Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Let's Decorate

Happy Boxing Day!
I hope you're having as lovely Christmas time, and enjoying it however you are spending the holiday period.  
Like many households I expect, OH is spending the day trying to set up various new itoys and update other techie stuff.  Which gives me a few minutes to do some updating of my own - namely my much-neglected blog.  It was manic here over the last days of last week and over the weekend and I just didn't get around to blogging my project for the Daring Cardmakers on Friday:

 This week, it's the last challenge for 2018 and time to take a final "Step Away from the Cards", we've called it
  Let's Decorate!
and really it's a chance for you to share whatever else you make, or arrange for Christmas.  We would love to see your sewing projects, Handmade Decorations, Table centres, Crackers, Other home d├ęcor - absolutely anything really!

I'd actually made something for this challenge a few weeks ago, but took it to the Southwold holiday flat for the tree there - meaning to photograph it in situ. Thankfully I'd made a paper version as a practice piece as I totally forgot those photos!
So, please imagine this star in pretty card, gold on one side and silver on the other, much smaller and with thinner card strips, sitting atop a Christmas Tree and that's what you should have seen here!
Instead there's my practice one, just made in simple copier paper.  The strips are each about 1x21cms.  The gold version is about half this size and more delicate.

That's all really!
Thank you for popping by.  
Next I'm hoping to catch up with sharing some of this Christmas's card designs.  As usual it was only in the last minute rush that I came up with some card designs that I liked enough to make a few of! Is it only me this happens to?
Happy Crafting

Friday, December 14, 2018

Snowflakes Falling: Hot Foiling Adventures no 3

How's it all going with you?  Everything ready for Christmas now? We'll not mention just how far behind I am.....
Straight down to the business of The Daring Cardmakers today:
This week our theme is
Snowflakes Falling
One snowflake or a whole blizzard, perhaps a snowman, or a whole snowscape if you like - just keep it snow-themed for your card this week, and remember, it doesn't have to be a Christmas card.

As far as I'm concerned the snow can just stay away all Winter.   I probably say this every year but I wouldn't mind the white stuff if it only settled on the gardens etc and never made the roads and paths so treacherous.  Being a born worrier I can never rest until I know that those I love are safe and sound and not travelling.
However, I love snowflake shapes especially when it comes to extending my die collection and I'm pretty sure it's impossible to have enough of them!
So I used quite a few to make  couple of similar cards this time, and experimented with  some hot-foil layering too.  I won't be sharing the version where my spatial awareness capabilities went to pot though!

For the  hot foil layer 1 a few of my smaller regular dies were laid onto the heating platform, then the foil (pretty side down), then the pale aqua pearl cardstock and finally a shim. It doesn't matter if some of the dies extend past the card, just be sure the shim (or you could add a piece of paper below the shim) is big enough to catch any stray foiling.
Because regular dies foil only where the cutting edges are, you get a lovely delicate background pattern
For layer 2 I used a hot-foil stamp plate ( I think this one is by CraftstashUK). You need to keep the stamp in position on the card, I use washi tape to do this and prepare the stack on my craft mat so I can get it all lined up.
At this point I have a tip for you:  I find it a bit fiddly cutting the slippery foil to shape, so I male a template using a scrap of card to roughly draw around the stamp on, cut the shape out leaving a small margin, write on it to label it then store stamp and template together.  It's much easier to cut the foil using the template than the actual stamp 

The foil needs to be between the card and the stamp so once I've decided where the stamp needs to be and use a small piece of tape to fix it and act as a hinge when I tuck the foil in place.
The stack (on the craft mat) will be:
Foil (pretty side up),
Hot foil stamp, face down (add more washi tape to hold everything place)

Now turn the whole lot upside down and place on the heating platform
Add the shim and allow to heat through before rolling slowly through your die cutter a couple of times.
Layer 3 is the same as layer 2, but I used red shiny foil and a Spellbinders Hot Foil plate
The second card was made in pretty much the same way, just  finished off differently.  The NOEL hot foil plate is also by Spellbinders 

Hot foiling as above
Gold paper added to card base
Die cut snowflakes added to the large hot foiled snowflake

Extra small die cuts and gems added to both cards

Hope you like them, and the instructions make sense, though I suspect they make more sense if you've actually got a hot foil gadget!
Have a great weekend
Happy Crafting

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

SnipArt Tree: Hot Foiling Adventures no 2

Over the last few weeks I've been continuing to experiment with my hot-foil machine and I thought it was about time I blogged another project.

