Birthday Fun!

I can’t believe just how quickly the years are flying by these days. It doesn’t seem that long ago when my birthday always seemed ages away, now it comes round far too fast! Anyway, it’s here again and I think I’m probably now officially middle-aged, although most of the time I still feel about ten!

This year I discovered a lovely local lady at the school Summer Fair. She makes pictures and decorative frames to order and I thought her button head picture of a cyclist was the ideal surprise gift for my husband – him being in training for the Tour de ……(somewhere).

He really loved his frame, so much so, I have been given one for my birthday too. I love it, although it will always remind me of my broken foot misadventure. I think they look rather good together and I have the perfect location for them in mind too.

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I have also been blessed this year with a homebaked chocolate cake from one of my dearest friends. I can’t wait to tuck into it after tea.

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Thank you to all my firends and family for the lovely cards and gifts.

Happy birthdays
x

Do check out the lovely Artysan Gifts for her range of frames.

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Summer Holiday Crafting

While I’ve been off my feet for a while this summer and since the end of the Olympics, I’ve been encouraging Alice to get a bit more creative. To be fair, it hasn’t been that difficult as we’ve had a few rainy miserable days here and it’s always fun to empty the making box all over the kitchen table.

Alice traded in some of her lizard cards from Explore Learning for a set of t-shirt graffiti pens, so we ordered her a couple of cheap white t-shirts to have a play with. They arrived earlier today so she had a great afternoon finding her inner fashion designer.

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I love how she put a design on the back too!

I’ve also encouraged her to start making cards for her friend’s birthdays. Her friend Daisy was seven at weekend and she wanted to make a bird card like the ones I’ve been making recently, so I gave her a choice of some of the girly floral papers to make one with. This is pretty much all her own work with the exception of the mounting for the happy birthday flag. Her friend loved the card and I do too.  I think it’s great how she made the bird fly, adding in a second wing behind.

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Another craft I’ve tried to do with Alice is some basic sewing.  I think it’s a skill everyone should master, even if it only means being able to sew on a button.  I know it is a skill that will help with her Brownie badges.  So on a recent trip to Clark Crafts in Ramsbottom, I found this little kit.  As she loves cats at the moment, this looked like the ideal kit to start with.

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It’s a pretty simple kit and comes with everything needed to make the cat, including stuffing and a needle (plastic).  It took a few goes, but she finally mastered the basic running stitch to put all the pieces together, then spent a good half hour deciding where all the embellishment pieces would go.  She loves the finished cat and it has slept by her bed every night!  I need to make sure she doesn’t lose this liking for sewing and get out some of the other kits I have hidden away that she hasn’t been interested in up to now.

Well it’s back to school next week, so it’s time for me to get on with some more sewing – name tapes in uniform!  And I must remember to get a new dance uniform too.

Happy crafting
x

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Birthday Crafting

Today is my husband’s birthday so we can finally give him all the things we’ve been making this week.

Alice made him a card in her own special style! I think he’ll love it when he gets home from work later. The envelope is a complete delight and makes absolutely no sense to anyone that hasn’t read ‘Danger in Everywhere’.

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And later it will be time for cake too! I made this sponge sandwich yesterday. It’s a simple all-in-one sponge mix with cocoa powder and Alice and I filled it with peanut butter! We then topped it with chocolate spread and flaked almonds (we’ll put a candle on it after tea tonight).

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I don’t think it’s my best ever cake and I’m really not sure about the peanut butter. I think this could end up very dry, so we might be eating it with ice cream.

I’ve also made a batch of biscuits which he’s already got and taken to work. I hope they go down well amongst his colleagues.

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And here’s my card. It took me ages to find some inspitation for this one. I’ve done so many bike racing cards over the last few years I wanted to do something different. I struggled to find a picture of a camera, so went with his other interest – red wine!

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So Happy Birthday Mr B.

Have a great day
x

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A trip to Lytham

After last night’s cycling triumphs, I was feeling rather exhausted this morning.  But it was far too lovely a day to waste, particularly as we had plans.  And with hubby having the day off work, we were able to go out and do something different.

P1050467So following my plans from previous posts, I found a low cost event outdoors with the RSPB in Lytham-St-Annes.  I’ve been a member of the RSPB for almost thirty years now and thought it’s about time we started going to the nature reserves.  This is our second one this year!!  The event was £3 per child member (£5 for non-members) and accompanying adults were free. So I’ve been sat in the sun overlooking Fairhaven Lake, while Alice and her Dad explore the mudflats of the Ribble Estuary under the expert guidance of some RSPB and WWT volunteers.  They were apparently dipping for the creatures that live in the mud, although I’m still not quite sure what they did find.

P1050460I went armed with my binoculars, notepad and guidebook, but all I succeeded in doing was hobbling to the café for an ice cream and then having a doze in the sun! After an hour or so I decided to have a walk (rather a hobble) around the lake.  I need to move about or I get stiff, but I didn’t manage very far. I did catch the ‘mud-dippers’ making pictures in the sand though and it looked like they were all having great fun. I had to have a rest before heading back to the RSPB centre. I can’t believe how tired I am all the time – breaking a bone really does take it out of you!

