Sunday, 31 March 2013

Some you win...

.... and some are just plain scary!

Hello there
Just a quick post to wish you a belated Happy Easter, although there's still tomorrow to go for most of you but I'm back at work.

 I thought I'd share my daughter and my Easter activity of making chick like cake pops. As you may know from a recent post of mine, we've only done one batch of these previously, so we're still very much in the learning stage. Unfortunately the one thing I've learnt is that Wilton's candy melts are not very user friendly. We tried to melt them with the double pan method but not successfully at all. The mixture went smooth but nowhere near runny enough to coat a cake pop. We struggled to coat each pop and then use a knife dipped in boiling water to try to smooth it round the pop but that still left it very uneven and ugly looking. Some pops broke apart. We both got very frustrated and my daughter suggested dumping that idea and using the white chocolate we had left from the last batch and then all went smoothly. We put the 'feet' on when the chocolate had hardened a bit and was just a bit tacky. I did the eyes with a cake decorating pen and the beak was made from some sprinkles we had. They're not the right colour really but they're alot better than these critters:
Chicks made with Wilton's candy melts :-(

They're the stuff of nightmares if you ask me, although Chris said that you could think of them as being more realistic, as the lumpy bits could be thought of as the little downy feathers - I'm not convinced.

I'm glad that we got to salvage the situation - Maggie is so good at helping us to do that alot of the time. We've also had a lovely day with my mum and step-dad in the winter sunshine out and about, so I'm left feeling pleased with this Easter weekend. I hope you are too and if not; there's always tomorrow.

Take care out there
p.s I've seen a youtube video today about microwaving the pops, so we'll do that next time :-)

Friday, 29 March 2013

One thing leads to another... again

Hello there

The other day I got carried away after making a card and it's happened again. I love it when this sort of time is around as it means I'm feeling inspired and that's got to be a good thing.    
It started with this card which was created from leftovers which are lying on my desk. If you read my blog fairly regularly, you'll know that I made a similiar card to this last week but with black embossing. Strangely enough the colour theme over on the British Crafters Facebook page was turqoise and orange today too, so I sent them in a photo but they started showing Valentino and Chanel stuff, so I didn't have a chance of them showing my things. I thought that was rather odd of them, as they are called British Crafters after all?!!

I had done another embossed Swallowtail, so I decided fairly quickly to do a journalling page with that one. I really enjoyed the process of making the page, as it just grew as it happened. I started the journal book when I was at the Indigo Blu retreat, so I made this page along the same colour theme as the two pages I completed at the retreat. Sarah McCrossan suggested that to keep three sets of pages on the same theme can help keep your journal connected within itself, rather than it all just being random individual pages. The journal book we were given is gorgeous with a very high standard paper for the pages, which is excellent if you're pouring paint and gesso etc all over them.
Page number 1

I have another journal book which is a 'Me in my Moleskin' project but I've done very little with that since having it for at least a year. Doing this in a class environment actually helped me, which I found strange. I thought that I'd be intimidated by the others but they were all wonderful people and helped me be at ease and just go with the flow. We had plenty of tools there to help us, so I had no excuses really. We even had sunshine in the morning through the large windows in the lovely room.

The second page was when I was really settling into a pattern and developed it from the first page ideas onto stencilling. 

Today's page
My kind of journalling is just me expressing myself and thoughts I have and crafty ideas I want to try. Today's page still needs to have the journalling added on to it to explain why I wrote those two sentences on the zig-zags but other than that, I'm fairly happy with it. I'm definitely happy about recording my thoughts on matters today.

I'll have to be careful and not add so much 3D detail in the pages to come or the book will just get too thick to close at all but that's fine. I won't force myself to journal; I'll just do it when I feel the need. That way, it'll serve me more of a purpose.

Crafting for a purpose creates a purpose to craft. Hopefully it will for me.

Take care out there

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Get on with it

Hello there

This week I got a brayer and today I had to have a play, so guess what? I did! 
I checked out a couple of videos on youtube and after watching a 5 year old one from Nathalie Kalbach, I decided on the 'ray' effect technique, as it's quick and easy basically. I got my 'big and juicy' stamp pad out and hey ho, off I went. No more messing, I started cutting away at it and worked on a scrapbook layout to use those first pieces. I really like the idea of that, as I'm just rolling with the creative flow, so to speak and not wasting that energy.       ..........Although in this cold weather (loads of falling snow again today) it's little wonder I have any energy at all but don't let me get started on how much I hate winter or I could be here  a while :-)  ...........

I quickly chose some photos out of my huge stack of already printed ones and that was that. I do have to mention my new SU trimmer though, which made cutting the mats for the photos an absolute dream. It's clear guard across the cutting area; the measurements, the straightness of the cut with ease are all just some of the features which I'm going to appreciate. 

