Saturday, 31 March 2012

Decoupage Distress

Soooo, a couple of weeks ago I tried my hand at some simple decoupage.  Following a design idea on last months Cardmaking and Papercraft magazine (http://www.cardmakingandpapercraft.com/) (issue 102), I attempted a pink and purple flower card.

The idea was simple enough: use two identical sheets of backing paper, stick one to the card and create the decoupage with the other by cutting shapes out and sticking them on over the identical bit of the backing paper with a sticky foam pad to make it all stand up.  Of course, as usual, this was easier said than done . . .

In my geniusness, I decided to use spray glue to stick the whole bit of the backing paper to the card blank.  All well and good in theory, until you remember that it gets everywhere, sticks everything to everything else, and is near impossible to wash off.  Result: one kitchen worktop now covered in glue and a note to self to cover the whole room (ceiling included) with old newspaper and dust sheets before using spray glue again.  On the plus side, the paper did stick to the card.

The next step was to cut out small shapes from the other sheet of backing paper.  The original plan was to cut out all of the butterflies and flowers, but after cutting out one butterfly and one flower, I got bored and decided that having only about a third in decoupage would add character to the card.  Such small items are fiddly to cut out.  It’s my own fault though, I should have realised this.  It took me about twenty minutes to cut out what I thought would be enough shapes (which wasn’t a lot).

Then came the easy bit – sticking the decoupage on. This was simply and just involved sticking a small foam pad to the back of the bits I had cut out and then lining them up to the same picture on the card.

I finished my card by cutting out letters from purple glitter card to spell ‘Mother’ and sticking these to the top left-hand corner of the card.  The finished product I think (hope) is quite effective, and I hope that the Mother likes it.  

Happy crafting.

Holly xx


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Easter Eggcitement

So, I never really get that excited about Easter other than for the extra couple of days off work I have to catch up with everything.  I think I have even reached the stage where I am not that bothered about getting an easter egg – I still love chocolate (Galaxy is my favourite), but it doesn’t have to be egg-shaped – a large bar will suffice.  It is unfortunate to say that as I have got older, the religious aspect has been lost on me too – I know what its all about, which is more than can be said for most kids these days, but I’m not particularly religious and it has all become a bit too commercialised.

Anyway, this year I have found something about Easter that I am excited about . . . Easter Cards!  There has been loads of ideas and designs in my various craft magazines over the last couple of months an it would have been rude not to try some  . . .

My main inspiration has been Lets Make Cards! (www.letsmakecards.com), the last issue of which even came with a little easter card kit, which included card blanks, ribbons, sentiments, chipboard accents, and even a stamp!  It also had a step-by-step guide on how to make some cards.  I used the cards features as inspiration, but made them my own with various bits and bobs from my craft stash.  These ‘inspiration cards’ did, however, encourage me to try some new card shapes, away from the original folds and detailing.



I particularly liked the stepper card I made – a shape I had never even considered previously.  I don’t remember ever seeing anything like it before, but it was very simple to make: 

Turning the card landscape, about half way along I cut the card to about two thirds of the way down on both the front and the back (it wasn’t and doesn’t need to be an exact art).  I then scored the front and the back of the card at the same point approximately halfway down from the cut to the edge of the card.  I then folded these bits to make a concertina.  To finish the card, I glued a chipboard bunny, which had come in my kits, to the front of the folded part and two cardboard egg motifs and an ‘Easter’ sentiment (also from the kit) to the plain part of the card, and voila! . . . one easter card.

Another of my favourites is the bunny aperture card,.  This was also quite simple to make, although did require some care cutting out the aperture (although I consider cuts an occupational and regular hazard).



From a green card blank I cut a circular aperture from the top half (I think I used an upturned mug as a template).  I then lined the inside back of the blank with some bright spotty paper from my paper stash so that it showed through the aperture.  I also found some cute easter egg paper and glued a strip of this to the bottom of the front of the card.  The card was finished by attaching a chipboard bunny over the aperture and an ‘Easter Joy’ sentiment to the centre of the easter egg paper.  I also attached some flower-shapes confetti to the front of the card as a finishing touch.

