Friday, 3 December 2010

Christmas is coming

I have been so totally pre-occupied with the snow that I have completely forgotten to post about the chicken soup 12 days of Christmas challenge. Every day, for 12 days, starting from the 1st, the chicken soup blog will post some cool Christmas inspiration.

Sounds good? I thought so.

Day 2 was Christmas cards, and for me of course it had to be snowmen ... I mean really!

Then tomorrow (or today rather, it seems pumpkin time has come and gone and I am up late again .... yawn), the new Craft Stamper magazine is on the shelves. The January issue

We are totally snowed under and there is no way I can even get my car out of the garage, so I shall walk to the High Street and get my copy in the morning. Then I shall also buy myself a big slab of chocolate, come home and read my magazine while I drink the compulsory cup of tea and of course scoff the chocolate. I can do that now because it is snowing, and if it is snowing we are allowed to indulge in comfort food.

For this issue I have made a card for the designer palette feature using the really cute little dude stamps from Waltzing Mouse. They aren't really called little dudes (it is just always the first words that spring to mind when I look at them), but Half Pint Heroes and are adorable. I won these stamps in a blog challenge and couldn't wait to use them.

This is my new favourite stamp company. I LOVE Waltzing Mouse stamps and Claire, the owner, is not only super kind but ever so talented. I bet I am preaching to the converted, but if by chance you don't know of WMS, have a look at Claire's blog here.

Of course I am not allowed to show you the card I made, but I guess it is okay if I just put up a little sneak peek. 

I have also done some cards with polka dots, and of course there is all of the regular goodness associated with Craft Stamper magazine.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Gosh, how time flies

You know what it is like, before you know it and wham ... like three weeks gone.

I haven't been on the computer very much lately, which is quite a good thing I suppose as my house has been semi tidy and the ironing is all up to date - I know!

I have to dash off today too to sort out the last things for my daughters 13th birthday party on Saturday. Again with the time thing .... how does 13 years just fly by like that. So I am quickly going to post my card for last weeks chicken soup recipe, only a week after the fact I might add ... hey ho.

A bit of a tree thing going on here. I was going for the seasonal effect, someone being there for you throughout the year ... yes? I am not sure how well it reads, but I kinda like it. Also quick and simple to make. The tree is a sizzlets branch die which I cut down and of course a circle die. Tiny punched flowers and a punched heart. I had to dust those little punches off, haven't used thos for a LONG time.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Lifting ideas

As we are on the topic of copying, lifting or case'ing ...,. whatever you would like to call it, I thought I would share some cards inspired by an article Jo Kill had in Papercraft Inspirations quite a while back. I love her work, and these japanese dolls really spoke to me so I just had to have a go.

Jo does some amazing things with punches and her articles were one of the main reasons why I subscribed to this magazine in the first place.

I almost never copy other people's work, but it was rather nice to leave the conceptual work to someone else for a change and simply adapt these ideas for myself.

Here is my take on Jo's Japanese dolls.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Copy cat

Sometimes that mojo is there, sometimes it is not. My solution ... copy. That is exactly what I did with this anniversary card for a friend. I copied the idea almost exactly from my previous version, but added in a chandelier. This one is digital and from Pink Petticoat. I simply printed it straight onto the cardstock.

The photo is not great - I finished this card rather late one night and quickly took a photo on my mobile as I had to send it off early the next morning. The scalloped edge is more of an old gold even though it reads as green in the photo.

Monday, 18 October 2010


I am rushing off to London today to have lunch with a friend but just quickly putting this card up before I go. Have to leave early as I am walking a bit slowly today. I had a fall on my skates yesterday and hurt my back. I am trying to master backwards skating, went a bit too fast and couldn't stop in time, bumped into the wall with my bottom and the momentum whooshed my skates out from under my feet and had me land smack bang on my back. Ouch ....

I am not giving up, another lesson tonight and I will be there, even if I have to take it very slowly or even just watch. Hubby took this photo on his iPhone the other day at the coast.

Anyway, back to crafting. I made this card for Mojo Challenge #16

My family all think it should be a Christmas card and didn't get why I put congratulations on as the message. They are so right and I will change that in time. I was thinking gold star ... congratulations ... get it? It does look far more Christmassy though.

Wish I can take the credit for that fabulous background, it is simply a piece of patterned paper, and I am not sure who by (maybe DCWV, one of their special fantasy packs - there was a dragon on the rest of the paper).

Have a good day, I am off.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Copic blog candy

Love those little marker pens! For some very cool indeed blog candy follow the link in my sidebar, or click here

Angels angels all around ...

For last weeks chickensoup challenge I made this little angel.

Isn't she just perfect for Christmas. A bit of a fiddle to make, but totally worth it. Her body is simply two pieces of triangular material sewn together and filled with rice. While sewing the body together also sew in the arms and legs which are made from plaited silver cord.

