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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.

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!

Monday, 8 October 2012

more Memory Lane inspiration

Hello everyone

Well, it's Monday again already - didn't that weekend fly by?

So, I recently made a few very simple cards using the latest Craftwork Cards Project of the Month Kit called Memory Lane and thought I'd share them with you all today.

This first card is an anniversary card and I decided to use one of the glittered papers from the kit. I also cut the letters to spell "ALWAYS" from the paper with the typewriter keys on it. The letters and my sentiment were fixed to some of the tickets in the kit and I gave the word "Always" a coat of glossy accents. The tickets and sentiment were inked around the edges. I made some multi-layered flowers using the tiny blooms in the kit, added pearls to the centres and fixed them to the card. Everything is fixed to the card with foam pads and had to be pushed down really firmly to get it to stick to all of that glitter!

close up of the blooms and the "Always" glossed lettering
My next card is again an anniversary card and this time I used the glittered paper with the script on it. I added a sentiment at the top, which I fixed to one of the tags in the kit. I glittered the tag around the edges and added two pieces of Olive Lace Candi, one on either side, which I also glittered.

I again made up some multi-layered flowers using the blooms in the kit, but I also made up a larger flower using some layers from the Vintage Floral Pad which is also available from Craftwork Cards. I fixed all the flowers in place and added Stardust Stickles to the centres of the small flowers and a pearl to the centre of the larger flower. I also added some Stardust Stickles to the petals of the flowers. The finishing touch was to add some more pieces of Olive Lace Candi, which again I glittered.

My third card is a new home card, made using another of the glittered papers, this time the one with the bird cage on. I took one of the tickets from the kit and added a sentiment, and tied some ribbon through the top. I glittered around the edges of the sentiment with Stardust Stickles. I shaped three little flowers which I fixed top left, adding Stardust Stickles to their centres and made up a bigger bloom, again using layers from the Vintage Floral Pad, fixed Candi in the centre and gave the whole flower a good dose of Stardust Stickles for added sparkle.

close up of the big bloom

My last card is a sympathy card, which I made using one of the matte patterned papers in the kit. I again took a tag from the kit and added a sentiment on top and then tied ribbon through. I fixed three little flowers top right and bottom left and one large bloom made using flowers from the Vintage Floral Pad, all with pearl centres. Finally I added the tiniest touch of Stardust Stickles to the large bloom.

My colour balances are all over the place in some of these photos and I can only apologise for that, but hope you still get a good feel for how the cards look.

Now just before I go, don't forget to hop over to the Craftwork Cards blog each day this week and leave a comment for them with the word "Candi" in your comment somewhere to be in with the chance of winning a fab Candi prize worth OVER £100!!! Certainly not to be sneezed at, so what are you waiting for? You have to leave a comment every day to be included in the prize draw and your comments have to include the word "Candi". The closing date is midnight on Friday 12th October - good luck!

Thanks for dropping in to share my designs today, hope you liked them - please leave a comment as I love to hear from you all.

Back soon!

Take care,
love from me xx

Saturday, 6 October 2012

News from Tim Holtz, shopping at the GNPE and more Memory Lane Inspiration

Hello everyone

Hope you're all well on this sunny Saturday? We are certainly enjoying some lovely, sunny autumn days at the moment aren't we? I have to say autumn is my favourite time of the year - harvesting all that fruity goodness in the garden (pears, apples and plums all ripe and ready to enjoy), the sun is still warm enough to dry the washing outside and the chance for some lovely long walks to enjoy the changing scenery. I love the fact that we can still have glorious blue sky, bright yellow sunshine, but then thrown into the mix now are not just different shades of green, but also orange, yellow and red as the trees don their beautiful autumn coats. Of course, the fact that my birthday falls right at the start of this wonderfully colourful season is a mere coincidence!

So, firstly I have some exciting news and a link to share with you! Ranger and Tim Holtz have just announced that those wonderful limited edition seasonal distress ink sets (picked raspberry, peacock feathers, mowed lawn, squeezed lemonade, shaded lilac and gathered twigs to name just a few) are to become part of the year-round Distress palette, so the year-round range has just grown from 36 to 48 colours - how fab is that? Now, I am lucky to have been able to buy most of these colours over the last year since I discovered the joys of stamping and inking(!), but I am missing two - Ripe Persimmon and Seedless Preserves - so I will be so excited if I manage to lay hands on these at some point in the not too distant future! Check out the announcement here and share the excitement!

So the next thing I wanted to share with you all is that I had a fab time at the GNPE in Harrogate today. For those of you who do not know, this is a twice yearly craft show organised by Craftwork Cards Ltd and one which I look forward to every time because there is always such a wonderful mix of stands, plenty of room to move and look properly at all of those lovely products (and so much fabby crafting candy to choose from), and the atmosphere is just great! I got to meet some of my lovely Craftwork Cards Design Team buddies for the first time, I heard Barbara Gray and co enjoying their karaoke crafting, and I confess to spending very much more than I intended to - I think I got a bit carried away with the buzz of it all! Still, I now have some lovely new dies, I've added to my chalk acrylic paint palette (and learnt some new techniques too!) and bought some new goodies which I can't wait to have a play with when time permits. Today is World Card Making Day and I saw so many beautiful card designs put together by lots of very talented individuals. Alas I have not had an opportunity to make any of my own cards today, but hope to get some time in my craft room in the next few days. But fear not, for I still have two lovely cards to share with you, which I made recently for Craftwork Cards Ltd using their new Project of the Month kit called Memory Lane.

