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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, 5 November 2013


Hi folks

A quick post from me today to share pics of some calendars I made a few weeks back. I have lots more ideas for calendar designs in my head but whether I'll have time to turn them into a reality is another matter with Christmas fast approaching and gifts still to be made! Anyway, I hope you like them. I used Craftwork Cards Time Flies paper pad and die cuts for most of them, but then also die cut my own butterflies and a little bird from their alternative colour way paper pad, Sorbet Pink.

The first two are based on the easel card design that I like so much, but I kept the upright section just as it was when the card was folded and this keeps it in proportion with the base I think.

These next two are made using some squares of chipboard and fixing ribbon to the back so they can be hung up somewhere. Sorry, this photo was taken under artificial light one evening and it's not the best for showing the lovely colours. I inked around the edges of the board, the butterflies and the flowers using Shaded Lilac Distress Ink.

The next two were made using chipboard circles, which I covered with the Time Flies papers and then decorated up. Again I inked around all the edges using Shaded Lilac Distress Ink. I added buttons to one and sparkly gems to the other, and added a couple of ribbons around the ring plus a double heart charm.

This last one was made using the Sorbet Pink version of the Time Flies paper pad and I die cut the butterflies and bird, inked them all around the edges with Pixie Dust chalk ink for added definition and then added some pretty flowers from The Ribbon Girl just to mix things up a bit. Again it was photographed in artificial light one evening so not the best photo. That ribbon is actually two shades of pink!

That's all from me for this post.

Happy crafting and I'll be back soon.

Julie x

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Halloween makes

Hello everyone, it's been a while.

Today I'm sharing with you some gift bags I made for Halloween. Here's the list of products I used:

Tim Holtz Sizzix Alterations On the Edge Die Graveyard;
Provo Craft Cuttlebug embossing folder Haunted Halloween;
Papertrey Ink clear stamp set halloween treats & sweets and corresponding dies;
Halloween papers - also Papertrey Ink
Penny Black clear stamp set haunted halloween;
Tim Holtz Ranger Distress inks - dusty concord, black soot, shabby shutters, stormy sky
Ranger Stickles - Star Dust
Ranger Adirondack Lights - Snow Cap
Ranger Archival Ink - Jet Black
VersaMagic Chalk Ink - Pumpkin

Other ingredients: glue, double sided tape, ribbons and tiny ric rac, metallic purple and silver inks, buttons, googly eyes, scissors, manual die cutting machine, black and grape pearlesecent cardstock, orange and black linen texture cardstock, white digital stamping cardstock, crop-o-dile

I made several bags of different sizes using black pearlescent cardstock.

Now to decorate them!

First, a bag with a spooky graveyard design on the front. I cut the graveyard strip using the On the Edge die and blended the various distress inks to give a spooky coloration to the gravestones. I stamped the ghost using archival ink and carefully cut it out, cut a circle of white card for the moon, stamped and cut out the black bat. I added a very light touch of silver metallic ink using my fingertip to represent moon shine. I also added some Stickles to the gravestones to give that shimmery effect that things get when it's a frosty night and the moon's shining on them. I stamped the wording Happy Haunting using Adirondack Lights Snow Cap onto black card and highlighted this with more Stickles. Once everything was positioned I fixed it all in place, cut some pearlescent grape coloured cardstock to matt the scene onto, and then fixed it onto the bag. I then punched holes at the top to thread ribbons through.

Next I die cut some bat parts and pumpkins, assembled the bat and then stamped faces on them. I hung these on the ribbons which I tied in knots on top. (The pumpkin has been hung on the back of the bag so it's not completely plain.)

My next two bags both feature a stamped image of a haunted house, which I stamped onto black card using Adirondack Lights Snow Cap and then coloured using coloured pencils while the ink was still wet, so the two kind of blended together a bit. I created a mask of the haunted house on white cardstock and cut out around it carefully, and placed it over each house so that I could then stamp the fencing so that it appeared to be behind the house. I added Stickles for that moonlit look again. I matted them at a skewed angle onto some halloween papers and fixed these onto the bags. I stamped the sentiments using pumpkin chalk ink on black cardstock and also stamped and coloured a pumpkin for the front to sit in the garden. One picture has a stamped and cut out bat and the other has stars stamped on it. I added the ribbons and tiny ric rac and hung a pumpkin from each.