Wooden ball feet painted with silver acrylic paint and her head is a ping pong ball, also with a few layers of acrylic paint. Fuzzy wool hair and a little halo made from craft wire. I drew her face on with marker. The heart on her chest is drawn with Tulip fabric paint.

For her wings I made a wire frame and sandwiched that between two layers of angel hair - I don't even know if you can get this stuff anymore. It was bang on trend a good few years back and right up there with the torn mulberry paper craze. I then painted (with my finger) a liberal coating of  PVA glue all over the wings on both sides, propped them up and left them to dry. Once dry I cut off any excess angel hair and voila, semi opaque wings. They are stuck onto her back with a liberal amount of PVA glue.

Oh, and she also has a less glamourous country cousin. They sit together on my chest of drawers and talk all day long.

May the angels be with you!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Chickensoup Recipe 12

Gosh, Friday has come and gone and with it another chickensoup inspiration. This time a poster inspiration by Clare

The picture of Audrey Hepburn made me think of some very cute clipart images I have from Lettering Delights and this is what I made. So quick and simple it is almost wrong to call it crafting.

The graphic and sentiment is simply printed out, the only little bit of actual crafting I did was to ink the floor and stamp it with my PTI damask stamp (another one of my faves!)

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. A great card to make when time is tight, not to mention you can customise the message to suit just about anyone.

Come play along with your take on this recipe and to be in for a chance to win a prize.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

A bit quiet

Yes, it's been a bit quiet here on the craft front, quiet even after I received some dies recently purchased from the States. They are still in their packaging lying on my craft table which is looking sad and forlorn.

The reason is this:

I have just bought myself a pair of these - seriously. At 41 I am taking up inline skating. Talk about your midlife crisis.

I have now spent two weeks investigating skates, investigating lessons, booking lessons, getting deliriously happy at the prospect of skating, getting seriously worried at the prospect of skating (and falling), scouting out where to skate, trying on rollerblades, buying rollerblades, taking rollerblades back because one foot felt "weird", getting replacement skate for weird foot ....

It is hard, time consuming work having a midlife crisis, really it is.

Who knows if I will ever craft again?

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Your couch or mine

There are some stamp sets that make me pull out my credit card without thinking, and this On my couch set  from PTI is one of those. Yum - I love the images, love the sentiments, love the possibilities.

Over at the chickensoup blog Clare chose this cool photo as inspiration. Have a look here.

Colours to die for, no doubt about that ... and also sporting that very cool ochre yellow I love so much  ... however, I didn't take inspiration from the colours but rather from the sofa's themselves and I thus present to you ... this card.

I had a lot of fun making this card, especially creating the wooden strip floor. Believe it or not, that is simply inked sections created with post-it notes as a mask. To make it a bit more realistic I created a one-point perspective using a vanishing point and then drew my lines down from that point.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Polka dots

I love all things dotty, and the new challenge on the Passion for Papertrey blog is ... of course, polka dots.

This card uses the PTI polka dot background stamp and vintage cream ink, but the little owls are from Hero Arts. I bought these owls so long ago and hardly used them. Seeing as I had both a large and small stamp I reckon they are just perfect for a mama owl and little bably owlet. New Baby sentiment is Stampin' Up!

Sunday, 22 August 2010


Following on from Fridays post I thought I would add a little how-to, one of the tricks I use often to create overlapping elements

See on this layout how the text overlaps the photo ... yes? Well of course that is easy to do on a digital layout, but a bit more tricky on paper unless you add the text as stickers or die cuts. Because I printed the text on my layout first and then added the photo afterwards, there is no way to overlap the letters ... so this is what I do

I lay my photo in the right place onto the layout and lightly mark in pencil where the photo overlaps the lettering. I then carefully cut around the ovelapping part of the letters and then slip the photo underneath them.

This way I still get that poster graphic look with minimal effort on my part.

I do this with patterned paper too sometimes, like on the leaves on the left side of this layout below.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Chickensoup challenge #8

It's Friday night and another Chicken soup recipe night. This week we have used an album cover that I chose as inspiration. I have a bit of a thing for text and fonts and loved this funky higgledy piggledy font and the bold colours used.

Sometimes I like to focus on something other than the photo on a scrapbook layout, and for this layout I definitely wanted the words to stand out. My eldest daughter, who is on the Autistic Spectrum, was not always very verbally demonstrative as a little girl, so when she came out with this saying one night it was absolutely adorable.

Obviously inspired by the Guess how much I love you book, I love that she put her own spin on the famous quote from the book. Heaven is much cooler than the moon after all.

See what the other cooks have done and come play along :)

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Another boy card

My friend asked me yesterday if I could do her a quick card for one of the aquafit instructors she works with who is leaving. She said he is hanging up his "mankini" and moving on to another job and that is what she would like the card to say.