The first design is a wedding anniversary card, made using a Fanciful card blank, and various elements of the kit. I love the way this design came together, and I think using Distress Ink in Pumice Stone around the edges of various elements just adds to the vintage feel of this card, but what do you think?

close up of the beautiful dainty blooms

My second design would suit lots of different occasions as it has the simple sentiment "Congratulations" on the front.

I love the big chandelier image on this paper and had great fun highlighting some bits with Ranger Stickles Glitter Glue in Stardust, and adding clear gems to other areas - so much added sparkle! I was also really pleased with the way my lovely little blooms turned out and the colour combination of lilac, pink and brown works really well for a vintage feel. I inked all around the edges (and onto the flower petals) with chalk ink this time in a pink to tie in with the pinks in the flowers and in one area of the chandelier paper, and I think it pulls the whole design together really well.

close up of the beautiful flowers

more beautiful blooms!

and yet more beautiful dainty blooms!
So that's me! Hope you like my two designs and that I've provided you with some more inspiration.

Until next time, take care.

Love from me xx

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Floral wreath making workshop

Hi folks

Just a quick one from me to day to share with you the photos from my floral wreath making workshop which I held at the weekend. Apologies in advance as there are lots of photos to look at! And just a note that all the materials to make these beautiful wreaths are available from Craftwork Cards Ltd, so if you fancy having a go yourself - that's where to go to buy your supplies!

I had hoped for a full house at my workshop - the big round table at The Emporium where I held the workshop can seat up to 8 people comfortably - but in the end there were only four of us, still, better than nothing and it's a start!

We all had a fabulous time and my ladies all made different and beautiful floral wreaths which they were very pleased with.

The first picture I'm posting is the state our table was in part way through the workshop - could we possibly fit anything else on there? I just couldn't resist showing you!
Notice the sweeties there, ready for sucking to help with concentration!
busy shaping all of those flowers

concentrating hard on getting the shape just right
inking up the chipboard ring
more shaping
and even more shaping
After all the flower shaping and layering, and inking up the rings and tying the ribbons through, it was finally time to arrange all of those beautiful blooms to make the wreath come to life, but first .... let's take a closer look at some of those beautiful blooms shall we?

Fab shape and those vintage colours are very classy
A beautiful daffodil made using the Frosty flowers
Side view to see the beautiful dimensional bloom
A whole array of beautiful blooms!
So, let's get it all fixed together and see what we've achieved in this 2 hour slot! Hold onto your hats - these wreaths are simply gorgeous and my ladies were so creative and skilful - well done to you all!
Wow! Fabulous Frosty flowered wreath - this will be so sparkly once that glitter glue dries!
A beautiful Sweet Pea creation!
Last, but by no means least, the glorious vintage version, with gold chipboard ring too - what a brilliant combination!
And once all of that hard work was done, there was even time to play with the patterned strips from the die cut sheets to try to make a "tatty" flower too!

So there you go, my first workshop, and I had so much fun - we all did - and I can't wait to do my next one!

Thanks for dropping in, hope you've enjoyed sharing my happiness with me, and I'll be back soon.

Take care all,
love from me xx

Monday, 1 October 2012

a trip down Memory Lane

Hello everyone

I have a couple of cards to share with you today which I made recently as part of my design team assignment for Craftwork Cards to help promote their new project of the month kit called Memory Lane. The kit is full of die cut frames, pretty papers and tiny blooms.

So, my first card is a great man's 40th birthday card.

I used a paper with script all over it to cover all but a narrow margin on my card base and then onto this I mounted the frame full of little black and white photos (you get a 12 x 12 sheet of mini black and white photos with the kit). I cut the outside edge of the frame away from the inside piece and then fixed the central part directly onto the card with double sided tape and mounted the outside of the frame on foam pads to give some dimension.

I added the sentiment at the bottom in the centre and another one at the top which I first mounted onto a tag which is from a sheet also included in the kit. I tied some mail tag string through this. Finally I inked up some white Icing Sugar Candi with Distress Ink in Pumice Stone and added these to the card.

up close to see the dimensional use of the frame

My second card is a get well card and would hopefully cheer anyone up if they're feeling a bit under the weather as I am today - only a head cold but still a bit inconvenient!

For this card I used one of the top notch card blanks in the kit and completely covered it with a paper which has musical notes and keys on chains printed on it. I inked around the edges of the card with Distress Ink in Pumice Stone to give a more vintage look to it.

I took a gold foiled die cut frame and covered it with pretty little blooms which I had shaped and layered up beforehand. I also added clusters of Olive Lace Candi. I punched holes around the edge of the frame and tied some thin white satin ribbon through them to soften the edges a bit and then inked around the edges of the frame and onto the flowers a little bit, again using the Distress Ink in Pumice Stone.

Then I took one of the sentiments and mounted it onto a ticket (also from the kit) using foam pads, inked this all around the edges and fixed it to the card (again with foam pads).

Finally I added a dot of Stickles Stardust Glitter Glue to each musical note for added sparkle.

close up of the floral frame
close up of one of the multi-layered tiny blooms
So there you have two lovely cards. I hope you like them both.

I'll be back again soon with more Memory Lane inspiration for you, and some photos from the recent wreath making workshop I held.

Until then, take care.

Love from me xx