Saturday, 31 October 2009

Pumkins and all that!

Well, we finally got around to doing the pumpkin last night, starting at half eight when DS2 got home from the dance festival. (Only been in troupes this week, as he moved to his new dance school, but has won a gold and a silver medal with them this week!) We printed a design off the Internet and then went for it!!
To be fair, I had only bought the Pumpkin on Monday when I went to Morrison's shopping and they were only £1! He had mentioned that he wanted to do one, so I thought for £1 it was worth it as I have not got any pics of this for scrap booking before.
We have a set of pumpkin carving tools I bought for 97p from Asda a few years ago and let me tell you that little saw in there is worth it's weight in gold!!! And far safer than letting them loose with a knife!! There is also a piercing tool and a scoop, although we did manage to break the scoop this year :(
The pattern was fab! We taped the photocopy on the front of the pumpkin and then cut through it.
We only cut a small lid to leave us as much carving space as possible. (The little saw is on this picture too!)
I have completed my mini album that I started last week using a Papermania Acrylic scallop circle album and I am ready to print off the pictures now and put the two together.
I printed a web picture off the net and placed it under the cover page.
I then use a Sakura glaze pen to trace over it and left it overnight to dry.
I used a scaled down version of our pattern to cut out the same shape in orange paper to make a lantern page and then glued it in position with glossy accents. I stamped the skeleton arms using Stazon ink and decided to leave the green protective film on the back cover to give the album a greenish tinge!!
With this and my Happy Halloween plaque I made last week, I am all set for tonight! TFLx

Friday, 30 October 2009

Countdown to the countdown!!

Well here we are in the last few days of October and I am busy in the craft room making projects left right and centre!! This year there are going to be some gift ideas as well as Christmas themed projects and the main item will be a "December Daily" album like the Ali Edwards one, that you can record your December in, using either words or pictures. I will be trying to keep it up, but am not hopefull! I decided that if I don't get to write on a day page, at least I could take a picture!!! :)

I will do my best to blog daily on the projects, but as you can imagine, typing each one up does take a lot of time and inserting all the photo's too! I think I must have had more time last year!!

I am determined to do my best. With the credit crunch, I know there are a few of us looking to streamline Christmas if possible, so some of the projects are designed to make a handmade gift that does not cost too much, others will be a little more expensive, but it's up to you how you do them!!

As usual, there have been some that did not make it to my final 25, so they will be blogged later. They are a combination of cooking projects, sewing projects and mostly paper crafting projects. The craft room still resembles a bomb site and I am far from finished, but busy enjoying myself!! Is it really November on Sunday???? Better get crafting!!! TFLx
P.S. If you want to make this photo holder you need to be on the look out for a mini glass jar of jam, you know the individual one's you get in cafes. Any excuse for a scone!!! Lol! I am slightly worried how many I have managed to collect!!!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Well I am all cooked out!!!

I have had a bit of a tricky day, cooking wise, perfecting one of the Christmas countdown projects "Cowgirl cookies!" An idea from the internet, mentioned on the "Cheap and cheerful christmas gifts " thread over on UKs. Being a former cookery teacher, I did think this would be a simple exercise, but things always turn out to be tricky! I was also baking a little Nigella number, in preparation for my "Wii bowling" night tonight with a few girls! (Just been practising bowling and my arm is giving me gyp already!!) Anyway, I digress, ass usual. Back to the Cowgirl cookies. I bought Kilner jars and pink smarties and even a set of measuring cups as the recipe was American, but I had not got everything else, so I nipped off to Morrisons to get the ingredients first thing this morning, plus I did not have enough ground almonds for the Nigella Clementine cake. I returned and having boiled my leftover mandarins for 2hrs, as per Nigella, yes, that's right, 2 hours I de-pipped them and blitzed them in the liquidiser. I added all the other ingredients and baked it in an 8" tin as I did not have a 21cm tin. It was a tight squeeze, but I managed! Instead of taking an hour it took an hour and a half and despite covering it with greaseproof, it does look a little sun tanned. No probs, I shall dust it with icing sugar!! Back to the cookie mix. I forgot to buy caster sugar, so had to nip back to the supermarket to get some, I could scream!! Measured it all out and there was loads!! Mixed it in the mixer and despite it seeming a bit sloppy spooned it on to the tray to bake. Well, I did not have my glasses on, or I can't work with 'cups' for measuring, but sufice it to say it ran everywhere, I had one tray of crisp sludge!! It all had to be deposited in the bin!! I had only added 1/3 of a cup of flour instead of 1 and 1/3!!! Duh!!! Anyway. I did just have enough smarties left to scale it back and measure in cups and convert the whole recipe to ounces and then scale it down to half quantity!! They have just come out of the oven and they are fine! Phew!! And this quarter scale quantity does layer and fit into my Kilner jars!! You see ladies, I have taken all the hard work out of it for you. My kitchen is a bomb site, I am pooped but we have 24 cookies to sample tonight and a yummy clementine cake. Just need to pop up to the craftroom and dress up my Kilner jar a little, to make it more me!! Phew! TFLx
P.S. Enjoyed my crop last night, met some lovely ladies and had a chat and did a little bit of crafting!! I will try harder to make more next time!! Thanks to Sue for organising it! x

