Thursday, 31 December 2009

New Year’s Family Tradition

Midnight feast
It’s a family tradition that we busy ourselves in the days after Christmas making small gifts for the people we will be seeing the New Year in with, which is usually very close family, so it’s not too daunting a task.  It all came about 10 years ago when my daughter Lucy, then a teenager,  declared that she didn’t like New Year, as it was an anti-climax and boring.
The planning and plotting starts after Boxing Day (sometimes before)….. in some ways it’s even more exciting and thought provoking than Christmas Day
Featured in this post are the gifts I have made, some ideas you may have seen before  ….. I just hope no one in the family peeps at it before the event…..
Picture 107
I made this bag for Laura (my sons girlfriend) using a Hobbycraft cotton bag, decorated with felt flowers (Sizzix die on BigShot) and button centres.
Lu's scarf
I knit this scarf for Lucy using two balls of mohair wool that I got from a car boot sale, the massive  button  came from a brilliant button shop in one of the beautiful old arcades in Cardiff.
Jans bagJans bells
My sister’s bag is a bit of a cheat as I  got it from Vistaprint as a freebie (you just pay P & P).  All  I did was choose the text – my sister is the world’s best shopper , she never gives up until her quarry is in her bag!  I have added flat back pearl stars, because she is a star and three red jingle bells  on  the handle so that people can hear her coming and get out of her way!!!!!
Lucy and Laura's calendarsLucy and Laura's pegs
Lucy and Laura are also going to get a fridge magnet calendar and set of pegs each.
Tom's Post It Note Holder
Tom, my son will be getting  a fridge magnet post-it note holder and pen.  A beer mat makes the base.  I have added a very thin piece of magnetic tape to the pen and clip so that the pen stays in place.  I have embellished it with transparent footprint stickers as identifying shoeprints is part of his job.  The magnetic clips were a bargain.  I saw the exact same pack  of 4 in a posh  shop in Manchester at over £5, these were from Home Bargains– 79p – result!
Colins TinColin's pennies
I have recovered a Poundland tin moneybox for my Father In Law and decorated it with odd self adhesive letters to say “Colin’s Pennies”  and gold stars.
Gone Fishing Notes.calendar
Gone Fishing Tiles Close UpPicture 561
This is my husbands gift, a magnetic post-it note holder and  calendar to hang on his filing cabinet.   The self adhesive tiles are from a pack of fishing embellishments I have had for ages that resemble the scales on fish.
This artist palette post-it-note holder is for my Brother In Law’s desk – he is at Uni doing Art.  The palette was from Poundworld and also came with several paintbrushes, two of which I have glued on.  The circles of paint are bazzill paper, cut using a large circle punch.
I am quite impressed with the palette and may get a couple more to use for other ideas.
I’m not sure if this counts, but I treated myself to a beautiful notebook to jot my ideas down and stick pictures of things that inspire me during the year, and I could not resist gluing some beautiful (and quite expensive) flat backed jewels on for extra bling. The picture doesn’t really do it justice!
If it isn’t being to presumptuous, tomorrow, I hope to show you the things that have been made for me.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

What’s On Your Desk Wednesday

Whats on Your desk
My craft room is finally my own again, not that I am grumbling because having a bulging house this Christmas was wonderful. I have put some of my new craft stuff on my desk before I find a home for everything.  I have been very very spoiled.
The sewing machine has a zig zag stitch that I am hoping to use on my cards, I just need to master threading it first.  The hot gun is for sealing wax and seals, very very exciting!  The sidekick will let me use my small dies without getting out my BigShot and the huge Sizzix dies are more boxes with Easter and birthdays in mind!  There is also a new set of Nestablities labels for amongst other things sweet bag tops.
As I said, I am very spoiled.

The little man is called  One Man Try Tape  Dispenser and was a present from my mum. A couple of people have commented on how cute he is so I have found him here  (amongst other places) for £12.99

In answer to Ali's question, yes, I do use my Nesties on the Big Shot, I can usually cut through three layers of a thinish card if I am making bag toppers etc.

Desert Island Crafts – Part 6

gem drawer
This is my gem drawer.  I cannot have enough flat back gems and pearls.  Paperchase gems are the best value I have ever found at £2.75 for a pot of over 200.
cotton buds
My desk isn’t complete without cotton buds for tidying up blobs of glue and an assortment of mini pegs for keeping boxes together while the glue dries.
This is my stock of white and silver card.  They are directly to my right when I sit at my desk so that I can select what I want easily.
I get all my white and cream card from The Papermill Shop online in a Megabox, usually in white or ivory linen.  I get through at least 4 boxes a year!
I cut all my own card blanks so that I can can get just the right size for my envelopes.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

My New Years Resolution

I have decided to join my friend Lisa’s Stampin-Up Virtual Hostess Club .  I have so much stuff that I really need to rein in my spending, especially as I am not taking on any more  personalised card orders. But, I will still need stash fix!  So I am committing myself to £20.00 for 8 months.
I will be interested to see what I come up with as there is a very definite Stampin Up style, judging from the blogs I have visited, which really isn’t my style ….. so watch this space.
If you are interested in  joining Lisa’s club too, just click on either of the links and just mention my blog.  As far as I know she is the only demonstrator in Wolverhampton and hopefully will be running workshops in the area in the coming months, which I am really looking forward to attending.