This last design features the cuttlebug embossed folder of the haunted house. I inked the inside of the folder with purple metallic ink before putting it through my Big Shot. I die cut the spider legs and used a big button for the body along with two googly eyes sat on top. I stamped out the witch twice and carefully cut around her. I die cut and assembled two more bats. I fixed the embossed haunted house onto the bag and then put everything else in place sticking it all down once I was happy with it. I originally made two of these bags (the first three photos below) and they sold within minutes of arriving at the shop!!! So then I made two more to replace them and this time used a bright green button for the spider body on each instead of black! I added star shaped clear gems to the first two but didn't have enough for the second set! Guess what I'll be buying tomorrow!!!

The first version with black spider bodies

View of the back

On these bags I also created a hanging tag (behind the bat) with the wording "Trick or Treat" on it. On the first version of these bags, the wording "Happy Haunting" was stamped using pumpkin chalk ink on white card, cut out and dusted around the edges with dusty concord distress ink. In the second version I stamped the wording in Adirondack Lights Snow Cap onto black card and highlighted using Stickles.

The second versions, with green-bodied spiders!
OK, that's all from me for now. Hope you like my Halloween creations - which do you prefer? And as always, if you feel you'd like to leave a kind comment about my designs, then I'd love to hear from you.

Bye for now,
love from me xx

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

new blog!

Hello everyone

just a quick post to share with you a new blog we've started. Here's a link: www.alex-loves-lego.blogspot.co.uk so that you can take a look and leave some love!

Bye for now,
Julie x

Friday, 16 August 2013

Boxing Day!

Hi folks

It's been a while - how time flies! 

Firstly I have an announcement to make. Sadly this will be my last blog post for the moment. I've had to reassess my life a little recently, for various reasons which I won't bore you with, and have decided that I will no longer be blogging about my creations, at least for the time being. It hasn't been an easy decision to make - I like sharing with you what I make on the occasions when I do get time to make anything. But my life is going in a different direction now from a year or two ago and so it's time to make changes, this being one of them. That's not to say that I won't be back at some point in the future, it's just that blogging is being re-prioritised downwards for now!

Phew! Glad that's out of the way! It's never easy starting with sad news!

So, here in the Brooks household we've been busy in our continued quest to progress the kitchen revamp which has stalled to an extent because hubby discovered a crucial little bit of kit missing when he got to the stage of cutting and fitting the work surface, and so we're currently awaiting delivery of said item. We've also been trying to keep our young man occupied and happy during these long weeks of the summer school holiday which is not easy with kitchen assembly taking priority but we have involved him as far as possible in putting bits together, etc.At the same time we've been trying to clear out boxes of books and such like which have been stored in other people's garages since we moved house 3 years ago(!), keep the garden tidy, keep up with the household chores, look after our guinea pigs and fish, and harvest our mange tout, sugar snaps, broccoli and cauliflower before they completely go over and are no good to eat (they do all come ready at once don't they?!). The kale and perpetual spinach have grown so rapidly that we can't use it up quickly enough and the spinach, which hasn't been covered with netting, is being munched merrily by the various buggy visitors in our garden - ah well, at least someone/something is benefiting from all that fresh green goodness. Our lettuces have to an extent fallen prey to the beautiful white butterflies which we have in abundance this summer, who have been cheerfully laying their eggs all over the yummy leaves to give their babies a good start in life (sorry guinea pigs but sometimes you have to share with others!), and the raspberries and blackberries are coming thick and fast now too. And I have been trying to grab a little crafting time! It's a real juggling act, I can tell you. And I can't believe that in only a couple more weeks hubby will be off working in Milan and I'll be back to teaching my son who is now at Key Stage 3 level (right on schedule).

What a summer!

Still, I did manage to grab a little crafting time and give a couple of boxes a makeover - hence the rather cheeky title of this post!

I decided to use PaperArtsy Chalk Acrylics, Crackle Glaze and Satin Glaze, VersaMagic Chalk Inks and Memento and Brilliance Inks, together with a few gorgeous blooms from The Ribbon Girl, along with stamps from Kaisercraft and Urban Stamps by Papermania.

So, these boxes all started out as kraft boxes which I picked up for a bargain price at The Range. This first picture shows the largest (it was a nesting set of 3). I painted it all over with Vintage Lace chalk acrylic paint and then stamped on the flourishes, butterflies and hearts using Night Sky chalk ink. I then did a little masking! I masked the butterfly and stamped on a sheet music stamp using Malted Mauve chalk ink. So the butterfly looks like it's sitting above the music - I love this layered look.

I then took it a step further and added some Crackle Glaze here and there, waited for it to dry and then painted over with another coat of Vintage Lace. I was going for a subtle distressed look, and I think it's worked quite well. You can see the distressed sections in these next few photos - what do you think?