Monday, 26 October 2009

Half Term yay!

So, it's half term for us this week and before you know it, the diary is full! Everybody is doing different things and by the time we have all scribed it on the calendar, it looks like a war zone!! DS1 is home for the weekend from Uni, but needs to go back today for lectures on tues, wed, thur and is then coming back Thursday. DS2 is busy in the dance festival, taking revision classes and doing extra days at work! I need to do my school work, get my hair done and craft (of course) for Christmas. Add in all the getting together with family we need to do and before you know it, we will be back to school!

I treated myself to a Sizzix Texture Boutique machine yesterday in Hobbycrafts, as I had a £5 voucher out of my "Christmas" Ideal Home magazine that ran out yesterday. Of course, Hobbycraft don't sell the embossing folders and it does not come with any!!???!! Very semsible.....not! So I can't try it, just to see if it works you understand!!! It is for Christmas, so it will be going away until then. I also treated myself to the Fiskars personal trimmer. I have seen this around on lots of You tube clips and decided to have a scoring blade would be fab too, so I invested on QVC craft day. That will be going away too. The only Christmas shopping I have done so far, and it's for me!! Lol! Will make a start on some this week though, I promise! I have ordered a couple of embossing folders from Crafts U Love as they have free P&P until tonight!

More Christmas countdown projects have been manufactured and I need to get my sewing machine out for the next few!! Hoping to do that this week! I'll leave you with some MDF hearts I have made. TFLx

P.S. Off to my first crop tonight! I am so excited!! Bit worried how much stuff to pack though!! How much I will get made is another matter! Chatting to get to know these ladies, may come first!!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Too good to be true

I thought it was too good to be true. I am about to get my first payment from a magazine for something they requested and now we find out that will be the last issue and 'Scrapbook Inspirations' magazine is to fold! I know times are hard but there seem to be magazines sprouting up everywhere for knitting, beads, and sewing and suddenly Scrapbooking is unfashionable???? I think not! I had reduced my subscriptions to just this magazine and given up 'Scrapbook Magazine.' I don't like 'Scrapbook trends', as it is a bit clinical for me. In these hard times I suppose it's difficult for anyone to survive. I notice that Creativity life soon got swallowed up by Creativity magazine and the Scrapbook Apprentice competition I was in, simply died a death!! Making a living by this hobby, just isn't going to happen right now is it!!! :(

On a brighter note, I have been working on more Christmas countdown projects for November.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Be sure your sins will find you out!!!

A view of what's on my work desk at the moment!!

I have to admit, my stash diet was going ok until two weeks ago when suddenly there were a few things I just "had" to have. There were some October afternoon papers from The Craft Emporium, then there were some Woodware punches from Crafters Cove and some gorgeous Pink persimmon stamps from Mod Scraps. On Thursday, we were awakened harshly at 7am by the post man delivering my Craft Emporium order of October afternoon papers. (My logic was, if I ordered the papers I wanted, I would not be tempted to get a Studio Calico kit add on this month. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!) I slept right through it, but fortunately, hubby lept out of bed and collected the parcel before he hastened back down the drive with it. Then, Friday morning it was my turn to hear him knock (or should that be hammer!) at 7am, this time with my Studio Calico kit! Finally, on Saturday morning at 7am, yes, you've guessed it, my Woodware punches arrived from Crafters Cove. Needless to say comments were made about my apparent spending spree!! I would not mind, but I had been home alone all day and could have taken delivery and disposed of any packaging evidence without hubby seeing it!!!

