Sunday, 16 August 2015

Goodbye to Scrapbook Magazine

I'm soooo behind the times - the sad demise of Scrapbook Magazine happened a few months ago (around the time I stopped blogging actually), but before its final issue I managed to have one of my layout designs featured. The subject is a cold day in February when we used our recently purchased National Trust membership to enjoy a family day out at Tatton park. This trip out will always be memorable to me as I found myself feeling broody as I watched all the other young families - we even discussed trying for a new addition to the family in a few months time. Little did I know that I was already pregnant, something I found out the next day!
Stanley loved riding on the vintage cars and playing in the snow... it was such a lovely day. I wanted to use more than one photograph of the day and I also had some Project Life-sized transparent overlays that I wanted to display, so I printed out the background photographs in a fairly large A6 format so that I could overlap them without losing any of the important elements. The smaller photograph of Stanley and his daddy was then layered on top along with the overlay. I think clustering the photos in this way, as well as varying the sizes, worked well to balance out this page. Some pops of red, including old chipboard letters heat-embossed with red glitter American Crafts Zing! powder, finished it off nicely. I was really pleased with how it turned out, not a bad way to finish my stint on SBM! I was so sad to see it go - and I haven't made a layout since. Roll on maternity leave when I can catch up!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

A little hello

I know, I know - WHERE ON EARTH HAVE I BEEN?! It's been 4 whole months since I last blogged, and the fact of it is that there have been BIG changes in my life that have required me to take a step back. The first is that some of the magazines I design for have now closed, which is of course very sad BUT, this has happened to happily coincide with me getting a new job. Rather excitingly, I now work for Crafter's Companion on various editorial features, as well as having a hand in putting together Crafter's Inspiration magazine. It's a really varied and challenging role, and I'm loving it! I still get to work from home, and there's still some crafting involved (albeit a lot less) - the role is simply perfect for me!
The second big change is that I'm expecting son number 2 at the end of September. I'm usually a wuss in the first 12 weeks anyway, but I'm now 30 weeks and still feeling tired, emotional and, if I'm honest, a little overwhelmed at the prospect of being a mother of 2. To say it's been more difficult this time around is an understatement! As my maternity draws closer, I'll be back sharing some of my designs with you soon - so watch this space :)

Friday, 13 March 2015

Polka Doodles - Birthdays

It's time for another Polka Doodles challenge and this fortnight it's all about birthdays. I missed the last challenge as I was a poorly so I was really up for creating something different and fun for this one.

The card is actually a little longer than a standard DL size, so if you were going to make this you'd need to create your own envelope - not a problem if you've got an Ultimate Pro or similar to hand.

To create the supersized 'Birthday' sentiment I printed off some lovely floral letters from the Picknix CD. I printed them out twice - once onto plain paper and again a thicker cardstock - then carefully hand-cut each letter. I arranged the paper letters overlapping onto the card blank, then added my thicker cardstock letters on top using 3D foam pads for dimension.
There were so many colours and patterns going on in these letters (and FYI I love the combination of the flowers, burlap texture and polka dots), that a patterned paper background would have been too much. It was the perfect excuse to try out my new Spectrum Noir Aqua Markers, so I used a thick paintbrush and lots of water to create a wash using pale blue and green tones.

A stamped 'happy', faux stitching, some thin satin ribbon and pretty pastel flowers finished my design. I hope you like it!

 Have a great weekend :)

Monday, 9 March 2015

Craft room complete!

My dad and step-mother came to visit last month - they live over 200 miles away from us and so we don't get to see them very often. As usual, it lead to a mad dash to tidy before they arrived. You see, we started to turn the guest bedroom into my craft room a few weeks ago and, predictably for us, left it unfinished.

So, on the Friday night before they arrived it was a messy craft bomb of scraps, dies, stamps and cuttings all over the desk, floor and bed. I spent two hours tidying up and on Saturday morning my lovely husband put up shelves and hung artwork to finally make it into a welcoming space. With that final push of a family visit, my craft room was complete! Of course, what must a crafter and blogger do but photograph it? Naturally ;)
There's an alcove in one corner of the guest bedroom, which was the perfect place to install a desktop large enough for my crafting. I often find myself spreading out onto the floor, though. Crafting is inherently messy and I certainly can't tidy up after myself while I work... it all has to be done after the event. Not my favourite part of the creative process, that's for sure! Ignore the random guitar... it would have been resigned to the loft months ago, except that Stanley likes to sing and strum along on the 'la la', as he calls it.
I'm not, and never will be the most tidy of people. My craft stash is a kind of organised chaos - my drawers are separated into papers, embellishments, card blanks and cardstock, stamps and inkpads, chipboard and stickers and tools and that's pretty much it. I also have a separate set of drawers under my desk so that I can keep demo materials separate from my everyday craft stash.