I added some Star Dust Stickles Glitter Glue from Ranger to the hearts and the dots on the butterflies' wings just for a bit of sparkle, and finally applied a layer of Satin Glaze all over to seal it all.

I'm really pleased with how this turned out, but what do you think?

This next box is the middle sized box of the 3 and I went for a completely different design on this one.

I covered this box with Snowflake chalk acrylic paint. I took the large LOVE stamp from the Urban Stamps set and inked it in two different shades of pink - Love Letter and Rose Bud - before stamping it diagonally onto the lid. I love the subtle two-toned effect on the letters. I then added the gorgeous flowers from The Ribbon Girl along with a couple of buttons, plus a couple of wooden heart buttons (again from The Ribbon Girl), which I first inked up using Brilliance ink in Rocket Red Gold.

I then stamped the border design around the sides of the lid and again around the bottom of each side of the box.

Now, the inks I used on this were not chalk inks, but I still gave the box a coat of Satin Glaze to seal everything. This has had the effect of "diluting" the inks somewhat so that the images are softened and the detail not quite so crisp, and although this sounds negative and would suggest it was a big mistake, it still looks ok! That's not to say I would do the same again, I'm just lucky it turned out ok - it's all part of the learning process isn't it?

I did a third box, the smallest of the set of 3, and simply painted that over with Snowflake Chalk Acrylic paint and stamped the flourish and butterfly which I used on the large box, again using the Night Sky chalk ink, and it looks lovely, very clean and crisp, but I don't have a photo to share because I took it late last night and the light was artificial and it turned out yellow and looked awful! So you'll just have to take my word for it on that one!

So, I hope you like my two boxes.

That's it from me for the time being but even though this is my last post for now, I'd still love to hear from you so please leave me a comment.

Take care and happy crafting.

Love from me xx

Friday, 19 July 2013

and the heat goes on ...

Hello everyone

I don't know what it's like where you are, but it is so hot here. We have peaked at 28 degrees Celsius today - thank goodness we had two air conditioning units in our garage because we have certainly appreciated them these last few days. They are extremely noisy when running, and are probably eating electricity like there's no tomorrow, but we are so cool inside. It's bliss. And our two guinea pigs would have definitely parted this mortal coil by now if we hadn't had them on hand. As it is, we are maintaining a comfortable 23 to 24 degrees in their part of the house which is the best we can manage without blasting their room with so much cold air that they would succumb to upper respiratory tract infections, which are often fatal. They are perky enough, though a bit bored with not being allowed out into a bigger run because it's simply too hot for them and they do give each other a lot of hassle when they're together so they'd only get all hot and bothered anyway! We're keeping them hydrated with extra moist veggies spread out through the day and late into the night and I'm up at 5 a.m. every morning to open windows and back door to let in the cool morning air too. It is very stressful and tiring looking after them at times!

Hubby has been battling the heat to try to progress with our kitchen refit. There's so much to do. He's done all the main plastering to fill in where the electrician chiselled out for cabling, but there's been a lot of filling and sanding, treating stained and mouldy areas (yes, it was disgusting in places when we pulled the old units out!), dealing with paint flaking and peeling off because it's either reacted with something already on the walls or it's reacting to the heat, door and window frames sanded down and primed ready to paint, skirting boards still to replace, drilling a hole through the wall for the vent for the extractor hood. All this before we even begin to build carcasses! So I'm glad he's taken some time out this afternoon to enjoy the coolness of the pool with our son. He's earned it.

So, I have managed to grab a little crafting time whilst Alex and his dad are playing in the pool and I made a couple more cards using the latest Project of the Month kit from Craftwork Cards called Time Flies, and I hope you like them.

In this first one I've inked and distressed the two pieces of paper which I've layered over the base layer to give a bit of aging. The large butterfly is only fixed in place by her body, so her wings and antennae sit away from the card giving her quite a realistic "sitting there basking" appearance. The same applies to the little blue butterfly. I finished with a small bow made with some seam binding, and I tattered the ends of this because it looked better that way!

This second one, I inked up a chipboard heart (not in the kit but purchased separately from Craftwork Cards in their sale) and then adhered a piece of one of the papers to the back of the heart. This is popped up on foam pads although you can't really tell in this photo. I inked up some of the die-cut butterflies and sentiments, added a thin strip of seam binding to the tag sentiment (this is also popped up on foam pads) and added Candi to the centres of the butterflies, which again are only fixed to the card at their bodies so their wings are raised up. I inked this card around the edges a bit too to give it an aged appearance.