Is this a good time to admit I have made two orders from QVC craft day today??? Yikes, now how do I get away with those??? Answers on a postcard please!!! No evidence of any postal strike in this neck of the woods!! Lol! TFLx

P.S. I had to laugh! Our drive is a shared drive, slightly up off the street, which we share with next door. However, the woman who lives at the end of our drive is fed up of delivery vans misreading the angle of the driveway and driving straight across her front lawn! During the summer, she decided to erect some fancy poles with finials on to grow Ivy up as you are not allowed to erect a fence. I had a slight altercation with her father when he was concreting them in, as he decided to dig to Australia to get a firm foundation and I was worried that the edge of our drive was being undermined. Anyway, I photographed his antics up close and told him that if any deterioration of our drive occurred, I would have the evidence. Well, I came home from work last week to find the said post at a very rakish angle, obviously having been smacked by something serious!! As it was pointing up the drive, it was obviously from someone turning around in the drive entrance, something that happens frequently! Friday, she did her best to stand it up again, but I could see the post was split. Saturday, I returned from town to see the post snapped off on her front lawn! Sunday there is now a bloomin' great rock there!!! I had to giggle we told her the posts would not work and it was not just our deliveries that did it! Lol!! What has she achieved??? Maybe her dad will be back to dig out the concrete with the snapped off post in it!!! Neighbours don't you just love them!! Hmmmmmmm? I wonder if it was the postman????!!!! Lol!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Happy Halloween plaque

I know, I know, now it is Tuesday already! That's the trouble with preparing the Christmas Countdown, I cannot blog what I am making!! I told you we had visitors for the weekend too, so that took up my time and I am busy preparing for a craft fair at a friends house like I did last year, all in all, busy, busy, busy!!

Anyway, during my blog rolling, trawling the net for inspiration and ideas for the Christmas countdown, I visited this blog by Leah Fung, (loads of cool videos!) I must have visited it before as it was already in my favourites, (that's where I start my inspiration, check out all those favourites you have bookmarked for a later date and not been back to!!) Anyway, her guest this week made this cute Halloween banner using some Pink Persimmon stamps. As soon as I saw them, I knew I would make little Scottie Dog Christmas cards this year, so then I Google searched them to see if I could get them over here and found them at Mod Scraps, reduced!!! I nipped off there straight away and made a purchase and have just had a little play, making my version of the Halloween banner.

At Christmas time, when people give port and cheese or wine in wooden boxes, I always beg the wooden boxes off all the family. The one I have on my desk is sectioned and it had an acrylic slide in lid. I had kept the lid and never used it, so I trotted it out for this project as the background instead of chipboard. I knew it would be unsafe to Cropadile the acrylic, even with heating it as I have shown before, as it was very brittle, so I had to think of a way to hang the banner up. I decided to use a piece of cardboard from a pizza box and then spayed it with a cream metallic Maya mist. On top of that I added a page from a dictionary I picked up at the second hand book shop for £1! Bargainous! I matted and layered this with a few scraps of orange paper to add more colour. I stamped the banner using Orange chalk eye ink and cut them out with zig zag scissors. I stamped the Scottie dog on white card and added his orange coat and bow. I used the Studio Calico font I had fro the title as I was being good not ordering the Pink Persimmon one!! I added a few scary stamps of spiders and skeletons and one that looks like stitching. I also embellished it with a few orange gems, black dew drops and a Prima flower with a K&Co satin brad. Once this part of the banner was done. I punched holes in the card and threaded through some wire to hang it with. I also punched holes for ribbon so the banner looked like it was threaded up. Now the banner was complete. I added lots of silicone glue to the back and mounted the whole thing on to the acrylic sheet! Voila! Completed banner hung up with wire! I like all her other ideas using this set too, so will be giving them a go! her blog is here.
I will try to post a few more Christmas countdown sneaks in the next few days! Keep checking back! TFLx

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Ok, so it's Thursday already!

