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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, 27 February 2012

Those Dad/Grandad cards I mentioned yesterday ..

Hi there

Just a quick post to show you the cards my son and I made for Grandad/Dad. It's his birthday today, so happy birthday Dad/Grandad! We had a fun packed afternoon with a big chunk of the family all together in one place which was lovely, and there was a yummy birthday cake so that was a bonus!

So, here are the cards, which I hope you like. I could have done more with the Dad one but ran out of time as most of it was spent helping my son with his wonderful creation. Don't begrudge one second of it though!

Bye for now,
love from me xx

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Another successful card making day!

Hi folks

Just a quick one from me as it's been a full on few days and I'm in need of my bed!

So today was another successful day in the card making department. My son and I both made two cards each, for an Auntie/Sister-in-law, and for a Grandad/Dad. My son's designs are again fab, and mine are ok. Let's just say that he's put me in the shade so I'm thinking of resigning! Photos will follow in a few days' time after both events have passed - don't want to spoil the surprises for the recipients.

Trying to decide whether to go to GNPE next month. Don't really have a budget for it at the mo but I loved it there last year so might just have to go along for the atmosphere and to say hello to one of my favourite designers - Julie Hickey. It's down to her that I started making cards in the first place, having been presented with not one, but two of her brilliant books on the subject. She's been kind enough to post many of my card designs on the Craftwork Cards blog and their Inspiration pages in the past year, which has given me such a confidence boost, and I've received lovely comments from others who've seen them too. A bit of positive feedback makes all the difference in this competitive world we live in.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings, off to get my head down.

Take care, and I'll be back soon.

Love from me xx

Saturday, 25 February 2012

As promised ... the cards we made earlier this week

Hello everyone

Just a quick post from me today as it's a busy, busy day!

I'm really pleased to report that my cards are selling very well at the local boutique. It's a thrill to know others like my cards enough to want to buy them.

And, as promised, here are the cards made by my son and I earlier this week. I'm sure you will agree that the card my son made is absolutely gorgeous, just like him!

All for now as off to make more birthday cards!

Take care and see you again soon.

Love from me xxxx

Thursday, 23 February 2012

My son's turn to be crafty today!

Hi everyone

So, today we bathed in the glorious sunshine and enjoyed a temperature of a balmy 18 degrees - how bonkers is that? I was looking through my photo album for this month and couldn't believe how much snow we'd had not that long ago - definitely a mid-winter scene - and now today I was absolutely baking when I went for a walk with my son this afternoon in my cropped jeans and a fleece, and it felt like May, not February! I wish this daft planet would make up its mind!

So, apart from the very unseasonal but lovely weather, my day has been fairly uneventful with no time to indulge my crafty cravings. However, the same cannot be said for my son who made a beautiful birthday card for one of his cousins! He used some papers I'd bought about two years ago and forgotten about (but will be using now they've been unearthed), various other things, the details of which I'd best not reveal just in case his cousin happens to read this, and just did his usual magic trick of making it look stunning! Between you and me I think he's after my job! Of course, the other way of looking at it is that he has a great creative eye and will go far when he's all grown up and probably become a multi-millionnaire!

I was going to publish a photo of his card today but I would hate to spoil the surprise for his cousin! So, come back on Saturday evening and the photo will be here then. I know you're going to love it!

Hugs to anyone who reads this and thanks for visiting. Please leave a comment, even if only to say hi, and although I'm only a novice card maker, it would be nice to have more than one follower, so ...... what are you waiting for?!

Bye for now,
love from me xxxx

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Secret Valentine's card revealed!

Hi again!

Just a quick additional post, as I realised I'd promised to post a picture of the Valentine's Card I'd made back in January but couldn't reveal until after Valentine's Day! I'm happy to say my husband was delighted with it, and I'm still really pleased with how it turned out. It was my very first go at heat embossing and it worked out so well that I'll probably make more along these lines in the future. It's a simple design but the red and gold is lovely together and I think it works really well. xx

Lazy Sunday afternoon

Hello folks

So, that's the weekend pretty much over. I don't know where the time goes.

I'm happy to say the cold is on its way out and I felt much more human today. As a result I got crafty for a little while this afternoon and made this quick card. I'm quite pleased with the outcome but think I could do more so that's my challenge to myself - to do more and push myself to the next level .. whatever that might be! I enjoyed making this one though, and I think that's really important. I'm having fun playing with all these little metalic bits and pieces and it's all very new to me, and I probably need to be braver and more adventurous, but, as I said yesterday, I'm still on quite a steep learning curve so I'm not going to be too hard on myself! Anyway, I like the way it looks and hopefully someone else will too! I've called it "Nature's Rebellion".