I've been having a go at making my own hot foil 'plates', and will share how I got on another time - I've had to put that project aside while I concentrate on trying to get my Christmas cards done.  But having learned that it was possible to so it, I realised that you could probably also use those lovely laser-cut designs too.  I have a few pieces of SnipArt that have come in kits and I thought it was worth trying the idea out with this swirly tree.
To use the SnipArt shape as a hot foil plate, heat your machine and cut foil to size cutting off any corners as usual,to leave a 'softer' outline.
Now build your stack on the hot plate; 
*your cardstock
*the foil (sticky side onto the card)
*the SnipArt piece
*a shim 
Close the lid.  Leave to heat for a minute or so then run back and forward SLOWLY through your die-cutting machine a couple of times 
(I use my ancient Cuttlebug)
Allow to cool slightly before peeling the foil from the card.

This shape worked really well and I love the foiled tree. I used green foil on the top card and gold on the lower one - but they both look similar in the photo! If you are careful you can get several uses out of the SnipArt shape before it begins to get a bit too tatty.  It might be worth buying two of the ones you like best!

I was going to show you an example of foiling using a SnipArt piece that didn't work so well but I can't find it atm.  It was a lovely laser cut, but probably a bit too intricate to work as well as I'd hoped.  When I unearth it from the junk heap I fondly call 'my craft desk' I will show you thouhg.

All for this time, thank you for visiting

Saturday, December 08, 2018

December's Elemental Inspiration


Well,. my rubbish blogging has gone to new lengths this week!  Usually even if I blog nothing else all week, I at least manage to post my project for The Daring Cardmakers on the right day.  But not this week, here we are at mid-day on Saturday typing furiously in an attempt to get in done before I have some lunch.  Which is likely to take some going as I fear any minute now the cry "What's for lunch" will be heard from OH.

So without any more waffle, here's my card for this week

    As usual our first challenge of the month is an
     Elemental Inspiration Challenge
     For December we have a beautiful Christmas decor picture which we hope will inspire you.
     There are lots of elements to choose from and you just need to pick a minimum 3  to use when making your card.  If you choose to use the colour palette, then that would count as one of your elements

    Visit the blog HERE to see what the team have made
    Suggested elements include; Tree, Brickwork, Ship, Snowflakes, Baubles, Stockings, Gifts, Books, Mirror, Greenery, Succulent Plants, Tray of Nibbles

 I chose the snowflakes, the frame on the wall and the greenery - but of course I couldn't resist the lovely [ale turquoise shades, could I?  Especially when I was browsing some digi papers I downloaded a couple of weeks back and noticed that one of them actually features the perfect frame as part of the paper design! 

 I resized my chosen paper design so that I could pring it directly onto the front of my 14cm sq card.  Sometimes I need to trim a tiny piece off each edge of the card to get this right but I was lucky this time and it was perfect.

This beautiful paper download is from RomanticLetters via etsy
The baubles were made using a couple of dies for the bases, then a whole variety of snowflake dies cut in various kinds of gold, white and turquoise card.
I added some tiny die-cut holly from a holly sprig die, and berries from whichever tiny circle dies I could find. 
A length of gold twine was glued behind each bauble shape and more twine used to create tiny bows.
To finish a little gem was added to the centres of the baubles and NOEL was cut from red glitter card using one of my favourite Spellbinders sentiment die-sets from last year.

That's it for this time, one day I'll get caught up on here and share some more of my Christmas cards.  It's been a bit like trying to drag a boulder out of the ground getting them done this year.  That naughty BFoP (Bad Fairy of Procrastination) has taken up residence and just won't flippin' leave!

Ah well.....

Have a great weekend

Friday, November 30, 2018

Snowflake Gift Bag

Thanks for visiting today, this time I have a gift bag to share with you. I made this one for the nw challenge over on the Daring Cardmakers blog, we're taking a "Step Away from the Cards" again this week:
and making some gift nags and boxes.
This week, it's time to take another "Step Away from the Cards" and this time we'd love to see your

Gift Bags and Boxes 
We'd just love to join us by making
and decorating a gift box or bag.  it doesn't have to be Christmas-themed, we give gifts for lots of reasons and they all deserve some gorgeous presentation, don't they?
I do love to make bags and boxes, but as I've mentioned before recently the mojo has been lacking and it's been a struggle to make much at all!  I still do more 'faffing about' than creating an actual project, but things are gradually improving (thank goodness) and I really enjoyed making this gift bag.  I used a lovely digital paper set that I came across last year and downloaded but didn't use.  It's so pretty and the colours are just that bit different from the usual - more Wintery than Christmassy.

