Friday, February 27, 2009

Going Round in Circles

This week Vanessa sent the Daring Cardmakers off in a spin with her challenge to make our cards feature All Things Circular

"I want to see lots of circles, you can decide how you use them, whether it be the shape of your card or how you display circular elements within the design and thats it, nice and simple (I hope :-))."
A great chance to make one of those 3D flowers from punched circles that I made quite a few of a while back. The only ddecision left to make was which papers to use. I'm going through one of those phases where I don't like any of my paper stash so all the boxes end up off the shelves as I go through and dismiss all of 'em!
Well, it's not that I don't like any - it's more that I only like the ones that aren't suitable for what I have in mind so it amounts to the same thing really - I need new paper........;) ;)

In the end I chose one of the old Crate Paper collections "Baby Bee" and made this card

I chose the papers because of the lovely colours and because of all the circles in the designs.
I made the flower from circles punched from two papers, one plain the other with dots on (more circles, you see!). Some paper-curling and foam pads were used to get the shape and dimension, then I added a smaller card circle for the flower centre; covered it with Glossy Acents and added lots of little seed beads.

The centre panel of the background has wiggly edges because whilst I love the way the little flower shapes are arranged in circles I needed to "lose" the baby words that are part of the design - I quite like the wiggles though!
Among the papers is one with a pattern of squares with small blue circles in them - so I made the "ribbon" by punching circles from that and glueing them to a length of plain blue paper.
I suppose I could play "count the circles" with this one.....but I won't!

Lots of wonderful ideas for using circles for, and on cards over on the DCM blog today, so please pop over and have a look. As ever, we'd love it if you'd join in with our challenge, and we'd love to come round to your blog to see your own creations!

Tracy of online goodies shop Creative Treasures contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I'd be interested in doing some design team work using her newly re-launched flower kits.
Well, let me think a moment.....

So waiting here when we got back from our hols was a packet stuffed with fabulous flowers, ribbons and a few other bits and pieces in shades of dark red, cream and turquoise.
Keeping up the Circular theme for this blog entry, here's the first thing I made using this lovely flower kit

I used an empty choccie box saved from the Christmas before last (yes, I AM that bad for hoarding empty boxes!) but I knew it would come in handy one day. I removed the paper that was originally covering it to make sure I didn't run into the problem of the lid not fitting once more paper layers were added (been there, done that, lesson learned)
The sides of the box were then covered with some 7 Gypsies paper and dor the top I used the robo to cut a circle from Bazzill card. I can't cut a tidy circle even with a line to help me, so Mr Robo is my Best Friend at times like this! I also used him to cut the slightly smaller circles to make the book to go inside, and to cut the title for the book.
The beautiful organza ribbons are also in the kit. Originally I had ribbons on the BIA wires too but they looked a bit OTT so I've taken them off.
Not sure what I'm going to put in the book yet - maybe some favourite flower quotes would go well.
To get your hands on the March flower kit from Creative Treasures, check out Tracy's webshop - it's full of all manner of gorgeous goodies and little temptations!

All for now, I'm off now to make my cousin's birthday card - shame he's not a fisherman - he could have had last week's dcm card. Hmmmm he does like cricket though (I know, he's "sad") ....I wonder if I can unearth anything crickety or with (pardon my french) balls lol

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sam's Friendly Lion

Over on Bubbly Scrumptious, the emag for Bubbly Funk Online shop it's my turn to add the day's project - there's something new on there every day, which means it's growing into a fabulous resource centre - not just for crafting but for lots of other interesting goodies too.

The March kit is called "Small Wonders" and isn'teven available even to pre-order yet - but the Kit design team are already working with it and showing our projects on the emag - so there's plenty of tempation ahead of release date already appearing.

My first project using the new kit is a kid's card. I've called it "Sam's Friendly Lion" because it's for my Aunt and Uncle to give to their little Grandson on his special day.

I sent the card off to them at the beginning of the week and they rang to say it had arrived. They'd not asked for anything in particular to be on the card this time, but by coincidence one of the presents they've bought for young Sam is a T-shirt with a lion on it!

