Thursday, 31 January 2013

My Month in Numbers 2013: January

Hello you.

Let's leap straight in and start with a number: the number 4.

Today marks the 4th consecutive January I've summarised with stories and statistics here on my blog ... and so begins my 4th year of My Month in Numbers.

And now it's a habit. A ritual. A reliable, searchable, online journal which I can refer to when I want to reminisce or remember the date of a specific event. Because this journal has documented - using numbers as a starting point -  many of my notable moments be they big, small, happy, funny, strange. In fact, it's better when they're strange.

Knowing that, month in month out, I'll have to find something to fill the next Month in Numbers post has made me take notice many of the smaller pieces which go towards making up the jigsaw of a month.

And in doing so I've recorded so many small, ordinary and out-of-the-ordinary events, incidents and everyday oddities over the last 3 years of counting that would otherwise have been diluted by the flow of daily life and lost.

 And, while my monthly jigsaw may be a strange shape at times ... but there's no doubting that it certainly has colour!

And so ... if you're joining in for the 1st time today, perhaps inspired by the lure of a fresh new year, or for the 10th time or more ... then welcome, welcome, welcome. What say we make a start on our '2013' jigsaws right now?

Here's how my first few pieces have dropped into place ...

11 = the number of days after Christmas I gave and received gifts from friends. This was fun. It gave us enough time to recover from the initial official round of receiving to catch our breaths and to start to feel like another gift round about now would be just the job. And it was.

And then the gifts kept on coming ...

16= the number of days after Christmas I received a lost Christmas gift from my parents. And, believe it or not, the gift was ... appropriately ... a roll of number-design sticky tape!
Here's how the lost gift was found:

Location: Mam and I were wandering around our local art gallery gift shop ...
  • Me [holding up a roll of number-design tape]: 'I love this'
  • Mam: 'I know you do. That's why I bought you one'.
  • Me: 'You didn't. I haven't got any.'
  • Mam [confused and concerned for the sanity of at least one of us]: 'I did! I knew you liked it from the last time we were here so I came back and got it. Ask your sister, she was with me.'
  • Me [emphatic]: I don't need to ask Jo. 'I believe you!!  But I definitely didn't get it'.
  • Both of us: 'I wonder who it was who sat there on Christmas morning wondering why on earth someone had randomly bought them sticky tape!'
Cut to 36 hours later. My parents' house:
  • Mam [walking down stairs clutching a small, distinctly roll-shaped gift-wrapped bundle]: 'I can't understand it. It was on the floor where all the presents had been. It wasn't even hidden. Just sat there, all on it's own.'
  • Me [tearing at the wrapping paper]: 'Thank you! I wonder what it could be ....'
And still the gifts kept on coming ...

17 = the number of days after Christmas I received birthday gifts. Mainly because it was my birthday ...

Do you remember last month's Month in Numbers where I detailed how I was going to be spending much of 2013 drinking Root Beer and filling out puzzles? [Visit December 2012 for an explanation]. Well, you now need to picture the same scene but with the addition of crisps, because ...

30 = the number of packets of Monster Munch crisps inside the wholesale bulk box I received as a birthday present:
Writing all this down [puzzles, fizzy drinks, crisps] I'm keenly aware that you're in danger of thinking of me as an uncultured 13 year old ... and I can't have that! So ... for balance ... I feel an urgent need to tell you that I also spend my leisure time watching subtitled foreign dramas while drinking Sauvignon Blanc.


I feel better now.

3 = the number of library books read:
  1. The Girl With the Glass Feet by Ali Shaw - this one really is a case of 'it does what it says on the tin'. It's about a girl. With glass feet. As you might have guessed by that it's not a true story ... but rather one from the magical realism genre [I can only ever really read fantasy when it's sprinkled on top of reality!]
  2. The English Monster by Lloyd Shepherd. I really enjoyed this. It was everything that Ripper Street [BBC1s new unappealing and slightly objectionable drama] could have been. With history, more magical realsim and some Sherlock Holmesian touches thrown in. A great read.
  3. And Astray by Emma Donaghue. Which I admit, I only partly read. Based on snippets of true-life these short stories felt a little more gritty than what I'm looking for in my fiction at the moment.
£10 = the bargainous sale price of the russet cord jacket I bought using some birthday money:
Here I am in it before going out for a birthday meal wearing - top to toe - an outfit which didn't cost me a thing. Every item was either a recent Christmas or birthday gift!

