Saturday, 25 March 2017

A Domino Tag For Iris

This project uses a 7cm x 3.5cms children's picture domino as it’s base.
Domino Crafts Iris Mixed Media Domino TagI covered the coloured side of the domino with scraps of a handwriting print paper and torn layers of a spotty green paper plus a scrap for Iris’s name.  The Iris flower is a button leftover from the days of Alan and Barry on Create and Craft. Iris’s name and the edging down the side was done with a black fine liner pen, knowing that the ink would run slightly when the Aleene's Pendant Gel (no longer, I don't think, available in the UK) was applied to the completed design, because I wanted, what I hoped would be, an aged look(?).  The yellow/gold flat backed gems also applied before the gel went on. By flooding the area with quite a thick layer of gel I hoped that the flower would look part embedded in the gloss, like an old tile.Domino Crafts Iris Flower Mixed Media Domino TagOnce the gel had hardened I covered the sides with gold Inkssentials Memory Foil (possibly no longer available in UK)  and smoothed down with a crease mouse.
I screwed a tiny gold eye hook in the top of the “domino”, using a black jewellery wire and  pearl, silver and pink facetted bead to make the hanger.  The back of the tag was simply covered with an account book print paper.
back of Domino tagThe tag is going to be put away for Iris, probably for her Birthday or perhaps Christmas to go into her memory box of tree decorations I have made her over the past two years. I will write a little message and date it when I give it her.  I wonder where it will be in 50 years time?

Friday, 24 March 2017

Easter Button Brooches on Tag

Rather than give Iris’s lovely, lovely, lovely nursery staff something chocolaty for Easter, I decided to turn some of the button flower brooches from the other day into some little Easter gifts that will hopefully last a little longer.Easter Button Brooches on Gift Tag 33333I fiddled and diddled for most of a morning until I was completely happy with the end result.
Button Brooch Brooch backsButton Brooch backs
Firstly I needed to finish off the brooch bases I had made, using self adhesive fabric to cover the card base that I had glued the buttons on to and then added a small brooch pin using E6000 glue, so I could be sure of a secure bond.
Easter TagsEaster Tags
I then cut out the tags and decorated them with assorted of tapes, the dotty tape came from The Works (£2 for a pack 10 colours) and the Easter tape from Lldl.
IMG_1768Easter Button Brooch TagEaster Tag Back
Next I tied the ribbons on, thinking that I would be able to attach the finished brooches to the tags with an adhesive foam pad, but when I tried it, it didn’t look right, so in the end I cut out some small rough rectangles to push the brooch pins through and then held them in place with strips of matching spotty tape.
Easter Tag Back 1Button Brooch Gift Tag Easter Crafts
Not as “professional” looking as I had hoped, but if I do them again I am sure I can fine tune the cutting.  With the brooches now securely in place, I still thought that there was something missing ……….
Easter Button Brooches on Gift TagEaster Crafts Easter Button Brooches on Gift Tag 2
…….but found that by adding some punched leaf sprigs and a few dots here and there, all of a sudden everything came together  ……. I was so chuffed.
Out of curiosity I decided to work out the total cost of one tag complete with three brooches, not bad for just 70p ….. I don’t think you could even buy a cream egg for that!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Easter Card Maker Of The Year …… Mia!

I give up ……. I popped into Moo Moos (Port Street, Evesham) for a cheeky takeaway coffee on my way to pick Madam up from nursery when I spied a basket of handcrafted Easter cards on the counter, well, it would be rude not to size up the competition, wouldn’t it?  I know when I am beaten, they were absolutely brilliant, it would be pointless to even try to compete against such a master!
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They were made by Mia, the adorable daughter of Josi, who owns Moo Moos.
miaIt was hard to choose which I one I liked best …….. but in the end I bought the “Easter Bird In Flight” one for Bertie and Iris.
Easter CardsWhat can I say ……
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…… my crafty card career in Evesham has ground to a halt before I have even started!
IMG_1803I think I will just stick to making the sweetie bags that I have on the opposite side of the counter!
IMG_1802Well done Little Moo!
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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Metal Stamped Bird Tag Decoration – Another Experiment

