Cards and Gardens

Woah! It’s certainly warm this week, and I’m hiding inside to avoid the worst of the heat and the pollen? This is certainly the downside of living near several farms, as they are making the most of the weather to do their haymaking.

So I am trying to keep cool and carry on sneezing (not)and I’m too hot to do a lot of crafting, so it’s my chance for a catch up on the last couple of months – if I can remember that is.

It’s been a busy few weeks all around. We had the Jubilee in rubbish weather, but fun was had by all. We went to Manchester and visited the Manchester Flower Show. It wasn’t quite what I had expected but it was fun to go back into the city after almost two years.

I enjoyed seeing the little floral displays around the shops and some larger displays in St Ann’s Square and King Street.

I was lucky enough to get a small bouquet of farm grown organic flowers. They were beautiful and lasted over a week on the kitchen window ledge.

I was inspired to get back out in the garden, giving everywhere a good tidy up as well as planting some seeds. I thought I’d have a go at a little bit of grow-your-own and I’ve planted a few pots with peas, purple sprouting broccoli and radish, to go with my strawberries. Fingers crossed the slugs don’t demolish them all!

I have made a few cards on the cooler days. I started making special cards for a local business during lockdown and have continued to do so. This has been a really great opportunity to improve my skills and to use different styles.

I am particularly enjoying looking through all my stash – it is quite extensive now as I seem to be filling all my available storage space in the ‘office’. With my husband back in his place of work, our office has now reverted to being my crafting space again. It’s a lovely place to be and it makes a real difference now I know where everything is. What I have to be careful of now is not over-filling it. Ha ha!

Time for a cooling drink now.

Happy Summer crafting

K x

Shaped card crafting

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote, I’m really starting to wonder where the time goes these days. The joys of middle age have been working their magic again – lethargy, brain fog and lack of focus!

Anyway, I’m here currently back in school covering the office for a few hours while the staff have some academy conversion training! Fingers crossed it’s quiet as it’s pouring down outside. I an hoping to catch up with some of the staff here as it’s been quite a while due to all the lockdowns and me leaving the lunchtime rota.

So what else have I been up to crafting wise? Well, Easter came and went quickly. It was great to be able to spend it with my family and after the holidays were cancelled due to craftykid testing positive for Covid (had to happen at some point I suppose). No symptoms and both me and my husband remained negative. In spite of the very boring school holidays we managed a celebratory trip to Hebden Bridge once she tested negative and I arranged a couple of egg hunts, one at home and one at my Mum’s for my nephews. I was really proud of the one I did at home as I wrote a poem of clues based on the nursery rhyme ‘Round and round the garden’.

Crafting wise I’ve been making lots of cards for us at home and some lovely local orders too. Over the last couple of years, I’ve really enjoyed making different shaped cards. I started making handbag cards several years ago, but I have tried to enhance them recently with more elaborate papers and gems as well as paper flowers.

So I thought I’d have a go at some more shaped cards. My Dad plays golf, so this golf bag card was an ideal format for him. I invested in a collection of plaid papers and they work brilliantly for these cards.

My next attempt ay a shaped card was at the request of a friend wanting a shoe for her niece’s 21st birthday. This was a little more tricky as I had to get the proportions of the shoe and the heel so it looked right as a shoe, but also sturdy enough to stand up. It took a few goes to get the basic shape and then it was a simple (?) case of picking the papers and decorations.

I plumped for a sophisticated elegant look using a collection from Papermania – Midnight Blush. It gives such a soft look , I just wish I could walk in a pair of heels that high!

Well, that’s about all for now. Time to work on some ideas for more shaped cards I think!

Happy crafting

K x

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

x

Christmas Card Collection

This year I decided to work on a full collection of five or six card designs for Christmas.  I was asked recently to provide the cards for the lovely gift shop Hearts for Homes in Ramsbottom, so this idea of a collection has become more relevant and important.

I’ve had my Christmas craft materials out for a few weeks now and have rediscovered some beautiful papers and patterns.  I found a stack of twisted pyramage with some lovely winter images.  I particularly like robins at Christmas, so thought I’d revisit this style of papercraft.  I’ve really loved the embossed and aperture style cards I’ve been working on this year, so keeping with that I found a lovely couple of embossing folders to work as backgrounds.

The snowflake embossing folder is by Darice.  I think it’s so pretty.  The snowflakes are all different and very delicate.  I think it works well with the twisted pyramage robin.

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My next card style in the collection is the large poinsettia.  This is a Bigz die by Sizzix and it works so well on all types of card, paper and fabric.  Here I’ve used some Kanban papers and combined it with a circular die cut aperture and embossed snowflake background.

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The third design in my collection uses some gorgeous rich cardstock I bought at the creative craft show .  This green is so sumptuous it just cried out to be used with gold mirror card.  I added a snowflake cut using an X-Cut die.  I think the gold ribbon bow and gems set it off a treat.  Don’t you?

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I’ve had such fun routing through my crafting arsenal of dies and materials.  I bought this Spellbinders bow die a while back and haven’t really used it.  But it called to me to make Christmas paper bows and add to the front of some cards.  I was reminded of a series of cards I made several years ago with large organza ribbon bows on the front which were very popular with my work colleagues at the time.  I loved making these bows from all the different Christmas patterned papers.  They looked so lovely on square cards, I even made some look like parcels.  My Mum and Dad will be getting one of these and I hope they like it as much as I enjoyed making it.

