Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Freebies AND hide contour

Hello there

Well you know how it is? You get landed with the job of making a pumpkin design at work and before you know it, you're learning things about Cricut Craftroom? .... No? Never?! How strange! :-)

I don't really celebrate Halloween but I've never been against my daughter doing little things for it or going out with her friends trick or treating. In regards to the pumpkin,I got myself involved in creating a pumpkin design for a little competition we were running at work to raise funds for a local charity; Jump. I looked at a few places online for designs and printed a couple off but then they were too big for the pumpkin and my printer software isn't working properly to allow me to change their size and I couldn't be bothered messing with that. In the interim I saw a post on the Cricut EU site which showed a pumpkin design which could be downloaded and used in Cricut Craftroom (CCR). I had heard of digital cartridges but had never ventured forth, so to speak.

The page which had the design I liked is here. I was very excited when I very easily opened it in CCR (thanks to tips from Joy on Obsessed with scrapbooking ) and was able to do exactly the same as I can with every other design I use on there. Unfortunately I should've realised that I had to own the cartridge that design came from, which is October 31st but there's no point in me owning that as I don't do enough halloween stuff.

To resolve the issue, I just hand drew the design on paper, cut it out myself and then blu-tacked it to my pumpkin and used one of the tools my friend had lent to me, to prick the design out.
I then cut the design out with the little saw tool and hey presto, a pumpkin design was before me.

Then after all the looking at blog posts which were halloween inspired AND most of all learning about free cartridges which are only available for a week on CCR, I had to make a decoration with one of the free images on the Thanksgiving free cartridge for this week. The image I chose was a pumpkin with swirl decoration and then put the standard pumpkin to layer the image. Yet another thing I had learnt about CCR was that there is now (or I've never noticed before) a 'hide contour' function. This is brilliant and was one of the things I missed from my Gypsy when it broke. It enables you to not cut certain parts of an image. To try to help explain this, here is an image.
The lower two images come as one cut/image on the free cartridge. That doesn't suit me at all, as I don't want the stem to be the same colour as the pumpkin. So I hid the contours of the pumpkin itself, so it didn't cut at all and hey presto:
So then I copied and pasted the single stem and cut them, as I was making two.

This is what the final decorations looked like.
Not a great photo with all the reflection but I think they look sweet
Take care out there

Friday, 26 October 2012

Advent tree project

Hello there

Here's a new type of project for me. A week or so ago I showed you the pack I had bought on a little shopping spree I had in Crabapplecrafts in Frodsham. This is the result of my labours.
It's been quite a learning curve in many respects and it's taken me a, what feels like, long time but that's only because I've only had the opportunity to dedicate short bursts of time to do it. I would love to be able to sell them but since the base unit cost £20 basically and then the time it's taken to make it, I'd have to sell it for about £35 minimum, which I'm not sure would be popular. It wouldn't take me so long next time, as I can learn from the mistakes I made and develop speedier methods of construction. I might put it on my Folksy shop and see if anything happens.

I didn't have the right acrylic paint colours I wanted. I dealt with this issue by over painting the internal shelves in brisk white strokes to try to 'vintagafy' it - crazy word but I like it!
I used a make-up brush which came in a Christmas cracker one year. I don't wear make-up, so I'm glad I decided to actually keep the set and have put it to use.

I used a gorgeous silk art card for the shadow of the numbers, which was a mistake as plain black would've been fine as you can barely see it.

I think I must've closed the sections in together too tightly as I had trouble placing the 'roof' hexagonal piece on whilst letting the drawers close properly. I combatted that issue by glueing 3D foam tape in the exact centre of the top, so as to raise it high enough for the drawers to fit in. The gorgeous bobbly cord I had bought for the project, worked brilliantly to cover the slight gap left between the cone roof and the top tiny drawers.

I've made a video again for you to see a few of the stages of construction. I've found much better/appropriate music for this video, so hopefully you'll enjoy watching it more. Go to here if you want to make Christmas videos and add free from copyright music to go along with it.
I've been looking at a whole pile of Tando product related projects, so you'll be seeing loads more in the future. Watch this space!
Take care out there.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

My babies

Hello there

Today's post is about two things. Firstly it's about a mini album I've made thanks to Carole Bryson Wood of Stampin' Up fame. I attended a class of hers at my friend's house last week and she gave us some cardstock to complete two projects.

I've just realised that I haven't blogged about the Christmas decoration we made that night, so I will rectify that situation now, albeit briefly.
The link I provided above will take you straight to Carole's blog with the instructions on how to make it. This one is slightly different as we used the gorgeous 3.5 in scalloped tulle ribbon in cherry cobbler colour- item number 127841 if you want to order some! Hey, maybe I should become a demo! :-)

Anyway, back on track Diane!

The mini album is really dinky and cute. The papers I used aren't really relevant to the subject of the photos; our two cocker spaniels but this album is a prototype for me, so I learnt some things along the way but still want to use the album.