What happened there? I look at my blog and I see I have not reported in since Sunday!! We had DS1 home from Uni at the weekend as he is suffering from "Freshers Flu" and was not well at all. A couple of good night's sleep and a few hot baths and I took him back on Monday all set to face the world again. En-route we pass Owlcoats M&S, so mum and I decided we just had to do a trawl of autumn/winter clothes for her. This year has been tough for her, having a second heart operation in the year, so I think she deserved to treat herself! Can't believe I bought nothing! Tuesday and Wednesday I was back to work and managed to wake up both day's with a cracking headache!! When I came home yesterday and found I had run out of my prescribed headache pills, I just gave up and went to bed at 8pm! Hoping today will be a fresh start on that front!
Had my maiden voyage to Hobby Craft that just opened in Hull and managed not to spend anything!! Well I got a sheet of foam board and it came with a free sheet too! I think I am loosing my touch! Luckily I had done a little purchasing online from the Craft Emporium, of one or two October afternoon papers I wanted ( Love that she enc;loses a Twix inside!!!) and from Mod scraps some gorgeous little Scottie dog stamps for a few Christmas cards and a little Halloween something I will show you when it is complete.
Did have one night in the craft room on Tuesday, as I had the whole house to myself all evening. I made a couple of projects for the Christmas countdown!
Today is all about H*******k!!! We have guests arriving for the weekend tonight and I need to change beds and lick the house into shape for their arrival!!! Needless to say, I could be gone sometime! DS2 is going to have to sleep in the craft room bed, so I need to unearth that for a start!!! I think I have my work cut out!
Barney, is still causing us some sleepless nights. We had got into a new routine of him sleeping in his basket in our bedroom, which I don't like really, but now he is getting up and wandering about the bedroom during the night, pacing, so that is not working either!! I think at half term I will try to put him back downstairs and see how we get on! The new expensive pills they gave me to try, do not seem to be working.
Finally, there are changes at Studio Calico :( I don't like change!! Scarlet is leaving and so is Kirsty Wiseman and another designer Tina. I am sure April will keep it all going, but it seems incredible that things will not be the same around there!! On the plus side, the two new designers thay have are both super inspirational!! I have seen Celine in my French Scrapbooking mag and love her stuff and Lisa does some fab layouts too.
Ok, off to grab some brekky and hit those rooms hard with the Dyson!!! Wish me luck!!
I'll leave you with a sneak of another project! My version of Snowman Soup! (I've never made it before.)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Kraft envelopes - tutorial

I am awaiting my next Studio Calico kit which contains some Maya Road Kraft envelopes. They look rather fab and I have a whole host of uses I thought I could put them to, so I decided I would have a go at making my own! I made two types. one from brown kraft paper and one from a sheet of Bazzill kraft cardstock. I decided to try and get two envelopes out of one sheet of 12 x 12 to make them more economical. For a template I deconstructed an A5 brown envelope and then scaled it down to my own version. You basically need a flap along one edge and the bottom and then I wanted some sort of decorative edge to the opening flap. I wanted the envelope about 5"x3" with a half inch flap along the bottom and down the side. The decorative top flap was slightly deeper to allow it to be rounded (I drew around my double sided tape reel for the shape!) I scored along all the fold lines using my scoreboard.
I used my corner rounding punch to round the corners on the lower and side flap, the I took off the punch edging strip, so I could use the same punch to make a scallop around the decorative top flap. My corner punch makes little indentations when you use it as a scallop punch, which gave me the marks to use the Cropodile for eyelet holes for more decoration.I then inked the edges of the whole template using a chalk eye ink pad in dark brown.
For the fastening, I wanted to use cardboard washers and linen thread. I punched four discs out of kraft cardstock using a small circle punch, glued them together and then inked the edges. I then used my Cropadile to punch a hole and then fasten them in position on the flap and on the front of the envelope with an eyelet.
Finally I stuck the envelope together using double sided tape along the base flap and the side flap.
The linen thread is tied around one washer and the wound around the other in a figure of eight to fasten.
I have used some already on layouts to conceal hidden journaling and extra photo's as well as mini albums. You could make a mini album from a whole set of them!
In these credit crunch times, why not make a set out of brown paper? I did and just mad sure I used two layers in the areas that would take the most strain! TFLx
P.S. Check this out here! Fab job Nicole what an inspiration! Also here here and here by Maggie Holmes!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

