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by Julie Brooks

Polite notice. All designs are copyright protected. I hope you will be inspired by my designs but please do not copy them. Thank you.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Christmas cards - part 2

Hello everyone

Well, this is my last post for 2012. What a year! It's certainly been eventful, some of it good, some of it not so good, and some of it sad, distressing, upsetting and hurtful. But, that's life - full of ups and downs and challenges.

So I'm now looking forward to waving goodbye to this year and welcoming in 2013 with the hope that it will be better, happier and see some of my and my family's personal hopes and dreams come true. My son hates the end of the year. He struggles to see it in a positive way and to him it represents death. He is 11 years old and this is only one aspect of his Asperger's, which constantly challenges us and tests us almost to breaking point frequently. But I love him more than words can say and would not change him or be without him. The flip side is that he has a wicked sense of humour and a unique perspective on everything which can be so spot on at times that he blows me away. I will re-commence home schooling with him in the New Year and boy does he have alot of work to do in the next few months, which did not impress him in the slightest when I broke it to him earlier today!!!

Anyway, onto the reason for tonight's post - the rest of those Christmas cards which I promised to share with you.

I am blessed to have five nieces and one nephew, with ages ranging from almost 9yrs through to almost 18yrs, and I love them all to bits. So, for the younger ones (ages almost 9yrs through to 12yrs) I chose a snowman theme and used some Frosty images which I purchased from Craftwork Cards more than a year ago. I coloured each picture myself using Promarkers and gave each one an embossed snowflake frame. Each picture is different, although they all feature a snowman, and each has a different background paper, which were also from the Frosty range. Glitter and clear gems and sentiments finished each card. I'm really sorry, but the colours have come out quite badly - my photo processing software has let me down so that's now at the top of my "must investigate" list for 2013!

The next three cards were all for my older nieces, ages ranging from 15yrs to almost 18yrs. Again, I used the same overall theme for all three (Christmas tree), but just varied them a little. You will see that two are in Kraft cardstock with the focus on reds and greens and one is in white cardstock with the focus on blues. This white one was for the youngest of the three girls who loves the colour blue, and when she attended one of my floral wreath making workshops earlier this year she chose this same colour scheme, so I thought I'd tie her Christmas card in with that. Needless to say she was thrilled! Again I must apologise for the poor picture quality in the first two photos.

After taking this photo I re-did this card with more personal wording
And finally, the cards I made for my brother and sister-in-law and for my sister-in-law. I used a new die in my ever-growing collection - the tatty poinsettia by Tim Holtz. I love this die. The colour and pattern possibilities are endless and it doesn't have to be a poinsettia, it could be any big blousy flower and I have big plans for it for 2013! I chose to cut mine from some paper which had sheet music printed on it in a very pale colour, thinking the music would show through the inking. Then I inked the layers using Shabby Shutters and Festive Berries and discovered that the music had disappeared! Well, I wasn't very impressed with that I can tell you, but I have a clear music score stamp in my stash, so I added this over the top using Frayed Burlap, and it worked beautifully. I gently scored down the centres to give more shape and assembled the layers. The last part of the make was to choose the background paper and the frame and a bit of sparkly ribbon, get these in position on the card blank (one square and one fanciful) and then fix the poinsettia in place. Finished with sentiments, glitter and clear gems (gems added after the photos were taken).

Well, that about covers it for this year.

Thank you again to everyone who follows my blog - please leave me a comment on my posts, even if only to say "hi". I love to hear from you all.

So, it only remains for me to wish you all a very happy new year for 2013 and I will see you all again very soon.

Take care.

Love from me xx

Sunday, 30 December 2012

more Christmas makes

Hello again

A quick post from me tonight to share a few bits and pieces I made in the run up to Christmas. I was intending to post photos of more of the cards I made, but I realised they are still on the memory stick on the camera, so I will share those with you as soon as I get them transferred and watermarked!