These are just two of the cards I have enjoyed making for Easter.  I’ve also made others, trying out different techniques such as stamping, using stickers and creating my own backgrounds.  I’ve got some more to make yet and I think I will try embossing some, but that’s another blog post . . .

Happy Crafting!

Holly xx

Sunday, 25 March 2012

So Retro

Soooo, this morning I thought I would do a bit of sewing, as I have loads of TV to catch up on, and I can't do that making cards.  Neither can I just sit and watch TV - I have to be doing something else at the same time.

At the moment, my sewing projects are pretty small:  I've made pin cushions and patchwork cushions so far, and I've decided to stick with keeping things small for now.  Inspired by the upcoming Easter holiday and an old issue of Crafts Beautiful magazine (http://www.crafts-beautiful.com/), I decided to try my hand at making an egg cosy.



It seemed quite simple: two different fabrics and some wadding.  It took me about an hour (or two catch up episodes of Sarah Millican's Television Programme) to make my first one, but I'm sure the more I do the quicker I will get.  It needed to be made in two parts.  The first consisted of sewing two half-oblong pieces of fabric together, inside out, along the edge with a simple running stitch, with the same shaped wadding, and leaving the bottom open.  Whilst doing this, I sewed a loop made from the fabric I intending making the lining from to what would be the top of the cosy.  I then turned this the right way round and made the lining.



The lining was made by sewing two pieces of fabric (contrasting to the main cosy) in another half oblong shape (a bit longer than the actual cosy), again inside out.  I left this inside out and put it inside the cosy.  I then turned over the edge twice and sewed along the the turnover to finish off the cosy.

I think I'll make some more in different colours.  The design can also be adapted to make tea cosies, which may be my next project . . .

Happy Crafting!

Holly xx

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Wedding Wonders

Soooo, first of all, a great big congratulations to my auntie and uncle who finally got married this week, after 16 years together.  Second of all, boooo to them for not telling any of us about it until after and thereby doing me out of a new hat!
Anyway, a text from my auntie Wednesday lunchtime informing me that she was now my ‘proper auntie’ first gave me a heart attack from shock – it was rather unexpected and I’m still wondering how they managed to keep it a secret.  Admittedly, living an eight hour drive away helps, but nothing in my family ever stays a secret.  Second, it then caused panic as I had no wedding cards made or any ideas for them.  I had thought that I had a few more weeks before the wedding season kicked off. 
Luckily, I quickly developed an idea in my head for something a bit different – too romantic, cutesy or slushy would most certainly not be appreciated.  A couple of weeks ago I’d downloaded a digistamp of a sketched bride and groom, so I printed this off and cut it down to the correct size.  I then layered this to some yellow mulberry-type paper, which I then layered onto some plain white card, which I then layered onto some yellow corrugated card.  I then positioned this near the top of a white card blank.



I already had some wedding sentiments printed out, so I layered one of these to some more yellow mulberry-type paper, and positioned near the bottom of the card blank. 
The finished product is, I think, a little quirky and fresh, perfect for my auntie and uncle, even if the groom on the card does have far too much hair to be a true representation of my uncle.  A bonus of it is that it is quite simple to reproduce and can be matched to other colour schemes (I made a blue one a few days later).



I’d just like to say that I’m really glad my auntie has properly joined the family now, despite the concerns I now have for her sanity.  I can’t wait to see them in June when we all go on holiday, and when I have been promised a proper party, to which I intend to wear a new hat.
It seems that the wedding season has now started as I’ve just been commissioned by my friend, Sobia, to make a card for a wedding she is attending in a couple of weeks.
Happy Crafting.
Holly xx

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Elegant Embossing

So, I’d been inspired by an old issue of Crafts Beautiful (www.crafts-beautiful.com) to try my hand at heat embossing.  It wasn’t something I’d considered or knew much about before, but the effect looked great.  The only problem was I needed a heat tool, and I didn’t really have any spare cash.

