing how much you can do on such a small square of card!

I made this baby card earlier in the week, it's pretty simple, but I'm quite pleased with it. The blue is Bazzill Bling so has a lovely sheen to it. I really like a blue and white colour scheme, it always looks nice and crisp. So while I was in the zone I did this one too
The paper came free in a lucky dip pack with a magazine - I thought it was the usual sort of stuff that I tend not to use, but actually it was all really nice quality and this spotty one is fab. The flowers are a Bosskutz "medium flower" die and the stamp came with a Self Addressed kit a few months ago.

Sympathy cards - they are never easy, bu we all have to make them sometimes, this one has paper from the BG Perhaps pad, and some tiny mulberry rosebuds.

Monday, June 18, 2007

New arrivals

The doorbell rang this morning and the nice smiley postman handed over not one, but TWO parcels - both for ME!!!! Yay!
One was the new SA Kit - which is really rather nice - you get 2 sheets each of the papers, some card blanks, some sheets of Bazzill card, an alphabet stamp set, teeny weeny alpha stickers and those cute felt flowers you can see in the photo. Nice.

And now, just look who's come to live in Kathy's house......

The Bug has landed!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A couple of cards and more holiday photos

I've finished one of my card orders - actually it's the cards I posted on here the other day, but I'm really bad at getting the boring stuff done - you know, doing the inserts, bagging them up and getting them parcelled up and posted. Anyway, 'tis done now so I feel much better. I've another order to get done, but I have a few weeks in hand for that one - obviously it'll still be done at the last minute, despite having lots of warning....
I thought I'd post a couple of birthday cards I've made recently, one is from a couple of weeks ago but I've not shown it here, the second went in the post yesterday so I hope it gets there in time.

I've now made a start on my cover for the new Anglo-Scots-Irish CJ starting soon on Beckie's fab Bumbleberries forum. I've also made a start on decorating my notebook for the swap on Bubbly Funk, so this is good - I like it when I actually feel I'm achieving something - my list of "to do's" is still long, but just making some headway on these projects makes me feel so much better.
Maybe I'll even get them all done on time.
Or then again, maybe not!

I've been meaning to put some photos up from our holiday in Crete, so today is as good a time as any. There was a car included with the villa so we did quite a bit of touring the area. it takes a long time to get anywhere in Crete as there are so many mountains to negotiate once you get away from the east-west main road, but the scenery is beautiful and exploring is well worth the effort. This is a mixed bag from all over the place;

some of Frangocastello and Sfakia right over on the far south side of the island, some from Phalasarna on the far west coast and some from a drive through the Therissos Gorge

The giant feet are from a broken statue in gardens just above Hania town, the other two were taken at a monastery quite close to where we stayed.

We drove up through the mountains to visit Sfakia and Frangokastello on the far south side of the island. It's absolutely beautiful over there, so quiet and peaceful. The castle looks magnificent standing right next to a lovely beach - the walls are impressive, but it's really just a shell now.

The mountain drive is so pretty - lots of hairpin bends but nowhere near as scary as some we've done! I guess they take the tourist coaches over there so they need to be able to cope with them. All the same, I'm glad we didn't get stuck behind any coaches or those incredibly slow trucks they seem to specialise in over in Greece!
Photos just never manage to show how awe-inspiring mountain views are. Sometimes I wonder why we bother even trying to capture them as it never seems to work!

We weren't mad enough to attempt the Samaria Gorge hike - I'm sure it's breathtaking, but we were on holiday after all!
There are lots of gorges on Crete, and conveniently the Therissos Gorge is one you can drive through - and it's lovely. You criss-cross the stream by way of lots of little bridges, the flowers and shrubs are beautiful and all the time you can hear the birds singing.
We saw this plant growing by the road, if anyone knows what it is we'd love to hear from you!

Phalasarna is on the far west coast of Crete, there's a beautiful bay with turquoise water. On the rocky headland is an partially excavated ancient site. One of the things we love about Greece, and Turkey too is that there are so many archaeological sites to explore and whilst it's fantastic to visit the well-known places like The Parthenon, Knossos and Ephesus over in Turkey, it's also great fun to visit those sites that are just a few stones or holes in the ground - they bring out the esplorer in us! We went to Knossos last time we were in Crete and it's amazing but too far from where we stayed this time to make a return visit. So a little rummage around the overgrown and probably mostly hidden remains at Phalasarna had to do for us this time.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Don't they come around quick?

These Fridays?
It's dare day again already and at 9.55 I was rushing to take a photo of my second card and get it on the blog before 10am. It was a close run thing, but I don't think I was the only last-minute-minnie.....
Of course I didn't need to do two cards, but I wasn't really happy with my first one so wanted to have another bash. Actually this morning's effort was number 3 - I made one yesterday which was going not brilliantly, but on the right side of OK until I added some souffle pen and then some Glossy Accents and then it all went to pot. Darn it.
Anyway, it's Lythan's turn to dare us this week and she was so strict last time that I think she had a bit of a guilty conscience when she issued this one:

"As a reward - and as I was so strict last time I set a dare - here is a nice broad theme to get your creative juices flowing. Embossing. Dry embossing with a light box or with a die cutting machine. Using embossing powders or triple embossing. Using pre-embossed papers. Embossing with found items. Just have fun playing!