3D Christmas scene

I put the finishing touches to this project last night and I am delighted with how it turned out. This will be one of my projects for the Christmas countdown in November, remember, 25 projects, one a day for 25 days!
I was inspired to do this when I opened up my Christmas paper treasure box from last year. It's always exciting when the Christmas papers come out and I had almost forgotten about this set of "White Christmas" papers from Rusty Pickle. I had tried to go to the workshop demonstration at Art From The Heart last year, by Mr Rusty Pickle himself! But the class to make something with these papers was on one of my work days. To console myself I bought the paper pack from Dyan anyway and had never got around to using it.
When I got it out this week, I realised the images were quite big on each sheet. I had also been researching projects to start the Christmas countdown and had been rummaging through my huge box labelled "templates." This box can actually be quite frightening, because everything is shoved in together. I collect templates from magazines, or I print them off the Internet when I am blog hopping or I save cards that have been given to me that spark an idea, I even save adverts! So when you open this Pandora's box of templates, you find lots of bits of paper and nothing is labelled!!! Yikes! In this box was a 3D card I had sent to my nephews and nieces years ago when they were little. I kept one back as a template in case it might be useful! And yes it was! It gave me the basic construction idea for this scene, albeit mine is 12 x12 x4 inches and the original was only about 6x6x1! The beauty of it is you can flatten it to mail it to someone! Fab or what! With a few tweaks here and there and some strengthening of papers as Rusty Pickle papers are quite thin, I have arrived at the finished result and I love it! These subdued colours are just me, but if they are not your cup of tea, you can always follow the project and used your own ideas and papers to make your own scene! Give it some thought! Maybe you could even make a layout like Claudine Hellmuth does, with real life photo faces on cartoon bodies! Watch out for the instructions in November! TFLx

Monday, 5 October 2009

My old best friend!

I always talk about Barney as my best friend, but here is a layout I did of my old best friend. This was Suky, my old dog when I was a little girl. We bought her when I was four and she lived to be 17 years! This photo was taken just before she died, when she was old and plump! I am sure I have shown you a picture of her when she was young before, I will see if I can find it. Anyway, she was the inspiration for me getting Barney for the boys when they were young. I remembered the joy she had brought to my life and I wanted the children to have the same opportunity. When we were looking for Barney, I remember mum saying "you will never find another Suky" and yet I did somehow! It just happened, in fact I think Barney has just a smidgen more personality than Suky had. This photo I came across recently and just had to scrap it. Love the little Joanna Sheen stamp of the dog to complete the page!

The little dog card was in a recent Studio Calico kit and the old money playing card were a set I bought off E bay and have used them for all sorts! The significance of that money is Suky cost 10/-! June bug paper was perfect for this! TFLx

Display Easels

Yesterday, I spent all day woodworking in the garage and made four display easels for 12 x 12 layouts. They are based on a similar easel I bought on holiday in Germany and have found it to be most useful for displaying finished 12 x12 layouts whilst they dry or to display a favourite layout in the craft room for a while. The wood to make them was not cheap and I had to search ages for the dowel in the narrow diameter, but now I have four for sale in my shop here! Remember I am no woodworker really!! The one on the back right has a slight offcentred look about it! They are sturdy enough for cardstock layouts for scrapbooking and I have sanded all rough edges, but I think they could always be painted or customised by the person who buys them!!
How Ikea ever made and sold them for 50p or whatever I will never know! I had a workbench a mitre saw and a mitre block with an electric drill and a hammer!! It took me a day! I know some ladies expressed an interest in these but I will see how they go as a best seller! TFLx