So that's it from me for now. I'm looking forward to a couple of cooler days over the weekend when I am hoping to actually be able to get up-to-date with the housework which has been neglected during this very hot weather!

Keep cool wherever you are and have a great weekend.

Love from me xx

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Time flies ....

Hello everyone and, as the title says, time flies! I don't know where this year is going - almost half way through July already!

At least there has been some sunshine around, although I have to say it got rather too hot on a couple of days and I was "puthering" as my mum would have said. Still, we keep going and since we don't get siesta in this country (more's the pity) I have spent a couple of afternoons happily crafting with a new kit!

Craftwork Cards create some beautiful ranges of papers and die-cuts and their latest range, called "Time flies", is no exception. It is absolutely gorgeous - beautiful butterflies and blooms, fabulous colours - right up my street. So, when I saw that the Project of the Month kit was out I couldn't resist spoiling myself, even though I have soooooo many papers and die-cuts already!

And boy have I had some fun! Their ranges make it very easy to put lovely cards together - I've made 9 cards, every one different, and I ran out of the beautiful lilac lace which came with the kit quite quickly as I used it on a couple of cards and it was only a short length. BUT, I think I may have some more in my stash somewhere and I will be doing a little investigative work tomorrow to see if I can track it down!

So, here are my 9 cards and I hope you like them!

Two kraft tags joined together with ribbons

and a variation on a theme - three tags joined together

No papers used on this one - just die cuts and lace.

Three strips of different papers, rounded corners

A great card for a man!

Fabulous big bloom with added seam binding to give it a different look


Another great card for a man!

I love butterflies!
This kit is such brilliant value! You get a whole pad of die cut kraft tags, white cards and envelopes in two sizes, die-cuts galore, a pad of gorgeous 8" x 8" papers, seam binding in two colours and a short length of lilac lace. Oh, and did I mention the Candi you get with this kit? IT IS GORGEOUS! It has elements of the designs on the papers and die-cuts on each and every little Candi, from bits of pocket watches, to sections of cogs, and bits of butterfly wings. So pretty. So, I've made 9 cards but with what I still have left I am quite sure, using some of my own cardstock, lace, etc., I could probably make at least another 40, although I have almost run out of the die-cut flowers, butterflies and messages so I may have to buy some more! And I have so many ideas still to play with, so guess what I'll be doing tomorrow ......

As always, I love hearing from you so please leave me a comment to let me know what you think to my cards.

Bye for now,
love from me xx

Monday, 17 June 2013

Ribbon Girl June Colour Challenge - pink

Hello all

I decided to join in the June colour challenge over at The Ribbon Girl. I haven't taken part in any of their challenges before, but it just so happens that I have recently purchased a few of their gorgeous flowers, in all shades of pink (amongst others), so thought this month's colour challenge was ideal!

I created an 8 x 8 layout and I had a wonderful time putting it all together. It was one of those makes where I had a picture in my head immediately of how I wanted it to look and it has turned out exactly as I'd hoped. Yay! Love it when that happens! I hope you all like it.

As you can see, the theme is love, which seems quite appropriate for a pink colour scheme. The thought process was "love blooms", hence the word "Love", all of the beautiful blooms, and the gorgeous butterfly which as we all know starts out as generally a very unremarkable caterpillar and blooms into something beautiful.

The papers I used are from the new True Romance collection by Kaisercraft, along with the "love" die-cut. All of the gorgeous blooms, lace, ribbon, tiny ric rac, bird cage charm, butterfly and little wooden heart are from The Ribbon Girl. I added a few buttons from my stash and finished with pearls and Stickles.

I do hope you like my creation and would love you to leave a comment.

Thanks for visiting!

Take care,
love from me xx

PS: I'm also entering this layout in the Daring Cardmakers challenge: A festival of flowers.

Citrus & Fuchsia

Hello everyone

Crikey, where did that weekend go? It flew by almost in a blur. We were out and about all weekend so no crafty time for me but I'm sure I will be able to make up for that over the next few days!

Meanwhile, I have one more wedding card to share with you. This time it's an easel card, and I've used a colour scheme of fuchsia and citrus green. As always I hope you like it and will leave me a kind comment.