You can find more photos and instructions on how to make this multi-layered lion with just two images on Bubbly Scrumptious.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sneaks, Sketch & a Froggy

Lots of crafting going on here at the moment - I'm still trying to catch up with everything and as I'm not a speedy crafter it's taking a long old time!
I thought I'd start by sharing a couple of sneak peeks of things I've been making with the March Bubbly Funk Kit.
This kit is a bit different, I think, with lots of bits and pieces you'll find useful for all sorts of projects. I'd go as far as to say this one will give inspiration for making cards and other things for all tastes. If you love making things for newborns and Littlies, there's something for you. If you love the vintage look, then you'll find goodies in there that you'll love to use. Intriguing, eh?

Next, I've just added a new card/LO sketch over on my other blog: The Sketch File: I enjoy making up new sketches - sometimes I even get round to making a card using them lol, so I set up the BLOG to save them on and hopefully be useful to other crafters. It's not a challenge blog, and the sketches get added as and when I do them (my aim is to load a new one each week - but you know how it is....) - if you make a card, or do a Layout using any of the sketches I'll add your link to the sidebar and then you'll be helping to inspire fellow crafters too.
This is the card I've made using the latest sketch (Sketch #5)
The papers are Fancy Pants "Botanicals" and I really need to buy some more; I'm now down to a few odd scraps and I do love this collection.
The flowers are cut with the Cuttlebug "Flower & Pot" die.

I needed a card for my cousin's little boy, and after making my card for Rein's "Fish or Frog" dare on the DCM this week I remembered the froggy paper from BG's "Colour Me Silly" cllection. Although I love this set of papers, I've never had much use for this particular design so it was good to do something with it.

I made the jumping frog using PSP and cut it with Mr Robo, the lettering is also Robo cut.
I think there's something missing from this card though, so I might add a name tag or something...
Right, now I need to get my project for tomorrow's Bubbly Scrumptious written up so I'd best get on/

Take care, come back soon :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunny Saturday Snowdrops and Latest CJ Pages

Last weekend we'd considered going to Benington Lordship to see if the snowdrops were out, fortunately we checked the website first to find out opening times etc and found that they were advising against visiting because of the snow and the boggy ground.

So when we woke to a wonderfully sunny Saturday at the weekend we decided to head off to Benington for the afternoon. Us 2 and about a million (ok, so that might be a slight exageration....) other people it seemed!

At times like this it's almost like a game - "How long do I have to stand here until I get a photo with no-one in it?" Well, we didn't do too badly, and maybe it's good for practising patience and perseverance lol

Just a few photos from our visit.

I had to beg for some extra time to do Maxine's circle journal because of our rather-earlier-than-expected trip to Cuba. Luckily Di was willing to give me an extra week or so to get it done on our return. Maxine's theme was perfect for helping me back into crafting. She just wants her book to be full of beautiful, bright colour, and to have some chipboard and ribbon on the pages - the only tricky bit was the no black or white (except for writing) rulel I wasn't sure how strict she wanted us to be there, so just to be on the safe side I put my favourite black edging ink pad back in the drawer.
When I read the words "colour" and "bright" I knew it was a chance to get those fab Basic Grey "Colour Me Silly" papers out again. You know, it really cheers me up whenever I use these, they are just such fantastic fun - and because they have such great colours in them you can really go mad and add even more bright colours - in fact, you've got to really - you need to add things that are going to stand out amid all that brightness!
Part of the fun of being in a circle journal group is checking out what everyone else has done, and as this one is getting close to it's conclusion there's lots to look at - I think Maxine is going to be happy when she finally gets her book back - it's full of lovely. colourful pages - exactly what she asked for.

This is the card I made for Hubby's birthday last week. I made it using sketch #4 on the Sketch File Blog which you can see HERE

I used Piggy Tales Billy Goats Gruff papers and rub-ons for this one, the "spare" wheel was made in PSP then cut on the Craft Robo. The blue section with the bike and the wheel on is a flap and lifts to reveal a hidden message.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Frogs or Fish