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Day out

Popping to see DS1 today as he is going to the football with his dad and I must amuse myself shopping :)
Needed to post quickly today, even if it's just to remove those awful school photo's of me from the top of my blog!! Lol!
A layout I did of Beverley Westwood, a large area of common land that surrounds the town. I used Kraft card stock and tried to use masking techniques to create blocks for the mist. I then stamped journaling blocks over the top. I used the little frame stamp as photo corners and masked off the bits I didn't want with post it notes. I decided to stamp the title on one of the photo's, brave I know but I wanted to try something new. I could not resist adding a bit of patterned paper and a cluster of embellishments. Love the little pin wheel stamp off the edge of the page too. New style for me but I enjoyed it. Need more goes at this! If you have time check out April's gallery for Maya Mist ideas. she is the queen of mist over st Studio Calico!

Apologies for the flash glare on the photo, but I had to do it at night!
Right, must go get my shopping shoes on!! TFLx

Friday, 2 October 2009

So much to tell you....& old school photo's

Well, first things first, after carrying out a straw poll of votes over on the do-crafts forum, I have decided to put together another Christmas countdown during November. This was something I started last year and it was very well received, so I'm game if you are! It is a lot of hard work, but also very rewarding. Let's just hope I can keep it up to date! I have started researching items to make and listing ideas and last night I decided to make a start on one of my main items. If you want to play along, you will need to start saving unusual items like paper carrier bags, brown envelopes, cardboard in unusual shapes, tags from clothing, off cuts of sturdy plastic or acrylic sheet and odd pages from board books, photo wallets. I completed it today but need to keep it a secret a little while longer. I got so into making it last night I did not want to leave the craft room and go to bed! Then I could not get to sleep and first thing this morning I was straight in the craftroom to complete it.Next, someone asked in yesterday's comments how Barney was progressing. Well, needless to say he is now sleeping in our bedroom, in his basket which is the only way we are all getting some sleep, but I woke up at five to find him sitting on the end of the bed staring at me today, so not ideal! Going to try him downstairs again tonight, but I thought the tablets might have started working by now.I went shopping to the Range today and bought some glue and some mini Bonios. Yes you are not miss-reading things, that is about all I bought! There was one thing I got for £2.99, a photo display called a Foto-ladder. I has a series of clips that you can clip photo's to but I am hoping to use it to display my most recent layouts of to hang things whilst they dry.I then went to Dunelm Mills as someone on UKs said they had craft bargains, but ours, unfortunately, does not! However I walked out with some Snowmen and Angel "picks" that I hope to use in a Christmas countdown project and only 99p! Bargainous! I have just been having a browse on the net and noticed two things over at the Studio Calico forum. One is that someone posted a link to the new Cosmo Cricket lines Nutmeg I just love these elements.
The other thing is Studio Calico is about to bring out their own range that will be available in store and online. Not sure that it will get to Uk stores, but we can hope! Check it out! That's the only sneak we are permitted at the moment!
Right that's all for now, I am going before I throw this bloomin' blogger out the window! It's not playing fair tonight, refusing to scroll down and the deleting photo's when I just get them loaded in the right place! I could scream! I've loaded the Cosmo pic three times now! Phew!

Will just leave you with this layout featuring some very old photo's of me, one when I was eleven and just went to Grammar school and the other when I was taking my O-levels. Scrapped using a Pagemap. TFLx

Thursday, 1 October 2009


My little sailor chap, photographed aged 18 months in this picture, at my sister in laws wedding. We bought this super sailor suit whilst on holiday in France and he was a wow. Those lovely sparkling blue eyes, it's still one of my favourite photo's of him.
I received the Jenni Bowlin crepe paper ribbon in a recent SC kit and have used some of it here to create my own flower embellishment using double sided tape and a pleating technique.

Look closely, lots of machine stitching on this layout.

At the risk of embarrassing him, this is the 18 year old here, who has just gone to Uni!! LOL! How time flies! It's a mum's privilege to get all mushy!! One, two, three, isn't he sweet, awhhhhhhh. TFLx

P.S. Have used the crepe paper ribbon on another layout recently. When I remeber which one, I'll come back and post a link!!