Similarly, I have magazines, files, empty shadow boxes and button storage in my shelving unit. It's all a little haphazard but spending hours painstakingly arranging everything isn't my style, and somehow I always manage to find what I'm looking for.
Just a side note about these beauties. Those who follow me on Instagram might have seen a post a few weeks ago where I gushed about my light box and how I'm not restricted by light when shooting my projects any more. My husband bought me the light box for Christmas - and I'm in love! The light is often pretty bad in this corner of the world, even at the brightest period of the day, so I admit I have struggled with my photographs at times. As well as a brand-new camera, which also makes a HUGE difference to my shots, the light box and these fab lamps mean I can always have crisp, bright images - or at least begin to, anyway!
Of course, no spare room would be complete without a spare bed. We are very blessed to have lovely large bedrooms in this house, so as well as a massive desk and storage room, we managed to retain the double bed and move it into the corner of he room. A functioning study at last! Lets see how long I can keep it tidy for ;)

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Simply Cards & Papercraft 133

It's been a bit quiet around here lately, I know! I've been a bit poorly recently and needed to take it easy - I'm still not 100% but I'm hoping to be back to full speed soon. Be assured though, I haven't forgotten about you guys! So I thought I would drop in quickly to show you some more published work, this time for Simply Cards & Papercraft issue 133.
I so love these cards, mainly because I use mini pegs all the time, so when I was asked to create some cards for a mini peg 'stretch your stash'-type feature, I was in my element! I had great fun experimenting with ways of using mini pegs - from creating butterflies to using them as sunrays, they're such versatile little embellishments.
The cards came together really quickly, and were made all the easier with some gorgeous MME Cut & Paste paper pads that I picked up for a song at TK Maxx. I actually used two different collections, Charm and Presh, and I love how they're interchangable while also being gorgeous standalone collections in their own right. Much love for this range!
This washing line effect was obviously inspired by the Project Life card I used and was something a little bit different. A horizontal washing line pegged across the centre of a landscape card would look great, but the I really wanted to use the Project Life card in my design and thought this semicircle card front and vertical washing line gave an unusual twist to this idea. I hope you like my cards! Have a great week :)

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Stanley starts nursery

Wow - it's been a busy few weeks, lots going on! Not least because Stanley has stared nursery. He's only going in twice a week, but to get him settled and happy in his class for the first week we visited every day for ever-increasing amounts of time, and I hesitantly scurried off, waiting for the phone call telling me to come and pick him up because he's upset. That phone call never came and my little pud has been loving nursery.

On his second week the tears started - leaving a clinging, sobbing child at the door was so traumatic, but the nursery let me stay out of sight until he'd calmed down so that I'd know he was calm and happy when I left.

It's such a difficult decision but I must be happy in the knowledge that my little person is in an engaging, stimulating environment that will help him to develop and progress. I love the nursery we've chosen - it's bright, airy and welcoming and there's lots of outside space in which to play and explore. Judging by his artwork, he's already been getting lots of chances to be creative! I've got lots more to share so I'll be back soon :)

Friday, 13 February 2015

All things kraft

It's time for another Polka Doodles challenge and this time it's all about kraft! I use a LOT of kraft cardstock in my designs so thought I would challenge myself to do something a little different from my usual style. This is about as fussy as I get!

I love the colours - pink and kraft go so well together. Of course I just had to use the Winston Deluxe papercrafting CD, as it contains so many truly gorgeous kraft papers.

I distressed some polka dot kraft paper then layered a girly pink floral paper over the top to off-set the sepia-toned Etty image - this one was taken from a design sheet on the CD, but it's also available as a digistamp! I added some extra kraft goodness with a tag edged in white pen, then layered some ephemera from the CD on top.

I had been given some gorgeous organza swatches in various tones of purple and thought it would be great to continue with the sewing theme, so I chose a lilac colour, gathered the swatch in the centre and arranged it to show behind the Etty image. The overall effect has more oomph in real life, but I think it adds a lovely subtle touch to the card in the photos!

Being such a girly design, I just had to finish it with my favourite lace ribbon, which was then tied through my sentiment tag. I also pastel flowers and some pearl stick pins for an added flourish.

Products I have used:

I do hope you like it! I would like to enter my card in the following challenges:
Come and Get it Challenge - Birthdays
Lil Patch of Crafty Friends - Anything Goes
Scribble and Scrap - Anything Goes

Have a great weekend :)
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