Now let's move on to accessories ...

2 = the number of bowler hats played and posed with just after midnight at New Year:
Who knew bowler hats were like buses? You never see one and then two arrive at once!

And one of them was even donated to James as a gift and so it came back home with us.

A bowler hat that is. Not a bus.

Now let's move from hats ... to scarves ....

2 = the number of grey zebra scarves I now own:
A few weeks before my birthday a friend saw me wearing the one on the left and smiled knowingly stating: 'You might find you've got another one of those'.

Turns out she'd bought + wrapped the one on the right for me without realising I already had one. However ...

... upon closer inspection ...

I realised that the new one is a completely different shade of grey so, you know, it's actually an essential part of my grey zebra scarf wardrobe. And a girl can't have too many zebra scarves!

And yes ... it's already been pointed out that there are 48 shades of grey left to go before I've got a full set ...! ;-)


OK then, those were mine. How about yours?

If you want more details plus tips on how to join in if you haven't already - those things can be found here.

And ... if you're just happy to read my vital statistics for January 2013 then that's grand too!

But .. if you do want to join in ... and you'd like for me to pin your post to the Month in Numbers Pinterest board [currently followed by 535 people] then ...

Here are the usual notes to consider:
If you write a Month in Numbers post of your own and want to leave a link for myself and others to come and visit [then please bear in mind it's more fun if it's a shared experience.
  • When you swing by my blog to drop off your link then please leave a comment for me while you're there. Not because I'm needy ... but because it feels fair. Reciprocal.
  • Please link to my blog in your post. As much as I'd like to think that everyone who reads your blog already knows what 'My Month in Numbers' means... the truth is, they don't. So unless you explain where the idea comes from and how your readers can join you in doing the same next month, they are none the wiser.
  • Please take time at some point in the month to visit and comment on a few of the other posts too.
But most importantly ... remember to tell the story of your month ... in your words ... for you! And in 12 months' time let's compare notes on what a year it's been!

Right then, I'm going to go and get comfortable with a nice chilled glass of root beer and a packet of Monster Munch and settle down to read what you've all been counting  ...

Julie :-)

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Scrapbooking: Just Being Ourselves [which sometimes involves *not* smiling]

Hi hi.

We live in a world of digital cameras, camera phones, Instagram and Facebook etc and I'm not sure how I would fair if I was a child today.

Or ... perhaps more specifically ... how I would fair as the child of a parent who took lots of photos of me ... like a scrapbooker. Why?

Because I was notoriously petulant about when I would and wouldn't consider smiling for the camera as evidenced by the centrepiece of my latest scrapbook page:
Here I am mid-refusal in Majorca aged about 6:
The journaling says it all:

So, here we 3 are, on holiday, in the sunshine just doing what we do.

Jo enjoying icecream.

Mam with a natural smile and me refusing to!

Nothing posed, nothing forced. Just being who we are.
That's 'family' isn't it?
And  isn't it just?
Family [and good friends] are those people who still like you despite [and maybe because of] your little quirks ... and stubborn refusals to smile!
And, if you're the photo-loving parent of a little refusenik fear not ...
  • they may well grow up and scrapbook all those photos of themselves that you thought didn't make the grade at the time and ...
  • you'll get to enjoy telling everyone who looks through your photo albums all the tales about their stubborness for the rest of their lives.
Ask me how I know ...

Julie ;-)


The fabulous retro 80s style ribbon and many of the embellishments I've used on the page came from the new range of craft packs I've just launched in my Etsy shop this week.

Supplies used:
  • Ribbon, wooden star embellishment, vintage button, metal tag, paper tags, paper tape all available in the '80s Prints' Couture Collection craft pack  in my shop.
  • Speech bubble stamp: 'Party Puffin' by Alice Palace [available via 3DJean here]
  • Other stamps: 'Portfolio' set by Pink Paislee
  • Journaling block: American Crafts 'Ready Set Go' range
  • Background paper ... I can't remember! Looks like Studio Calico but don't hold me to that.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Cardmaking: a puzzle-piece Valentine

Hi, hi.

