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 :)

Monday, 9 February 2015

For the one I love

I'm going to be brave and post this before Valentine's Day as I'm about 95% sure my husband won't see it - he doesn't do social media - at all. Crazy huh? Well this is the card I'll be giving him on Saturday. Yes it has pink, and even a flower! But I'm a true believer that romantic cards should be pretty ;)

Following on from last week's New Baby vintage frame, I got the idea for this card and made it with some leftover supplies from the Docrafts Bellissima range. I really am loving this collection - yes, and that Authentique Renew patterned paper that keeps popping up on my projects. Can you believe I only have one sheet of the stuff?!

I'm also particularly loving these pearl buttons, bought in the sewing section at Hobbycrafts. Teamed with lace gives it a slightly vintage look, similar to the one I created for the New Baby frame.

The Vintage Hot Air Balloon Build A Scene dies were an impulse purchase but the addition of the cloud dies in this set made them a must have for me!

That's it for now, have a great week :)

Friday, 6 February 2015

Flower Power

Just a quick one today, as it's time for another Polka Doodles challenge and this fortnight the focus is on Flower Power... a theme that's quite easy for me! I've used the Picknix collection once again for this, specifically the In The Garden bundle, which is full of gorgeous images, sentiments and papers.
I layered the digital sentiment over a journaling card in a Word program before printing out, then coloured the flowers around the image with a red Spectrum Noir pen.

I layered the journaling card with a lovely green polka dot paper from the CD and some scrap dictionary paper from my stash, then embellished with paper flowers, die-cut leaves, gems and lace ribbon. Hope you like it! I'll be entering this card into the following challenges:
Card and Scrap challenge - Use flowers
Card Mania Challenge - Add some red 
Die-cut Divas - Words, quotes and sentiments
Noor! Design UK - Spring

Have a great weekend :)

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Simply Cards & Papercraft 132

Well, I'm still in the process of catching up on sharing my published work with you - issue 33 has hit the shelves (and I have some cards featured inside! More on that at a later date), so I'm now only an issue behind.

I made these projects way back last year and was asked to create masculine birthday cards using a colourful corrugated mat stack by DCWV. This mat stack has seen a lot of use since, especially the natural brown colour, it's amazing how much use I get from it! The recycled/kraft look fits my style pretty well, and I love the texture it gives to a project.

I added a distressed effect to the mat in the card above by tearing around the top-left and bottom-right edges, then used white acrylic paint and a mask to dry-brush the polka dot pattern across the card front (yes, back in my dry-brushing days!).

For this card, I also used the dry-brushing technique to highlight the star hand-cut from red corrugated card. I kept the design fairly simple as masculine cards tend not to be too fussy, but a die-cut border and some extra cream polka dots finished it off.

Stars are always great for masculine cards, but you also can't go wrong with circles! I decided to use the mat stack to create some textured circles, which I layered up along with stickers, enamel dots and paper circles. This type of material isn't something you can die-cut particularly well, but I managed to use my scalloped circle punch for the blue circle, and of course using templates to hand-cut your own shapes from this thick material is always a must.

As always, I haven't shown all the cards featured in the magazine, so make sure you grab a copy to see the rest of my designs! That's it for now, back soon :)

Saturday, 31 January 2015

New Baby vintage frame

Hello again lovelies! Just dropping in on this cold Saturday night to share with you a recent project made for a friend to give as a gift for some new parents.

Apologies for the quality of the photographs - despite my (amazing) new camera (a Christmas present off my lovely husband) I completely forgot to photograph this project until 10 minutes before my friend came to collect it! So, these were taken at about 6pm on my dining room table with nothing but the living room light to illuminate it - and of course I had a cheeky 2-year-old around my feet too!

I have my clever friend to credit for the sweet message inside the frame. She specified exactly what she wanted to say, and I was allowed free reign to decorate it. I used a Traveling Typewriter font and printed it onto some cream American Crafts lined patterned cardstock for a vintage finish, then used the new Docrafts Bellissima range to decorate - the balloon caught my eye and was exactly the look I wanted - I especially love the silver gilt effect on the die-cuts.