P1050456The Discovery Centre is a little treasure trove of information and they have loads of activities on all year round, so it’s definitely worth a visit. I’d like to come back when I’m able to walk properly as there are loads of migrating birds that come to the Estuary. And I’ve still never found a mermaids purse when beach-combing and rock pooling, after over forty years of trying!

I feel like a tiny bird...

I feel like a tiny bird…

While the others went out in a rowing boat on the lake, I took the opportunity to browse the RSPB shop and I found some beautiful scarves which will do nicely for a couple of birthdays coming up. It’s also made me think there is more scope to make my little bird cards. I think I might have a go at turning them into robins for Christmas. I’m also planning to make some more masculine owls from a number of old OS maps my husband has donated to me, so there’s plenty to be getting on with for another couple of months card-making.

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But my focus for this next week has to be hubby’s birthday. So there will be at least one crafting session and probably some baking too! I did promise I would make him a batch of biscuits to take in to work. Mmmmmm, I’m getting hungry at the thought. Now, where are we going for tea I wonder?!

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Happy summer crafting
x

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Paint-a-Pot

As we approach the end of the school year, we seem to be on a never ending run of parties – and not just children’s.

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What I am pleased to find is that now she’s seven, Alice’s party invitations have become a bit more adventurous than a soft play centre.  Today we’ve been at Emily’s Paint-a-Pot in Prestwich. Each child was able to choose an animal to paint and was given instruction on how to go about it. It felt far more grown up than the usual running wild amidst screaming kids of all ages! So we left them to it and had a stroll around Heaton Park before the rain set in and we headed back. The party room is upstairs and we could hear squeals of delight along with the traditional rendition of ‘Happy Birthday to you.’ They were all obviously having a great time. We stayed downstairs in the main painting room, where we had a very lovely cuppa and a look at all the drying pots. It’s a pretty little place and they don’t just cater for children. I was intrigued to see they run Pottery and Prosecco evenings. Something I quite fancy, I wonder why?!

Alice really enjoyed her afternoon. She painted a cat and can’t wait for it to be finished off in the kiln.

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It’s a great place to go on a rainy day, and while not a cheap activity, it is something different to what we generally do at home, so it’s definitely somewhere I hope to visit again. Next time I want to have a go too.

Happy crafting
x

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4th Birthday

I can’t believe I’ve been so busy that I missed the fourth birthday of HandmadebyKatherine.  Well, the website and this blog anyway.

Pink Birthday Flower

Pink Birthday Flower

It’s quite amazing when I think back that four years ago I was working a full-time job into part-time hours and looking after Alice (only 3).  In some ways it seems like yesterday and in others it’s a whole lifetime ago.  I never thought my life would work out being a full-time Mum, housewife, school governor and crafter, but I guess if you keep at it then anything is possible.

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In celebration of this momentous occasion I’m going to have a little giveaway.  Anyone placing an order and/or making a purchase from me in person, via facebook, website or e-mail during the month of July (1st – 31st), will have their name entered into the cup and I will draw a name out at random on August 1st.  The prize will be a collection of five handmade birthday cards.  Keep an eye over on my facebook page for more details of the prize and Good Luck.

Happy Birthdays
x

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New style cards

I’ve been looking around for some inspiration and ideas to make a new range of cards for this year. While watching one of the shows on Create and Craft tv, I saw one of the crafters make what they called a dangler card! I’m not sure of the name, but I really liked the way her card was put together, so I decided to have go myself. With My Mum’s birthday, Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary and Valentine’s day all coming up, I thought they would make a different card. It’s also been a chance to use some of the enormous stash of coloured card in my craft room!

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P1240823I’ve never been particularly confident using embossing folders.  Don’t get me wrong, I know how to use them, but I’ve never really found a use for them in my cardmaking.  So it was great to finally use one of the background embossing folders for the birthday cards.  I love how it gives some extra interest to the backing.  I used some linen card on these and adding the embossing just gives it a bit more oomph!

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P1240821I thought I would take it a step further and use one of the heart dies I have.  This intricate one is from Spellbinders and I’ve only ever used it as an embellishment, so to use it cut out of the main card elements was something totally new for me.  I really enjoyed making these cards, the blue one is for my Mum and Dad’s 45th wedding anniversary (sapphire, hence the blue).  The red one is for my husband for Valentine’s Day.

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Finally I changed the shape of card and went for a square card with circular aperture.  This time I used the delicate heart die to make the ‘dangler’ and added a tattered lace die cut butterfly.

All of the dangler pieces are attached using acetate, so they almost look like they are floating.  I’m not sure whether a ‘floater’ card is better or worse than ‘dangler’, but name aside, I like this new look and think I will be using this style as my focus for cards this year.  It’s a great way of using up the plain coloured cardstock I have and can’t wait to get going on Christmas cards, I can see floating snowflakes everywhere this year!!