Bye for now.
Love from me xx

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Got the dreaded lurgy!

Hey there friends!

Hope you're all having a good weekend.

I've just been checking out my favourite blogs and it looks like everyone has been very busy this weekend already, with some beautiful projects completed - well done all of you and I only wish I had as much talent. I on the other hand have not been busy in the crafty sense at all! We (husband and I) spent pretty much the whole day yesterday blitzing our son's bedroom, which was quite disgusting since we'd not been able to do any proper cleaning in there for weeks thanks to his rather large (but very impressive) Lego City setup taking up most of the floor space. So it came as a huge relief when he finally accepted that he wasn't playing with it anymore and it was time for it all to be packed away for a while. Of course, this job fell to his Dad and me, and it gave us a great opportunity to not only do a really good thorough clean, but also to move some of his furniture around so that the space works better for him. The end result is fab, our son loves it and I'm ecstatic that it's all clean and shiny again! The downside of all of this hard work? Last night, feeling happy but quite frankly exhausted, I fell prey to the cold my husband has been suffering with (and generously sharing with us!) for the last week and as a result have been feeling a bit grotty to say the least! Our son has also come down with it - joy! So we all had a terrible night and have therefore felt less than enthusiastic about doing anything constructive today. So instead we had a relatively lazy time getting a few essential things done this morning but then chilling out in PJs, watching films and eating pizza, popcorn, chocolate and crisps this afternoon! And we plan to do the same again tomorrow. Excellent therapy, great quality time together as a family (which doesn't happen very often because we're so busy) and a great excuse to eat all those things we shouldn't!

As a result of all of this lack of activity I don't have much in the crafty department to share with anyone at the mo, but before I fell victim to this wretched bug I did manage a couple of crafty projects and have included photos below, just to make my blog entry a bit more interesting to look at! Both projects used heat embossing - I'm really pleased with how the hearts turned out - and I thoroughly enjoyed colouring the picture and framing it. I will certainly be doing more of these kinds of projects in the future. It's still quite a steep learning curve for me since I only started my journey in the world of paper crafts a couple of years ago, and there are so many techniques still to try out, let alone master! But, I think I'm doing ok, and if people are buying my creations then I must be! Onwards and upwards and feeling more excited and enthusiastic about it all with each passing week.

So now I've had a bit of a ramble I'm off to dose up, have a hot cuppa, and try and thrash some poor virtual opponent at Scrabble!

Take care and see you all when I'm feeling more human again!

Love from me xx

                                   I love the way this turned out but what you can't see is the
                            lovely linen texture on that paper - it's fab and feels very
                            luxurious. I had very positive feedback on this but found it
                            really interesting that most people thought hearts or flowers
                            but not both so that the beautiful paper can be seen and enjoyed
                            better. I can see their point though, it is very lovely paper and
                            shouldn't be hidden, so that's something I will definitely bear in
                                  mind in future creations.

                                     I always loved colouring as a child and to be able to indulge
                              that part of me and at the same time create something which
                              would look great on anyone's wall is a pure joy. I use
                              Promarkers for my colouring in and although I still don't have
                              all the different shades, I was really happy with the way this
                              turned out.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Gosh, time flies!

Hello everyone

I can't believe it's several days since I posted on here, just shows how busy a time I've been having.

So, hope you all had a good Valentine's Day. I spent a good deal of mine working on a new project but it did at least have a "love" theme. Still working on it though so no piccies yet!

My cards are proving popular at The Emporium which is good to know and I need to make some yummy Mother's Day cards to put in there since that date is fast approaching now. Next will be Easter and before we know it the summer will almost be upon us again and it will be time to start planning the Christmas cards! I've never been so busy, but am loving it.

So that's me.

Pop back soon to see what I'm up to and hopefully in my next post there will be some photos of my latest project to share with you.

Take care, love from me xx

Saturday, 11 February 2012

It may be the weekend but I've been busy all day!

Good evening, hope you're all having a lovely weekend and not feeling too chilly.

I've had a few very busy days, not only getting my Valentine's Cards made for The Emporium (let's hope I sold at least one - will find out next week ...) but also rehashing some of my earlier cards with mostly very satisfying results, as well as making some envelopes which involved using an existing template and scaling down the height of the envelope to accommodate cards which are only about 3 inches tall. Sounds simple enough but it's a bit of a challenge for me since I'm not very good at that kind of thing, but I got there and am very pleased with the size of my envelopes for my little cute cards. I used some lovely thick pearlescent paper too, so they're rather nice actually!

So, while I was doing all that, my husband and son got to enjoy the winter sunshine on a local walk/bike ride, sorted out some food and water for the birds - gotta look after them on these cold days - and did the always fun (not) weekend food shop. And that's Saturday gone!