Sometimes I think I'm never going to catch up with all my crafty tasks! Apart from the regular stuff I have a couple of card orders to do - I was asked to do them just before we went away and I blithely said "ohh, you don't need them till the end of the month so that won't be a problem...." hmmmm Famous Last Words. Although I managed to get ahead with cards for the Daring Cardmakers for the weeks I was away I totally failed to get a card done for Jozza's "Green" dare for the day after I got back - the dreaded jet-lag put paid to that, and I've not really got to grips with my crafting since getting home.
Anyway, this week it's Rein's turn to set the challenge and she's come up with an intereting one. Rein simply said:
"I want to see a fish or a frog on your cards"
then left the rest up to us.
When I saw the challenge I was a bit stumped, I couldn't think of anything froggy or fishy that I could use, then I remembered some papers I bought a few weeks back in a sale. So I thought that maybe I could use this dare to make one of those dreaded "Man" cards - unfortunately I don't know any fishing-mad chaps to send this to, but I can put it into the box Hubby has on his office desk. It's just a quick and simple card - not only am I running to catch up, but my mojo has gone walkabout too. The papers are Creative Imaginations, "Old Guys Rule". When they arrived I thought I'd made a mistake buying them as the designs on some are a bit too big for cards, but this meant that I didn't mind chopping into them to just get the useful bits - better than consigning them to the "hide behind the cupboard and pretend I never bought them" section, eh!
Couldn't find any nice dark blue brads in my stash so had to revert to the stick-paper-on-cereal-packet-and-use-the-centre-of-a-Cuttlebug-flower to cut some faux ones. I've added a layer of Glossy Accents to the dark parts of the big fish, but I just couldn't get it to show up on a photo.

Since I finished this, I've remembered the BG Clour Me Silly paper with the frogs design on. Maybe I could have made a little froggy with the Robo to go with that. I do have some kids cards to make so might even have a go at doing something like that.

There are some fab cards on the Daring Cardmakers blog this week, this is such a fun challenge and I hope it'll inspire loads and loads of people to make froggy and fishy cards for us to come and see!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Finished My "Flip-It"

Thursday is my day to load one of my Bubbly Funk Kit projects on to the Bubbly Scrumptious emag. I've been working with the February Kit, a lovely soft and pretty set of goodies which goes under the title "Love What You Do". Subscribers have been receiving their kits this week, it's now sold out, so if you didn't get in quick enough, well better luck next time!
(ps. I've got my March kit and it's a fun and fab one so watch out for the pre-order release date)
Last week I left instructions on how to make this little folding book which I've called a "Flip-It!
This is how it looked before we left for our Cuban trip:

Our Cuban holiday started with a couple of nights in the capital city, Havana, then we flew from a tiny local airport (an interesting experience in itself....) to Cayo Largo, a quiet, resort island to the south of the main island where we stayed for 8 nights, before flying back to Havana for a further 4 nights.

Well, if you've seen the photos I've been posting since we got home, you'll already know that those two locations couldn’t be more different!

I very quickly realised that squeezing it all into one book was not going to happen! I decided to concentrate on using photos taken during the days spent in Havana, but even that seemed a huge task – the city is so full of contradictions and variety.

It was while I was writing about the trip on my blog and trying to come up with the right words to describe the place that gave me the idea to use simple words and phrases as a starting point for completing my book.

I wanted the pages to be quick and easy to fill up, a bit like a notebook or journal. So I've used photos, rub-ons and a bit of handwritten journalling - and yes, I know my writing is dreadful, but my excuse (and I'm sticking to it ;)) is that scrappy writing is right for a notebook effect look!

The (almost) finished book looks like this

I say almost finished because as I was loading the page photos onto Bubbly Scrumptious I realised that there were a few gaps that needed filling or bits that needed tweaking. I often find that taking photos of projects and looking at them on screen shows up things that need changing or adding to.
Anyway, there are photos of all the pages on Bubbly Scrumptious so please pop over and have a look - and make sure you've got a coffee at your elbow because once you start browsing in there you'll be finding soooooo much to entertain and inspire!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Havana & 52Q

Havana is just fascinating.
It's a city full of such varied history, there's so much colour, some wonderful architecture, plenty of dust and decay, music and art around every corner, such a mix of cultures and tbh it's pretty much impossible to describe.
I'm just going to waffle on for a bit and add a few pics, I hope it's not too boring!