If you think you're likely to receive a Valentine's card from me this year, and don't want to spoil your surprise, then .... LOOK AWAY NOW!

[For the record, that mainly applies to just the one person round here and, statistically, it's unlikely that I'm talking to you. However, I guess your reaction might at least reveal how romantic/misguided/egotistical you are.]

Anyway ...

If you dropped by here last week you'll have seen the card I made using embossing folders combined with a plastic puzzle piece [from a Christmas cracker] and today I've got another to share, this time with a love theme:
It's so simple that I'm not sure if I'll be insulting your intelligence by describing how I made this ... but I'll take the risk ...

  • I ran a small [4x4"] card blank through a Papermania 'Chequered'design embossing folder;
  • then added two inter-connecting puzzle pieces using 3D foam pads;
  • and finally I stamped a greeting with my alphabet rolling stamp ... but I bet you could see all that from the photo couldn't you?:


If you like the idea of 'just fitting' [ie. if you're not repulsed by the romantic sentiment] here are a few ideas of how you could adapt it:
  • change the sentiment to 'You Just Fit' to use on a Wedding, Engagement or Anniversary card
And if you haven't got any plastic puzzle pieces then there are alternatives:.
  • try 2 interlocking jigsaw pieces: use them as they are OR cover them with patterned paper or paint/ink/stamped designs. 
  • die or hand-cut 2 heart shapes in different papers. Place one on top of the other and tear or cut them in half down the centre. Now take the left half of one and piece it together with the right side of the other so that the two halves together make one full heart. [All together now ... awwwwww].
If you give any of these a go then do let me know:
  •  I'd love to see it - because [a] I'm nosy and [b] I like to think that in sharing my work here I might just have inspired someone, somewhere at some point to go fiddle with paper!
  • Plus ... I'll make sure to pin it to my catchily-titled 'Other People's Work Based on My Projects' Pinterest board.
  • [I've rather neglected it of late and think it deserves cheering up a bit - so if you've got any projects I've missed .. come tug my sleeve and point me in the direction of your project!] Please.]

And, before you go ...

I've just launched a new kit down the catwalk ... The Couture Collection: a range of fashion-inspired crafty accessory packs which combines my love of all things crafty ... with a good excuse to browse fashion websites!

There are 4 designs available right now:
I'll be back soon with a scrapbook page I've made using the 80s Prints so you can see it 'in action' but until then, you can browse the rails here.

Soo, soon, soon.

Julie :-)

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Parisian Love Notes: the perfect kit for romantic crafting

Hi, hi, hi.

If you've ever browsed around my Etsy shop [or through my products stocked at SkyBlueRed Studio in Guisborough, N.Yorks] then you may well have seen my Interesting Bits.

[Notice how I managed to say that with a straight face? Well, almost.]

Anyway, yes, Interesting Bits, they're fun, self-contained packs crammed with all kinds of things I've collected, hand-picked, combined, collated and colour-coordinated.

They're particularly good for those days when your hands want to be creative ... yet you'd rather not bother your brain with anything as complicated as 'options' and 'choices'.

You know what I mean.

So, all you need to do is select a paper, an embellishment or two, a label, a ribbon... and voila [that's French you know? For 'Ta Da!'. Im pretty sure of it...] where was I? Oh yes, voila! ... you've got yourself a card or scrapbook page etc in no time.