Time to think about Mother’s Day though first.

Happy crafting
x

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January Birthdays

January and February are busy months for birthdays and anniversaries for us. So the beginning of the year is always taken up with family crafting. This year I’ve decided to have a real go at using up some of the numerous card-making kits I’ve bought over the years and see what I can come up with.

The great things is that all the people celebrating are of different generations and have totally different likes.

I started off with my in-laws. I was inspired by a visit to see the Flying Scotsman on our local steam railway and made this card for my Father-in-Law using a Hunkydory kit.

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I followed this with a card for my Mother-in-Law, using another Hunkydory kit, this time the little book of birthdays. Such lovely designs and I just couldn’t help adding some die cut butterflies!

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Next it’s my nephew’s first birthday. So not a card he would appreciate so much as one for his parents! I was given a set of balloon dies and some number dies for Christmas which was perfect for this occasion. This is a great card for using up offcuts of papers.

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I’ve also made cards for my Brother-in-Law, Sister-in-Law and my husbands Best man. The little book of birthdays and male images have been a great investment here!

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Finally for now is my other nephew’s fifth birthday in a couple of weeks time. He’s mad about Star Wars at the moment, so I made him a spaceman card. I hope he likes it.

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Well it’s time to get back to desk, I have my Mum’s birthday and Mum and Dad’s 45th wedding anniversary to make for, as well as Valentine’s Day!

Happy crafting
x

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My daughter’s Birthday!

With Alice’s birthday being so close to Christmas and New Year, it’s always difficult to organise anything. In the past we’ve had a family meal out and then taken her and a couple of friends to a local soft play centre to let off some steam before going back to school. She’s growing up though now and soft play centres are staring to look a bit young for her, so we decided to have a proper party for her and few friends a couple of weeks after her birthday, so that we could arrange invitations.

We decided on a ten pin bowling party and the bowling alley provided all of the invitations, so there was no need for me to make any. I was a bit disappointed, but I threw myself into making the party bags instead. I must have been feeling a bit mental to take on this task as I was thinking about making the bags, decorating them and then sourcing everything to go inside them as well. It doesn’t sound like much when you say it quickly, but it was taking ages! I had a couple of practices at making the bags / boxes, but nothing was quite right, so I ended up on a shopping trip for gifts and found a selection of gift bags in blue and red that I thought would do the trick.

I set about making rosettes for each child and a personalised gift tag for each bag. My daughter chose the papers she wanted me to use – Papermania cupcakes! The rosettes are made using a template from Papermania and uses very little glue, but a lot of cutting. I enjoy making them, but making ten did take a while. I might have to keep my eyes open for a die to cut them out in future. I don’t mind all the folding and sticking together though, it’s quite therapeutic. Fortunately I do have a gift tag die which worked well with the papers and for the size of the bags.

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I really wanted to make them a bit different to what we normally get in a party bag, so instead of loads of sweets, cheap plastic toys and other such tat, I had a great afternoon browsing the sales. Each bag had a piece of cake and a couple of sweets in, but the girls bags included hair chalk, lip balm and hair bands, while the boys had shower gel, a flannel and a snake. Alice was quite upset that I hadn’t made one for her, but she did enjoy putting all the things in the bags and tying on the tags.

I’m pleased to say they all seemed to go down well with the parents as well as the children.

The party was a success too and Alice ended up with plenty of presents. So we thought it would be a nice touch to make some thank you notes too. I used up some scrap bits of papers for each little ‘envelope’ and used a scalloped circle die to make the flap. I printed out the notelet from the computer and we stuck each one inside each little envelope. Alice signed each note and wrote the name on the front.

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I think they look quite cute and she loved giving them out. All in all I think it was a success.

Happy crafting
x

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A touch of Autumn Colour

This week I fancied a bit of relief from all the Christmas bits and pieces in my craft room. I finished reading the latest issue of Craftseller and decided to use some of the papers that came with it to make a couple of Autumn themed cards.

There seems to be no end in sight to the trend for woodland themes, so I thought I’d make these cards using the lovely leaves and woodland animal prints. It’s lovely to use some different designs and colours.

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It’s really starting to feel like Autumn as the nights are drawing in and we’ve just started to lose the leaves off the trees. I expect we will get some strong winds soon and the rest will descend to the ground all in one go. But for the time being I am enjoying the beautiful colours and the glorious Autumn sunshine.

I am very lucky to live close to farmland and there are lots of trees in the area too.  While I sit in my craft room listening to the radio, I can look out on several very mature trees.  We have a fabulous horse chestnut tree over the road which always seems to have a squirrel in it – he’s a real little terror, dropping conkers on passers by!  These papers are the perfect accompaniment to watching the squirrel running around.

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The colours work so well with some recycled kraft card.  Mixing the brown natural cardstock with bright white really makes the colours of the leaves pop.  A lovely chance for some Autumn colour.

Happy crafting
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