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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.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Gorgeous Sugar Plum Fairy

Morning everyone

Hope you're all having a good Friday. Mine has been a tad busy in the housework department so far, and soon I have to prepare lunch before sitting down to teach my son for the afternoon. But at least it is Friday, so two days of chilling lie ahead and I can tell you I am really looking forward to that ..... film, popcorn, maybe a glass of wine ..... bliss.

Anyway, if you've been over to the Craftwork Cards Blog today you will have seen my post featuring the newest arrival in our family - my gorgeous Sugar Plum Fairy! For those of you who haven't, or who just want another look, here she is ......

Isn't she beautiful?

This is a 6 inch square deep box frame picture which started life as a natural wood box frame, a kraft mannequin and some papers and flowers from the Craftwork Cards Sugarplum Floral Pad.

I began by painting the frame using chalk acrylic paint in a colour called Sherbet, and when dry this had a generous coating of Crafter's Companion Spray & Sparkle in Silver added. (Now, this stuff really produces quite strong fumes - ok, it stinks! - so I would always recommend using it outside rather than in, as not only can it cause dizziness and drowsiness - it carries a warning on the can - but the fumes linger for a good 20 minutes after applying it. But once it's dry, thankfully there are no probs with any residual smells!) So, one sparkly frame - I love the sparkle of the silver on the sherbet pink.

I then gave the mannequin a couple of coats of Adirondack Lights Snow Cap ink, just to lighten it a touch, and once this was dry I added some Ranger Stickles Star Dust Glitter glue to the top and bottom to add some sparkle.

Next, I took a sheet of paper from the Sugarplum Flower Pad, I chose the dotty one, cut a piece the right width and length for my mannequin and then folded it in lots of narrow pleats to form a dress. I pinched the "dress" in the middle to form the waist and then fixed this to the mannequin using Glossy Accents. I had to play around a bit with the pleats in order to get the shape right. Next I took some white tulle, gathered this where the waist would be, and fixed this on top of the pleated paper by wrapping some lovely plum coloured ribbon around and tying on the front at the side. The top layer of the dress is formed by using two pieces of a lovely, sparkly silver mesh ribbon which is quite wide and quite stiff and which is often used around special celebration cakes, but I cannot remember what it is called! I thought it would be perfect, so I threaded the two strips underneath the waistband ribbon and gently coaxed them into place so that they were nicely gathered above the waist and then dropped down on either side of the dress, leaving a gap in the centre so that you can see the other layers beneath. Finally for the mannequin I applied some Star Dust glitter glue to the waistband ribbon for added sparkle.

Next, I took another sheet of paper from the Sugarplum Flower Pad to use as my background, and to this I fixed a lovely big plum coloured feather, which I bought in a pack from Hobbycraft, but you can probably buy them at most decent craft shops. Next I fixed some strands of crystals offset to one side, and then mounted the beautiful mannequin on top using foam pads to lift it away from the background.

I used some of the little flowers from the Sugarplum Flower Pad in the bottom corners, folding them into various shapes and adding clear gems for centres, and also added a sprinkling of clear gems around the background just to provide even more sparkle!

A closer shot of the lovely dress so you can see the layers
Even closer to see the ribbon dotted with glitter glue
Fab strands of clear crystals
Finally I got to put the whole thing together and I am very pleased with the finished picture. It was so much fun to do and extremely rewarding to see an idea which just popped into my head turn into reality in the space of just a couple of hours. It probably would have taken less time but I did "faff around" quite a lot with the dress layers and the feather to get them exactly as I wanted them!

But what do you think? I'd love to read your thoughts so please do leave a comment

All from me for now, so take care and have a great weekend, and to all my new followers a big THANK YOU and I hope you enjoy sharing my crafting journey with me.

Love from me xx

Monday, 17 September 2012

Christmas Cards

Hi everyone

Hope you're all well. I'm just sitting here in the lounge and the skies are getting darker by the minute so I'm thinking we might need to put the lights on soon! How depressing is that thought!

Anyway, today I have a couple of Christmas cards to share with you, made using elements from some of the new Craftwork Cards products including the Christmas Ornaments pad which was free with the QVC recipe cards, the Christmas Distressables Pad, and the It's a Wrap Christmas pad, and also using the Flowers Christmas Edition pad which was available last year.

This first card is a 6 x 6 straight edged white card, onto which I've layered a piece of the green holly embossed paper from the Christmas Distressables Pad, I've distressed the paper to reveal some of the white core. Onto this I've added three baubles tied with silver organza ribbon and a ribbon band and sentiment across the bottom portion. I've used some Xmas Red Stickles Glitter Glue to highlight some of the berries on the embossed paper, and Star Dust Stickles Glitter Glue on the long edges of the ribbon band, around the sentiment, and to add sparkle to the baubles. I also added some green crystals to the left hand bauble for added sparkle and dimension.
This lovely little card is a 4 inch scalloped edge card. I've added a piece of green swirly embossed paper from the Christmas Distressables Pad which I've distressed to reveal the white core. Onto this I've added one of the red holly embossed frames from the same pad, which again I've distressed, and I fixed in a diamond shape using foam pads. I created a lovely multi-layered flower, using the Christmas Edition Flowers pad from last year, with a Candi centre, and fixed this inside the aperture in the centre of the frame, again using a foam pad. I added Star Dust Stickles Glitter Glue to the petals for extra sparkle and finished with a simple sentiment from the It's a Wrap Christmas Pad bottom right which again I glittered around the edges. This is such a simple design but I love it, and it's so dimensional with the raised frame and flower, and is probably a good 3cm deep in the centre!