I didn’t really know where to start looking or how much one would cost me, so I did a bit of internet research (mostly Amazon and Ebay) to find out exactly what a heat tool was and how much one would cost.  To my pleasant surprise, they didn’t seem that expensive (and in case you were wondering, they are a bit like a mini hairdryer).  I could and probably should have ordered one there and then, but I didn’t want to pay a fortune for postage and foolishly thought that I would be able to pick one up in town one lunchtime easily enough.  Oh, how wrong I was . . .

A week of going into every shop I could think of that sold anything crafty did not produce a heat tool.  I even had all the girls at work looking for one (after I’d explained exactly what one was).  Eventually, I found one on the Hobbycraft website (www.hobycraft.co.uk) for £13.99, but postage (as always) was quite steep and my nearest Hobbycraft is not in the centre of town, so would require a special Sunday trip.  So, I continued to trawl Ebay.  About six weeks later, I was finally successful in winning one for under a tenner (including postage) on Ebay.

White waiting for my heat tool to arrive, I went to Craftwise (www.craftwiseonline.co.uk) to get some clear ink (for use with coloured embossing powders, which I had also ordered from Ebay) and some clear embossing powder (for use with coloured inks).  After that, I just had to wait for my heat tool to arrive, and I was so excited when it did!



Once I had all the bits I needed, I decided to spend an evening practising on bits of scrap card to get the hang of it, but I really didn’t need to – it was so easy:  You stamp your image, quickly cover it with embossing powder and then with the heat tool melt the embossing powder on the stamped image.  I used coloured ink and clear powder, as my coloured powders hadn’t arrived, and I stamped loads of different images, which are all now safely stored away in a box for future use on cards.

I decided to use the technique to make a mother’s day card for my step-mum and I loved the effect, as did she.  The clear embossing powder intensifies the colour of the stamped image and gives it a glossy finish.

My coloured powders have now arrived, so I think a little experimentation is in order to see what happens when I use coloured in with coloured powder.  I’ll keep you posted . . .

Happy Crafting!

