Monday 23 December 2013


And so, Christmas is nearly here.  For the first time, I sent only handmade cards as I'd made so many.  Hoping it will be good advertising for my Etsy shop! 
Taking a little break from crafting, but will soon be making Valentine's cards as that's just around the corner.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday 3 December 2013

UK Crafters on Etsy: UK Crafters on Etsy are having a Christmas Raffle!...

UK Crafters on Etsy: UK Crafters on Etsy are having a Christmas Raffle!...: UK Crafters on Etsy are having a Christmas Prize Draw!  No Purchase is necessary to enter so please enter today and spread the word about our christmas prize draw.
We have 21 Fantastic prizes to be won from our team members of UK Crafters on etsy. Stay tuned to learn more about each of our UK based handmade & homemade businesses and what they have to offer you. There will be a feature everyday on our blog to celebrate.Thanks for showing us your support and Good Luck!21 prizes available available worldwide (some exceptions)

Monday 2 December 2013

My New Best Friend (aka The Sizzix Big Shot)

I've been wanting an embossing/die-cutting machine for ages so when I sold my old phone for more than I thought I would, I jumped at the chance to buy one.  
There are many different machines to choose from and although I really liked the look of the Fiskars Fuse, it was far too expensive for a starter machine.  I decided on the Sizzix Big Shot because I've seen many designers using it in magazines and YouTube videos.  I found the old-style pink and black machine starter kit at a great price on Sticky Tiger.  Unfortunately they don't have any stock left, but you can still get starter kits of the new style machine if you have a bit more money to spend. 
The reason I wanted a starter kit is because it comes with some dies and embossing folders to get you started, plus some Core'dinations papers and an instructional DVD.  I had a practice with the included items and it felt odd at first, but I soon got the hang of it.  
Some cards can take an hour or two to make, but with embossing you can create several cards in one go with minimum effort.  A simple card with lots of white space can look a bit uninviting or boring, but by adding some texture your card is instantly transformed into something stunning. 
I had a craft fair coming up soon after buying the machine, so I bought a simple Christmas design embossing folder and created twelve cards in three hours!! This is something I would not normally have been able to do. Although the basic design was the same, I still managed to make them all look bit different by using slightly different embellishments on each one. 
So you can see why I'm calling it my new best friend.  If you don't have one already, I can highly recommend getting one. You can even use dies and embossing folders from different manufacturers, so the possibilities are endless. 

Tuesday 26 November 2013

My First Craft Fair

On Saturday, I had a stall at my very first craft fair.  It was a modest event in a church hall in Watford and only the second time a fair had been held there.  
I bought a greeting card display stand and some smaller stands, which really helped to fill out the table space.  The day went rather slowly with an average footfall, but I was happy when I got a couple of sales.  Unfortunately these were my only sales, but some of the stalls around me didn't sell anything.  It was a bit disappointing as I'd spent so much money and time, but it was a good experience. 

Sunday 3 November 2013

Paper Wreath

I'm seeing so many wonderful Christmas projects around at the moment, so I thought I would have a go at a paper wreath. These look stunning and are really easy to make.  
I've used kit contents from Papercrafter magazine issues 65 & 66 to create and embellish this wreath, plus some red gems. 

First I drew round a dinner plate onto some corrugated card, then round a tea-plate in the centre of this and cut round both to create a ring.  From assorted patterned papers I cut several 2cm x 10cm strips, fringing half of them.  I looped them all in half and glued the ends before stapling to the ring in equally spaced rows, starting from the outside.  (Before completing the inner row, I stapled a length rustic twine for my topper and sentiment.)
To hide the staples from the inner row, I hand-drew a couple of holly leaves onto card then used these as templates to cut several from patterned paper. I arranged these in differing directions to give a natural look and finished off with some red pearls for berries. 
To complete the wreath, I glued my sentiment and topper to the twine and attached some more twine at the back to use as a hanger.