I love using digital papers because they allow me so much flexibility to print on different materials and that I can manipulate the shape and size to suit my project

Papers: 'Winter Wishes' Digital Download via Etsy from The Digital Finch
250gsm Textured white A4 for printing, plus extra for a couple of the snowflakes
Silver card and paper for snowflakes
Sparkly organza ribbon, Silver Twine
Bronze coloured jewel
Various Snowflake dies
Circle die for Closure Flap
Spellbinders Edging dies for starry panel

 I'm especially happy with the swirl shaped piece on this bag so I think I might see how that works out as a card design.

That's all for now

Thanks so much for coming by, please leave a message before you leave 

Happy Crafting

Friday, November 23, 2018

Starry Skies

How are you today?  

I'm slowly getting started with making my Christmas cards and have even done some gift shopping lately - though there's still loads to be done.  I still feel the need of a good old 'talking to' in the hope of getting myself into action

Anyway. on to this week's Daring Cardmakers' challenge

This week we're back to making cards and the theme is
Starry Skies 
Take your inspiration from the night sky when you make your cards this time.
One star or a whole galaxy of them....or maybe a glimpse of Santa's Sleigh flying by....or a Heavenly Host of angels.
Remember, it doesn't have to be Christmas - there's a whole galaxy of inspiration out there!

I’ve used the challenge to add another card to the Christmas card box - every little helps, but visit the blog and you’ll see some other ideas too! 
Some lovely new digital paper, some stencilling, die cuts and  foil stamping on this one - though you’d need to look closely to see the latter! 

The starry background was stencilled with silver Starlights paint. 
The digital paper is from “Romantic Letters” via Etsy - I’ll add the link later as I don’t have it at my fingertips atm
I gold-foiled the Sweeg Dixie Star die onto the paper, but as it’s a regular die it didn’t show up on the patterned paper as well as I’d hoped. 
So I cut the star in a slightly glittery silver card and adhered over the hot foil image using some tiny pieces of chipboard between the layers. 
A length of silver ribbon was adhered across the card, then the star panel was matted onto silver and black card and glued in place. 
‘Joy’ is by Spellbinders 
Punched stars were added, plus star jewels and tiny blue and silver gems to finish. 

That's it for today, thank you so much for coming to visit - leave a message and I'll be sure to visit your own blog to return the favour!
Happy Crafting

Friday, November 16, 2018

Tags, Labels and Toppers

Oh dear, I'm late with my Daring Cardmakers post again!  To be fair, I did have a few housey things to do this morning, and then I got a bit 'diverted' by making a new Christmassy header for our Daring Cardmakers Facebook page - and of course, not being particularly tech-savvy it took me an awfully long time to do it!  It features the various tags and toppers from this week's challenge and you can check it out on Facebook HERE

This week, it's time to take our first "Step Away from the Cards" for this Christmas season.  Most of our team don't just make cards, and its fun to share some other crafty makes with you.  Of course we also ask you to join in and share some of your other creations with us.
Tags, Labels and Toppers

We'd just love to see the tags etc that you'll be adding to your gifts to show who they are for and from!  it doesn't have to be Christmas-themed, we give gifts for lots of reasons and they all look better with a bit of extra decoration!
Have I mentioned that I loathe making tags?  Of course I have - about this time every year!  I hate writing them too, which is why for the last couple of years I've been trying to make a tag and topper all in one piece, with the name of the recipient added in - the thought being that ours will be the only gifts looking this way so family and friends will know who they are from! 

So I've been playing around with a few ideas and I think this year I'll go with something along these lines.  The flat shape with the name at the bottom makes a good base for adding die cut snowflakes and other bits and bobs.  I love to make dimensional projects and getting to use all the goodies I've bought or, more often collected from last years gifts and crackers - it's such a shame to throw all the pretties away.  My OH gets mad when he catches me going through the 'rubbish' and setting aside anything that might come in handy next year!

For the base I created a Word document with the various names on, leaving big spaces between the lines and using a large font size.  Once printed I can cut them to the size of a large tag, ink the edges and start sticking stuff on!
I've used a large snowflake die for layer 1, then added a couple of holly die layers, one in glitter card the other in plain green card
Next I glued some berried in place and added a few loops of Bakers' Twine and a gold bell on more twine.
I covered the joins with a smaller white die cut snowflake and added a red raffia bow
To finish I glued on some red flat backed pearls
I can add a tring to the back to hang on my gift, or just stick in place with some double sided tape
Now I'll show you a second gift topper - it took about three times as long to make and I don't like it half as much! Which probably means I won't be making any more of these.
These paper stars, made from circles of double-sided patterned paper are not difficult to make, they are just far too time-consuming if you ne4ed to make a lot.
Then again, if you're the sort of person who crafts in front of the TV then twiddling pieces of paper between your fingers for these might be just the ticket.  Let me know if you'd like me to post the instructions
I used paper with glittered flowers on one side to make this star, and mounted it on a large die-cut gold snowflake.
I hand-cut the two banners, one white for a writing a name on
Regular curling ribbon was adhered to the back