Desert Island Crafts – Part 5

scoring boards
This picture may look very boring, but it features my scoring boards, without them i would be so lost. 
The white one is by Coppernob, I use it everyday for scoring all my cards, I think you can do all sorts of fancy things with it, but so far that is beyond me.
The wooden board is what I use for making boxes, I got it from E-bay. You do your lids using one side and bottoms with the other. When I am making a box I have to experiment a bit to get the right size for what I need it for, I make a template first, which I label and keep and then make however many boxes I need based on that template.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Desert Island Crafts – Part 4

These are my small craft essentials,
Anita’s 3D clear gloss finish is brilliant for turning a cut out printed picture into a brilliant embellishment or making text stand out.
I love brown/mushroom/brownish grey fine tipped Marvy Le Plume pens for a subtle effect faux stitching, as well as white and black gel pens for edging and doodling, especially on tops to sweetie bags.
Top Tip – three tiny little dots here and there, next to embellishments or text can draw attention to that area and subtly fill in white space.  I use this trick on all of my cards. (I think I got this tip from Art Attack!)
Sakura glue pens are brilliant for applying very fine detail with micro glitter.  It goes on blue, but dries clear quickly, enabling you to apply glitter very accurately and subtly to the smallest area .
Finally, scissors, these are my two favourite pairs for cutting out very fiddle farty shapes/pictures.  I have a drawer full of scissors of all sizes – however I neglect them something rotten, one of my jobs during the holiday is to clean  all the sticky gunge off them all with nail varnish remover and cottonwool pads.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Desert Island Crafts – Part 3

Introducing my faithful cutters, I do have a couple of others but they are not a patch on these!  I have a large and small Xcut and a Dhale Trimmer.
The Dhale is my favourite for getting a perfect edge for mat and layering.  This is my second model, I had my first for about 12 years and I was gutted when it finally went blunt and fell to bits.  Locating a new one was difficult so goodness knows what I will do if it ever packs in, but I don’t care what it costs because it is the best!
I cut all my card blanks on the large Xcut – I use it every single day.  Its strong and accurate, perhaps a bit cumbersome to lift from the floor to my desk when I am working, but I couldn’t be without it.
I use the smaller Xcut for cutting smaller pieces of card and paper to size, its marked out in small squares so I am able to cut with pretty good accuracy.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Desert Island Crafts – Part 2

I would be lost without my ATG – as you can see I have one and a spare. It may look big and cumbersome but it is brilliant as it dispenses double sided tape in a jiffy.  I admit there is a bit of a knack, but when you get it there’s no stopping you.  When I am doing a production line of cards I just whizz through them.  I have one loaded with 6mm tape (you need to buy an adaptor to use this) and the other is loaded with 12mm, which I use the most. The tape costs about £1.84 for 44m which is so economical
Click on the link for more information, I have used this company many times and have always been happy with their service.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Desert Island Crafts – Part 1

Before Christmas I put together a few posts to publish over the holiday because it just wouldn’t feel right having nothing popping up here at 00.01 each morning!
So for the next few days I have selected the tools in my craftroom that I would have to have on my desert island …..
I apologise for the state of some of the stuff , you can see from the photos how used it is!
glue bottles
My Fine Tip PVA applicators – these give you a very fine application of glue, it is so fine you don’t get a ripple effect when you are gluing paper and the metal tip is perfect for gluing the smallest embellishment, even the tiniest gem.
The bottles come empty, I fill mine with PVA glue because it is strong and dries clear.
The pins that come with the bottles (spares are available) prevent the metal tip clogging up and don’t rust.
This has got to be the best glue applicator ever!
Click on the link for more details.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

And … the stockings were hung!

Well I did it!  I have managed to keep up a Christmassy themed blog all through December – right up to today!

And I couldn’t post today without showing you my sister Janet’s snowman card – I think we have a theme going on. I already have a plan for making snowmen if/when we have more snow!!!

Jans Snowman Jans Snowman 1
I make no apology for these grubby, moth eaten specimens I made years before I became “crafty”, they are all between 25 to 28 years old and part of our family history.

Picture 446 
They come out every Christmas, and every year I say I’ll make one for me, but never seem to get round to it!
Picture 451
Can I wish everyone a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS and THANK YOU for all your lovely comments since I started blogging in August.  

Toms Stocking
It’s Christmas ……. bring it on …………. !