We had a couple of nights there before flying to Cayo Largo, then returned for 4 nights after the beach bit of our holiday. On our first day back in the city we arranged an afternoon's tour with a guide to help us get to grips with the place. Part of the tour was by car so that we could explore the newer parts of the city and those bits which are easier and quicker to see with the convenience of a car.
We visited the fabulous buildings in the "embassy" area, the forts, the important sites of the revolution etc, then our fab guide took us into Old Havana to explore the plazas and interesting buildings to be found there. Whilst we'd have seen most of this stuff with the help of our trusty guidebook, the really special thing about having a local guide was how he took us inside the buildings we'd not have got into on our own and how he was able to make it easier for us to locate the things we wanted to go back to in our own time. I'm sure he deflected a lot of the "do you want a guide?" and "please give me money" type stuff too - which can be tricky to navigate when you're somewhere new.
There's a restaurant in the little blocky bit right at the top of the big tower at the back of the photo - we went there for dinner one night, I think it's the 33rd floor - great views over the city!
This is inside the VERY posh Oriente restaurant - we didn't eat there!
Obviously, Fidel Castro and the rest of the Revolutionaries play a great part in the scenery of Havana, I was fascinated and impressed by this 20 storey high metal relief of Che Guevara on one of the buildings in Revolution Square - I loved how the sculpture is so striking and yet such a simple design.
This is just one photo of the street art to be seen on the walls in parts of the City.
Go inside the wonderful Capitol Building and the first thing you see is La Estatua de la Rep├║blica, the worlds's third largest statue under cover - that little blob on the left of the statue is me!
The Capitol is no longer the government building, but part of it is open to the public and you might, like us - get to sit in Castro's chair!
This photo was taken from the steps of the Capitol Building - I'll add more photos of the building itself another time.
The city is full of beautiful old plazas and fabulous buildings. Some are well maintained, others in a state of rubble and it's great to see that lots of them are being renovated, especially in the old town and along the Malacon - Havana's long, long promenade.

I suppose graveyards aren't top of everyone's sightseeing list, but missing out on visiting the Christopher Columbus cemetary would have been a mistake - it's an amazing, crazy place, full of not only "ordinary" family plots, but tombs like those in the photo below.
Apparently, bodies are only allowed to rest in the main part of the tomb for two years, after that the bones are removed and placed in the seperate section at the back of the plot. Space is at a premium.After a day exploring Havana it was always a bit of a relief to get back to the serenity of our hotel (more pics another time), even if the mean's of transport to get there was a little strange!
As well as trying to catch up with sleep, I'm also trying to catch up with some crafting. I'm miles behind with my 52Q cards and thought that doing some of that would ease me gently back into my crafting - I'm avoiding making a list of all the things that are really more urgent that this though - I know it'll be scary!

Anyway, here are questions 3 and 4. Which mean's I'm only 2 or 3 weeks behind now hahaha

Right, enough waffling for today - I need a coffee and then I'm going to tackle that to-do list. I am, honestly........

Friday, February 13, 2009

Winter Sunshine

We've just arrived home after a couple of weeks in Cuba.
Can't quite believe, as I'm looking out on a snowy garden today, that only a few days ago I was enjoying this:We've not had a "proper" holiday since early May 2007 so we reckoned that we deserved some sunshine - plus Hubby has long been wanting to visit Havana - just because it's "different" from everywhere else.

Anyway, off to Cuba we went, first for a couple of nights in Havana, then to one of the little resort islands then back to Havana for a few more days before coming home.
We came home to freezing cold weather which wasn't a nice thing at all - but at least we'd been warned by the lovely Cuban lady who was the local agent for the company who arranged our trip - it would have been quite a shock otherwise!
I'll pop some Havana pics on here another time, but here are a few from Cayo Largo. We stayed at the Sol Melia Cayo Largo, where the rooms are in small colour-washed blocks arranged around the gardens, pools and near the beach. We had a fab sea-view room also overlooking one of the boardwalks that lead over the rocks and shrubby areas past palm trees to the fabulous beach.
There's nothing much on Cayo Largo except a few hotels and the little village/marina that services them. It's just a very pretty place to rest and relax, gorgeous beaches, lots of peace and quiet, long, long beaches to walk along - and a few local inhabitants - mainly birds and you'll meet some iguanas if you're lucky

(photos are click-on-able if you want a bigger version!)
One of the boardwalks that lead to the beach:
- that's our room in the top left corner of this building:
Our room was like an oversized beach hut!
A hammock in the sun
Around the gardens and pool areas

View from the Beach Restaurant:
One of the locals:
At the turtle nursery
I'm well and truly jet-lagged now, but there's one good thing about the chilly weather - I won't be needing to get all those summery clothes ironed in a hurry will I?

Can't resist adding another of that lovely lovely beach.....