I created my own hand-cut bunting using patterned paper and silver cord. I also fussy-cut a cloud from patterned paper and die-cut a second cloud from Authentique Renew cardstock. I have enough supplied left to create a second identical frame, ready for another new arrival. I just hope the new parents like it! :)

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

New beginnings

I've been meaning to blog this card since before Christmas - I made it a while ago for my lovely cousin and her family when they moved house. It uses some old American Crafts 5th & Frolic papers and some slightly newer Waltzingmouse Gift It stamps (which, by the way, I absolutely LOVE and I've used in a recent commission). It seems fitting to be sharing it right now, as I've got so many things in the pipeline at the moment - 2015 is proving to be a very exciting year full of new beginnings! I've been looking at nurseries for Stanley and have registered him at a perfect setting 10 minutes away, meaning I can increase my working week by a day. Plus I have so many ideas for projects, blog posts and designs, as well as an incredibly exciting job opportunity that's still in the early stages. Lots going on! Watch this space :)

Monday, 26 January 2015

Simply Cards & Papercraft 131

Well I did say I was behind on showing you my published work, so I thought I should catch up! I absolutely love making my own flower embellishments, so when I was asked to create some ribbon flower cards for issue 131 of Simply Cards & Papercraft I had such fun designing my projects. This issue is off sale now, but you might still find it on the website if you're quick. 

I used this technique for my 'Bloom & grow' shadow box tutorial and it's a really simple way of creating interesting flower embellishments, something I think the hot pink trim is particularly effective for.

Again, the technique used here is a fairly simple one but looks striking with a mixture of organza and silk hot pink ribbon. This card was actually a bonus card that appeared on the website - as you can't see it in the mag, I thought I'd share it here. The cute little Glitz Design owl matched my polka dot design perfectly and I think it really pops against the pink!

As well as ribbon flowers I was also asked to give some zipper flowers a try. Having never made them before, I found a really useful tutorial for this spiral flower on Pinterest, which basically involved stitching down the edge of half a zipper before tightening to create those pretty pleats.
The centre of the white zipper flower called for something bright, so this epoxy embellishment from my stash was just the job. I was really pleased with how it turned out!

The final card uses my favourite rolled rose technique to create these silk flowers. It's a fab technique to have in your crafting toolbelt, so I'm going to share a tutorial on how to make these very soon! That's it for now, have a great week :)

Friday, 16 January 2015

Case it!

It's time again for another Polka Doodles challenge, and this fortnight we're doing a Case It challenge, which basically involves choosing a project made by another team member and using it as inspiration for your card.

I chose the lovely Anna to case, I adore her layered style and gorgeous attention to detail. I tried to emulate the layout of her pretty card for the recycling challenge back in November, which used the Rose Budd collection in frosty tones of blue and lilac. For this card I went for a more springtime look and feel, using papers from the Picknix collection. I really enjoyed making it!
My mother-in-law picked up these flowers for me, from the Pound shop of all places! Aren't they beautiful? The on-trend burlap flowers hiding behind them are also a Pound shop find, while the paper and silver skeleton leaves are from my stash. 

The letter stickers are American Crafts, and I've also added some doily and matt die-cuts made from Die'sire dies and Centura Pearl cardstock.

The corrugated card and pink burlap scraps add to the eclectic, natural feel of the card. Mixing lots of different textures like this gives so much depth and interest. As someone who prefers the clean and simple look, this was a departure for me but I'm really pleased with the result! 

I'm going to be entering this card into the following challenges:

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Scrapbook Magazine issue 86

Well I'm waaaaay behind with showing you my published work - Scrapbook Magazine arrived on my doormat before Christmas! Luckily it's a bi-monthly title, so if you're quick you might just still catch it! I made one layout for this issue, with a small feature on how to capture emotions on your pages.

This one is from A Day Out With Thomas back in August, when my little pud had a whale of a time on his daddy's shoulders, hanging out with his grandparents and meeting his favourite train Thomas.
Of course as I'm sure you've probably guessed, the focus of this page is Laughter. I don't think there's a better sound in the world than the sound of my little guy giggling, especially when he's laughing at me being silly. I just love this age for that reason - toddlers are just so inherently happy aren't they!
I wrote a little bit about how I'd finally been able to capture Stanley's laughter. Journaling cards aren't something I usually use on my pages, although I'm not sure why. It's probably a combination of not particularly liking my own handwriting, and wanting to fill available space with pretty embellishments rather than text.

I think with Stanley pages I'm going to have to add a little more detail in the future, to remember all these fleeting little phases of his life. So, another page to add to his album :)

Monday, 5 January 2015

Happy New Year!

We had a fabulous Christmas and New Year celebration and I hope you all did too!

Now things are getting back to normal I'm looking towards what I want to achieve in 2015 and, inspired and encouraged by the amazing Facebook group Embrace Happy, I've picked a word for the year that will help drive me on - Focus.
It can be applied to so many different things, and the largest part of this will be to try to gain balance and refocus my energies on the most important people in my life rather than wasting time on negativity. 

I'm also still establishing myself in the freelance world, so moving up a gear with my design work is of huge importance and as part of this I will also be applying more focus to this blog.

I hope it will become somewhere I can share not just my design work but my day-to-day life as a WAHM (working-at-home mum!) and all the creative whims I indulge along the way. I can't wait to get started!

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