Holly xx


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Bespoke Beauties

So, last week I had my first order for a bespoke card . . . and then another . . . and then another . . . All from people I know, but at least its a start and shows that people trust me to interpret their ideas and create something special.
The first order was from my friend, Nat, whose specification was a card with a bird on it.  Not the most detailed or exact specification, but that may be a good thing, maybe, and at least the specification was a bit more exact than that of order number two, from my step-mother.  Her detailed and informative specification for a card for her friend’s birthday was ‘something nice, with ‘friend’ on it’.  At least my Pops piped up with ‘she likes flowers’, which gave me a little something to work with. 
Finally, my mother’s specification was ‘a card for your grandma with ‘Mam’ on it, because that’s what I call her. Errrm, Mother . . . 1. I’ve never heard you call her that in all my 26 years (and yes Mother, I am only 26, despite you telling everyone that I am 30!), and 2. I call her ‘old bag’, ‘ancient’ and ‘Granny Marjorie’ (admittedly not to her face) and she would quite possibly shoot me if I put that on a card for her – especially the ‘Granny Marjorie’ one.  That may be my Grandma’s actual name, but anyone who calls her that gets the grandma death stare, and as a result, she is known to everyone as Grandma Madge –even those who aren’t her actual grandchildren.  I think she is actually honorary grandma to anyone under the age of 40, but she’s not your typical grandma.
More often than not my grandma dresses better than the rest of us, goes to the gym every day, goes on a zillion (no exaggeration) holidays a year, and if I look as good as she does at her age, I will be extremely happy.
Anyway, back to the cards.  Despite my mother’s extreme unhelpfulness on specification, gran’s card was probably the easiest to design.  Of course, it helps that I know her so well and that we are scarily alike.  She loves butterflies and has butterfly things all over her home (in an extremely tasteful way, naturally), so a butterfly it was to be.  I found a square of purple glittery card I forgot I had and stuck it at a jaunty angle (I love jaunty angles) to the card.  I then stuck a butterfly I bought from The Works (www.theworks.co.uk) a few weeks ago to the square, with flower embellishments positioned along one edge of the purple glitteriness.  I would have like to do all sides but didn’t have enough.  It was then purely a matter of using some letter stickers to spell out ‘Mam’, and voila!, one card.
Next was the bird card for my friend, Nat.  I’d found a cute stamp on ebay, which I’d ordered at the weekend, and had arrived earlier in the week.  This was to be the central piece to my card.  I’d like to say that I was inspired by the upcoming jubilee for my colour scheme of red and blue, but that would be a lie – I currently only have red, green and black inkpads (but I do intend rectifying this).  I found some nice blue pearlescent blue paper in my paper stash.  I should really look through all the papers I have and find out what exactly is there, but it is unlikely to happen unless I get REALLY bored.
With my theme sorted, I thought something other than the bird was needed, so I stamped some flowers in red to match the bird.  With hindsight, I should maybe have punched the flowers from red card, as the stamped flowers were a total pain to cut out.  The effect of them is quite good though.
I still thought something else was needed, so I decided to be a big kid and splodge red glitter strategically, i.e. totally haphazardly, over the card.  And do you know what Nat’s favourite bit was?  The damn glitter!!
Finally, I had the card for my step-mum’s friend to make, which was possibly the hardest, as I had no idea where to start.  Step-mother had seen some cards I had made previously and liked some vintage pink paper I had used, but alas, I had no more of that left L.  So, I trawled through my paper stash and found something similar.  Although it is a lovely paper, it is such a busy patter that I couldn’t think of anything that would hold its own against such a background.  I must have had my whole craft stash out at some point trying to find something that would go with the card.  In the end I settled on a sparkly butterfly that would fit with the vintage feel the backing paper had inspired. 
Luckily, the card was easy to finish off with ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Friend’ sentiments/
So, that is the trial of my first bespoke cards over, and I only got paid for one of them, but I am looking forward to my next bespoke orders.  Let’s see what challenges they bring . . .
Happy crafting!
Holly xx

Monday, 19 March 2012

Mother’s Day Madness

So, Mother’s Day is always a busy time for any crafter, but I think mine has been busier than most.

Not only have I had to negotiate the political minefield of the whole mother/step-mother situation, which is stressful enough at the best of times, but as the only non-mother in my family, who doesn’t live in Army Barracks (my little sister is in the Army), it falls to me to organise the mother’s day shindig and ensure that all those that are mothers in the family don’t have to cook for the day.



The mother/step-mother situation had already been stressing me for weeks.  They do not get on!  In fact, it has taken a few years for the mother to actually acknowledge that the step-mother exists, and bearing in mind both me and my little sister lived with Pops and the step-mother for a while, I think that is quite a feat on the part of my mother.  I hate for my step-mother to feel left out, or that we think less of her than we do the actual mother, because she has been good to us the last few years, and even let me move in with her and my Pops when I split up with my ex and had a choice between there and the mother’s.  But at the same time, it is important to the mother to think that she is much more important and gets much better presents/cards etc.  In fact, I think in her head we don’t do anything for the step-mother, evidenced by her asking why we had gone to see Pops yesterday . . . oops!  Anyway, I think (hope) I got the balance right this year . . . both got flowers, mother’s a bigger bouquet, and after all I did host the mother for tea, whereas I just visited the step-mother.



My decision to organise tea also stressed me greatly . . . I had originally suggested and hoped that we could go out for lunch, but lack of funds on the part of my big sister put an end to this, which was in its way a blessing in disguise, as my bank balance wasn’t looking too healthy thanks to a mess-up with my wage.  So the result was that I would now host my mother, my big sister, her partner, my two nieces, and my grandma and grampy in my little cottage, along with my mother-in-law and father-in-law to be.  All this, despite the fact that I can’t cook, unless its lasagne or fajitas!  So, fajitas it was.  At least they seemed to be enjoyed by everyone, but I was certainly ready for them to go home at the end of the day so I could restore some order to my house.  I do love my family, but they do make a mess and interfere.