Love that word ... mankini. I guess when you work with a bunch of woman all the time you sort of become one of the gang. Swimming shorts just doesn't have the same ring to it.

I had to make this quickly, didn't have any suitable stamps or clipart so just drew a pair of swimming trunks, grunged the edges up a little with distress inks and added some computer generated wording and a few stamped flourishes.

Very simple, but I like simple for man cards.

Edited to add: I was just browsing some of my fave blogs ... mainly because I have to go ironing now and that is not really getting me fired up in the motivation department. Went onto the passion for Papertrey blog and saw this great man card by Aimes. LOVE it and just had to share.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Back home from hols

We have just returned home from two fabulous weeks in France, staying near Evian and overlooking Lake Geneva (or more precisely Lac Leman) from a cottage in the mountains.

As good as it sounds. Honestly, I would move here tomorrow if I could.

So sad to be back in the real world, but life alas has to go back to washing, ironing and entertaining the kids for the remainder of the summer.

On a crafty note, I missed two weeks of chicken soup and thought I would share my layout for recipe #5 

Like everyone who lives within an acceptable travel radius of London, we too went on the hunt for the elephants scattered around the city. This recipe was the perfect fit for those elephant photos. I do love multi photo layouts, and I like to keep them pretty simple. Just lots of photos.

I made this into a two pager so that I could cram in even more photos. This is what is looks like with both pages together.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Lawn Fawn

Yes, as if it is not enough that there are already several companies whose stamps I really like and spend way too much money on, I would have to go and find another. Lucky though that they don't sell in the UK ...

Uhhhh, until now that is. Emily from Make the day Special ... remember I mentioned them before ... well, she informed me that they will now be stocking Lawn Fawn stamps as well.

It is a weakness, I know, but I do love cute ... sorry inky people.

I had to get this set ...

See a cool example here and Jennifer McGuire has also made some fab cards with this set. ... and here

I also love this sewing set ... adorable!

Feautured in the Paper Crafts special issue Card Creations 8 - see the lawn fawn blog here

I may have also got the birthday cake set ... but that is all I promise.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


My eldest daughter goes to a special school and gets collected from home by a taxi. Her escort is just the loveliest woman ever and I wanted to make her a card to say thank you for everything during the year.

I only have one car image, my new Papertrey stamp and die set. Woohoo - I love when I get to use something for a legitimate cause. Most of the time I simply buy stamps and embellishments because I like them, when they turn out to be perfect for a particular project too, well that is just a bonus.

LOVE the new Papertrey dies - they cut like butter. I have used the car and clouds dies ... and am also using this card for the Passion for Papertrey challange. It's all good.

To give the clouds some detail I used the lightest cool grey Copic marker on the bottom for a little shading. Coloured the car with copics too.

Love that lace - I bought this from John Lewis the other day and just want to put it on everything.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Mojo challenge

It's Friday night and that means Mojo soup challenge night. This week we got to use David Bowie's album as inspiration. Loved this challenge, it is nice and simple with lots of white space ... right up my street.

And this was my take on the challenge. Of course I had to also throw the Stampin' Up! medallion stamp into the mix. Love that stamp more than life itself. Well ... nearly as much. As stamps go I love it a lot.

Also used some SU ribbon, which I cut down and frayed, and some computer generated text.

Head on over to the Mojo Chickensoup blog to see what the other girls have cooked up :)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

School's out ... nearly

... and that means teachers gifts and cards. I am not that much of a crafting goddess that I make the gifts too, some chocolates will suffice, but this year I did get myself into gear and make some thank you cards.

We had an interesting debate on the Craft Stamper blog the other day about digital stamps and whether readers want to see them in the magazine or not. It got me thinking about digital images and their use in crafting. Personally I have always loved my computer and have used clipart and dingbats since I started crafting, long before I used stamps actually, so for me the computer is an invaluable tool.

Stamping manufacturers have come to the table as well and are now producing "digital stamps". Really clipart by another name, but whatever you call computer generated images, all I know is that I love them as much as I love any other medium in my crafting world.

I also just recently upgraded to the newest vesion of CorelDraw ... love this package (I have owned and used it for 15 years now and it is still my favourite). So, for the teacher cards I used one of CorelDraw's clipart images. The apple.

Sized and then printed several of those on smooth white card. I then grabbed whichever copics I though looked apple coloured - no math here, I simply go by my gut and then do the trial and error thing. After a few tries I sort of got apples that didn't look too bad.

For the backgrounds I wanted some text, so typed the alphabet several times in a block. I could have used the A-Z stamp from Stampin' Up!, but I wanted the letters a little larger, so just made my own. Printed several onto brown card, cut out and distressed the edges with Vintage Photo distress ink.