Today, in time for Valentine's Day [and in keeping with the French theme ... ] I wanted to share with you the Parisian Love Notes pack of Interesting Bits:
There's all kinds of  - appropriately enough - interesting bits here such as:
  • a vintage plastic feather
  • a vintage metal charm
  • vinyl heart stickers
  • camera design playing cards
  • fun drinking straws
  • a range of notelets
  • twine, ric rac, tags, buttons, gems and then there's all of this...
  • papers in coordinating shades of blue [all with an old-fashioned correspondence feel]
  • a set of 7 retro styled label stickers featuing the Eiffel Tower, dogs, moustaches, hearts etc
  • 2 airmail envelopes [great for hiding journaling inside if you make a romantic scrapbook page]
You could use the kit to:
  • Send some decorated and embellished snail mail - maybe a love note, maybe happy mail or a postal swap;
  • Create a Valentine's card or a more general greeting with a French twist;
  • decorate a mini-book of photos from a romantic trip or special meal OR
  • simply add it into your existing stash giving it a boost of something new.
And, finally, if I may make a special case for 2 particular ribbons in this kit ...
.. the two furthest right are actually woven from a wonderful silky thread and they just feel special.
  • you could make some lovely hair accessories with them;
  • or maybe a brooch or a rosette?
  • or just some very simple bows for any of your paper or fabric-craft projects.
I found them over a year ago now, nestled in one of my favourite haunts, the sewing/knitting section of a fantastically old-fashioned charity shop in a local seaside town.

I don't know if they've any real age to them, but they always make me think of the kind of tie some handsome leading man might have worn in an old movie ...

Anyway ... if you'd like to create something for your own leading man this Valentine's Day ... and if you've fallen for the 'Parisian Love Notes' kit then there are currently 2 available here for just £9.00 each. [I would think that if you're buying from the UK your kit would arrive in plenty of time for you to make something by the 14th ... outside the UK? I daren't promise anything.]

OK, it would appear the romance of the kit is having an effect on me as I think I may need to go and find me some Cary Grant now ...

See you soon, you crazy romantic you.

Julie :-)


p.s: There's lots of other kits on the shelves [particularly the Message In A Bottle] which you could use to create a bespoke romantic gesture. But, if you're not creative yourself ... I've made some romantic wall-art which would be perfect to give to someone special which can be found here.

p.p.s: Over on my Facebook page I've got a few questions on the go [one about ribbons the other about a new blog series I'm writing] and I'd love your opinions!

If you don't use Facebook, you can still check out the questions over there and respond via another method [ie. a comment here, on Twitter @notesonpaper, via carrier pigeon ... you know the drill.] Thank you!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Cardmaking with embossing folders + puzzle-pieces

Hi, hi.

So. Embossing, with embossing folders. Do you? Have you? How often?

If you're anything like me your answers may be: 'yes', 'yes' and 'not often at all'.

And I'm not sure why I don't use my embossing folders very often - it's not like I don't have my Big Shot within arm's distance - I use it all the time. So the opportunity's there ... just maybe not the inspiration. Until ...

... until I had to write an 'Embossing Masterclass' for Papercraft Inspirations magazine as a follow-up to my 'Die-cutting Masterclass' [they're both due for publication in a couple of months across Issues 111 + 112]. And so I set to work with a pile of folders hoping to be inspired enough to inspire others and earn my keep!

Which is where this card comes in - it's one of the leftovers from my experimenting and I thought the geometric shape of the puzzle piece [which came from a Christmas Cracker**] coordinated perfectly with the chequerboard embossing detail: 
I'd loaned a Tim Holtz Embossing Diffuser to try out too - which you use on top of your regular folders to leave flat areas on your cardstock - making it easy to stamp on to. You might just be able to make out here where there are no raised squares beneath my greeting:
So ... there's every chance I'll be crafting with embossed bits and bobs more often now, if only to use up the small pile of trials, dry-runs and discarded ideas left on my desk since completing my commission.

And - as I hope this card shows, combining embossing into your crafting needn't be the forerunner of anything as scary as 'traditional', 'twee' or 'cute-in-a-bad-way' cardmaking. Especially with a clean, crisp embossed design such as this ... and some bright - dare I say 'on trend' - geometric plastic nonsense thrown in for good measure! 

So ... now I'm done I'll ask that question again: embossing folders - do you? Have you? Or, more to the point:

Will you?

Julie ;-)


Supplies used:
Plastic puzzle piece
4x4 blank card
Papermania A6 Universal Tri-Boss Folder 'Chequered'
Sizzix / Tim Holtz Embossing Diffuser
Pink Paislee 'Portfolio' stamps

** As I discovered in my recent posts about using Christmas Cracker gifts on cards - not everyone in the world knows what crackers are and so my definition goes: Christmas crackers are something like a party favour ... but with added gunpowder. But, in short, they're novelty gifts we often have on the Christmas dinner table.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Simply A Moment: Choreographed Crossings


The other day, during a break at work I found myself doing one of the things I do best: people-watching and listening in to conversations.

