Easter Staycation

This week, I should have been in Edinburgh for our family holiday.  However, like everything, it was cancelled, so it was staycation time.  I wish I could say I was a brilliant parent and made the week into something very holiday-like at home, but I didn’t!  Instead I spent the week with the most card orders I’ve had in quite a while, making with what I have in the stash upstairs.

One of my friends mentioned that she needed some special cards for her colleagues at work.  The company she works for sends out cards for special birthdays, new babies and long service anniversaries.  She was struggling to get any in time, so as she lives near to me, she asked if I would be interested in making some for them.  Of course, I jumped at the chance and so I spent this week with most of my crafting stash on the kitchen table, making my way through the list of cards required.

These are some of the one’s I came up with.  Using up some Ribbonbox numbers I’ve had for ages and some large typography stamps from Papermania.  They are all A5 sized and I have tried to vary the orientation.

They asked me for some celebratory cards for long service anniversaries.  So while I was having a shower, one evening, I decided I should make some champagne bottle cards.  My initial idea was for the cards themselves to be bottle shaped, but I liked this idea with the stars and streamers.  I used some green foil card for the bottles and I coloured the stars and streamers using promarkers.

I think they look a little like champagne bottles and kraft card makes quite a good cork.

After finishing that first set of four cards, I was asked for another four to cover events in May.  So there’s a new baby card and I was able to use up some ribbon I bought years ago which I love.  And I still love making these cards with the ‘invisible’ acetate strip holding a dangly pram on.

Then it was a set of three special birthday cards, 40th, 50th and 60th.  I was asked for fairly generic cards, which I actually enjoyed making for a change.  It’s lovely to sort through papers I’ve had in boxes for a long time and then find other’s to go with them.  I  hope the recipients like them as much as I enjoyed making them.

These have certainly kept me busy for the week and stopped me thinking about all the adventures we should have been having in Edinburgh.  It’s true about crafting being therapeutic and a stress reliever – or I think so anyway.

I finished the week with a rush order for a couple of cards for soon-to-be four-year-old twins in Australia.  My brief was animals, the sea or books!  Both had to be similar but slightly different.  I started with a couple of cards I already had made, which have a balloon and a basket full of animals.  I thought having different coloured wording and an extra bow and tag would be different enough, alas different animals was preferred.  So I headed back to a set of decoupage farm animals I bought at the first craft show I attended many years ago.  I think the images in these are so bright and cheerful, therefore I decided to use the frog and rooster.

The photos of these were rushed too and I didn’t have time to get them into my resident photographer (my husband) for his professional attention.  So apologies for the poor quality of these pictures.  However, I think it shows how vibrant the images are.  I added a blue number four on each one before hand delivering on my daily walk.

My final make of the week was a birthday card for a friend’s daughter.  My daughter and I had already made our cards for her, but her Mum wanted something special as it’s to be a birthday in unreal circumstances.

I ordered a crafting set from Create and Craft a couple of weeks ago which included lots of images for mums and daughters (it’s part of a set from Kanban), and I picked one sheet in particular as I know she’s a real dancer.  We settled on this image of the baby ballet shoes and the grown up shoes.

I think the star background paper sets off this image to perfection and I hope she likes it too.

Well I’d better check on my daughter’s school work planning for next week’s return to school. #Backtoschool

Stay safe and happy crafting

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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
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Busy, busy, busy

Wow!  What a week.  They say when you’re waiting for a bus you can wait ages and then two come along at the same time.  Well, so it would seem do orders for handcrafted items!

I’ve been running Handmade by Katherine for around four years now with my blog and website, and at last the hard work is starting to pay off. I have been asked to write a blog for a summer tips calendar and I have been approached to supply a new local craft gift shop with handmade cards. So its all go around here this week.

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Of course, it’s also fast approaching Father’s Day (this Sunday) and the end of term, so my usual Saturday dance session with Alice has also turned into a bit of a frantic market over the last couple of weeks. This year my blackboard apple thank you cards have proved very popular along with the knitted fruit keyrings. When personalised with a teacher’s name they make a lovely little keepsake. So I’m busy making apple themed cards and gifts. I go to bed with apples dancing in the head, like the hippo’s in Fantasia! And I haven’t even started on Alice’s for her teachers yet…

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Best get back to the apples.

Happy crafting
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Half Term crafting

I can’t believe that half term is over again. This year is flying. With only a week to fill, there’s not that much we can do really. After a visit to Grandma, a shopping trip and a treat cinema visit that is.

So this week, we’ve been making some cards. Firstly was a get well soon card for Nana (my Mother-in-law) who has been a bit under the weather recently and had a hospital procedure. I let Alice loose with my small die collection and she chose my newest purchase, a spellbinders bow set to make this lovely card.

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While Alice was busy making her card I made a birthday card for her friend. She chose all the papers and the main topper, but I put it all together.

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Alice was given a large loomband set for her birthday and she decided she would like to make her Nana a gift to go with the card. So we looked through a book with instructions on how to make some loom band charms. She picked one of the simple patterns and made a could of tulips. A regular size one made using two bands for each link, and the smaller one which uses a single band doubled over for each link. The regular one was much easier to do for me, but her little fingers managed well on both. She loved it and has reignited her love for all things loom band. The house is now full of bracelets and necklaces!

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I’m going to have to think of something different to make over the Easter holidays. They aren’t that far off now.

Happy crafting
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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
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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
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New Baby Cards

A few weeks ago I received a request to make a large number of new baby cards, for a church group that give out packs of essential clothes and accessories for new Mums. So I started on a few samples. As I needed to be able to make a large number of cards in a similar style, I had to look at items I had in my stash that would allow for this. So out came my stamps and inks, as well as packs of pastel papers and some small paper doilies.

These were my first three samples.