We now have a lovely fire going and I'm about to enjoy my Saturday night treat - an Indian meal - loverly.

Tomorrow I will once again be in my little world of card making in an attempt to get the little grey cells working well enough to enable me to come up with some lovely new designs. I have a customer waiting to hear from me with a new range of cards so I need to get cracking! My husband and son will be cooking Sunday lunch so I am looking forward to that enormously - it's nice to have a meal cooked for you now and again isn't it?

Right, off now to chill out with my feet up for the evening watching something that needs no brain power!

Take care, keep warm and see you soon.

Love from me xx

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Valentine's cards sorted!

Hello again my friends

I don't know what sort of day you've all had, but for me it's been very mixed. This morning was spent joining in imaginary place scenarios with my son and husband involving a fire and a posh lady needing to be rescued from a high place, having no notion of how she got there in the first place! Oh, and then a criminal-type appeared up on a cliff and before anyone could apprehend him he'd somehow magically flown across a gorge to the other side - must have super powers!

So, I finally made it into my little den around lunchtime and in between various interruptions managed to produce three more lovely Valentine's cards, one of which was my husband's design idea actually, so I'm very happy. That's 5 to go to The Emporium and fingers crossed I sell at least two!

This evening I've polished off what was left of my share of a large box of Black Magic chocolates which had been festering (well, not quite) under our sofa since Christmas. I have to say it's a relief that the box has gone and is no longer staring me in the face challenging my will power, which obviously completely failed me this evening lol!

Tomorrow it will be a quick trip to The Emporium to get my new cards in place and then more making. I'll be focusing on 8 x 8 cards in all sorts of colour schemes and with all kinds of themes and hopefully somewhere between my little grey cells and my fingers the magic will happen and I'll be able to produce something at least acceptable!

See you all soon.
Love from me xxxx
                                   Who designed this? Leave me your comments and I'll
                                              reveal all on Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Another Valentine's card off the production line!

Firstly I'd like to say a big thank you to those of you who have started to leave comments on my blog. Your feedback means a lot to me.

Yay! I managed to make another Valentine's card in between all the dreary household chores! It has a similar design theme to the one I made yesterday, but this time I've used four squares of the paper, a large heart in the centre and a small heart above and below. I've inked around the edges with a tiny bit of one of my pink chalk inks. I'm quite pleased with it. I had in mind a different design from this one but realised I didn't have the right sized heart stamp! I'm going to have to raid my stash and see if I can find anything else to use instead! Watch this space!

Love from me xx

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Valentine's Day is fast approaching ....

.... and it's one area I really struggle with when it comes to making cards. I think this is because I know all the people who buy my cards are ladies and so they will be looking for a card suitable for their man, so if it's all pink and girlie and covered in flowers that's not ideal is it? Still, it's something I know I have to tackle head on and triumph over, so below is my first attempt this year. What do you think? I know there are lots of cute images out there for Valentine's cards but I'm not much into cute really, and I suspect many men aren't either. It's very tricky.

Since I am struggling a little with this subject I'm hopping over to some of my favourite blogs to see if I can get inspired!

Back soon.
Love from me xx

Monday, 6 February 2012

photos of more cards I have made today

So, here are the other cards I managed to make today. Hope you like them, I certainly had fun making them all!

Love from me xx

A crafting day for me today - yippee!

Hello folks

I'm a happy happy bunny today as I get to spend some quality time in my den getting creative. My husband is going to spend some time with Alex to give me a break so I can't wait to get started.

I did manage a bit of creativity yesterday which I thoroughly enjoyed, and although many of my designs are quite simple, I think they're really effective. Having lots of elements on a card can be lovely but they can also start to look cluttered, so sometimes less is more. That's my philosophy anyway.

So below is a picture of a card I whipped up yesterday afternoon. I used a cream scalloped edge square card, to which I added a central embossed flourish using sepia ink and clear embossing powder on an orange paper which was mounted onto a brown swirly textured paper, finished with the little greeting at the bottom and inked around the edges. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out but as usual the photo doesn't do the card justice so you'll have to take my word for it when I say it is a lovely little card. I can't show you the one I'd made in the morning yet because I need to be sure the recipient has opened it first!

I'll be back soon.

Meanwhile, keep warm and be happy.
Love from me xx

Saturday, 4 February 2012


Good evening to you all and are you surrounded like us by a snowy white landscape this evening? So pretty, but SO cold! Alex had a great time playing with his friends in the snow today. It's the first time ever that's he's had friends to play with in the snow. He's played with his cousins in the past, or else either me or his Dad has had to brave the elements and put up with the volley of snowballs he rains down on us, but to have some friends to play with has been wonderful and exciting for him! So we got to stay inside in the warmth and enjoy our lovely fire and he had some fun out in the cold. Win win!