So, instead, I have a few pictures of items I made which were sold at Avado Boutique in Draycott. This is a lovely gift shop selling hand-crafted items created by local craftspeople like myself. I used a variety of tools and materials, including my Pazzles machine and various dies, stamps, papers, ribbons, chalk acrylic paint, inks (distress, pigment and chalk), glitter and frantage powders.

three pretty tree decorations
candle wreath
tag featuring crackle glazing and frantage
tag featuring frantage and lots of glitter
more tags with lots of inking, glitter & clear gems for sparkle
These are just a few of the items I made. Other items included matching tags and gift wrap, floral decorations for champagne flutes and pretty floral wreaths to hang either on the tree or by themselves.

My tags are not over fussy because they were designed with value and practicality in mind. They were hugely popular, as were all the other items I put into the shop.

I hope you like my little makes too.

Back soon!

Love from me xx

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas card for a 3-yr old girl

Hello again

Just another quick post from me to share with you the cards I made earlier this month for a commission order. The remit was "pink and girly" for a 3 year old granddaughter of a friend of my sister's. Well, I confess that children's cards isn't an area I've done much work in and so I didn't have much in the crafty stash to enable this commission to happen, but I managed to make four cards and the lady was highly delighted with all of them, said having four to choose from made it very difficult for her as they were all so lovely, and she did finally decide on one of the designs. So, here are some pictures and I hope you like ...

This little beauty is a Wild Rose Studio stamp but I don't know the name of it. I bought it a couple of years ago maybe and had never used it until now. I coloured her with Promarkers and added lots of sparkle to her wings, the star on her wand and the fluffy edging on her dress. I die cut some snowflakes and completely glittered them too. I framed the picture with some lovely pom-pom thread which is the edge of some pom-pom yarn which I bought in a ball, like you'd buy wool, the full extent of which you can see on the bottom of the card. I thought it was a great way of representing snowballs and the snow lying unevenly on the ground. I'm really not a knitter so have no idea how easy this would be to work with on knitting needles! (The base card I cut and scored from a 12 x 12 sheet of pale pink card and I layered the deep pink card onto it.) To finish I added the wording and some clear gems and also used a Sakura Glaze pen to add "moisture" to her eyes.

a close up to see the colouring and sparkly detail
This next one uses a pre-coloured image from Lili of the Valley. I love these two little girls dressed as angels, playing the tambourine and recorder - so sweet and reminds me of when I was little.

I added glitter to their headdresses as these would have been made from silver tinsel, so it was only right to cover them with glitter to make them sparkle in just the same way. I also added glitter to their wings and to the stars to make them twinkle, and I bet those two little angels are playing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"! I also added a dot of "moisture" to their eyes using a Sakura Glaze pen to make them look more life-like. The frame is from Craftwork Cards and I simply glittered some of the stars to make them stand out a bit more. These little girls are wearing pale lilac/mauve nighties and so I chose a background paper in as close a colour match as possible to tie it all together. So, not as pink, but definitely girly!

a closer look at the two little angels

Next is another pre-coloured image, again by Lili of the Valley. This puppy is so adorable, gazing longingly at the bone-shaped gift in his stocking!

I made the card blank using a deep pink pearlescent card, and then added layers of papers and card and mounted the image onto all of that. I added glitter to the furry top of the puppy's stocking and to the baubles on the tree. I cut a length of ribbon - this is one I spotted in my local craft shop several weeks prior to Christmas and thought it was perfect for Christmas cards with those lovely silver glittery stars all over it - and added this to the bottom of the card and fixed the layered image over the top edge. Then I die cut some snowflakes and covered them in glitter too. Finally I added the wording and a few clear gems.

a closer look at that adorable puppy
Finally, another image which I stamped and coloured using Promarkers. This is again from Lili of the Valley.

