Friday 10 November 2023

Flowers and Scrabble Letters

 My son and his partner recently moved into a new house. It's been a longish haul for them. Their first sale/flat they wanted fell through, mainly due to intransigence of both the other parties. Their buyer wanted to move quickly or he would pull out. The owner of the property they wanted insisted they had to go away for a month, and when they got back, they'd start looking for a rental property and only then would they be ready to complete on the sale. And all this was after nine months of wrangling when the legalities were all complete. So, it all fell apart and they waited for a couple of years before trying again. This time, they went for a new-build house, and they finally moved!

To mark the occasion, I made a framed picture. I don't expect it to be displayed forever - and I fully expect they'll repurpose the frame, but it's only intended to be short term.

The frame is from Hobbycraft. I used stencils and a variety of inks for the background, with some stamped, heat embossed butterflies too.

The 'Scrabble' letters were made using Tonic dies. The flowers are Susan Tierney-Cockburn designed dies from several manufacturers. The dark green foliage was cut using dies from The Works. The butterfly is layered and cut using Spellbinders dies.

This is the first time I've used the Rhododendron die set. I'm a little disappointed, as, although it looks fine, I don't think it's particularly realistic, which is unusual for Susan's designs. Although that may be because the instructions for making this flower are no longer available, so I had to use techniques from other flowers and hope for the best.

I do quite like the addition of orangey 'greenery'. I think it just adds something to the overall effect and helps with balance especially with a greeny-blue background.

Monday 1 May 2023

Inky Blending and Masking

 Last year, we did a session on inky blending, and the group wanted to do a similar session this term. We used Distress Inks for backgrounds, stencils for texture, stamps stamped with Versafine Clair ink for focal points. Stencils are from Clarity, Creative Expressions, Crafter's Companion, and Lavinia and stamps from Lavinia, Inkylicious, Woodware, and Spellbinders.












Our next session will be led by Adrienne and we're going to start some decoupage projects. I hope I can post the results in a few weeks.

Wednesday 22 March 2023


 I've made a few cards this week, all for reasons you'd prefer not to have for making cards.

First, a card I made for a friend who's due to go into hospital for surgery:

I used a Sizzix die set for the owl, and an Elizabeth Craft set for the oval. The papers are from a magazine. I cut an aperture out of the paper-covered front of the card and placed the mounted owl into the space.

And the inside of the card. Paper is the reverse of the piece I used on the front of the card. Excuse my fingers in the top photo. I couldn't get it to lie flat enough!

And then, a couple of sympathy cards.

In both cards, the focal image is from Lavinia and the sentiment is Woodware. I've also used a couple of Aall and Create stencils, and in the top card, also a Woodware background text stamp. I masked the sentiment panel with removeable tape before adding Distress Ink. The top image was stamped in Versamark and embossed with clear powder. The lower card has the image stamped in Versafine Clair, as were the sentiments in both cards.

Friday 17 March 2023

Hand Made Flowers, Frame and Stitching

 I recently treated myself to a couple of the discontinued Elizabeth Craft/Susan Tierney Cockburn die sets, and I wanted to make something a little different with them. One of the sets is actually an oval nesting set, but with some bigger dies than I have. I got the original sets of Spellbinders Nestibilities, but the problem with them was always that the format was too small. I think their US bias got stuck on that odd 'A2' size card they use which isn't standard anywhere else. So, even for A6 cards, their dies just didn't look quite right. But enough of that.

The first part of the project was to cut out the frame elements. For them, I used an Elizabeth Craft die I've had for some time. It's smaller than I'd like, so I stretched the pieces to approximately 9 and 11 inches long giving me a frame with a 7 by 9 inch aperture. I always get it wrong when I do this - one piece of card ends up in the bin during the process, and this time was no exception.

Because the black card I used isn't the best quality, I reinforced the underside of the front panels with strips of the same black card before pricking out the stitching pattern. The pattern I used came from a book I've had for many years called The Art of Decorative Paper Pricking by Janet Wilson. It's not really intended for stitching, and it's not even one of the patterns in the book - it's actually used as page decoration. But, with a little resizing in Photoshop Elements, I got it to a suitable size, and printed out a strip for each frame edge. I used Sulky Blendables to stitch the pattern.

Another recent (bargain) purchase, is the embossing folder I used here. I don't use A4 embossing folders often, but when you want to emboss a bigger area, smaller ones won't do the job. I got his folder (from Crafts Too) at Crafterama at Ally Pally last weekend. I embossed a bit of Coredinations Whitewash card I've had for ages. (I don't even know if it's still on the market.) I sanded the surface after embossing. I had to add another layer of card behind the Coredinations as it was a bit floppy - especially after embossing.

The next stage was to cut some corners for the frame (Spellbinders die - it's one of their debossing range that never really took off. I definitely found them very hard to cut with - fortunately, there's not much actual cutting needed for this corner die. I then cut another piece of the satin gold card and used the Elizabeth Craft oval die to cut the aperture. I then embossed the gold card using the same folder, and attached it with foam pads doubled up for extra height.

Then, I got to the really fun part. I cut pieces for three dahlias in white card and coloured using Promarkers. I added some striping (white on the shocking pink flower and magenta on the yellow) using fine Posca pens. The peach coloured flower has some added magenta promarker added to the petal tips for a bit of added colour.

That's about that!

A little word about Ally Pally last weekend. It was the first time I've been back since Covid lockdowns, and, of course, since it changed ownership. I think it's a real shame many of the exhibitors who used to go to Ally Pally haven't continued. Craft shops in London are pretty much limited to Hobbycraft - especially since Blade Rubber Stamps closed down. It's strange that such a large conurbation can't support a bigger show than this. I know it's probably more expensive because of generally higher London prices, but it's a real shame. Having said that, I did buy a few bits, and it was lovely to see a stall with just Aall and Create which was definitely something new for me. Unfortunately, my daughter wasn't well enough to come with me :(


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