Exciting news! I sold my first card at The Emporium this morning - wooohooo! I'm really chuffed. Of course, that could be the only sale I make but at least it's one card less sitting in a box! We only found out because we took some better boxes along for displaying my cards. I've amended yesterday's post to include the photos of the new display so I hope you like them as much as we do.

I got a bit of time in my studio late this afternoon and did some desperately needed tidying on my desk and sort of started to get organised for making a new batch of cards for children, only to then realise that we hadn't bought a card for my brother-in-law's birthday, which is on Monday, and we're going to see him tomorrow, so I had to get my thinking cap on for that instead. Still, at least I got to make a card and hopefully he'll like the fact that it was made specially for him. I don't know about you, but I still feel a bit uneasy about giving my handmade cards to close family for two reasons - what if they don't like it and do they mind that there's no verse inside? I have books full of verses somewhere but have yet to unearth them from when we moved house over a year ago - yes, we are that disorganised and half our possessions are still in cardboard boxes almost 16 months later - but we'll get sorted eventually and hopefully I'll find my books of verses in the process!

So, one successful sale, one successful card made, a bit of tidying and a clearer idea of what I'm doing next, lots of snow and one very happy son. That's not bad going is it?

Right, I'm off now for a cuppa, so keep warm, take care (especially if you're going out in these current conditions) and come back soon!
Love from me xxxx

Friday, 3 February 2012

My first venture into the world of retail sales began today!

Hello everyone

And how excited am I? VERY! Earlier today we took a big box of my best cards to The Emporium at Draycott and they are in place in a prime spot waiting to be purchased! Fingers crossed they will be snapped up! I've got to get cracking and make some more over the next few days though as we found out there were several shelves available so decided to rent two next to each other! I have some great ideas so am looking forward to a good session in my studio over the weekend.

Come back for more instalments soon!

Meanwhile, have a good weekend.
Bye for now, love from me xx

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Getting ready to sell, sell, sell!

Hello all

So, yesterday and today sort of melded into one, hence no blog entry for yesterday and only just getting round to it today!

Yesterday was a full on day doing all sorts of stuff, including MORE English and Maths with Alex. He did really well and actually showed that he can do doubling and halving and so can do some of his times tables. It just all needed writing in another way for him - believe it or not as fractions! Work that one out! Personally I'm not bothered how he achieves the end result, I'm just really pleased for him that something worked this time. And he did great with his English work on verbs and adverbs. So a big well done pat on the back for him!

Today he's been creating his own Legoland themepark thanks to a software CD that his Dad unearthed in the shed when he went looking for photo paper! Needless to say Alex was thrilled and has had a great time with it and no doubt will be back for more tomorrow since there are endless levels to it so no shortage of challenges for his wonderful brain.

Meanwhile his Dad and I have been sorting out my cards to go to The Emporium, pricing and coding them all up, and I've of course had to produce a very basic kind of catalogue so that we can keep track of which ones sell (note the optimistic way I phrased that!). I'm both excited and apprehensive at the moment and only in the last few minutes had a bit of a wobbly about the box we've chosen to display them in! Still, I'm sure it will all be fine.
I've managed to have a little play with my new embossing toys again but with very mixed results and certainly nothing that's left me jumping up and down shouting Eureka! Still, early days. I have also discovered today that the legendary Tim Holtz has brought out a range of 36 distress ink marker pens which tie in with his ink pads and I watched him demonstrating how to use them. The thing I loved most was being able to use them straight onto stamps, using as many different colours as you want, and the colours stay true no matter what, and hey presto, with a quick "hah" of warm breath onto the stamp to remoisturise the inks (because they dry really quickly) you can then stamp your image, and the end result is absolutely fabtastic. I was, needless to say, extremely impressed and Alex thought they were quite clever too! The white picket fence one was even more exciting because when you use it on dark coloured card, initially you can't see anything, but as it dries the white colour appears, and you can add more layers to make the colour more opaque. Pure magic! They won't be available in the UK for a couple of weeks yet and I'm wondering what they will retail at since over in the jolly old US of A they're going to be retailing at something like $3.50 each. I just hope retailers in the UK don't try to charge £3.50 each for them, which would be very naughty wouldn't it? There's also a complete set of 36 plus the picket fence one which can be purchased together in a canister, but that's probably second mortgage fodder, so don't think I'll be going down that route!

So there you go, that's what we've been up to in the last couple of days.

Come back soon to follow my progress!

Meanwhile, take care.

Love from me xxxx