Pale pink card base again, with the image stamped and coloured on white card, then layered onto deep pink card. Again, I added lots of glitter for the snow, the stars and the fur on the little girl's coat, plus some dots of glitter here and there on her hair and on the baby Christmas tree to represent the snow. I used some of the pom-pom edging again to represent snowballs, added some of the fabulous starry ribbon down the left, a few punched stars (again all glittery and sparkly) and some tiny star shaped gems.

a little closer to see the detail
Well, those are the four cards I made for the commission but can you guess which one my customer chose? And which is your favourite? I'd love to hear your thoughts and always enjoy reading your kind comments.

Bye for now.

Love from me xx

Christmas cards share

Hello all

It's been a few weeks, but my goodness they have been busy ones!

So, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and no doubt you're looking forward to seeing out the dismal year which has been 2012 and welcoming in 2013 in the hope that we may at least have a "proper" summer and better success with all our vegetable growing efforts! I know I am.

To finish off for 2012 I thought I'd just share some of the Christmas cards I made in the run up to the big day. If any have already been featured I can only apologise. I will share some tonight and save the rest for tomorrow!

So, first up is a pretty easel card.

I made this one for my mother-in-law and she loved it. Since this photo was taken I added in some sparkly die-cut snowflakes on the base and a sparkly silver mesh ribbon bow top right. The papers are Dovecraft and the card blank, embossed frame, bird and sentiment are Craftwork Cards.

Next is this little beauty which we gave to my Dad.

This one has some lovely frantage detail on it. The gorgeous reindeer was originally mounted on wood so I just carefully separated the two - some tricky work with the craft knife was required but it paid off! I love the colour combination on this card and it was perfect for my Dad. The frame is a chipboard ring which we cut on our Pazzles machine and then I covered it with patterned paper, which I also used to die-cut some trees and snowflakes from. I think these papers are by Kaisercraft. The card blank is Craftwork Cards. Again, I added a personalised sentiment to this for my Dad. I'm seeing him tomorrow so will find out then whether he liked it!

The next card I really wasn't sure about when I first made it, but it grew on me, and my sister and brother-in-law, who were the lucky recipients, loved it, and my brother-in-law especially liked the fact that he could "hear Christmas" thanks to the little jingle bells on it! I know normally it's only two bells, or even one, but they are quite small so I decided to put three on there, for extra jingle!

The background paper is from a pad by Kaisercraft, and I love the pictures on it - Santa, the Three Wise Men and you can just see the reindeer pulling the sleigh to the left of the tag. I added a couple of pieces of coloured, patterned paper and then used various colours of ink around the edges of the card to help pull it all together. I stamped the various images onto the tag and again inked it around the edges in a mix of colours, then added the chevron edges on the left and right, which helped lift it away from the background. Some glitter dots, clear gems, sparkly ribbon (which I received in a bundle of lovely things from one of my blogging acquaintances as a prize for following her blog - how fab is that?) and jingly bells complete this design, which again I personalised.

Well, I think that will do for today!

I have a few more to share with you tomorrow, so until then take care.

Thanks for popping in.

Love from me xx

Sunday, 9 December 2012

No let up for me!

Hello everyone

I don't have any crafty items for you to look at today - sorry! I've been incredibly busy these last few weeks keeping stocks replenished in the lovely gift shop where I sell my makes. Seems as soon as something goes in, it's sold, and I have to start all over again! Not that I'm complaining of course. And I'm still in the middle of making my own Christmas cards for close family - can't believe it's almost the middle of December and I still don't have them all made, let alone any written! AND I now have a commission order to fulfil for a special Christmas card for a beautiful 3 year old girl, and we still have Christmas shopping to finish AND we also have a date with two nieces and a nephew to take them to do their "secret" shopping for their auntie (who they live with) and their grandma. So, mega-busy doesn't even begin to cover it. Oh, and not forgetting still teaching my autistic son!