And as I can't resist being a little (em)bossy - why not see if you can get more than one emboss technique on your card?"

Not only are we introducing a fabby new guest designer this week but the wonderful Kirsty Wiseman has joined in again with a bonus card for this week's dare - thanks for being such a STAR, Kirsty!
So who is the new guest deigner then? Well, we're delighted to introduce Leo this week, her cards are fantastic, and it's a joy to have her on the team - you can see her first card for the DCM on the blog today.

Card 1
Under my desk, behind the boxes of stuff that don't see the light of day very often there lurks a Shapeboss. It lurks back there because we don't much like each other. Still, Lythan's dare demanded I have another go with the dratted thing and out it came.

I used a peachy pink stardream card for the base and embossed the lower corner area with some wavy lines and a flower. I never think the results are worth the effort and they just don't show up enough. So I attacked it with chalks and chalk inks and probably shouldn't have. But never mind. The flower was mounted on a piece of toning paper with the same wavy lines embossing thing to make a frame. The monogram was hand cut and inked with inks from a couple of Brilliance trio pads, then UTEEd and glittered.

This morning's last minute effort:

Papers are from pda, all ribbon from Ribbon Oasis.
Scribble Flowers are by Banana Frog, stamped with Versamark and embossed with bright pink embossing powder - I knew it would be useful one day!
The tag is a made with a Quickutz Embossing die and works really well on silver mirror card.
I added dots of Tulip paint to the plain white buttons to keep a dotty theme going. fairly quick and simple but I like it better than the first one - which took most of the week, or so it seems.

Don't forget to pop over to the Daring Cardmakers' Blog to see all the other Embossy cards, they're all fantastic so you'll need to visit all the personal blogs too for the lowdown on the hows, whats and wheres.

Thanks for looking

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Catching up

....on my blog, if not my "to do" list!
We had somne good weather this weekend, no hacking of the garden this weekend as the garden bin is still full to overflowing with yukka from last week's endeavours - as soon as they empty it tomorrow I'll be filling it up again as there's still a pile of the stuff waiting to be disposed of. I did some crafting - I need to make the covers for a new CJ - but having spent some time on it I think I've changed my mind and will start again with some different colours, hmmmm
On Sunday we braved the M25 and went to Fleet in Hampshire to visit Hubby's brother and family who've recently moved into a new house. It's such fun to have a good look round other people's houses and wonder at the bad taste of previous owners! I'm not very keen on the kitchen in our new house but boy, is theirs worse! It was good to see that our house isn't the only place with really bad bathrooms too. It's hard to believe that there is so much choice if you want a really ugly, impractical bathroom suite - but trust me, there is!
And on the subject of bathrooms, we've decided on a builder to do the work on ours now, we're just waiting for him to come round again and get some more detailed plans sorted out and hopefully a date for the work to start. Then hopefully in place of this:

We'll have a nice little en suite shower room leading from our bedroom and a "family" bathroom in the rest of the space. Can't wait to see the back of those hideous green tiles, the manky suite and the tacky taps that don't even work properly - I'm dreaming of the day when I turn a tap on and water comes out! Actually I must confess, the first thing we did on moving in was to paint the walls in the bathroom white - it was such a dismal, dark room with that awful green paint!
Anyway, before I went off on that little rant, it was lovely to see them - we don't see them as often as we should - mainly because there's the M25 and all it's horrors to be negotiated, I think. It was good to catch up as we've not seen them since they came to visit our new house in December. It was a lovely hot and sunny day so we had a barbecue and spent the afternoon in the garden before braving the queues and heading for home.

I've had a few cards to make for a customer of mine - I always like doing work for her as she gives me the names/dates etc then lets me get on with it - none of that mad stuff I occasionally get asked to do! I've done quite a few Christening cards for her and this is the latest. The card is made from pale pink stardream from pda, the background is a square of plain card covered with that gorgeous soft tissue stuff that I can never remember the name of - it's almost a fabric and has tiny flecks of silver and gold foil on it. I decided to keep this one really simple and just gather up some lace to frame the greeting and add a tiny silver cross. I also used a little more pink ribbon, a bow, an edging of silver mirror card and a pink ribbon tab fixed with a tiny silver brad in the corner.
The next card she asked for was for a couple who are emmigrating to New Zealand soon.