I then added a little decorative strip onto the left side of the panel. This was as much decoration as they were going to get. I am aiming for quick and easy here.

Then on to the actual blanks themselves. I do a sort of digital sketch on my computer first so that I can judge placement and size of the elements. This also allows me to know where to print the wording onto the card blank. CorelDraw is ace for this sort of thing, so easy to move and size elements onto a specific sized background. Because I am using computer generated text I can personalise the cards too - always a nice touch I think. Once I have done this it is easy to make several cards really quickly. I also save my templates and use them again and again.

Voila - personalised teacher cards.  Now I know these don't stand out as the most innovative designs or anything, but I am really drawn to the very simple picture at the top of the card and writing underneath scenario. This design is a classic, probably totally overused, but i love it.

Just a note here. CorelDraw is aimed at the professional graphics market and therefor pretty costly. Worth every penny if you are going to make full use of it, but if you are only using it for crafting then it may be a little over the top. I invested in this package many years ago when I was using it for work as well as pleasure, so I could justify the cost. If it is within your price range then great, it is a truly amazing package, but if not, and you are looking for an alternate vector based drawing program, then DrawPlus is just fab and is free to download from the web. They also have an enhanced version available, DrawPlus 8, which is really cheap but has some added features. In my opinion a good workable alternative to CorelDraw. 

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Cool stamps

Have you seen the super cute stamps at Make the day special? I stumbled across this company when I was looking for these adorable bird cages from My cute stamps a few months ago.

They are so popular and sell out quick, but I was lucky to get my grubby hands on a set. I first saw them on Debbie's blog and knew I just had to have a set. Actually I try not to go over to Debbie's blog too often because I either end up spending money or wanting to bake some cake. Everything she makes is so gorgeous - not good for my wallet or waistline.

Emily, who owns Make the day Special, has made it her mission to stock and sell those hard to find USA stamps that we cannot get over here. She has some fabulous stamps including some of the Unity sets from Donna Downey.

Aren't these just gorgeous. I used to regularly follow Donna Downey in Creating Keepsakes magazines, love her style, and then got to do a class with her a few years back. Go and check out her blog here.

Then there is the newest addition of stamps - the cat's pyjamas stamps. I love the retro feel of these ... so cool dude. Like groovy!

I can just see these on a layout with all those old 70's photos of mum and dad and us as kids. Also go and check out the make the day special blog to see what the talented design team do with their stamps, news on special offers, blog hops etc.

Happy stamping :)

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

More recycling

Following on from yesterdays post I thought I would post another example of how to incorporate a card onto a layout. I did this ages ago, so don't think I have been a busy crafting bee ... I have not ... but thought it might be cool to share.

This is the original card I had done. It is hand lettered - I am no Heidi Swapp, but I still liked how it turned out so decided to re-use it on a layout. This time I didn't cut it up but simply used it as is, only trimming the back off.

So it turned into this ...

Monday, 5 July 2010

Reduce, re-use, recycle

I have been doing magazine work for more than 6 years now and over time that totals a lot of projects. When my work is returned to me I sort it into one of three possible piles ... to give away, to keep or simply to throw away. The throw away pile is for projects that have gotten damaged in the post, or might be something that I just will never use again. That pile is usually quite small because as you know we can always use things again ... right! That is the motto of any good hoarder crafter.

The give away pile is also relatively small ... I mean come on!

Then there is the to keep pile which takes over many a box, drawer etc. Yesterday I was rummaging in one of my to keep piles and came across a decoupage card I did for Creative Cardmaking a few years ago.

And then it happened - suddenly the urge to make something struck me. It is a rare occasion here lately, normally I craft because I have deadlines or commitments, but this was just for fun.

Here is the original card.

A decoupage card none the less. Decoupage is not something I normally do, I really cannot be bothered with cutting out fiddly little details, and this card had taken me way too long. It has been sitting in my box for years because I couldn't bear to throw all of that hard work away.

I cut it up, scoring some recycling brownie points in the process, and made this layout. I even used my used my new favourite colour ... yellow. (I know ... yellow, how weird is that. I wouldn't go near it just a few months ago, but now I am rather digging all things yellow).

This is little me gardening with my dad and wearing a rather funky hat with yellow trim. That is the good old summer in South Africa that I remember, very hot dry days and parched grass.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Chicken soup

... is what you have when you are not feeling well, right. Well now we have chicken soup for poorly mojos.

A brand new, fabulous inspiration blog with some lovely ladies to help that poorly mojo get back to optimum creativity.

We will be taking inspiration from things all around us, adverts, t-shirt, cd covers ... you name it, and translating that into layouts, cards and other design goodness. You get to play along and there will even be prizes ... sounds good doesn't it!

But why not go and look for yourself ... drum roll please

Introducing ... Chicken soup for poorly mojo's.