Thursday, 30 October 2014

Halloween fun

It's all gone a little Halloween crazy in our house this week, so what better way to celebrate this than with some spooky cards? I've had these stickers for what seems like forever and never had the chance to use them - I don't even know what brand they are! But I loved the beautiful glitter foam and just HAD to use it against a midnight-black card blank. I'm not one for using stickers usually (apart from letter stickers for sentiments and titles), but I loved how quick and fun these cards were, so I might have to dig out some more.
Halloween has never been huge in this corner of the world - it's just not as popular in England as in the U.S. Yes there are little parties at playgroups and nurseries, the supermarkets sell an array of costumes, decorations and sweets, but I don't think the British public really thrown themselves into it in the same way as their American cousins. Since Stanley came along I've enjoyed it more, which is why I've wanted to introduce him to some new activities to mark the occasion. I'm away down in the midlands for my lovely cousin's hen do on the actual day itself, so rather than miss out on the fun we've had a 'Halloween week' - my days at home with Stanley have involved making Halloween cupcakes like these banana and chocolate chip varieties. I hope next year includes a lot more baking!
Of course, Halloween wouldn't be complete without a (not too scary) pumpkin or two. Have I mentioned that I love this time of year?! Have fun, whatever you're up to! :)

Friday, 24 October 2014


It's been a whole week since I last blogged, and it's not just here I've been absent - for the first time in a long time I haven't made a single project all week. It's been a quiet few days, so I used the time to make plans for products that will be going in my shop. It couldn't come at a better time as I've been running on empty lately and needed to slow down a little. Even though he's nearly two years old, Stanley still isn't a great sleeper. In the last few weeks we've had to cope with an eczema flare-up (something that always affects his sleep) and now another cold. He's started getting into our bed at least once a night, and I can't quite remember the last time he slept through completely. All this means we're functioning on a fractured night's sleep every night, and by my own omission I'm not someone who copes well with tiredness. I know it's only temporary really, but it doesn't make it any easier. It's funny how you get used to walking around in a fog all day, which is manageable for everyday mundane tasks, but sometimes it impairs creativity spectacularly! I've found sitting at my desk and trying to come up with product ideas during a normal 'work' day just doesn't work. Instead, my poor confused brain filters out ideas in the middle of the night or at random points during the day when I'm occupied with housework. But at least those ideas are still coming!
Thankfully I've made some headway with products and I've even been able to design a set of Christmas cards using the remaining Docrafts wood shapes I purchased for a commission. Here they are freshly coloured and glittered - pretty, no? There will be five cards in the set, because who really wants to buy individual Christmas cards?! I'm looking forward to sharing them with you soon :)

Friday, 17 October 2014

Christmas fun

A new challenge has started over on the Polka Doodles blog and, now that Winter is well and truly on the way, our sights are setting firmly towards Christmas. I've been focusing on the new Winston CD this month, which isn't Christmas-themed! So I had to get a little creative for this one. I used the backing paper and image from the CD and mixed it with a little festive candy cane and sentiment from the Festive Hollybobs CD. Some extra merriment was added with the help of some gold jingle bells, Christmas ribbon and a die-cut and sanded postbox. I hope you like it! Have a great weekend :)

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Birdie tags

Autumn has well and truly set in and Stanley's 2nd birthday is just around the corner. We're having a party at a local soft play centre and my thoughts are turning towards this year's cake. I'll be sure to share the results with you - unless it's truly terrible! Today is the first day in a while that I haven't had any freelance work or demo prep to be getting on with, so I've been catching up on party organisation, as well as housework and giving the craft room a much-needed tidy. I've also been working on developing some more ideas for my upcoming Etsy shop. I've got plans afoot for a new blog design, and a very talented ex-colleague of mine has created a gorgeous logo, but for now I'm concentrating on building up a nice selection of items. I got the idea for these gift tags when I saw the cute little bird die that comes as part of the Die'sire Postbox set. The teeny tiny My Mind's Eye Follow Your Heart Be Happy stamps were the perfect size for a sentiment, while still leaving room for your own message. These little tags will come in packs of 10, and I'll also be doing some white and coloured varieties. I'll be sharing some more with you soon! :)