But all of this hasn't stopped me getting a bit hands on in the house this weekend! We moved into our place just over two years ago and it needs EVERYTHING doing to it, including but not limited to: needing extending front and back, new kitchen, new bathroom, new cloakroom, totally redecorating throughout, which includes a new ceiling in the sitting room! But with one thing and another very little progress has been made. One of the things which definitely needed some drastic work was a stone clad chimney breast in the sitting room. It was typical sandstone cladding with wide cement joins between stones, and this being quite a narrow room, it was definitely "in your face" and it made the room feel very dark too. And none of the other walls had been painted since we moved in either and were a horrible aged magnolia - very dark and depressing, with bits missing here and there too! So, we did no more than get out the white emulsion, and my husband got a quick coat on two walls while I slapped a coat on the cladding - nothing to lose as far as I could see, it would either look great or look terrible and was one of those things that we were seriously considering removing altogether, which would probably leave exposed brickwork which would also need something doing to make it look nice! So with a "let's go for it" attitude I set to work. It had to be a "quick coat" because we had promised our son that we would put up and decorate the Christmas tree on that particular day too and if that hadn't happened he would have been heartbroken, especially as so many people around us already had all their decs up! Anyway, here's a few photos of said chimney breast.

In this photo you can see the original colour in the top half, yet to be attacked by me with the paint brush! But don't get me started on that ceiling! That needs major cosmetic surgery to put it right!

How much better is this? The little built-in shelves have been left in their original state as they are done with grey stone and we felt it made quite a nice contrast and served to break up the white a bit too.

And here's a close-up showing our lovely little woodburner flanked by a waving Santa with his sleigh full of gifts and a Nut Cracker soldier keeping guard!
I hope you will agree that the white is much better than the original sandstone colour! The whole style of it may not be to everyone's taste, and is certainly not something we would ever have chosen ourselves, but I think it can be lived with for a bit longer now that it is white! Who knows, we may even decide to keep it! And our lovely woodburner stands out really well now. We've got a fire going this evening and we're now using our own wood too! Last year and the year before it was fuelled with wood we had to buy, but now, almost two years on from having three rather large conifers, several old and manky Poplars (rotting from the inside out) and an old and well-past-it plum tree cut down, we are reaping the benefits of keeping all of the wood in a big pile at the bottom of the garden in a fairly sheltered spot. It is well seasoned and ready to use! So my husband invested in a chainsaw and set to work on the first few logs today, and it feels quite satisfying knowing that the wood we are now using is ours, from our own garden. Although we had the conifers cut right down to ground level, and the stumps ground so they would not try to regrow, the Poplars were cut down leaving a good four feet of trunk in the ground. The reason for this decision was because there were lots of little cracks and crevices, great for insects to hide and hibernate in, and so great for birds (especially Great Tits we have discovered) to hunt around to find little juicy morsels to eat, so although we cut the trees down, we didn't entirely wipe out the insect habitats. And we have also planted a lovely native White Beam which in time will be a beautiful big tree full of pretty white blossoms in the spring and juicy red berries in the winter which birds love. We do try to be quite nature-friendly where possible.

We've been lucky to have a few drier and more sunshiney days so that we could have windows open to help disperse the paint fumes from the decorating (even low odour paint has an odour which lingers for several days), but isn't the weather topsy turvy at the moment? We've had really cold with heavy frosts, then mild and sunny with glorious blue sky, damp and grey and just plain non-descript, not to mention all that heavy rain which left so many areas flooded again. What a mess they have to sort out, and totally at the wrong time of the year too (not that there's a right time to be flooded, but I'm sure you know what I mean). The park near us was under several inches of water and more or less impassable in places, as my husband and son found out when they went over for a walk/bike ride last week. I've included a couple of photos below so you can see what it was like about a week after all the heavy rainfall.
Look at that glorious blue sky! Makes the scene quite beautiful, even though under all of that water there is a field!