I would like to enter this wreath into the following competitions:

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Tea Light Gift Card Envelope Tutorial

Now you've made the Tea Light gift card, you'll want to make an envelope for it.  You could make a simple box envelope, but I like them shaped so there isn't a lot of empty space.
Step-by-step instructions as follows:

1. Cut a piece of card to 30x18cm and score as per the following template:
The card will then look like this:
2. Now use a metal ruler and craft knife to cut out the shaded areas. 
3. You can now fold all the score lines and glue the box together.  I used double-sided tape for this. (N.B. The tabs on the left should overlap the tabs on the right when you stick them together).  Your envelope should look like this: 
4. Trim the overlapping areas to neaten the edges. 
5. Tie some twine around the base of a large brad, then pierce the centre of the closing tab and push the brad through. 
6. Die-cut/punch a small circle (around 2.5cm. Or you can use a small stamped image or topper) and pierce at the top.  Close the envelope and pierce about 1cm away from the brad in the closing tab.  Push another brad through the circle and the hole in the envelope. 
7. To close, wrap the twine around underneath the circle and pull tight.  Cut the twine so there is enough to do this and thread on a bead or two to finish. 

Monday 14 October 2013

Tea Light Gift Card Tutorial

I've been seeing a lot of tea light gift cards lately so thought I try one myself. I found a template and made one from this, but the box was too big and the tea lights rattled around.  There also wasn't a closing flap on the bottom of the box, so it looked unfinished and untidy.  
Being a bit of a perfectionist, I altered the template to allow the tea lights to fit snugly and the box to close fully.  Step-by-step instructions as follows:

1. Cut a piece of card to 30x16cm and score/cut as per the following template:

You can score all the lines after measuring then use this as a guide for where to cut. 
2. Your cut card will look like this.  Now fold all the score lines. 
3. Add double-sided tape to the tabs as below then fold the box, starting by sticking tab 1 to tab 2. 
4. Your box should look like this, with the top open.
Insert three tea lights and glue the top of the box shut.  
5. Your completed card will now look like this, ready to be embellished. 
This is my finished card.
I have embellished it using Core'dinations Tim Holtz Kraft-Core Nostalgic Collection, Sizzix Sizzlits Flower Die & Textured Impressions Dots embossing folder, Embossalicious Floral Frenzy embossing folder, Papermania brads, Little Claire Designs outline stickers and twine. 

I would like to enter this card into the following challenges:

See the next post for an envelope tutorial!

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Side Stepper Card

I have enjoyed making my own cards, but for this one I thought I'd be a bit lazy and use a ready-made stepper card.  I bought a pack of side-stepper cards from HunkyDory Crafts, which I will make a template from to be used when I have finished the pack. 
To embellish I have used papers from Papercrafter magazine (issues 64 & 65) plus twine and gems. 
I started by quilling some paper roses, glueing them to card and leaving to dry.  I also cut some leaves from green patterned paper. 
Next I glued different patterned papers to each step of the card.  For the front step I applied PVA glue in a swirly pattern and laid green twine over this.  I then glued the leaves and roses at intervals along the twine. 
For the second step I glued a piece of lace to the top and added teardrop-shaped gems to the paper pattern at intervals. I left this step fairly plain otherwise as I really liked the pattern on the paper.
For the last step I scanned the paper I used for the roses so I could make it 'washout' colour and printed my sentiment on it.  I used the heart-shaped doily to trace a heart on this and cut it out.  I cut out some smaller hearts from another paper and attached these below the sentiment using 3D foam pads. I also added some faux-stitching before glueing the doily to card and attaching to the step. 

I would like to enter this card into the following challenges:
1. Allsorts - How Does Your Garden Grow
2. Challenges 4 Everybody - #30 Anything Goes
3. Chocolate, Coffee & Cards - #49 Flowers
4. Creative Craft Challenges 2 - 20 Anything Goes
5. Cute Card Thursday - Pretty Ribbons
6. My Time To Craft - #236 Thank You
7. Polkadoodles - wk39 More than one fold
8. Cards Galore - Flowers
9. The Crafting Cafe - Anything Goes

Saturday 28 September 2013

Quick & Easy Christmas Decorations - Paper Rosettes

Christmas is fast-approaching and having made several cards now I thought I would turn my hand to some decorations.  Even though I love crafting I so often just use what I already have, or buy the occasional new decoration.  
I love the look of paper rosettes and with ready-to-make kits these are even easier to make. 
For this decoration I have used Papermania A4 Foiled Rosette Pack (Christmas Tidings - Carols) and Noel Glitter Die-Cut toppers, plus gold card and twine. 