Friday, 10 October 2014

Anything but square

It's time again for another Polka Doodles challenge and this time the theme is 'Anything but square'. I rarely do cards that aren't square so this was a new one for me! I used the new Winston CD for this one, which features some gorgeous material-effect labels, and I used one to form the basis of this card. The CD is a stunning combination of sepia tones and pastel colours, and I love how the sepia Winston bear stands out from the colourful background and flowers.
I used some of the beautiful flowers from the CD and mixed them with layered paper flowers and blue and lilac gems, then added a strip of pink ruffled organza ribbon. A bit on the busy side for me but I love the effect! I hope you like it too :)

Friday, 3 October 2014

Vintage Christmas

Wow this week has flown by! I'm all prepped and packed for tomorrow's Crafter's Companion demo at Brookside Garden Centre in Poynton, Cheshire, and just wanted to show you a peek of some of the cards I've created. Tomorrow's demo will be featuring the new Vintage Christmas embossing folders, which I've used in conjunction with the Classiques dies. For this card I embossed a music pattern onto a card blank made from Centura Pearl Hint of Gold for a clean and simple effect to make these three wise men pop. The wise men were cut from kraft cardstock sprayed with gold Spray & Sparkle, which gives a lovely shimmery finish.
 I got the Spray and Sparkle out again for this one to create my own iridescent glitter card for the snowy hills. I love this Classique reindeer, it's such an elegant design and looks amazing against the kraft background. I stuck to the sparkly theme with some glittery ribbon and blue gems - simple but I hope you'll agree it's effective!
I'll also be demonstrating the Christmas Create a Card dies tomorrow, so it only seemed right to show you a little peek. This Christmas Village die and the Santa's Sleigh Classique die were the perfect fit for this frosty night-time scene - I hope you like it! Have a great weekend :) 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Creative Cardmaking 72

Hello again everyone :) Well we're back from our fantastic holiday, landing at Liverpool airport on Monday afternoon. When we got home I had a magazine commission to complete and a demonstration to prep for (which is this Saturday - more on that tomorrow!), so there was lots of catching up to do. And what else was waiting for me on my return but the latest issue of Creative Cardmaking. I just had to share these cards as I love them! For issue 72 I was asked to create some Christmas cards with a clean and simple style, so it was all about careful placement and a balance of the right products. I chose some Docrafts wood shapes to achieve this - large focal points, especially ones that can be altered to suit, look great on CAS cards as you don't need much more than a smattering of patterned paper to finish it off. On this occasion I used the Polka Doodles Festive Hollybobs CD for this, as it's a brand-new CD and just so happened to feature the colour palette I was after. Some beautiful Crafter's Companion Centura Pearl cardstock, tiny jingle bells and this cute Dovecraft Christmas Creative ribbon were the perfect finishing touches. As always I've only shared some of the cards I created, so if you would like to see more this issue is on sale now :)
Now our holiday is over I feel so ready for Christmas - I'm so sad it's over but couldn't have asked for a lovelier week in the sun (and rain) with my boys. Tarragona was simply stunning and I couldn't believe the amphitheatre - amazing!

 We walked around the little maze of the old town, with its quaint little houses and cobbled streets, then diverted to the newer section of Tarragona. We were out and about mid-afternoon during the siesta, and it was pretty quiet. But we stopped for dinner at a little gem of a restaurant on the Ramblas, where I had a paella that tasted SO much of the sea, and then once the sun went down all the little cafes and shops opened and the town sprung to life. So many sights and sounds for Stanley to take in! He was just the happiest little boy, even when Sunday, our last day, was a complete wash-out. We chose to wander the tiny town of Cubelles and I think he was just a little bit shocked by this tree... 
 ...Spanish yarn bombing! I love his curious little face peeping through the rain cover on this one. And now I'm already starting to think about our travels for next year :) 
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