The reason I chose photos of the dogs is that the poor little mites are at Cheshire Dogs' Home at the moment being neutered and micro chipped. It's so weird in the house without them and I keep thinking of them as they were led away from me to the kennels to wait for the operation. They'll be recovering by now. I do hope they're ok. Whenever the phone rings, I dash to the phone, as they said they might call us earlier than the collect time of 3 to 4.30p.m if they were stressed. The only stupid people on the phone are recorded messages from banks about claiming back PPI!! Sooo annoying, especially today.

For something different, I've made a video for you to watch,showing some of the stages of the project.

I'll try to remember to let you know how the boys got on. I've loved making the album and looking at the photos of the boys, so it's been a good day so far.

Take care out there

Sunday, 14 October 2012


Hello there

The birthday cake has been made! It's taken us two afternoons to do it what with cake mixes not working out and other things going on such as wallpapering at the other end of the room. Not ideal baking conditions, it has to be said but we battled on. We've been planning this cake and getting bits and pieces for it for ages, so it's great that it's now come to fruition.
My daughter really does need to have all the credit for the idea of this Nyan cat cake - nerdy nummies. It was her idea and she's led the way with making it; I was trying to help but I'm rubbish at baking, so get all wound up when things don't work out but she stays calm and positive amongst it all. She had the idea of what to use as the rainbow tail and thankfully we had some poptarts left over from America. She decorated it all and did such a good job of the face and the little stars.
not great
The recipe we had used a cake mix which we didn't have and I thought was lazy, so we had to make a basic sponge mix but it wasn't runny enough really for what was required of this rainbow mix. To make it more runny meant that the mixture then didn't rise properly, so we had three layers in the end. Think I'd have been better off with the mix!

We had to make some biscuit mix for the cat's face and feet. I thought of making them circle shaped but then my daughter created the ears from the circle and it looks great. We made quite a few, so that she could chose the best one.

My daughter's the best! She deserved the breakfast in bed I gave her today. I hope she has as good a day as she can at school tomorrow and then out for dinner with a friend of hers. She may not think of me as a good baker but she'll hopefully realise that I do put alot of effort into making her ideas become reality.

Take care out there

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Oooooo yes!

Hello there

Oooo yes indeed! I have enjoyed making this card from what started off with leftovers on my desk and then grew from there. All a creative process which gives me such a buzz. If you've read my blog before you'll recognize the background paper as being yet another section of the freebie papers I got from the issue 15 of Craftseller. What a load of things I've been able to make with that stash and it was only about 6 double sided pages or so. I have even thrown bits away (shock, horror!) and I'm now left with three pieces which of course coordinate and I'll use on a project in the near future. I've just had a peek at issue 16 and there's fabbo Christmas papers in there, so tonnes to get on with. Infact that's why I've stopped the magazine subscription i.e because I have too much paper/inspiration. It is a great magazine.There comes a point though, when you have to stop with the buying and get on with the creating. I also have to draw the line as space is a premium and I can't stand feeling hemmed in, although I'm far from that, that's the way I want it to stay..... I am a hypocrite really though, as I bought a little 6 x 6in paper pad yesterday which was very naughty!

The stamped image was 'pinched' during a crafty session at a friend's house a few weeks ago when I just stamped a few images on cardstock and I've been using them in various things. It's from the Stampin' Up Apothecary Art set. The cardstock was SU very vanilla I think; it's definitely creamy coloured.

You'll hopefully also notice the texture I added behind that stamped image in the form of spider's web by Kanban. I bought the white roll and last night I just put some red and green ink onto my craft mat, sprinkled a bit of water in both patches and then rubbed one strip of web into each one and left them to dry over night. I then cut them into basic leaf shapes and glued them on. Cool!

Machine stitching the scallops was good fun too and
adds even more depth to the card and it's just fun! :-)

I made the envelope with the help of my Ultimate Pro as I invariably do. The embossing is from one of the boards. I inked around the edges with SU's Pacific Point.

The sun is out now and I'm off cake baking with my daughter as it's her birthday on Monday and she wants this specific cake style, which I'll no doubt show you at some point. Her being 14 years old is scary for me but I still love her to bits and bobs, so all's well.

Take care out there

Friday, 12 October 2012

Fun times ahead

Hello there

I've just had a fun couple of hours driving to Frodsham. Sun shining, so sunglasses on. My new cd by the Overtones playing rather loudly and hardly any cars on the road. And I was driving to a craft shop, on a mission to get a particular item. What could be better in life?! The craft shop in question is Crab Apple Crafts in Frodsham, so if you're in the vicinity, get your shades at the ready and favourite cd in the car and head over there to see what goodies you can get.

You may wonder why I'm getting excited over a chipboard kit but wait until you see what the Tando Creative design team and Rosemary Merry do with their kits - it's brilliant!

I also 'had' to buy a couple of other things of course, such as:
I've never used this before, so desperate to get playing with that too, hopefully on the advent calendar if I work it right!

Ok, got crafting to do, so best get on.