Probably not a good idea to try riding the bike through this!
So folks, that about wraps it up for this year. In this next week I have more makes to complete for the shop, my own cards to finish, my son needs help making all of his cards (he's made a few but has quite a long list!), and he has several other items to decorate for Christmas too, I have my commission order to work on and Christmas shopping to finish - wish me luck! And after that I will be doing nothing more than the "Santa run" where we deliver all the presents around to our respective families (and eat lots of mince pies in the process!), the last food shopping before "the big day" and meticulously planning how to cook yet another Christmas lunch using only a combination microwave oven and a two plate electric hob! Fun!

Whatever you're doing, take care, and I'll see you all in the New Year. Thank you for sticking with me this year, and I hope you'll stick around next year too, to found out what exciting adventures I go on, whether crafting or DIY!

Have a great Christmas!

Love from me xx

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Upside down

Hi folks

Yes, I'm back again! Today I have a pretty card to share with you, and when you see the photo hopefully you'll understand the meaning of the heading of this post!

So, this is a kraft card blank which has upside down hearts and a "pot" die cut into it. It's produced by Craftwork Cards. I popped the shapes out (and saved them for another make) and then cut pieces of glitter paper in different patterns to fill each space. I fixed these behind the spaces. Once all in place I cut another piece of kraft card to cover over all of the paper pieces on the inside. To finish the front and give it a real Christmassy feel, I added lots of sparkling gems and pearls to represent baubles and lights, tied a bow in some red gingham ribbon and fixed that to the front of the "pot" and then added a kraft message which I inked around the edges a little with Ranger Distress Ink in pumice stone just to help it stand out from the kraft card base.

I hope you like this pretty little card and would love to read your comments. Thanks to those who have been leaving comments on my posts over the last few days - I read every one and appreciate them all immensely.

Off to finish some commissions now.

Back soon!

Bye for now.

Love from me xx

Friday, 23 November 2012

Let's try that again!

Hello again!

So, here goes with the second attempt to post the reindeer and trees photos referred to in my previous post! I hope Mr Blogger is behaving now!

Yay! Success! So, this card (first one below) uses a white fanciful card blank again, and I have taken a frame from a pad of white embossed frames and papers and inked it up with Shaded Lilac Distress Ink. I added a reindeer and tree in the centre, which I also inked up with the shaded lilac DI, and I then added some stamped snowflakes here and there, again using the shaded lilac DI. Finally I added lots of dots of glitter glue for some lovely sparkle.

Finally, the third card (above) was made using a chipboard fanciful card blank. Again, I inked it up with Shaded Lilac distress ink, but you wouldn't guess that from looking at it. The effect of the ink on the chipboard is amazing and I think it gives the card a real atmospheric feel. I added a distressed embossed frame in lilac-blue, then the die cut reindeer and tree in the centre. This time I just inked them around the edges with the shaded lilac DI rather than all over. I added snowflakes stamped using Adirondack Lights Snow Cap and then added lots of dots of glitter glue.

So, I hope you like my designs. And I hope you'll agree with my earlier comment that whatever colour combination you use, they all look fab!

Thanks for visiting and I look forward to reading your lovely comments, every one of which is much appreciated.

Take care.

Love from me xx

Source of materials:
The card blanks, frames, sentiments and die cuts are all available from Craftwork Cards Ltd.
The inks and glitter glue are all by Ranger, available from all good craft shops.
Snowflake Stamps from a Perfectly Clear Stamps set called Snowflake Symphony by Stampendous (SSC623)

Reindeer and Trees, Part 3

Good evening everyone

I hope you are all keeping well, and to anyone affected by the latest floods and gales, I am thinking of you.

So, it was definitely a batten down the hatches kind of night last night, with howling winds and torrential rain. Extremely unpleasant for anyone who had to be out in it, including my hubby who went to visit his mum in hospital as she had undergone surgery earlier in the day to remove a cancerous tumour from her bladder - the second time she's had a tumour in six years, and the first time around it couldn't be removed because it was attached to muscle, so she had to have radiotherapy. Thankfully the surgery was successful this time, the tumour fully removed, and she is now staying with her daughter for tonight, then my hubby will take over keeping an eye on her tomorrow. A huge sigh of relief was breathed when we knew all had gone well, as I'm sure you can imagine. She will be 80 next year and we can now look forward to the low key celebration which has been planned for it.