And, as is usually the case in these situations, my fingers reached for my notebook so I could trap what I was seeing between the nib of my pen and the paper.

It wasn't until after I'd finished I realised that it was just the thing to contribute to the 'Simply A Moment' meme created by Alexa of 'Trimming the Sails' which, in her own words, is "a mid-month opportunity for pausing, noticing and recording". Alexa welcomes all who'd like to join in and share their moments ... so here's mine:

Choreographed Crossings

Date: Thursday 17th January 2013
Time: around 2.30pm
Location: Staff Lounge - at a window overlooking a main campus thoroughfare. While this part of campus is clear, everywhere else is snowy.
I watch as people below cross the quadrangle. How, like slow Red Arrows, they pass one another. Synchronised. Choreographed.
They merge as groups then pass through and intersect. Some meet. Some part.
I can't hear the joke, but I see it: 3 young men throwing their heads back in unison, laughing. They continue talking as they begin to walk away. Backwards. Still facing one another. A thread of friendship and humour spinning out like spider silk between them.

And still they come.

Left to right. Right to left. Top to bottom. Wave after wave. Never colliding. It's a flight path and I can see their contrails from up here.

Warm coats. Flat shoes. Bags. Earphones. Occasional colour. Occasional cigarettes.

A wave. A nod of recognition across the way.

Behind me they're talking business/promo speak. Someone at another table says "Prescott turned out the Great Unwashed".

Below someone is running. Are they late? Am I? No, it's only 26 past.

They clutch phones, coffee. Clipboard. Carrier bag.

The people behind me complain that Dmitri doesn't understand.

A man in a full fluorescent high-vis suit and balaclava passes by a girl wearing those odd pale-fleshy coloured leggings. No, they are her legs. Bare legs.

Bare legs?! Imagine.


Thanks for pausing and taking a moment with me.

If it's something you'd like to read more about then don't forget to visit Alexa.

See you soon.


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Art Journaling: Eyes Like Rudolph's Nose

Hello hello.

I was one of the many amongst us who received the gift of a head cold over the Christmas break. Yet, as my head began to emerge from days of feeling like a broken brick packed tightly with pain ... and mucus [apologies if that's spoiled your lunch], I began to feel my crafty fingers itch once again.

Clearly however, my brain was still under the cold's influence as I just ended up making a journal page reflecting how I felt - and looked -at the time:
I think the journaling speaks for itself: 
And here are some fellow scarlet-eyed characters:
The eyes are made by pressing the page on to the rim of the red acrylic paint pot [one of those tiny 'paint by numbers' size pots] then a splodge of white paint and a doodled black dot:
Alas, while my cold has cleared, my eyelids remain in varying degrees of redness, soreness and flaky dryness [aren't you glad you dropped by today to read this?] So I'm currently in the process of trying to work out what exactly it is I'm allergic to. And, in the meantime I have to try to cover it up on days I'm out of the house ... as don't want to scare people ... 
When I consulted the internet to find out possible causes I came across this vivid eyelid metaphor [yes, I did say 'a vivid eyelid metaphor'! Don't say you don't get your money's worth from this blog.]
 which read:
  • Your eyelid skin is a ‘canary in the mine shaft’ when it comes to allergic and irritant reactions. [source]
... because apparently the sensitive skin there can flag-up allergies before the tougher skin on the rest of your body knows anything about it. Which is all very interesting and medical and everything  ... but it's got me thinking a bit more creatively ...

If the comparison I made for myself - between the colour of my eyes and Rudolph's nose - made it to a journal page ... then surely it's only a matter of time before this new eyelid / canary / mineshaft imagery does the same!

I'll let you know. [No pun intended].