I used my all time favourite stamp "All You Need" and stamped the heart blossom branches using Pear Tart Memento Ink. I stamped some over the bride & groom image deliberately to give the impression of the happy couple standing in a clearing with blossoms overhead and in the foreground. I added a few pink heart shaped gems here and there and some Stickles glitter glue both on the foliage and on the bride's dress, veil and train. I stamped the words "love" and "cherish" from a clear stamp set by Kaisercraft, which is part of their new True Romance collection, onto some paper from a paper pack by Kaisercraft from a range called Secret Admirer, cut these out and placed them on the front of the card. For the base I used the same heart blossom stamp, die cut the fancy tag and stamped the word "Congratulations" (from a clear set by Penny Black) in the centre. I placed this in the centre of the front section of the base and used some beautiful flowers from The Ribbon Girl to decorate it and act as the stopper.

close-up to see those beautiful blooms

side view to show the easel effect and the stamping, which I also did on the back too
I also did a matching box for it, but kept the design very simple, just using the heart blossom stamp and a few heart shaped gems. 

OK, that's it from me today.

See you soon and have a great week!

Love from me xx

Friday, 14 June 2013

Happy Anniversary

Hello everyone

Man, did we have a storm and a half late yesterday afternoon - did any of you get it? I was sitting in the back room grabbing some crafty time and the skies were darkening by the second, huge ominous grey clouds travelling across the sky with continuous eerie rumbling and crashing sounds to accompany them. I truly thought "Is this going to be just a storm or is this going to be a tornado?" - it was really quite scary. Then the heavens opened and it was torrential! The sheer volume of rainwater completely overwhelmed our gutters and was just pouring off like waterfalls. I feel very, very sorry for anyone caught in that! The worst of it only lasted about ten minutes but we must have had about two inches of rain in that short space of time!

So anyway, my crafty time allowed me to make a pretty anniversary card using a couple of bits from a new range from Kaisercraft and a cream linen textured card blank. I hope you like it.

I'm really pleased with how this card turned out. The papers and tags are from the Kaisercraft range True Romance and the lace and some of the flowers are from The Ribbon Girl. I also added flowers which I bought from Hobbycraft at least a year ago and some buttons from a pack I bought at Dunelm probably two plus years ago! The wording on the sentiment is from a set by Woodware which I only purchased in this last week. It has all the separate words for different wedding anniversaries, and includes those tiny entwined hearts (and champagne glasses), so it was perfect for this. It looks like it's been fixed on crooked but it hasn't, that's just the angle I've taken the photo at creating an optical illusion!

I hope you like my card - please leave me a comment. As always I love to hear from you.

I'll be back soon!

Take care,
love from me xx

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Wedding cards 2nd instalment

Morning all

What a grey, miserable day again! We did have some glimmers of sunshine early on (about 6.30am) but thanks to antihistamines I was too sleepy to take advantage of it, so by the time I surfaced much, much later (not telling you when!), the sunshine had gone and it was trying to rain. Boo! I think summer's over. It feels like autumn is just around the corner. I'm so glad I made the most of the sunny days when we had them.

Anyway, I have a couple more wedding cards to share with you, which I hope you will like.

The first one combines the bride & groom stamp which I've used previously with the Ornate Plate die which I've also used previously. I thought the two together might be quite nice.

Our bride is in lilac today! I also added a couple of die cut flourishes and then finished with some more beautiful flowers from Ribbon Girl and glitter for added sparkly highlights. The sentiment is from Penny Black.

My 2nd card is a bit different. I used a linen textured card blank and some linen textured lilac card stock. I used a new stamp I purchased from Magnolia, and stamped the word "Wedding" onto more of the white linen textured cardstock. I then die-cut this using a die from a Spellbinders Shapeabilities set called Fancy Tags 2. I love the effect of stamping onto the textured card. Decorated with flowers, lace, ribbon and sparkly heart which were all from Ribbon Girl. I also made a box for it.

I kept the box simple as I didn't want it to detract from the pretty card inside.

I hope you like my two cards and would love to hear from you.

Meanwhile, take care and I'll be back soon.

Love from me xx

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Mystery solved!


Just a quick post from me today.

Remember a little while ago I did a post about a mystery plant which had appeared in our garden? Well, mystery solved - it turned out to be this ....

..... it's a Red Hot Poker! How did it get into our garden? Must have been the birdies dropping seeds for us - very kind of them too, it's a pretty addition to our garden and gives a hint of the Mediterranean - lovely.

Most of our spring blooms have gone over now, but we do have some lovely colour still, in the form of laburnum, honeysuckle, foxgloves, strawberries and various other plants whose names I do not know! But I love them all. Here's a few pics.

beautiful honeysuckle

scrumptious strawberries - well, they will be soon!

one large branch of our lovely Laburnum

OK, I'm off. Hope you enjoyed these photos of my garden and that you are enjoying equally glorious blooms wherever you live.

Bye for now,
love from me xx