Some ribbon, a title, some journalling and Bob's your uncle.... and you know the rest if you read my blog as often as you should do! :-) That's a bit of a lie though, as I need to add the date still but I'll do that when Chris gets back from badminton and reminds me exactly when it was, despite it not being very long ago at all.

I'm so glad I do tend to go through batches of printing photos, as with all the trouble I've had with my laptop, I will have lost all of them otherwise.

The layout's not fancy, pretty or clever but I do love it as I was able to use the result of my playing about and record memories at the same time. I'd like to use a better ink and paper mixture next time and add some shine to it and of course vary the colours. I'm sure there'll be much more playing with the brayer in the future.

Take care out there

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

One thing leads to another

Hello there

Oh gosh, how one piece of card can keep you busy for hours! I had just finished a card and I found a card blank with paper piercing all the way round it. I could see why I hadn't used it as the lines weren't straight, so I just ripped off the pierced bit and used the back. 

.........In a post of mine I told you about the swallowtail stamp. Last week Catherine held a 'four ways with the swallowtail' session at her house. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, I was an hour late, so I was too tired and late to get much done but I later finished them at home and I've just realised I haven't posted about them; but hey ho, I can't post about everything. Even, amazeballs me can't do everything!! ...... I certainly hope you all realise that's just my warped sense of humour :-) ................

Back to the blank piece of card. I decided immediately to rip yet another idea of Catherine's, which she told us about on her blog. I don't have a swirl stamp that was suitable, so I went about finding a swirl pattern on one of my Cricut cartridges and ended up using a rather pretty one from Ornamental Iron2 (lace2 function, size 6in, gate10b design on page 42 of the booklet). I cut a few samples first to ensure all was correct and I got the size I wanted and then I cut it out of 'Cricut cuttables' to make the stamp.

I had a piece of the patterned circles paper on my desk, as Catherine must've given it me in the pack from last week and it was the right size - vunderbar! :-) I improvised with the mat before that and also found some pretty flower embellishments, which I tried to make it look as if they were on a part of the swirl. I also used daffodil delight as the yellowy colour, as I don't have the colour Catherine used in her project. A sentiment stamp in the same Tangerine Tango colour as the butterfly, a rub of glimmer mist and a couple of stamps on the envelope and 'Bob's your uncle, Fanny's your aunt'; we're good to go :-) .... that's an old saying I was bought up with, which just means 'we're finished and ready to move on'.

Watch this space for a project soon, which will no doubt use those practice die-cut swirls I did for this and the matching stamp.

Take care out there
A sneaky pic of one of the boys, as it was
close to my card photos on the SD card.
One for you dog lovers out there :-)

Monday, 25 March 2013

Cake pops

Hello there

Over the weekend my daughter and I were not keen to go out in the continuing snow, so to cheer us up and give us something productive and fun to do, we had our very first go at making cake pops. We had mixed success but the main success lay in the activity itself i.e us sharing time together, having a chance to talk and resolve problems as best we could.
Word to the wise - if a diecut goes slightly awry, don't throw it,
tuck it behind something or cover it slightly.
Not that that ever happens to me of course ;-)

I got the inspiration for the layout from my friend Catherine's blog and quickly moved on from there, although I had already decided to use the cake pop stand packaging as the base for the page.

For those of you who have spent hours making cake pops from basic sponge cakes and crumbled them up and then formed the cake pops, TAKE NOTE! STOP! Don't do that to yourself. Get yourself one of these little cuties and make a small amount of sponge mix, pop it in the base of each mould, pop the lid on and cook for 20 minutes. Simples! Well, it is when you know how :-) We made a few mistakes, such as putting the lid on the wrong way round with our second batch but that's just daft me.

We got a lovely stand with our kit - it does a
great job of displaying the pops

One of our favourite designs which was a happy accident

Take care out there or stay inside and make good stuff if the weather is foul.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

70th birthday book

Hello there

Here's a 'birthday book' I was asked to make for a friend; so yes, I could call it a commission which makes it sound ever so grand and official. She had the exact colours in mind and we talked about a few options/ideas for such a book for her mum but in the end I was just asked to stick to the black and gold theme album and after asking, I realised that swirls were more her mum's 'thing' than geometric shapes, so off I went a creating.

This may sound simple to many of you but I'm not a fan of either colour, so I don't have a big stock, to say the least. Thankfully I'd had plenty of warning, so I had time for shopping.

The text on the front is from the Winter Woodland cartridge and that mat is from the Mini books cartridge with the holes cut off the ends. I've used that mat shape several times inside the book too, along with some other shapes and sizes but only about 3 different ones or I felt it would be too unconnected. 