Sorry, another experiment today, but again quite a few lessons were learned, and, it’s got me stamping, my bete noir of crafting, if only in a tiny weeny way!
stamped bird tag decoration sentiment ringI was just going through my drawers (oooooower matron) and found my tiny birds on a branch stamp, and then thought about the large sentiment rings I have had for years, wondering if they would work together.
IMG_1291Tiny Framed Bird Tag Decoration q
I decided to put two rings back to back with two lots of birds stamped on some handwriting design paper to go on both sides of the rings too. I then made a loop using jewellery wire with a bead and stuck it between the two rings. I used E6000 to glue the two parts together to guarantee a strong bond. It all sandwiched together well
Framed Tiny Bird Tag DecoartionI then filled one side of the ring with Glossy Accents and left it to set.  This is when I discovered that the paper wasn’t really really strong enough to take that amount of Glossy accents without more support on the back, which made it wrinkle,  but I preserved and turned it over to repeat the exercise.
wish dream hope tagBut, when it was finished I started to wonder what was that I had actually made? 
I concluded that if this was a double sided Christmas tree decoration, it would work, with an extra layer of card in the middle to support the glossy accents better and with a more festive picture in the middle like holly,mistletoe or a festive scene etc., as the words round the edge lend themselves to Christmas.  The bead could then be replaced with something more Christmassy like red or green or a mix.
stamped bird tag decorationBut, if it were made into a pendant or brooch, I like the birds, they can stay, but using two rings wouldn’t be necessary. I would just support the glossy accented picture with a thicker layer of card behind it, which in turned would be backed with a matching paper and a layer of accents, so that the back is finished off properly, if that makes sense?  I am now going back to the drawing board …… so watch this space, I think all this fiddle farting and musing may pay off in the end!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A Few More Button Brooch Pins

Following on from the success of my first button brooch pins the other day, I have made more, in bulk!!
button flower pin brooches 1As I told you, the bulk of my “old” buttons fell victim to my house moving craft cull, but The Works came up trumps, in part, with buttons of just the right size for brooches and card embellishments.
The Works Buttons In the Santoro bag (who make Gorjuss) there were 60 spotty and plain buttons of two sizes for £1 and in the “normal” craft buttons, there were 100 in three different sizes.
 button flower pin brooches 3button flower pin brooches 4
However, despite buying two bags of the Santoro there still wasn’t enough of the larger spotty buttons to make a matching pair for hair clips for Madam, but I did managed to get three pairs from the smaller plain ones in the bags.  At the moment I haven’t added any  self adhesive fabric backing over the card support or brooch pins to the backs, I want to have a play first to see how a few work as embellishments on a card.
button flower pin brooches 6I though I might have better luck making pairs with two bags of the other plain craft buttons, but having three sizes complicated it a little. On the first three flower heads I made, I went overboard trying to use all three sizes, but they didn’t look as “innocent” or simple as the Santoro batch, and using 12 buttons per flower wasn’t as economical. IMG_1590So, after that I made piles of five buttons in various combinations, including adding a few spare ones from the Santoro packs to maximise my yield.
button flower pin broocches bI think the flowers using just five buttons look much sweeter. 
Aside from the one or two I am keeping for cards, I was thinking of packaging them by putting them on a white or possibly Kraft tag in sets of three, one large and two small ones, so that they can be worn singularly or in a group, on clothes or on a bag or make up bag etc. Put in threes it will look like more for your money …… I was thinking of something around £1.50, to be put away until I hear of a craft fair later on in the year.  But before that I need to think about the said packaging ……

Monday, 20 March 2017

NEC Birmingham - Hobby Crafts March 2017 – Bitterly Disappointed–Never Again!