I made a template for a silver fern leaf from an image I found on the internet using my craft robo - I wasn't sure it would work so was chuffed to little mint balls when I managed without having to get any Hubby-help (for once!). I cut it in thin white card, then added some fine embossing powder and some white glitter. Because it was thin card I was able to curl the leaf into a nicer shape when I fixed it onto the black glossy card. The shells are puau shell pieces from NZ which I bought at a craft fair ages ago - well, you never know when these things are going to come in handy, do you? The card blank is covered with a piece of that lovely vellum with tiny specks of foil on it (pda again) That FABBY black and white swirly patterned ribbon is from Ribbon Oasis
Last for now a Thank You card using that delicious We R Memory Keepers paper I seem to reach for an awful lot at the moment! There's a toning plain colour on the reverse of every pattterned sheet which makes life so easy! The flowers are "Lucid" Prima Essentials which are a fantastic match for the paper. The greeting was cut with the craft robo.

Friday, June 08, 2007

It's Written In the Stars....

My crafty tasks list is huge, I don't know quite how it happened but there you go. Somehow I got the notion that I wouldn't have so much to do once we got back from our hols, so signed myself up for another CJ, a "Where I live" page swap and a decorated notebook swap.
I've still pages to do for an existing CJ (though these are the last ones for this circle), a 6x6cm squares swap is still ongoing and now a certain bossy bullying type, who will remain nameless - you know who you are - has nagged me into doing something I've sworn I would never get involved with - ATCs grrrrr ;-)
Obviously, because I've signed up for all these fun things I then get 2 emails with orders for special cards - which I love to do, actually - well except for Bob the Builder Christmas cards and what was that other one? A Christmas card with a Parisian theme and some fireworks - remember those? Anyway, I've added several Thank You cards, a Christening card, a Moving to New Zealand card, a 60th birthday, aand a 70th birthday card to my list - and there was me feeling smug because I managed to get the wedding card order all done and dusted AND neatly tied into the last DCM challenge!

There are other cards I have to make too, plus of course those for the wonderful Daring Cardmakers, which brings us nicely to today's new dare, set by NZ girl Keryn with a bit of help from her sone Lachlan. Keryn announced it like this:

"I was discussing what to have for my next dare at the dinner table tonight and amongst the other lame suggestions - such as 'power tools' Lachy was nearly down on his knees pleading for 'Space'. They have been doing Space as their topic for school for the last month.
To make it easier I have widened it to 'Celestial' giving you the planets, sun, moon, stars as well as the star signs and anything else you can think of that lurks in the stratosphere.
It will be interesting to see what you come up with because at this point I have absolutely no idea. Lachy better be able to give me some inspiration."

Well, the cards the girls have made are just out of this world (got to get that one in somewhere!), but boy, did I struggle to come up with anything and to be honest I'm not happy with either of my attempts. But I do like the paper I used for the first one - I quite like the idea behind it too - it's the finished product I don't like - especiallly the weird colour scheme!
Shopping for "space" themed chocolate I did find something new - Mars Planets - a bit like Revels, but with chewy, crispy and soft centres (think, the bottom bit of a Mars bar in one, the top caramel bit in another and the thirds is a bit like a Malteser....) Nice.
Paper is from Karen Foster, glittery and textured gold card from pda, ribbons and ricrac; various

I like the 2nd card a bit better, but I'm still not "over the moon" (got another one in, there....) I decided to go down the pink and frothy route.
I used gorgeous pink plaid vellum from pda and sewed it on with silver thread and silver beads they're supposed to look like stars, you see!. I made a mulberry paper wrap which stands loose from the base card - it's sewn on down the left side with silver thread, tiny punched glittery stars and beads/
The vellum quote is from a sheet by Sharon Ann. I added pink glaze pen to the word "star" and glittered it as the white original wording didn't show up very well.

It was a strange dare really - I had loads of ideas, but none of them really got any further than a little nugget of a thought. I can't do cutesy kiddy cards - they just look like the kids themselves made them but I'd have liked to have done something space-themed to give to Nephew 4 for his birthday at the end of the month, or a nursery rhyme "cow jumped over the moon" one, then I even sat down and started cutting the paper for a "Catch a Falling Star and put it in Your Pocket" card before giving up on that one too - but maybe someone out there will have a go at these....

We've had such a fantastic response to the last few dares, it's been absolutely wonderful to see all your messages, your fabby cards and to know that you enjoy taking part. I don't think Jane had any idea how successful and how much fun her idea would turn out to be when she first mooted it back last October. It really was a stunner of an idea! Anyway, please check out all the cards from the DCM All Star Design Team - we'd love you to have a go at this one and can't wait to see your own supersonic creations

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"coffee & creme" Maze Book Pictures

I thought I'd show some photos of the maze book I made for this month's fabbylicious "Coffee & Creme" kit from Ribbon Oasis. I wanted to show that brown and cream are fantastic not only when just used together, but also work really well with other colours too. So I've made the pages inside the book using the brown and cream as a theme, but adding in other colours alongside them. Now all I have to do is decide whether I keep it for myself, or give it as a present for one of the birthdays I know are coming up soon - which is why the inside cover is blank! (above) Both these pages have opening "bits" with space inside ofr a photo or message
(above & below) The lefthand side pages both have opening "bits" with photo spaces hidden inside