There's a swirl on every page too, which is from the Home decor cartridge -'border2'.

 As black and gold aren't reknowned for being good to write on, I decided to add a matt cream coloured fancy shape on each page, which is from the Cricutcraftroom basics digital cartridge (accent); for the journalling to go on. I do hope that they make notes of who each person in the photos are and what their link to her mum is, as they may know now but in the future her kids won't necessarily have a clue as to who they are.

I really hope that she likes it. I'm a tiny bit concerned that the album is so thick now that it doesn't close easily and it hasn't even got photos in it yet but that's why it closes with a ribbon. I also had the idea that it will make a lovely display item. You could stand it up and have about 3 pages ajar at a time, to tempt your attention to it and you could change those pages every now and again. That's much better than it being stuck in a cupboard and never looked at, as it'll be full of people who have played a part in her life.
The presentation bag

Pricing it was hard but I looked on Folksy at some and they ranged from £25 and all that was done was the front was decorated, down to £9.99, so I'm happy I gave her a very competitive price for all the work I did inside it too. I'll see what her reaction is; by the time this is posted, she'll have it, so fingers crossed! It's all part of the learning process I'm going through. I'm glad it doesn't need to be mailed though, as it's quite heavy,  especially with the new Royal Mail charges recently.The postage will make it more expensive for selling albums like it on Folksy but that's the price you pay for internet shopping. Talking of which, you can probably tell that my mind is racing with the idea of selling these on Folksy. We'll see. I'd have to make a range of colours to show what's possible, as people often need leading into these things, as they don't know what can be done.

Take care out there

Saturday, 23 March 2013

First birthday

Here's a quick post about a card I did for a one year old boy. The original inspiration came from the February 2012 issue of the Cricut magazine; a card by Theresa McKinney.
Theresa says to cut the seal pieces at 2.5 inchesbut by mistake I cut mine at 2.25 but that worked better for the additional embellishments I wanted on my card. My card blank and envelope was cut from Plantin Schoobook cartridge at 6 inches, so that's bigger than she used too. I enjoy the double layer of balloons, as that does show detail, which helps complete it properly. The twine for the ballon holds looks so cute too.

All in all a quick card which I enjoyed making.
For his present, we've sent a book called Peekaboo Peter about Peter Rabbit. I've put a Stkrit in there, so Maggie can record her reading the book for him. Then whenever Bentley's mum, who is my daughter's half sister, gets the book out, she can use her phone to play that recording to him, so he will associate that book with Maggie. Bentley lives in New Zealand, so unfortunately that's the only way we can make that happen. I think they're a top idea for family and friends who live too far away from each other. You can record videos on it too; which could be put on a scrapbook page to add so much more detail to the story behind your scrapbook photos. The sticker looks a bit like a Q- reader symbol, so if you install their app on your phone, the messages can be very portable. Go have a look see for yourself -

Take care out there

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Mother's Day

Hello there
I've had so much fun getting things ready for this day.
 I got the inspiration for the card from an entry in the May 2012 Cricut magazine by Cindy Groh, page 31.

The first idea I put into practise was the mini album. This was inspired by the fact that Cricut Craftroom had the mini album cartridge available with free cuts for a week in February. So without hesitation I set to cutting out pages of all shapes, including envelope pages. That cartridge is on my wish list now as it really is so easy with that. I don't have any double sided paper of the style I wanted, so I had to cut the card and then the papers, which made it a longer job but still very easy. The front text was created with the Lyrical Letters cartridge and the stamp is from The Music Hall set of stamps by IndigoBlu. I loved using that stamp on both the album and that matching card to link them together. I had loads of fun inking pages and embossing and rub-onnering ( there possibly isn't such a word really but there is on this blog :-) )

The biggest issue was finding photos of just my mum and I. Doing this album has made me realise how few there are, so that has started to be addressed recently. I've asked my sisters to check for any they might have but other than that, I'll rely on mum to complete the album with photos she has. We'll have fun writing our thoughts and memories of each photo in the album, which turns it into a good sharing event for us too and a great keepsake.

And then....... I had to make a box for the album of course. The papers are matching papers I've used in the album; there's also another double sided tag and you'll notice the swirl inked onto the acetate window of the box.

After all that, mum had better like it! :-)

Take care out there

Friday, 8 March 2013

Today's mum is...