I also have another topper idea half made, and if I finish it I'll share that with you another time!
That's all for today, I hope you'll join in with The Daring Cardmakers this week, we'd love to see how you decorate and tag your gifts
Thanks for looking, have a fabulous weekend

Friday, November 09, 2018

Winter Flowers and Foliage

How are you diddling?  Well, I hope 
We have a bright sunny day here in Hertfordshire, but apparently that's going to change later on.
I'm still getting nowhere with this 'getting ready for Christmas' lark, somehow I just can't find any enthusiasm for it just yet.  To date, I've not bought a single present!  I need to kick myself into action or it'll all go pear-shaped!
Anyway. on to this week's Daring Cardmakers' challenge, which, once I'd actually managed to create a background I had a lot of fun with

After much faffing and changing my mind about what to put behind the flowers, I ended up using designs from a couple of download paper sets on this card.  The gorgeous wood effect one is from Grepic and the pale silver-grey snowflake design is from The Lovely Studio.
The poinsettias were a given, really.  I probably have too many Poinsettia die sets, I have at least 4 and I admit, that is probably too many.  Probably, but not definitely! You do need enough sets to be sure you have the right size petals for any project, after all!
It's a bit of a die-fest actually, so I won't list every single one I used - if you see something you like in the picture and want to know who makes it, give me a shout in the comments and I'll get back to you!  

Digital paper designs, printed onto white Bazzill card:
Woodgrain backing paper  White Wood Textures by Grepic
Snowflake backing paper  Snowberry by The Lovely Studio
Other card:
Plain white card blank
Red and gold card, Red gloss card for berries and sentiment
Various green card scraps for foliage
Foliage dies inc. pine sprigs, holly, other leaves
Sentiment die set, I think is from CraftstashUK 
Tiny pine cone
Cinnamon stick 
Glitter Berries
Gold ribbon
Shiny red beads
Glamour Dust
Yellow Flower Stamens, glitter dipped!

The ribbon and large berries came gleaned from old Christmas Crackers - it's important to scavenge for treasure from crackers, gift wrapping etc!

That's it for today, thank you so much for coming to visit - leave a message and I'll be sure to visit your own blog to return the favour!
Happy Crafting

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Silver Snowflake: Hot Foiling Adventures no 1

After a damp and drizzly start to the day, the sun is trying really hard to break through the gloom.
I'm still trying to catch up with un-blogged projects, so you might have seen today's pictures already. A blog post gives more chance to tell you about them though.

For Christmas last year my OH gave me a hot-foiling machine and every now and then since it arrived on my desk, I've been playing around with it and trying to get to grips with what works and what doesn't.  What I've discovered for myself, and what I've read, or seen on videos, is that it's very much a case of trial and error. The card that works, the shims you need to use and the dies etc that work, even the die cutting/embossing machine you use to roll the hot plate through - all are a bit 'liquid' as to which combination works best and you just have to try things out.
There are loads of ways to use a hot-foiling gadget - just do a bit of Googling to find out more about them.

For the cards I've shown above I used once of my favourite dies from last Christmas.  It's the largest die from this 'normal' die set

When you use your existing metal dies, the parts that are foiled will ONLY be the raised cutting lines.  This means that some dies work better than others when used for foiling - you just have to experiment.

You can also buy 'hot foil 'stamps (aka plates)  which work in a similar way to regular stamps - the raised parts of the stamp will give the pattern on your paper.  If you look at this next photo the red example is a made for purpose hot foil 'stamp', the silver tree on the blue example is a normal cutting die.  You can see that the space between the cutting lines on the tree stays blue, but the foiled areas on the hot foil stamp are more like a regular stamped impression. 

I would advise anyone buying one of these machines to also buy a couple of the made for purpose hot foil stamps.  I didn't do this straight away and just used cutting dies and found the process frustrating and disappointing because it was hard to get a decent result right from the start. 
The other basic issue I had was that I just couldn't get the foiling to work using my electronic die cutter (ebosser).
Once you've done the heating part of the foiling process you need to roll the removable platform of the foiling gadget through your die cutting machine.  The platform is about 2.5cms thick so it needs to be one with a fairly deep 'mouth'.  The tolling process fixes the foil to the card and must be cone fairly slowly and usually a couple of times through.  I've found that my ancient Cuttlebug works perfectly so keeping it as a standby cutting machine was a good move!