So, onto tonight's post and, as the heading suggests, I'm featuring more cards with a theme of reindeer and trees! These are all pretty straight forward cards, but they look lovely and very festive no matter what colour scheme is used, so I hope you like them.

This first one is a white fanciful card blank onto which I've added some distressed embossed paper in a lilac-blue colour, then a distressed embossed frame in pale pink. I've added a die cut reindeer and tree in the centre, which I inked around the edges with Shaded Lilac distress ink, and then added some glitter glue for sparkle. I also inked the white card around the edges with the same distress ink but you can't really see it on the photo.

Now Mr Blogger is playing up as I try to load my next photo and he's having none of it! So, I'll post this bit and hopefully be able to share the rest with you later!

Julie xx

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

more reindeer and trees

Hello all

I appear to be working to a particular theme at the moment - reindeer and trees are in abundance!

Today I'm sharing a card I made at the weekend which I hope you will like.

This is a fanciful card which I covered with one of the papers from a free 6 x 6 pack of Kaisercraft papers which came with my Simply Cards & Papercraft magazine. I then covered a chipboard ring (cut on my Pazzles Inspiration machine) with another paper from the pack to create my frame. I inked it around the edges with distress ink in pumice stone to give it more definition. I die cut the trees using a Sizzix die from one of the papers to tie in with the frame - I love that there is a mixture of patterns on the trees, and inked them around the edges too. These were then fixed in place using foam pads. The little reindeer is a foam one with a delicate pattern cut into it. This was originally mounted on thin wood (balsa or something like that) and came in a pack of about 10 from my local craft shop. I didn't want the wood as it had been cut quite large around the reindeer, so I carefully separated the reindeer from the wood and then fixed it in place using foam pads. I die cut some snowflakes, again using a Sizzix die, and again inked them around the edges, added a sentiment from Craftwork Cards (unfortunately the flash hit the wrong bit of the card and so you can't see the words on the sentiment but they are there, honest!) and the finishing touch was some frantage flecks ("aged green" I think) to represent snow.

I really love how this card came together and the muted greens and reds are perfect I think.

Well, that's all from me for now.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you'll leave a comment, even if only to say "hi".

Take care.

Love from me xx

Monday, 19 November 2012

Beautiful clutch bag twisted easel card

Hello everyone

Today I can share with you a beautiful clutch bag twisted easel card which I recently made for a Craftwork Cards competition.

The card was made using two fanciful card blanks (one chipboard). The chipboard one was cut into two pieces in order to achieve the "flap" and main body of the clutch bag. The card itself was covered with papers from the Bohemian range available at Craftwork Cards and as you can see I made up lots of tiny blooms to decorate it! The clutch bag parts were covered with another paper from the Bohemian range and I trimmed the edge of the "flap" with crinkle satin ribbon. The bag was inked around the edges in malted mauve to help it stand out a bit more from the card. I added lots of pearls and more flowers, together with a central large sparkly gem for the fastener. Before fixing this to the card easel I cut a length of soft hessian ribbon and placed this behind the bag.

close up of the clutch bag
I also added pearls to the centres of all the flowers and used some Olive Lace Candi to prop up the clutch bag section. I dotted all of the flowers on the bag with the malted mauve ink too.

close up to see the beautiful blooms

and more beautiful blooms

Well, I hope you like my creation. I had fun making it. Please leave me a comment to let me know what you think to it, I love to read them all.

Bye for now.

Julie xx

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Christmas is coming!

Hello everyone

Just a quick post from me today as I still have a "to do" list as long as your arm in these last few weeks before the man in the red suit pays us a visit (if I've been good lol).

So, today I'll share with you a pretty card I made recently.

I purchased a couple of the Sizzix/Hero Arts die and stamp sets, and I decided to use a couple of the dies in this card.