I'm in the process of making more cards and some other projects, and so I'll be back to share them as soon as possible. It's a busy life when you're a full time teacher/mum/housewife/designer!

Take care, thanks for dropping in, and I'll see you all soon.

Love from me xx

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Less Is More Weekly Challenge, Week 84 One Layer Challenge - Foliage

Morning everyone

It's a glorious autumn morning here today. The sun is just coming up and everything is bathed in that early morning light which I absolutely love. I almost love it more than the golden glow at the end of a sunny day just before the sun goes down.

There's something special about this time of year I think. Spring is lovely because everything is waking up again and you see those first beautiful bursts of green after the drab nakedness of winter, but autumn for me is a time for celebrations - you harvest all of the goodies you've been nurturing in the ground through the long summer months, the trees put on their splendid autumn coats of copper, red and gold almost like ladies and gentlemen of the Victorian era dressing in their best finery for one final promenade before the weather is too harsh to go out anymore, and finally it's time to pick all of those lovely juicy apples and pears, plums and damsons. The pumpkins are big and fat and orange and Halloween is almost like the finale, but then to really end on a bang and herald the coming of winter (and the excitement begins to build for all children because soon it will be Christmas), we have fireworks night and the smell of gunpowder fills the air as all of those gloriously colourful fireworks fill the sky with their brash displays and louds bangs as if to say "Here I am!", "Look at me!". And, if you're ever so lucky, you might have spotted a hedgehog or two fattening themselves up on your blackberry patch before they find somewhere cosy to sleep out the winter months.

I love going for an early morning walk at this time of year (when the other two in the house can be bothered to heave themselves out from under their cosy duvets!) - it's misty, but sunny and the light is wonderful for taking really atmospheric photographs; it's cool but with a promise of some warming rays on your face and back when the sun winds up a gear or two later in the day; the birds are just getting up and beginning their daily challenge of finding enough to eat and defending their territories ready for the harsh winter months ahead - and this morning's winners in our garden are the goldfinches and Mr Robin, who all flew in nice and early to claim the best tables at this local all-day-diner!

But enough of this waxing lyrical! On to the subject of this post! The Less Is More challenge this week is a one layer card featuring foliage. Now, given that it's the start of autumn, and after all my waffling just now, you might be expecting to see those beautiful autumn colours in my card .... but no! I've actually done a bit of a fast forward to Christmas, and instead chosen holly for my foliage! And here is my card, which has been kissed by the early morning sun as you can see!

I used a small scalloped edge card and stamped a clean and simple design of holly leaves and berries along with a sentiment in the middle. The stamps are all from a Stampendous set called Christmas Wishes and I used Tsukineko Brilliance Pearlescent Ivy ink to stamp all the images. It's a fab shade of green which is perfect for Christmas! I coloured the holly leaves and berries with ProMarkers in Holly and Berry Red and then coated them all with Glossy Accents because Holly leaves are glossy and so are those beautiful red berries which our blackbirds love so much. I finished the design by adding a sparkly edge to the scalloped sides using Stickles Star Dust glitter glue - well, you can't have a Christmas card without a bit of sparkle! I decided to just do a border of foliage down the left and leave the rest of the card "empty". I think it makes for a very impactful card and I'm very pleased with it. I hope you like it too.

OK, that's all from me for now.

Enjoy your Sunday, whatever you're doing, and I'll see you all again soon.

Oh, just before I go .... a big warm welcome and thank you to my new followers. It's great to have you along for the journey and I hope you'll enjoy the ride.

Take care all.

Love from me xx

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Naturally Gorgeous - picture

Hello all

Thanks for joining me here today and I hope you've all had a good day? I've spent the day turning old Christmas cards into gift tags with my son and generally chilling out. Alex is making the most of his last few days of "freedom" before school starts again for him next week!

I have a picture to share with you today that I made a week or two ago, using elements from the Craftwork Cards Naturally Gorgeous kit. Some of you may have seen it on Facebook, but I thought I would post it on here too. Also, I have now closed my Facebook account for various reasons, so from now on you will only be able to see what I've been up to by following my blog.

So, this is a deep box picture frame which I bought in its natural state from The Range. I painted it with chalk acrylic paint and then set to making my picture. I knew I wanted the mannequin theme, so it was just a case of finding some nice bits and pieces to put with it. I inked the chipboard mannequin with Memento London Fog and then tied some silver organza ribbon around her waist so that she wasn't completely naked! Next I had a rummage in my stash and found the little scissors, sequins, sewing pins, tiny metal flowers and ric rac. My mother-in-law had given me several tiny cotton reels, complete with their cotton, which were lurking in her ottaman, and I just happened to pick the only blue one out of the lot to add to the picture! I shaped the lovely flowers and fixed them in place with the mannequin and then just added all the other bits in here and there. The tape measure is from a sheet of die cuts from Craftwork Cards and I believe it was part of a range called "Little Boy Blue", which I bought quite some time ago - I knew it would come in handy some day! I inked it along the edges to tie it in with the background paper. I could have added lots of other bits and pieces but I didn't want the design to be cluttered. Equally, that's why I left the frame plain. I think it works rather well!

So there you are, job done! The picture now adorns a wall in our lounge and we all love it!

Right, that's it from me for tonight.

I have another picture to share in my next post, but it's rather different from this one!

Meanwhile, take care.

Love from me xx