Take care out there and pop over to listen to this and see what you think:
The Overtones

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Following a layout

Hello there

I rarely follow a layout for my scrap pages. The reason being is that I find it quite hard to match the layout to what I want to talk about or which photos I want to use. I have given it a try this time. I look at layouts regularly but this one came from PaperHaus Magazine's Facebook page, which linked to their blog.
This blogging business really demands better photography skills than I possess
I've still got some of the paper from the Craftseller magazine on my desk and since that has circle designs on it as it displayed in the Paperhaus sketch, I thought it would be fine to use up some more. I cut out some of the half shapes as elements for the edges.

I knew which photos I wanted this page to be about, so then I went to Craft Artist to practise the layout before printing them out. That was a really useful thing to do this time, as the sketch shows text around the photos, I decided to use the text flow function within the programme to do just that. It's a brilliant way of journalling differently.

The paper in the middle of the page is the name sheet my daughter wrote on and wore for the walk.

It took quite a bit of fussy cutting to layer up the flowers but it's worth it to make the page pop. The rounded edges are also necessary to link in with the circles and it's on the sketch too.

I got everything into the layout I wanted, so I'm a happy girl.

Take care out there

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Paper balls

Hello there

I had this great idea to make some paper balls for a friend of mine's birthday. They were a delight to make and I love them. I made the larger ones this time i.e 5". See my post from January for more information. One thing to note is that the first shape you put the thread/ribbon through needs to be facing down, so that none of the lines from the printout show; once you start with a shape facing one way, all the others have to face that way too or they won't slot into place properly. I made them with a lovely handmade paper with a slightly rough texture.
After feeling rather smug with myself for making those two, I then had a little panic. Aaarrggh! How on earth can I present these? I can't just take them round there in my hand. Then the fun started of making a box.
I measured how long and high a space they took up next to each other and then made the base two centimetres longer and wider than that to allow for the lips necessary to glue the pieces together. For these size balls the measurements were:
base = 27x 16cm
side = 27 x 15cm
end = 16 x 15cm

Score the base at 1cm all the way around. Only score the sides and ends on three edges, as the top edge doesn't need folding over. At this point in came one of my newest toys which is the Ultimate Pro boxer board - it made this activity so much easier. The lid was made .5cm larger than the base.

I embossed some wavy shapes on the pieces before glueing it together, which I thought tied in quite nicely with the wavy balls.

I must give praise to my now favourite glue, which is the cosmic shimmer acrylic glue. It's brilliant for making boxes as it dries so quickly. I definitely needed that facility today!

I know that white isn't a fantastic colour but I thought that the recipient could colourize the box herself and use it to store some crafty stash, as she does have rather alot of it! If I had coloured it, it might not have been the right colours for her craft room or studio and the time saved was then spent chatting in her living room instead :-)

Take care out there and chat loads with your friends. Talking of which, reminds me; I've got a crafty night on next Wednesday and I'm getting excited about it now.

Friday, 5 October 2012


Hello there

Can you believe that I had never worked with vellum until this week. Am I completely nuts?!! People who know me, needn't answer that, thank you all the same! :-)

Now to trace this back is a little convoluted but bare with me. Sally is a friend I only met once at a Summer Craft show at Doncaster; gosh, it must be two years ago now?! On her Facebook page just over two weeks ago, she mentioned about liking a Sue Wilson demo with vellum, she'd seen on Create and Craft. Christine Emberson commented on that link by putting her blog link about using the Rose Creations die with vellumAfter reading that, I was further inspired about an offer available on C&C and ordered some bright and some pastel vellum. In that same order, I got some coloured Cosmic Shimmer pearlescent glue; black, gold and white.

I was so excited when the bundle was delivered, I promptly posted a photo on Facebook and got cutting. One reason why I hadn't bought vellum before was because I wasn't convinced I would be able to cut it with my Cricut. I admit it; I was wrong. It cuts really well as long as your mat isn't a mess, as one of mine invariably is since I cut fabric on one.
I even had a go at inking the vellum
to see if it would stick, with
not brilliant results
The card design which inspired me was in the March 2012 Cricut magazine; it's by Shantaie Fowler. Her card uses Elegant Edges and Simply Charmed cartridges, of which I have neither.

The next stage is to do a rough pen/pencil drawing of what I'm aiming for.

Next is card selecting. I went for a white coredinations card as the base, which I wish I hadn't really as I don't find it very strong for card bases. I might have to deal with that issue before giving it to the person it's intended for.

I used Cricut Craftroom and Plantin Schoolbook cartridge to weld two scalloped squares together to create the base shape. I then made a single scalloped square ensuring it was smaller than one of the card base squares. I used a hole punch to get the cut out circles and inked them up with a Spectrum Noir pen.

The smaller scalloped square was glued in place using Pinflair glue, so that it's raised above the base.

I cut the flowers at various sizes from Flower Shoppe; page 14 in the manual - heart. The leaves are Fun5. The button in the smaller flower is from SU- love the colours. The dots around the flowers are the gold cosmic shimmer glue - love them too.

I made the tag from a section of American Crafts Dear Lizzy neapolitan - Cheerful notes.
*An aside - why do they give each sheet such a long name?
Ribbons are from my stash.

I'm rather pleased with it!


The little box for it isn't bad either :-)

Aren't we lucky these days, with the technology available for us to get so much crafty inspiration from so many people?

Take care out there.

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