I covered a chipboard ring with pretty Christmas paper from a Dovecrafts pack and decided to use that as the frame for my little scene. I then chose a background paper for the centre. These two elements were fixed onto some dark red pearlescent paper, and already I was feeling like the card was going to turn out exactly as I wanted it to - love it when that happens. The next step was to use one of the dies to cut out my trees and I decided to cut them out of the same paper that I had used to cover the chipboard frame. It was the right decision as they look fab. Then I took a lovely reindeer die cut from a Craftwork Cards pad called Christmas Ornaments, darkened him down using DI Pumice Stone (he was quite a bright red colour originally) and I also used the ink around the edges of my frame and the trees. I fixed the trees and reindeer in place with foam pads and then die cut some little snowflakes from some of the paper I'd used for the background on my scene.

The sentiment was coloured by blending three inks - VersaMagic chalk inks in aloe vera and spanish olive and Distress Ink in pumice stone - in order to get the right shade! To finish I added some clear gems in the centres of the snowflakes - both the die cut ones and those printed on the background.

I love how this card turned out and hope you like it too.

Thanks for popping in and please leave a comment - I love to hear from you all. And please, I would respectfully request that those pesky spammers out there don't bother trying to leave comments on my blog posts - they are all moderated before being published, so you're wasting your time! All genuine comments about my work are much appreciated, as always.

Take care all.

Bye for now,
love from me xx

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Merry and Bright

Hello everyone

I hope you are well on this sunny autumn day? Not so sunny over on the East Coast of America right now. I really feel for everyone caught up in the path of Hurricane Sandy and can only pray for everything to return to normal for them as quickly as possible once this dreadful hurricane exhausts itself. I believe it's heading towards Toronto in Canada among other places. We have family there so I am thinking of all of them right now and hope they manage to keep safe as it passes over them.

Meanwhile I have a pretty Christmas card to share with you.

This card started out as my little bit of playtime yesterday afternoon with a stencil which I've had for over two years and not used until yesterday! It's a design by Nellie Snellen called LD003 Christmas Tree and is one of four in a range called Lines and Dots (hence the LD bit on the code I suppose!). It's quite big (this is a six inch card). So, having rediscovered the stencil while gathering all of my Christmas themed bits and pieces together, I decided to have a play with it. I took some green pearlescent card and embossed the design onto it using my Big Shot. The embossed design itself was quite pleasing but I wanted something with more impact because I knew I wanted it to be the focal point of a card. So I placed the stencil over the embossed image, fixed in place with some low tack tape, and then carefully inked in all the spaces using Ranger Adirondack Lights Snow Cap. When I removed the stencil I was thrilled with the image left behind, and even more impressed with myself because I had managed to line the stencil up perfectly over all of the embossed lines! So, I now had a beautiful swirly white embossed Christmas tree, but that still wasn't enough, so I added some dots of Ranger Stickles Glitter Glue in Gold, Silver and Xmas Red to provide colour and sparkle. Finally I was satisfied with my Christmas Tree. Now to make up the rest of the card ..... but I ran out of time yesterday so it sat on my desk all night!

Fast forward to this morning and first job on my list - put that lovely Christmas tree onto a card! I wanted to give this beautiful tree a bright background without it overpowering the tree design, so the first thing I did was matt my tree onto some red pearlescent cardstock, which provided a lovely red frame for it. Then I found a gorgeous multi-coloured snowflake pattern paper in a pack I picked up quite recently. The pack is by Dovecraft and contains something like 48 sheets of 8" x 8" designer patterned papers (4 of each design). They are all so colourful and bright and full of festive cheer - perfect! So, I cut the paper to the right size in order to leave a narrow border around the edges of the card and before I finished fixing it in place I wrapped some red organza ribbon around, which I tied in a bow on the front, off to one side. The bow took an absolute age to tie because the ribbon is quite wide and very smooth, but also frays easily if pulled around too much, and also I'm not very good at tying bows! Anyway, what felt like a lifetime later I finally had a bow I was happy with! I fixed my lovely tree onto the card offset to the right with a narrow border on the right and the bottom so you can just see a hint of the patterned paper there, and the top is just tucked underneath the ribbon.

