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.

Craft Stamper - August issue

... is out today. I haven't received my copy yet but just had a quick peek at WHSmith and it is fab as always. This month sees the start of a new three part series I am doing on Design Principles.

Over the next three issues I will be discussing Contrast, Unity, Balance, Rule of Thirds, White Space and Repetition. Now I know what you are thinking, this sounds way too much like school, but I promise you it is not.

Here is a sneek peak.

And then I also did stamping contrasts this month - we got some pretty flower stamps to play with. A girl can never have too many flowers.


... and a card

Birthday invitations also mean birthday cards.

This is a direct lift from this card (second one down), but hey .. why tamper with something when it works.

I must admit that I really feel it needs some more white in the bottom right corner to balance it out. I had to give it away quickly as it would have driven me to distraction to find that something.

I am only somewhat happy with this card, but I cannot redo everything I do, so I just let it go.

Do love that shoe stamp from HeroArts though.

And I also used my old (and I am talking very old, especially in the world of crafting) sizzix alphabet dies. Who would have thought I would dig those golden oldies out again.

Oh, and of course the ek success border punch with the tiny little scallops - isn't that just the cutest punch.

...and last but not least

Check back later for more details of a brand spanking new mojo generating inspiration blog. Can't say much except for ... Chicken soup anyone?