Hello there

Yes, today's card was made for Chris's mum. Betty. I think I like it when Chris wants me to make cards for his mum but then I'm not sure if it just saves him having to go and buy one. I'm just an old cynic but that's what happens when you live with Chris. Anyway, I get enjoyment from it, so what the heck?! :-)

I do have to thank Annette for her inspiration. I was surprised actually at how few card projects I found which used the Graphic 45 Secret Garden pack but it is very new, so I shouldn't be that surprised. I bought this recently for, would you believe, completely none selfish reasons. I'm not a fan of green at all but I've never bought a Graphic 45 pad before and I've been so so tempted. I bought this for people like one of my sisters, my mum and Betty as they're all crazy ladies who enjoy gardening. I did some gardening this week, which involved mowing the front lawn for the first time in about 6 months and re-planting the dahlias I had last year and some dead leaf tidying up. I do the basic bits but I don't have a clue really but I do love it when I can see my crocuses and tulips coming out in their tubs in the front garden for example. When plants work, they're great but I'm not a gardener; especially not in our awful climate.

I digress... how unusual! :-)
Glossy accents in spaces in the elements, adds
a little something to the feel of the card
My card isn't an exact replica of Annette's of course as I don't have or particularly want some of the things she used. The shaped card caused me the most grief, as the super attentive of you will notice that my cutting is far from perfect on the background layers. I perhaps should've found that shape on one of my Cricut cartridges but I'm having to do too much with the computer at the moment, after it's complete re-start, as almost everything I go to do on it, involves re-installing software or getting it updated, which drives me to drink!

Rant done.

When I'd taken the photo of the card, I had the idea to add beads onto the butterfly. I could colour it with doodles but I think there's enough pattern on the card; hence the plain colour of the butterfly with just the different colour in the background to help it stand out.
I printed the sentiment on Safmat, so that I could place it on the lines of that element.

Finishing touches to the envelope and job's a good 'un!

Take care out there

Thursday, 7 March 2013

My life would be so much better if I could live like men and teenagers

Hello there
The title of this post is what I put as my status on Facebook today, as I was feeling like I've been doing far too much cleaning and other duties this week and basically no crafting, which is not good at all. Men and teenagers seem oblivious to dirt, which must be a nice place to be. I've only managed to do the box for my Mother's day present today, so I still don't feel much better. I've got Chris's 16 year old daughter staying here for a few weeks at the moment and she uses the spare room which is my craft room, so night time crafting is difficult when she's around.

Anyway, I won't bore you any further with my whinges, much as I want to ;-)

My daughter is raising money for an initiative at school as part of her citizenship class; a group of them are raising money for Warrington cancer care at the hospital with bake sales. They raised £7 today and they're doing it again tomorrow and then a raffle on Monday. To support her with this, I thought we'd make our own thing rather than buying them. It's nice time together, although I was warned before we started to not start shouting, which tells you a lot about me and my lack of cooking skills and patience probably. With no shouting and quite quickly we made these chunky chocolate cookies, of which we were both happy with.

It's not the crafting I had in mind but family has to take priority, sometimes :-)

Take care out there and spend good, simple times with your family if you can

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Gotta be quick

Hello there

Yer, I have to be quick now as it's 23.19 and Chris is in bed asleep and I'm not ready for sleep just yet, as I wanted to finish a layout I started yesterday. I've been doing it whilst tendering my laptop at the same time. My laptop was sick last week but I've had it back this evening, so spent all night re-doing everything as it had a complete restart. That's the second time that's happened in less than six months, so I'm not a happy bunny with technology. I'm three quarters of the way to semi normality with it. I wont start a rant on that because I'm meant to be making this a quick post :-)

Edit: - It took me quite a few tries to get this photo right of the glossy accents on the waves last night. For some reason Blogger kept putting the photo upside when I inserted it but it's done it correct, first time this morning??!! Maybe it's just like me and more awake this morning   :-)
The envelope where I put the journalling was cut at 4.5inch -
it's from the Wild Card cartridge- the doily on page 52.
The word 'Chillin' was created with the same cartridge's alphabet function.
The ripple effects shadowing the shape of the photo mounts was a last minute add on, which really ties it all in, as I wasn't really happy with it before then; hence this late night. It was a happy accident, as I was actually looking for some other embellishments I know I have somewhere or other and then I found the Americana bahama blue paint which I've never used and had forgotten about and KNEW that was my saviour for this layout and then the idea popped up.
Finding the paint and a working
computer ended a good day
That topped off a great crafty day for me as I also had a lovely few hours at the Crabapplecrafts birthday celebration, where several demos were going on all day. I enjoyed them all but Rae Dalal is very good company and showed us some great techniques and some new Dylusions sprays and goodies including the two below;

Right, times up and it's almost 23.45. Let's see if I get grief for brushing my teeth and getting into bed late. Wish me luck :-)

Take care out there and try not to upset 'him indoors'.
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