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These cards take a little bit of time to make so I was in need of making something quick to put in packs and that wouldn’t cost as much to make or buy.  I’d been thinking about doing some cut outs with patterned papers behind for a while now, but never gotten around to it.  This was the ideal opportunity to do some with my snowflake die.  I love this silver holographic paper.  It it so sparkly behind the snowflake.  I think they will look great on my stall at the school fair too.

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As in the words of the great Monty Python, now for something completely different!  I bought this lovely papercraft kit from Create and Craft several years ago and not known what to do with it.  The papers are quite pastel in colour but very fun and wintry too, and the little elements are very cute.  I particularly like the children in their winter outfits.  I thought they were perfect to send to siblings and grown up children.

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For my final card design this year I went back to my love of DL cards.  There is somethigng so elegant about a tall slim card and I just couldn’t help myself in making at least one.  For these I again used a Kanban card kit with some lovely HunkyDory Mirri card.  Simple but elegant I hope you agree

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So that’s my collection for Christmas 2016.  There is a selection available in Hearts for Homes in Ramsbottom as well as in Holts Newsagents in Walmersley.  I will also be selling these directly at the Springside Primary School Christmas Fair and via facebook.

I hope you like them.

Happy Christmas Crafting
x

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

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

Birthday Draw Winner

July went by really quickly so today it was time to put all the names into the cup for my fourth birthday prize draw.

Thank you to everyone that ordered and purchased from me this month.  There were fourteen names in the cup and the winner is ……

Kate Treadwell.

Congratulations Kate.  I hope you like your prize – a set of five bird and owl cards.

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Happy crafting
x

School Fair

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It was lovely to see so many parents and family members at school.  The fair itself was as manic as always. being straight after school it’s always very well attended.  This was the first year they’ve really invited parents to have their own stalls and it was great to see the variety of items available.  I was next to a lovely lady from Artysan Gifts who makes bespoke framed gifts. It was her first ever stall and she did really well. I wasn’t surprised as her frames are beautiful. I wonder if I can find a reason to order one for someone?!

There were two Asian food stalls and another card maker too. Fortunately we weren’t quite next to each other and our cards were very different in style, so we appealed to different tastes.

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I decided to go with a ‘name the cat’ competition in the end. It drew in quite a few of the children (and staff). He ended up with the name ‘Garfield’ and was won by a little girl from year one. I sold quite a few cards as well and some knitted and crochet items. So all in all it was a successful fair for me, as well as for the school.

I hope they invite us all back for the next fair at Christmas!

Happy crafting
x

School Summer Fair

Just as I started to see some time ahead for a weekend off, I received a text from school, asking if I would like a stall at the upcoming school summer fair. With only a weeks notice I was going to decline, however, Alice talked me into it as she loved to help set up. I’m not so sure she’ll be able to as she should be in class, but I’ve said if she’s really good all morning she can ask her teacher if she can come and help.

So it’s been all systems go again this week. I decided to make up a collection of mainly thank you cards, specially for this fair. I’ve gone back to some old favourites and there will be groups of ten cards in each design. I’ve gone with owls, birds and apples as my main ideas.

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I will also take my now dwindled stock, along with some fruit keyrings and rose brooches.

Rose Brooches

Rose Brooches

Keyrings

Keyrings

I’m also toying with the idea of running a raffle to win a collection of five ‘dangler’ cards, but I’m not sure I’ll have the time to make them beforehand, so if I do go down this route I might raffle one of my knitted cats instead. Actually I could do a ‘name the cat’ and donate the proceeds to the school. They are raising money to do some work on a rather neglected wildlife and pond area, an area I reckon my two naughty kittens (Lily and George) have begun to frequent (and the less said about that the better).

Well it’s back to my desk again for now, these apple cards are not going to make themselves!

Happy crafting
x

My First Shop Order

Following my successful meeting with Kerry at ‘Hearts for Homes’, she placed a significant order for a further card selection. So over the last couple of weeks I have been working my way through the list occasions. This always looks easy at the beginning, but I was also left to my own devices regarding colours and design. I don’t know if it’s just me, but having no input isn’t always a good thing. For the most part I have been following my current obsessions and have included several of my ‘dangler’ cards (there really must be a better name for them).

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And with the end of term fast approaching ( I really do need to make a start of Alice’s things), I have also added some of this year’s most popular make – the apple blackboard thank you card.

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I also had a yearning to make some more handbag cards. I haven’t made any for quite some time and I realised why – they take ages and need more desk space than I have available in my little craft area. Next time I will make up a few and use the kitchen table! Having said all that, I really have enjoyed putting the handbags together and I’m pleased with how they turned out, in particular the 40th birthday one.

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The papers are so sumptuous. I think it almost looks like velvet.

I thoroughly enjoyed putting the six wedding cards together, although it’s getting harder to make each one unique. I’m going to have to find some time to do some more research and development and see what designs are the most popular.

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The last cards I made were for engagements and get well soon. I always find these occasions difficult and they certainly took longer than the others in terms of designs. But I managed to use my new hexagon die for some of them and I really like the effect, so I might be doing a little collection in this style in the future!

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Time for a brew now they’ve all been delivered.

Happy crafting
x