Oh dear, what can I say ……. except that I am so glad I managed to get my ticket for half price, got a lift from Tom The Scientist to get there, and went on to spend the weekend with Lu in Wolverhampton because if I had made the effort to solely go to Hobby Crafts at the NEC on Thursday I would have been even more disappointed than I already am, and I can honestly say that I will never to go again.
large Hobbycraft punchesTwo extra large Hobby Craft punches for just £1 each. It was plain that punches are definitely out in the craft world, but I still prefer them every time to getting out my Big Shot for a couple of shapes when I am playing with an idea. The square one will be perfect for making larger size nine square patchwork cards and an idea I have for festive memory frames, and a tag punch always come in useful for so many projects.
I got into the show when the doors opened at 9.30am and had seen everything by about 10.15am, and in that time had only been tempted to spend the grand total of £1.50 for 6 tiny spiders for some future Halloween Bottles!!!!! This was once a trip that Lisa (Craft Fairy) and I used to plan with military operation, with a list of what we wanted to see and/or buy. We would be there all day and still think we had missed something. We would return home with throbbing feet, but bursting with inspiration, with bags of swag we couldn’t wait to go through and start working with.  Sadly, on Thursday I was on the train to Lu’s by 12.30 ……. with only the thought of hitting the poundshops of Wolverhampton over the weekend  to lift my spirits !!  Oh pleazzzzzzzze ….. get the violins out!!!!
miseltoe die I don’t do a lot of die cutting, but I do love mistletoe, so I couldn’t resist this die….. I have an idea already for a very less is more Christmas card.
There were only a handful of stands that I recognised from shows past, but all the big names were gone!
wooden house shaped display trayI couldn’t resist these wooden houses for just £2 each, but no plans as of yet, but I think Bertie and Iris will be getting one at Christmas for their bedrooms reflecting their little likes, perhaps including small framed photos (?), if I can find suitable bits, however the size gives me a lot more depth and scope than my usual mini printer display trays.
From memory I can still reel off a list of all the stands that used to sell the quality branded stuff, I wonder, with internet shopping now, it isn’t worth companies coming to sell at this type of show anymore, or is the price of a stand over four days too prohibitive?  Is there less demand now in the craft market, have tastes changed, with everyone (except me) obsessed by dies?  Money is tight I know and that has to have some affect.  In the past I would see ranges of paper and embellishments etc. that I would go home and research and perhaps then purchase ……. zilch!  All I have done was see if K & Company were still going!Gorjus metal Name platesThese Santoro Gorjus metal name plates cost £1 for a packet of six, I got four packs, with the idea of making Christmas tree decorations hung lengthways, fancy gift tags or, possibly, displaying several stamped/decorated/embellished ones in a memory box frame.
If you are into your dies or stamping you would have probably been happy, but there were very few, if any die cutters being demonstrated (Silhouette were there).  I may have been in the market for a mini die cutter to keep on my desk …… if I had seen one!mixture f craft stash goodiesA plentiful supply of wooden beads (£1 each) for tags etc, two paper pads, Belle and Boo and Good Old Days for £1 each, fancy gem strips (£1) and some brooch backs for some button brooches I am planning to make for Iris’s nursery staff as a thank you for Easter. I also got a few other bits and pieces but are too boring to feature like glue, 3D pearl effects and some white glitter card.
I bought my Cuttlebug and Bind It All from Hobby Crafts when there used to be such a buzz …..I remembered the days of popular embossing folders flying out left right and centre and going from stand to stand to find that what you wanted was sold out everywhere, and having to go home to order them, and then have to wait some more!
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Where were all the beautiful papers, paper pads and embellishments, it was obvious that scrapbooking has all but disappeared and Tim Holtz? I only saw a few of his dies here and here …… but that was it, no embellishments, papers etc. I  also think that perhaps stamps of cutesy doe eyed poppets have had their day (????).  Every other stall used to have the oooooohhhh, ahhhhhhhh factor for me and Lisa, this show just seemed old and tired.  Lisa and I were never into decoupage, but those stands were always rammed several people deep, you really couldn’t get anywhere near them ……. this year I hardly saw a decoupage sheet! There were no tempting goody bags, magazine offers, no stands of wonderful pens, not a Promarker pen in sight  …… I am still using my box of 50 Whisper Pens from at least 8 years ago ……. I could have been persuaded to let Iris “inherit” them and treat myself to some new ones ……. not a chance!
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This year the “Everything for £1” stalls and £1/reduced bins seemed to draw in the crafters they were really busy, crammed and slow moving, with friends, clutching baskets, having long discussions about every single item they picked up and there was much elbowing, so in some respect, nothing had changed as far as a popular stand was concerned, only it was same old, same old stuff, nothing I thought  ……oh wow that’s worth joining the scrumage for!
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I am not sure what it was like for the rest of the week, but on Thursday the aisles were clear, no shoulder to shoulder shuffling, only being able to move forward and impossible to move over to look at a stands ……. BUT the one constant were the trolleys, the thing that  finally did it for me six years ago, although if I’d been able to fill half a trolley this year I would have been chuffed. I also have to say the rudeness of some of the people attending hasn’t changed either ….. looking back at other peoples blog posts from the  past this has always been a bug bear, why does reaching over for  a reel of ribbon, a bottle of glue, a metal die, or a clear stamp provoke such an unpleasant, aggressive behaviour in some people, especially on the few busy stands?
So, was this grumpy old woman inspired at all?  Well, yes …… but more in an objects of desire way, as I can’t crochet
IMG_1698…….. stunning, stunning shawls and blankets spotted when in my disappointed state I left  the Crafts Hall to detour into the Sewing Hall ……. Sorry to be on a downer today …… but tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Guest Crafter – The Lovely Laura

Today, I bring you The Lovely Laura ……..
Comic Covered Lightshade……. and her Beano covered lampshade now hanging proudly in young Master Bertram’s bedroom.
Beano Covered Light ShadeI just love the way she has even covered the inside of the shade, with the black and white pages  ….. a brilliant touch for a totally unique one off.
Beano Covered Lightshade