I am sorry but I can no longer send out any templates, poems etc. that I may have offered in the past, the files were lost when my last computer crashed and I have have not remade them.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Microscope Slide Christmas Tree Decoration

Marc set me me off on the microscope slide trail in the early days of our friendship, now over 5 years strong.  However, as you know from our many experiments during that time we have had mixed results with them.  Last time we got together just before Christmas I got sooooooooo frustrated and impatient you wouldn’t believe, I think Marc got scared!!!!!  But I won’t be beaten……
Microscope Slide Christmas Tree DecorationMy frustration has always been wanting to do something that was double sided and finding a delicate, unobtrusive way of fixing a loop of some kind to hang extra twiddly bits from the bottom and a thread/or wire to hang the finished decoration at the top, until now, all my efforts, in my eyes, have just looked too clunky!
fixingsHowever, while searching through the jewellery making listings on e-bay I finally found what I was looking for, spring bail pendant findings! So yesterday, I sat down and tried all over again …….
Microscope Slide Christmas Tree Decoration 1.Christmas tree paperMicroscope Slide Christmas Tree Decoration 1
I decided, to achieve an easy two sided effect I needed to leave some of the microscope slide clear, in this case the sky.  I made a tree template and was originally going to use the green side of the paper, but when I saw the patterned side I thought I would try it instead.  I cut out two trees and stuck them together, with a tiny scrap of brown sandwiched in the middle for the trunk.
Microscope Slide Christmas Tree Decoration 2I did the same with the glittered paper on the bottom and then added tiny, silver stars to completed the double sided look. 
Microscope Slide Christmas Tree Decoration 4However, that’s when my awful, awful, impatience kicked in ……. I used a tiny amount of Aleene’s Pendant Gel to hold the stars in place, but instead of waiting for it to dry I sealed the two microscope slides together with 6mm adhesive, silver metal tape while it was still wet! Marc would have slapped my hand so hard and told me off something rotten ……..  however, I will justify my actions by saying ….. that it was just an experiment piece!!!! An experiment when I really wanted to see if the spring bails worked!
E6000 glueMicroscope Slide Tree Decoration 5
And this was the moment when I dared glue them, one at the bottom and one at the top with a tiny, tiny amount of E6000 glue.
Microscope Slide Tree Decoration ChristmasI will admit to scrapping off the excess, very carefully with a pin, while the glue was still setting, but I knew if I let it “cure” and then  tried to remove it, disaster would undoubtedly happen, but after that, I left the slide well alone to dry unhindered and unpoked, occupying myself with something else instead.
I managed to leave the slide alone for about four hours when the glue and bails were well and truly stuck, then gingerly added a drop of coordinating beads from a charity shop bracelet I featured a week or so ago to the bottom and another bead on some teal jewellery wire to make a hanger for the top!
Success at last ….. after 4/5 years of trying so hard, I have finally made the microscope slide I have always aspired to!
However:- sealing the slides together before the stars had dried WAS a big no no ….. but as an experiment I discovered that I had used far too much pendant gel anyway …… so when I made another one, almost straight away, the lessons learned paid off.  This time when gluing the stars I used the tiniest spot of pva glue ever, I mean really tiny, gently laying the star on top, with no pressing down, because that would have squeezed glue around the star causing smudging around it, this way the microscope glass remained clean. 
A steep learning curve, but so worth it …… I can now steam ahead and make a huge pile of slides for Christmas 2017 using many variations, knowing that I have finally got the basic technique right!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Little Wooden Boat On The Sea – Domino Decoration/Gift Tag

There’s been a lot of experimenting with domino tags going on at The Towers this past week or so. This project uses a children’s picture domino as the base which measures 7cms x 3.5cms.
Domino Crafts Little Boat Tag with beads and shellI created background using small, blue paper scraps, tearing the bits on the sea to expose the core to look like waves, with dusting of translucent micro glitter added. The sun was made using a small circle punch.  The wooden boat I have had forever, bought in bulk and used in so many projects. I have used a black, fine liner pen round the edges knowing it would bleed slightly when covered by a  layer of Aleene’s pendant gel. Aleene’s Pendant Gel is best left for at least 24 hours to ensure it’s properly set.
Domino Crafts Little Boat on sea with shell and beadsOne the gel was hardened/set I covered the sides of the domino with adhesive silver Inkssentials Memory Foil (not sure if this is available in UK any more) which I smoothed with a crease mouse.
I screwed a tiny silver eye hook in the top and bottom of the “domino”. In the top one I fastened blue jewellery wire with a matching blue bead to make the hanger and on the bottom added a seashell charm, a pearl and faceted blue bead.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Christmas Robin Birdhouse Card

This card measure 5ins x 5ins and uses a hand cut, rib effect Kraft card blank.
Robin and Bird House Holly Christmas CardI am still working my way through the packet of birdhouse embellishments I got from The Works (6 for £1)
little wooden bird embellishmentsI decided to see how the birdhouse and bird would work with a Christmas theme, starting by turning the white bird into a robin with a brown and red felt pen.
Bird and bird box embellishments Christmas Robin Birdhouse Card
I mat and layered the background, using a scrap of rib effect Kraft card, a small holly print paper and a  plain red card.
Holly Print paperMat and layering Christmas card
I put a scrap of red, behind the heart to add colour to the birdhouse. I also coloured the eaves of the house red and then covered that with a layer of translucent micro glitter, gluing a small, red nail art stud in the centre.  And finally, a Fiddle Fart card wouldn’t be a Fiddle Fart card without a bit of faux stitching ……

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Christmas House Domino Decoration.