To make this without the kit you will need two sets of the following in different patterned card: three 19.5cmx5cm strips of card with one scalloped edge on each, a 6cm card disc and a 4cm card disc. You will also need four card strips 28cmx0.5cm.

To start, score the three strips at each scallop then concertina fold.  Glue them all together to form a cylinder shape, then flatten this with the scalloped edges outermost and glue the underside to the largest disc. You can then glue the smallest disc on top and embellish this however you wish. Do this for both sets to create two rosettes. To further embellish one rosette, take the four thin strips and glue to the back to form a star shape, folding over to create loops. 
Mat two toppers onto gold card and trim. I have used a sentiment and a tag-shaped picture which I have punched a hole in. 
To create the hanging string, plait three coloured twines together to form a long string. Make a loop and fix to one rosette with masking tape or glue, then lay on a table and arrange the toppers and the other rosette where you want them before attaching.  I have alternated each and threaded the twine through the tag, knotting in front to hold. Cut any excess twine off and hang your decoration. 
I would like to enter this decoration into the DoCrafts Anything Goes challenge.

Saturday 21 September 2013

Tri-Shutter Card - A Green Christmas

In my pursuit to try out different card styles, I have noticed an abundance of tri-shutter cards.  These look amazing and at first glance seem quite complicated, but they are actually really easy. Another great thing about them is they fold down to A6 size so are great for posting. 
For this card I have used Papermania Naughty and Nice Christmas plus a Noel topper and other embellishments.
First I measured dark green card to 5½"x12", then scored and cut as per the template below:


I creased and folded to create the shape then cut panels of different patterned paper from the stack to fit in each part of the card. 
For the front I added a large oval topper using 3D foam pads.  At the back I threaded twine through three buttons, knotted and trimmed before glueing in a line down the centre of the panel.  I wrapped some twine around the right side of the top panel and tied in a bow, holding down with glue. 
To finish off I cut a tree shape, glued it to the small back panel and added dots of glue and green glitter. 

I would like to enter this card into the following challenges:

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Software Focus: Photoshop - How to create a vintage postcard

I recently bought Cardmaking and Papercraft magazine and the free postage stamp stamps gave me the idea to create postcard-style Christmas greeting cards. 
I searched Google images, but couldn't find the perfect image.  The ones I did like were watermarked and had to be paid for, so I decided to create my own. For this, I turned to Photoshop Elements.  I use this program all the time to correct my photos and add my watermark before publishing, but it is also a great tool for being more creative. (You can find a great tutorial on how to create your own watermark here.)

Creating the postcard
First I found the images I wanted to use (vintage paper, place stamp here and vintage postcard) and saved them.  Most images are in jpg. format and will have a white background. This needs to be removed first in order to place them over coloured backgrounds. 
Open the images in Photoshop and use the Magic Eraser to delete the white areas. You can then save each one as a png. file for later use.
Once the white area is removed, the image will look like this: 
Do the same for both images and also open the vintage paper file, then create a new file the size you'd like the postcard. I used 15x10.5cm. 
Next use the Move tool to drag the vintage paper from the bottom into the new file you created.  Resize it so it overlaps the new file and click the tick to approve. (tip: you may need to rotate it to landscape first)
Do the same with the two images.  You will need to fiddle about with resizing and moving until it looks right.
You then need to add some lines to finish off the look.  Use the Pencil tool at 1px.  To make this easier, view the grid and make sure snap to grid is ticked. 
Hold down the Shift key while drawing the lines as this will keep them straight. (tip: create a new layer to draw the lines in case you make a mistake)
Your postcard is almost complete, so just flatten the image to bring all the elements together (tip: you can remove the grid view to see better now)
And this is what your postcard should look like. Save as png. or other image file to print out in another program.  You can also save the Photoshop (PSD) file to be able to change it if you like.
Once you have printed the image, trim to size and glue to the front of a card blank ready for embellishing.  This is one I have done: 
I would like to enter this card into the following challenges:


Thursday 5 September 2013

Angel Hugs Button Frame Card

I love to create simple-to-make cards that look striking.  Digistamps printed fairly large make great focal points for cards and you don't really need much else.  
Christmas is coming and at this time of year we are making lots of cards, so it's great to have something that's easy to do but looks impressive.  I have used an Angelberry digistamp from Polkadoodles and lots of lovely buttons that I recently won from Do Crafts.