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

What’s On My Desk Wednesday and Two Trees Card

`What’s on my desk today?  Absolutely nothing!  I have had a festive tidy up!  Doesn’t look right does it?
Picture 354
These Christmas trees are from a pack I found in a garden centre craft shop.  They have a wooden background with an embossed green felt front, but I don’t know who made them. I have added a few flat backed gems to them for extra bling.  As I  have run out of white glitter card, I’ve used a liberal sprinkling of micro glitter on white card for the snow.  I have finished the card by doodling snowflakes with a white gel pen on the pale blue sky.
I don’t think this is a card I will go into production with as it needs some more twiddling, the proportion of the trees and their positioning isn’t quite right.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Julia’s Christmas Chocolate Bars

Choc bars 1
This is not one of my own ideas I found it on Julia’s inspiring and sooooo funny blog Stamping Ground and thought it would make a brilliant small present/stocking filla.
I have taken the paper wrapper off an own brand bar of chocolate and recovered it with a holly design scrapbook paper (sorry I don’t know the name or maker). I have added a red band round the middle and added a few doodled faux stitches.  The message is copied directly from Julia’s chocolate bars, typed and backed on silver.  The holly leaves are made using a holly punch with red Paperchase flat backed gems as berries.
Choc bar 2
Thank you again Julia.  In the New Year I am going to look for some more chocolate sayings, in fact I am sure there is a website dedicated to them ….. This is an idea that could be adapted to many different occasions.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Chocolate Christmas Spoons

This is a very simple last minute idea ….  and not a piece of card or flat backed gem to be seen ……!
choc spoons 1
The teaspoons are from a Poundland pack, where else?  I have then drawn very rough holly leaves and berries on the handles using Sharpie pens
 empty choc spoons
I added melted chocolate to the spoon bowl with a few white chocolate stars….
 choc spoons 3
And then packaged them up when set; the single spoons in a cut down pretzel bag (from E-bay)  and the pack of three in a cut down narrow cello bag with a green ribbon finishing them all off.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Snow Alert - Get Out There With Your Cameras

Believe me, you will thank me for this Top Tip next Christmas!!
If this card looks familiar – I posted my first version back on 9th October (see archive)
xmas 2009
Since then I have fiddle farted with it a bit more and this is the version I have finally sent out to family and friends. The above is a reject, as the top snowflake has a bit missing!
Picture 477
The reason for my repeating the post is simple – IT’S BEEN SNOWING……. wooooo hoooooo, and there is bound to be more on the way…….
So when it gets to you, get in the garden with your camera and start making snowmen ……..
I took the picture for this card when it snowed way back in February, when  I had an inkling of an idea.  The snowmen are tiny, about 10 inches tall and stood on my garden table.  Then in September I had 50 copies printed off and this is what I came up with.
My sister has made her Christmas cards using her snowman picture too – I will add it to this post when I take a photo.
Wouldn’t it be brilliant next year  if I featured all our snowmen cards on this blog????!!!!!!!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Christmas Poop Favor/Treat Bags

I have jumped onto the festive poop bandwagon. I had resisted such a long time ..... but market forces and all that ............ once it was in the staffroom I just could not produce enough! I am now totally pooped out!

This is what I have come up with using Poundland jumbo chocolate coated raisins and Accessorize christmas stickers

Reindeer poop
Penguin Close-UpReindeer Close Up 
 Picture 358

The vacumn sealer below has been a brilliant buy for making sweetie bags, I really prefer to use wrapped sweets but sometimes this isn’t possible.  I bought it off E-bay for about £14.99 a couple of months ago.  I only tend to use the sealer option. What I like best is the fact that if I put a few sweets at the bottom of a tall cello bag, when it seals and cuts off at the top, the remains of the bag are sealed at the bottom too, effectively giving me two bags from one (I hope that makes sense!)

Picture 337
The contents of the sweetie cupboard in my craftroom, – all ready to make sweetie bags, snowman soup and fill jingle beans jars (see October archive)

Picture 332

Friday, 18 December 2009

Deck The Halls

Picture 278
Not sure if this card is worth a post.  I think my writing is a bit dodgy and could have been better.
It took a matter of minutes to make, the holly leaves are from a packet of table confetti, they came with berries too, but I swopped them for small red flat backed gems.
Nothing to it, an easy project  for anyone just starting card making, and cheap too!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Blue Nosed Reindeer Favor/Treat Bags

This is just for fun, I saw these blue bon bons and just had to buy a few ….. because they made me think of cold noses in winter!
blue nose bags
The wooden reindeer heads are from Hobbycraft own range and I have just added a blue flat backed gem to add to the joke.
blue nose

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Naughty or Nice Christmas Card

This couldn’t be simpler – and look, no mat and layering !Naughty or NiceThe stockings are from a pack of 9 from Papermania and the Naughty or Nice sticker is  from a set of embossed stickers from The Paper Loft called Flip Flops, but I haven’t got a clue where I got them from -  E-bay probably.
I am not sure if this is a “top tip”,  but, if I am not sure about the design of a card I put it on the window sill in my craft room and occasionally take a quick glance at it, if after a day or two it “looks right”, it’s a keeper, if it still looks dodgy, it goes in the bin!
When I “bin” a card I always tear it up, this guarantees I can’t go back to it and niggle over how to put it right.

I have enough festive ideas to blog up until Christmas Eve, after that I would like to keep things going over the holiday, so I have put together a few posts about the tools I use, like my scoring boards and punches as well as a few Top Tips. Once we have celebrated New Year I will back to normal ....... a bit like Cadbury's I'll be starting Easter!!!!! -  Only joking!