Despite all this stress though, I had still managed in the last couple of weeks to make some mother’s day cards, a few of which I sold, and a few of which I used for my own mother-type people.  My favourites of the ones I sold though has to be the ‘mums are like buttons’ range, inspired by a recent issue of Crafts Beautiful magazine (www.crafts-beautiful.com), from which I always get inspiration, although I usually adapt quite a lot.  I also enjoyed trying out the new techniques for the cards I made for my mother-type people . . . decoupage, heat embossing etc.  Hopefully, next year I will have more time to make and sell some more, and maybe try out some new techniques.

Happy Crafting!

Holly xx

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Stamping Suspense

Sooo, how excited was I to get home today to two deliveries?!  As strange as it may seem to some of you, I get very excited about getting new stamps, and all the different design possibilities.  It’s a relatively new crafting technique for me, but I’m already hooked.
Today’s deliveries were stamps for cupcakes and birds – the first because I like anything sweet, and one of my favourite sayings at the moment is ‘it’s not about how many candles you blow out, but about how many cupcakes you get’, which is featuring heavily in my cardmaking.  I’m tempted to incorporate this into some of my fabric creations.
The birds are for one of my very first bespoke orders, from the lovely Miss Natalie, and I can’t wait to make this card, I just need to decide what colour and go buy some more ink.  I could also be tempted to attempt to emboss this design when my embossing heat tool arrives later in the week, but that could be a whole other blog post . . . .
I can’t wait to get started crafting with my exciting new stamps, but first tonight I need to alter my costume for my dance show in four weeks . . . eeeek!
Happy crafting!
Holly

Bernard the Bee and Lilly the Ladybird

As promised, pictures of the bee and ladybird card toppers I made.



Happy Crafting!

Holly x

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Creature Comforts

Sooo, today I’ve been trying my hand at making my own card toppers.  Inspired by the toppers I bought and used on my ladybird and bee cards, I thought I would attempt to make my own version of these critters.
So, off I trundled to work this morning with my felt (red, yellow and black), some googly eyes and my trusty PVA glue, all set for a mini-crafting session on my lunch break.  Sue, who I sit opposite got excited as I’m always making her little things during moments of boredom with whatever I have to hand – last week was a mini plant pot made out of paper – my first (and so far only) attempt at quilling.

As it got closer, excitement grew about what I might make, but then I realised . . . I had nothing for the wings for the bee, or for the feelers of the little critters.  I decided to make what I could and finish them off at home tonight, and if I do say so myself, they actually looked ok.
Just as I was finishing off doing what I could on the bee, inspiration struck . . . I could indeed make the wings . . . out of the carrier bag I’d brought my crafting stuff in.  I also managed to managed to make the feelers out of twisted bits of paper coloured with black marker.


I am quite impressed with the results.  Pictures are to follow as I didn’t have my camera at work and the ladybird is now stuck on my computer screen, and the bee I gave to my lovely friend Debby, as apparently Deborah is Hebrew for ‘bee’, although she probably isn’t aware that the wings are actually carrier bag.   I’ll upload the photos tomorrow, let me know what you think as I might start selling these.
The lesson of the day is to utilise what you’ve got and you could be surprised at how good it actually turns out, even if you do end up going home with holes in your bag.
Happy crafting!
Holly

Monday, 12 March 2012

What to write? What to write? What to write?



Welcome to my new blog.  I make cards and invitations mostly as a hobby, but I do like to sell some too, under the guise of Fairy Elephants Cards and Invitations.  I'm quite new to this, so I'm constantly trying out new techniques and ideas.  So follow me, while I attempt, and probably fail spectacularly at, making cards worthy of sale so I can give up my Saturday job.


I also dabble in other crafts, and make accessories for the home.  Follow these attempts too.

I am also new to blogging, generally believing that no-one is interested in what I have to say, but my darling fiancé insists that sometimes I can be quite interesting, althought I think he's just fed up of listening to me talk about how I make my cards, so please bear with me.

Holly x
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