To start I folded a green piece of A4 card in half to create an A5 sized card.  I then printed the Angel Hugs stamp within an oval shape and cut it out, then 'painted' with watercolour pencils.  I used a dabbing action on the penguin with grey and black to give the illusion of fur.  Once the image was dry I added some glitter glue to the wings and baubles. 
I glued the image to the card and used buttons of various sizes around the oval to create a frame.  To finish off I added an outline sticker sentiment and a few buttons in the corner. 

I would like to enter this card into the following challenges:
1. Polkadoodles - Week 35 Fairy Time
2. Do Crafts - Framed Card Challenge
3. Paper Creator's Crafts - #13 Anything Goes

Friday 30 August 2013

docrafts Blog: Card Makers Challenge Winner

docrafts Blog: Card Makers Challenge Winner: A winner has been chosen for the Card Makers Challenge we ran on 22nd August. Thank you to everyone who entered! CONGRATULATIONS NICOLA ...

Saturday 24 August 2013

Triple Flower Easel Card

I wanted to make use of my Papermania Capsule Collection - Spots & Stripes Brights and I also wanted to try a triple-easel card, so thought the two would work well together.  This summery card also uses Papermania Glitterations and Whispers black dye ink.

First I found a clip art flower outline and created the easel template using Photoshop.  I then printed this at 15cm, 12cm and 9cm along with separate flowers the same sizes and cut them all out.  I also inked the easels with black ink to disguise the print outlines.
Next I chose three spotty papers and glued them to the bottoms of the easels, then three stripy papers and glued them to the separate flowers.  I inked all the edges with black to tie in with the rest of the easel. 
To decorate the smallest flower I glued two big bloomers and a button to the separate flower before glueing it to the easel stand. I then glued ribbon, buttons and a bow to the bottom. 
For the middle flower I stuck two Glitterations candles to the top left then glued two ribbons at angles across the middle. I added a couple of bows and Glitterations sentiment to finish off before glueing the flower to the easel stand. 
To decorate the largest flower I added a Glitterations sentiment to a notelet and some mini buttons down the side.  I created a ribbon flower using 5cm lengths, folded and glued to a button. I glued this to the bottom of the notelet then attached it to the flower with 3D foam pads.
Once all the easels were decorated I glued them together at the bottom. Starting with the smallest flower, they can all be laid flat for posting. 

I would like to enter this card into the follwing competitions:
8. Cards Galore - August Bingo (sentiment, summer, ribbon)

Thursday 22 August 2013

Home Sweet Home Frame

Very occasionally I like to step away from cards and decorate some frames. Usually I make them as gifts for other people, but thought I'd make one for myself for a change. I was inspired by the decorative cupcake cases that are fashionable at the moment, but as you can't keep cake...

For this box frame I have used Papermania Scrumptious patterned paper, Little Venice Cupcake Company cupcake wrappers, Gorjuss mini buttons, cotton wool, pink shimmer chalk, red velvet, silk leaf & plastic stem, Whispers ink and Glitz It white fine glitter. The font used is KG Strawberry Limeade.

To start I took the card aperture out of the box frame and covered it with striped paper, then stuck some cream card behind.  To make the cupcake I first printed and cut a template from white card, then separated the bottom and top. On the bottom I glued sprinkles patterned paper then cut the cupcake wrapper to size and wrapped it around for a 3D effect.  On the top I glued cotton wool to form the frosting.  I dusted this with pink shimmer chalk and white glitter.  For the cherry I cut a small circle of red velvet and made a hole for the stem, which I glued a silk leaf to, then wrapped it round cotton wool and sewed together.  I then glued this to the cupcake and glued the cupcake within the aperture. 
To finish I printed the sentiment onto pink paper and cut it into a banner shape, inking the edges with brown then glueing to the bottom of the aperture.  I threaded some cream cotton through mini buttons and glued these either side of the sentiment. 

I would like to enter this frame into the following challenges:

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