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The feedback was good for these, and I really enjoyed doing some stamping for a change. So much so I think I will be making a trip to Clark Crafts soon on the hunt for some new inkpads.

The group often don’t know the sex of the babies, so they asked for some similar in neutral colours. I was slightly surprised at this request as I assumed everyone finds out now what the sex of the baby is at their scans. I didn’t want to know, but I was a real exception amongst the people I know. I decided I wanted a surprise, so all my initial baby purchases and the nursery were cream and beige. Anyway, I had to hunt out yellows and greens for the set of cards. It was much harder than I thought it would be to find little toppers that would go with yellow and green, everything I found was blue or pink!

I managed to make up the following sets in neutral colours.

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I hope this will become a regular order, so I have ordered myself a set of new baby dies to make my own toppers from the papers in my stash. I can’t wait to get on with some more, as it has made a lovely cheerful change to all the Christmas cards I’ve been making!

Happy crafting
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Holiday Hama Beads!

This week has been a big week for crafting, as the weather hasn’t been all that great. We had an afternoon with one of my daughters friends and she loves to do arts and crafts. So I managed to teach two 6 year olds to finger knit! I keep finding little strings of knitting all round the house now.   We also had a go at some French knitting, but that was a bit awkward for them to hold, so I ended up doing most of that one.

Anyway, we also have my husbands birthday coming up very soon and we had to do some serious making this week in preparation!  Out came the making box and the kitchen table was soon lost under piles of paper, funky foam, feathers and glitter!

This first creation is a desert island jigsaw for her friend to do.  The pieces are all leaves for a palm tree in the centre of the desert island.  She drew all the palm leaves and then very carefully cut them out.  I really like the little boat sailing into the picture, but I’m not quite sure what the tulip is doing in the sea!

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Her next creation is a rather fantastic card / picture for her Dad’s birthday next week.  She used loads of different ideas, and spent a lot of time using stencils and cutting out the birds, leaves and heart.  She also made her own envelope for a little letter!  I was pretty impressed with all the ideas she had and her attention to detail.  It’s such a jolly little picture with all the birds singing and a smiley sunshine – apparently the leaves have been blown off the tree and are slowing drifting to the ground.

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Next she wanted to have a go at some decoupage! Typically she couldn’t choose something simple for her first attempt. No sign of any die-cut sheets here! She found a set of Scooby Doo images we bought her quite a while ago and had a good effort cutting out each image, then ‘pinching’ my 3d foam tape to layer them up!

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What was great about this was that her friend saw one of the images she had created and she had to explain how she had done it for her!

Later this week we had a really bad weather day, so we got out the hama beads and while I was finishing off some projects, she set to work on some new creations for me to iron! This one took some time! She wanted to make some bunting, and then decided to add in a magician, complete with magic hat, wand and rabbit,  We also have the sun, moon and a magic star sparkle.  To complete the scene we have the always required dragonfly and some minecraft slime!!! This was a completely single-handed creation and took the best part of an afternoon. I love the imagination that’s gone into this and how she thought about all the little details with the stripes on the hat for the ribbon and the wand has white tips too. Brilliant!

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It’s such a shame the scene is so long as it was quite hard to get a good picture of. Here’s some of the smaller creations she also made. The seahorse is a template provided, but the butterfly is her own work, using a heart shaped board.

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I’m waiting for some more creepy crawlies to find their way into the makes over the rest of the holidays, as she’s taken a real love to snails in the garden! Eugh!

Happy crafting
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Last Day of Term

Well the last day of the school year has arrived again.  I can’t believe how quickly it’s come round.  My daughter is finishing year one today and has taken in her little cards and gifts for her teacher and teaching assistant.

We have kept with the homemade and apple themes, but changed things a little with the cards this year.  So instead of just having a personalised tag on the keyring, we have personalised tags on the cards as well. Hopefully the staff will appreciate something different from all the boxes of chocolates, biscuits and bottles of wine that we saw on our way into class this morning.

Personalised Thank You Cards

Personalised Thank You Cards

I also added a little red bakers twine bow to the tag at the last minute this morning – thank heavens for cosmic shimmer glue being so quick drying!

My daughter did all the writing inside, with no help from me at all.

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I can’t believe she’s moving up to year two in September. She’s been at the school for three years now already, as she started in the nursery, and it’s flying by. So I am making the most of the last afternoon of peace and quiet around the house before I start to think about what we can get up to over the school holidays. I feel there will be crafting activities, hopefully I might even persuade her to learn to knit or crochet!

Happy summer crafting
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Recovery

Well, this week I am recovering from my surgery.  So I’m working day-to-day depending on how I feel.

Typically in the times when I’ve been feeling rough I’ve been thinking about everything I’ve been making and having second thoughts about all my designs and ideas!  In particular I’m rethinking my makes for Bury Show at weekend.  I like my card design but I’m not sure it’s adventurous enough, so I might have to make something else.  The one causing me the most worry at the moment though is my knitted make.  It’s very different for me but I’m now sure it would class as a knit for a baby or toddler.  I don’t really have enough time to make something else though, so I shall stick to it and try to get it finished in time.

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I’ve also been thinking a lot about what I need to be making at the moment, mainly about thank you cards and gifts for the teachers at school.  Well it’s only four weeks to the end of term for my little one, so as I feel a little better today I have decided to make some apple cards for my daughter to send.  This year I’m going to add a little tag with the teacher’s name on.

Thank You Card

I can’t believe how fast this school year has gone. With all the health scares I feel like I’ve been out of it for quite a while. But now I’m recovering I can hopefully, put all the pain and discomfort behind me and we can have a fun packed sunny Summer – as long as the British weather decides to play nicely!

Well I had better get back to my apples, leaves and tags before school pick up.

Happy crafting
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