The finishing touches were a little message which was cut from a larger one from Craftwork Cards, and a lovely Christmas tree charm which I bought from Ribbon Girl, and which only arrived this morning - perfect timing, and I hung this from the ribbon using some red twine. It provided the perfect finishing touch.

a close up of the lovely Christmas tree charm
So, I hope you like my card. Would I do anything differently another time? Well, yes, there's always another way of doing things - but that will have to wait for another playtime!

This post has been a little long winded but you know how much I like to tell you about how I've made things, so I hope you've enjoyed it.

Thanks for visiting, take care and I'll be back soon.

Love from me xx

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Busy, busy, busy

Hello everyone

Yes, I'm still alive, just very, very busy right now!

Some of you may know that I have some workshops coming up very soon (3rd November) at The Emporium in Draycott, where I will be showing some lovely people how to make pretty Christmas cards using Craftwork Cards fabulous products. So, as you can imagine, there's quite a lot of preparation involved, from making sure I have enough of everything for everyone attending, right through to making up my sample cards to show everyone on the day so that they can see what I'm talking about! It's all very exciting. If you live locally, it would be fab to see you there.

You may also know that I will be running a stall at Firfield Primary School, Breaston, on Friday 16th November. The school are having a Christmas Shopping and Pamper Evening and I was approached to see if I would be interested in running a stall on the evening. Of course I jumped at the chance! I have close links with the school as two of my lovely nieces went there and we enjoyed many fun-filled fund-raising events over the years that they attended, so to be able to participate in such an event but from another angle will be lovely. I am hoping to do well with my sales on the evening, simply because I will be donating 10% of my sales proceeds to the BBC's 2012 Children In Need Appeal. So I'm hoping for a good turn-out and for lots of support for this very worthwhile cause. Again, if you live locally, do come along! It only costs £2 on the door, which includes mulled wine and mince pie, and you can book yourself in for a lovely pamper session - mini manicure or pedicure, head massage anyone? There will be lots to look at, loads of fabby Christmas present ideas and I believe there will also be a raffle! Needless to say, I am in the process of making items for this stall, whilst at the same time getting ready for my workshops, and not forgetting to keep The Emporium at Draycott fully stocked with my lovely items! Like I said, busy, busy, busy!

And of course all of this is happening alongside my obligation to provide my beautiful son with a worthwhile education! I have been home-schooling him for almost 4 years now - where has the time gone? And it is still as rewarding now as on that very first day. We have so much fun and learn new things together and I feel very privileged to be able to contribute in such a significant way to my his education.

And with all of this going on, as yet I have had no time at all to make any Christmas cards for my own use this year, so no doubt that will all be last minute again! Still, I'm not complaining - it wouldn't do to be bored!

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures for you today, but I promise as soon as I get my head above water, so to speak, I will be back with something for you all to look at.

And before I go, you may have seen my other post, below, regarding the forthcoming Hobbycrafts Show at the SECC in Glasgow. It takes place from 25th to 28th October, and Craftwork Cards will have a stand there - D28 - so do go along and say hello to them, and treat yourself to some of their lovely goodies while you're there. There's a voucher to print off in my post below, which will entitle you to 10% off your purchases - so do take advantage of this fabulous money-saving offer! Have fun!

Take care everyone and I'll be back soon.

Love from me xx

Hobbycrafts Show, SECC, Glasgow

Are you going to the Hobbycrafts Show at the SECC in Glasgow?

Craftwork Cards have a special discount voucher for you to use on their stand D28 during the show.

Simply right click the image and print it out, bring it with you to the show and present it at Craftwork Cards till when paying for your crafty goodies and you will received 10% off all products purchased!

Enjoy your shopping!