Following on from yesterday, be warned, I am now addicted to making these decorations (providing the tape I have ordered is suitable), so I hope you don’t get too bored of seeing them.
Christmas Decorated DominoI covered both sides of a child’s picture domino (7cm x 3.5cms) with a handwriting print paper, putting a small strip of white glitter paper along the bottom for snow. Then I pieced together the house using tiny scraps of paper, doodling the details with a black fine liner pen. I knew the ink would bleed a little when the Aleene’s gel was applied to the completed design, but I thought that it would add to the handmade look of the decoration.
Domino Christmas Tree DecorationDomino Christmas House Christmas Tree Decoration
A tiny yellow gem has been used for the door knob and silver stars put in the sky. With a layer of gel applied, they really shouldn’t be handled for at least 24 hours.
Christmas House Domino DecorationChristmas House Domino Tag Decoration
Once the gel was set the sides were then covered with an adhesive silver Inkssentials Memory Foil (possibly no longer available in UK)  and smoothed down with a crease mouse.
Christmas House Domino TagI screwed a tiny silver eye hook in the top and bottom of the “domino”. In the top one I used red jewellery wire and a facetted bead to make the hanger and on the bottom added a snowflake charm, however, a key could also be easily added and a perhaps even a bead. 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Two Posts Today

Heads Up To The Works ……….

The Works have sets of wooden drawers for £15 each or 2 for £22
5052089182363_MThey measure 35.5cm x 35.5cm, which is very generous, but the depth isn’t given.  I haven’t seen one in the flesh, but I am thinking, with 25 drawers they would make a brilliant Advent Calendar. I was also thinking that three would fit very nicely and look quite good along the top of the drawer unit in my guest room, filled with various craft bits and pieces.
boxThis cabinet box has potential too, especially if stood upright. It has 10 compartments that could stage various Christmas scenes, I already have several Christmas bits and pieces that are too big for my usual projects but would be perfect for this.  It measures 15 x 20.5 x 3cm and at £2.50, it’s worth an experiment or two???
wooden suitcaseAnd …. they don’t have this in the Evesham branch but who could resist ordering this little wooden suitcase for just £1.00? It measures 10 x 8 x 4cm. I am thinking it would make a very cute holiday memory box …… with a zig zag scrapbook book attached to the inside and the outside possibly decorated with shells, stickers and photos from the holiday. Again for £1 it’s worth a pop.
craft clubI use The Works an awful lot now that I have moved to Evesham, if the shop doesn’t have something I want in stock I just order it online and then collect it a couple of days later, so no P & P. When I collect anything, I usually get a discount on buts and pieces I might happen to buy at the same time.  I have a loyalty card where reward points are added whenever I spend anything, so I get a little discount here and there when I claim those points, so it’s win win all round.  ………and now they have a Craft Club, so joining it is a no brainer too. It’s worth a look.

Christmas Tree Domino Decorations.