Going back the cards I'm sharing here this time, they were the result of an experimenting session, so I took a picture of what I ended up with after the foiling was done. 
The photo shows the die I used (see above for details), next to that is the piece of silver foil I used, then the navy and black pieces of foiled card. The interesting thing about this is that I used this same piece of foil for all three of the foiled images and could probably use it again, its worth knowing that you can often get more mileage from a piece of foil than just a single image.
I made all three into quite simple cards, using apertures, silver card, silver twine, a few gems or a die cut snowflake to embellish them.  I think they are quite effective so will make a few more in the same style.
Here's the silver foil on black version

Thank you so much for looking, I hope you found it interesting to read of my hot-foiling 'adventures'!  My main problem is that the experimenting tends to take over and I've hardly any completed projects to show for it!  
Oh well, its just another way the Bad Fairy of Procrastination makes her presence felt!

See you again soon
Happy Crafting

Friday, November 02, 2018

Inspired for November

Happy Friday

Another frosty morning, but it soon got out really bright and sunny.  Mind you, I'm not actually sure what happened to the morning as here I am at 2.30 in the afternoon writing this when it should have been done hours ago
Oh well, I'll {try to} be quick, and not get diverted with any waffling 

It's Daring Cardmakers Day and this is the card I've made for this week's challenge 
As usual our first challenge of the month is our
 Elemental Inspiration Challenge.
 For November we're kicking off our Countdown to Christmas with a mood-board stuffed with loads of ideas for you to choose from.
 Remember, you just need to pick a minimum 3 elements from the picture to use when making your card

I love this mood-board - the colour palette may not be immediately Christmassy, but subtle and stylish, and when you start looking closer there are sooooo many little details to get the creative juices flowing, not just for Christmas cards but loads of other projects too.

I love all the textures and patterns which are wonderful to use for backgrounds and I chose a couple of them (brown paper top left and white knitted piece in the lower left area or the picture) to use for my card. I definitely wanted to use the black and white Baker's Twine, and the silver bauble too.
White square card blank plus extra for the embossed panel
Kraft card to echo the brown paper in the picture
Silver mirror card
Silver Glitter card
Pearl metallic red card
Black and white Baker's Twine
Die cut snowflake, a leafy sprig and a poinsettia left over from last years Christmas crafting  (I am a hoarder of such things!) 
A few red gems
A tiny silver bell 
Embossing folder is "Cable Knit" from Crafters' Companion

NOEL is a gorgeous hot foil plate from Spellbinders

Silver Bauble from Spellbinders

 I really enjoyed making this and hopefully it will help get me in a more productive frame of mind as I really do need to get some Christmas cards made and stop faffing about!
Right, I said I'd try not to, but I very nearly slid into a bit of waffle 
there, didn't I?
So, I'll shut up and sign off, hope you like the card, hope you'll be inspired to join in with the Daring Cardmakers this week and hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Patterns in the Sand

Well. the clocks have gone back and we've had a couple of frosty mornings already this week, so I guess we're dipping our toes into Winter!  I don't like it!  The only good thing about Winter is that I can dry/warm my socks on the heated towel rails!
As I've been such a bad blogger in recent months, I thought I do some catching up and try to blog some things I've not shared on here yet.  

Back at the start of Summer we went up to Northumberland for a few days staying with family in my home village.  I do count myself very lucky to have grown up at the seaside!

My village's heritage is one of fishing and mining.  Now the mines are gone and there are only a few fishing boats (cobles) left.  Mining in particular left its mark on the beach, and you can still see the coal dross washed up on the sands.  The movement of the sand, sea and tiny fragments of the coal dross makes the most amazing patterns.  I was mesmerised bu them and couldn't resist taking some photos.  It was one of these photos I used to make a background panel for my card

I cropped and resized the photo then printed it onto textured white Bazzill card, then matted it onto dark blue.  I used another of my photos for the main image.
The sentiment panel was made from several Spellbinders dies and to complete the card I covered a little wooden anchor from Bubbly Funk with black Enamel Accents and glued it in the corner, adding a gold twine knot. 
You'd never know that was sand pattern, would you? It was a beautiful sunny late afternoon when we dumped our bags after the long drive and headed across the road for a walk along the prom,  OH even took his shoes off and had a paddle (or a 'plodge' in Northumbrian!) along waters' edge.  I didn't! Because I grew up thinking that running up and down the prom to get the circulation going was part of the deal after a dip in the sea - I didn't know the sea could be warm till I went on my first Greek holiday!
 Ah well, this short post turned into more of an essay, didn't it!
So please excuse the rambling!  I'll shut up now......

Thank you so much for dropping by, have a great day