For this and several following posts poor Iris has had to sacrifice one of her boxes of picture dominoes …….. and my ability to make something and then leave it well alone until it is really set has been sorely tested.
Domino Crafts Christmas Tree Decoration TagsThe dominoes each measure 7cms x 3.5cms
domino crafts Christmas Decoration.For this project I decided to decorate both sides of the dominoes identically with scraps of a handwriting print paper, a strip of white glitter paper (snow) along the bottom ………
domino crafts …followed by Christmas trees using scraps of green and brown papers ……Domino Crafts Christmas Decoration…. adding tiny silver stars and yellow/gold flat back gems. I decided to empathise the trees and domino edges using a black, fine liner pen, knowing that it would run slightly when covered with gel, which I thought would add to the handmade feel.
Domino Craft Ideas Christmas PendantDomino Crafts Christmas Tree Pendant
I covered the completed scene with Aleene’s Jewellery Pendant Gel, and that was where my patience was well truly tested, as I knew from past experience that I shouldn’t touch them for at least 24 hours, no matter how tempted.
Aleene's pendant GelI like using Aleene's because of the economical size of the bottle and the fact that the pendant gel is quite thick and not too prone to running. As I was running low and anticipated that I would use more in the next few months, I tried to buy another couple of bottles, but to no avail, I can’t find it anywhere in UK, not even on Amazon, where I think I originally bought this bottle. Instead I have ordered Ranger Glossy Accents. I used to use Anita’s 3D gloss an awful lot, but when they changed the bottle to a smaller tube type container I never quite managed to master the application and so became disenchanted with the product.
Domino Crafts Christmas Tree Decoration Tag with BeadsDomino Crafts Christmas Tree Decoration Ornament Tag with snowflake charmDomino Crafts Christmas Tree Decoration Tag
When I was absolutely sure the gel was set and hardened, I turned the domino over and repeated the gel application again. However, if I was making tags, I would just  leave the back blank so that a greeting could be added.screw in eye hook on pendantWith both sides of the decoration set, I then used adhesive silver Inkssentials Memory Foil (tape) to cover the sides, burnishing them with my crease mouse, so it was smooth.  Sadly, wanting more tape for future projects, again I cannot find it anywhere in the UK! I am not sure, but I wonder if it has been discontinued?  It took me several hours and texts to Marc before finally finding something similar on e-bay which is 6mm wide, I am just hoping it will be OK, so fingers very tightly crossed.
snowflake charmI screwed a tiny, silver eye hook in the top and bottom of the domino. On the top I used black jewellery wire and bead to make a hanger, and on the bottom I added either a silver snowflake charm or cluster of beads.
tiny screw in eye hookI think when I make these again for presents, I may not add the black outlines, as I think it would give the tags/decorations a subtler, softer look, I also think that less is more, I need keep to using just one dangling snowflake and ditch the cluster of beads as they look heavy and add too much fiddle fart, so that the simplicity is lost. 

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Sticky Beaking For Di – Craft Stuff Finally Sorted To the Eighth Degree!!

It’s done, eight months after moving in my craft stuff is now sorted and has a permanent home, without looking, I hope, too intrusive (if that’s the word?)
room mid tidy. room mid tidy
It took forever, sometimes I just had to close the door and walk away after I had had enough of the sorting, in all it took me three days, with breaks, as I got frustrated.
mid room tidyBut it’s all done, and everything has a place, and more importantly, I now know where everything is!
tidy bedroom.There are several large, easy to access, under bed boxes, under the bed (where else) for paper, card, tools (silhouette, laminator, sealer etc.) and Christmas embellishments, papers etc..
tidy bedroom 2The rest is all in contained in the drawers and boxes on the shelves, but leaving the two large, top shelves in the main unit for guests to put their bits when they stay. It’s reassuring to know that I kept all the right bits when I downsized my craft room, there was nothing set aside as no longer needed.  I do have a couple of boxes under the bed that are still empty and if I had anticipated this, perhaps, I might have kept a few more of my patterned papers and a few more stickers …… but hey!
Would I change anything now it’s all done?  Well, the situation was a little different when I was first buying the furniture and I needed to get the room basically furnished at least.  With hindsight, which is a wonderful thing, I wish I had investigated more having a floor to ceiling cupboard/wardrobe made/fitted with a set of four drawers to the side, along the same lines of my bedroom, or failing that, had the shelves made to reach the bottom of the drawer unit, so it looked more or less like one unit, but again hey, I have too much time on my hands to over think things, but, perhaps in time, I could extend the shelves?????
stickybeaking in my cupboardMy bedroom cupboards are now strictly toy free zones, with toys now relocated to the hall cupboard. I still have a couple of empty, high up, out of ‘baby’ reach shelves for when I bulk buy loo rolls, washing powder, and other cleaning products etc. when they are on offer.
   Keeping Crafting TIdycraft tidy box
I have also really sorted out the six drawers in my crafting table in the lounge, as they too were getting on my nerves as they were tightly crammed with stuff I didn’t really need on a daily basis.
And, a top tip from Marc for staying tidy between crafting sessions ……… collect and put everything you need for your current project(s) in a large box  and then at the end of your session tidy everything back into it, so that it’s all still there and ready for the next day etc.  The idea works, the flat is small so it doesn’t take a lot to turn it into a bomb site, and there is no way I can relax on the settee with a messy corner staring at me.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Little Birdhouse Card – Mark 2

This card measure 5ins x 5ins and uses a hand cut, white linen effect card blank.
Liuttle Bird and Bird House Birthday CardFollowing on from yesterday, I decided to see how the birdhouse card would look on a simple mat and layered background, using paper from my Craftwork Cards Country Charm mini paper pad, a white linen effect card and silver mirror card.
Craftwork Cards Country Charm paper padCountry Charms Craftword Card Papers
The wooden birdhouse tags came from The Works (current stock) they would married up with some little wooden bird embellishment.
6 Birdhouse Tags The WorksThe Works Bird House embellishment
Again, I put a scrap of red, spotty paper behind the heart to give the birdhouse a bit of colour, picking red from the background paper. 
Little Bird and Bird House CardI used a brown pen to colour the eaves of the birdhouse, stuck on the bird (giving him an eye), and then added 3 layered, punched flowers with yellow flat back gem centres, before finally doing some faux stitching with a fine, black liner pen. Sorted.