  • Do you make journal pages about something that's happening / something you're feeling at that very moment?
  • Or do you just take out your supplies and see what strikes you then and there? Maybe it's a colour, an image, a technique? 
I do both, but there are times when even when I think I'm just doing the latter and going with the flow ... the themes which emerge are often linked to something that's happening / something I'm feeling at the time anyway!

Maybe they can't be separated.

What do you think?

Julie :-)

Friday, 11 January 2013

Bang! Cardmaking with Christmas-cracker gifts: 3

Hi hi hi.

Since the last time I was here I've:

[a] had a birthday. [That has nothing to do with anything. Just thought I'd mention it.]
AND ...
[b] learnt that not everyone reading my earlier posts about Christmas cracker gifts had the first clue what Christmas crackers actually are.

This thought had briefly crossed my mind when I started but then I thought that crackers are such a ubiquitous festive tradition that I was being silly, and that of course everyone knows what they are. But I was wrong. [Ooh, it must be the maturity I've gained since my birthday helping me admit when I'm wrong ... ;-)]

I know anyone can go Google or Wiki them but I was trying to explain them to someone on Twitter, so I needed to think quick and come up with a brief description ... and this is what I decided on:
  • Christmas crackers are something like a party favour ... but with added gunpowder.
Just about sums them up wouldn't you say?

And also makes them sound weird.

[Isn't it funny how you can see something with fresh eyes when you need to explain them to someone else?]

Anyway ... now that we're all up to speed I'll share another card made with a Cracker-gift tape-measure. This time it was a nice yellow tape:
It's just this minute struck me that I could start collecting a rainbow of tape measures. Ooooh .... Dangerous thinking!

Actually it was the colour of the tape that inspired the rest of the card:
  • I used a design from the Crate Paper 'On Trend' range as a background [edge punched with an EK Successs binder punch]
  • Then layered up a couple of tags
  • Added a strip of colour-coordinating washi tape
  • and picked out a matching postage stamp as a feature image:
[I often include old/vintage postage stamps in my paper packs and kits. You can browse the shop for them, or get in touch with a custom order if you'd like something similar].

  • The 'stupendous' stamp is from the 'Portfolio' set by Pink Paislee;
  • And I added the wooden bird as it balanced the image of the bird postage stamp and the colour of the kraft card + tag
  • The finishing touch was a few lengths of twine and an owl charm from The Ribbon Girl.
And that's that. And yet ...
... it's still not the end of my experiments with cracker gifts. Whether you like it or not I've got some modern Valentines on the way using plastic puzzle parts!
Before I go ... a quick idea in response to a question in the comments:
  •  if you got one of those mini screwdriver sets in your crackers ... how about adapting the idea I used for the mini pen card here and instead fixing a tiny screwdriver to a card for DIY enthusiasts / hobbyists / someone renovating a new home etc etc?

Right, I'm really going now.

Julie :-)

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Bang! Cardmaking with Christmas cracker gifts: 2

Hi, hi.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And yet, here I am about to share another of the cards I made using the gifts from Christmas crackers ... despite there being tumbleweed  and chilly silence blowing through my last post on the same topic. ;-)

There's a chance that Albert Einstein may also have said the definition of insanity was making cards using the gifts from Christmas crackers.

But what would he know?  

Anyway ... allow me to present a card made using one of the several tape measures I collected from crackers this Christmas. [ETA: if you've been deprived of the joy of Christmas crackers in your country here's what they are! They're something like a party favour ... but with added gunpowder. Naturally.]
I love tape measures. I have a little collection of old ones from all kinds of junk shops, I have lots of different tape-measure design sticky + washi tapes ... and I've even been known to turn a few real ones into belts.  And I know I'm not alone in my fondness ...
When I mentioned to a friend I was making cards from 'Christmas cracker tat' she spotted the tapes and declared 'Tape measures. That's not tat!'. And of course, she's correct!
Here I used the tape across this card just as I'd use any kind of ribbon or washi tape, simply pinching it together at regular intervals for a gathered effect. I then wanted to add in something to balance the shade of gold from the metal tip of the tape measure, so I twirled a metal paperclip embellishment on to some pink twine on the opposite side:
I also added buttons in colours to compliment the other details of the design.

The focal image, featuring a character I believe is called 'Katie Mouse', is an original Plundered Page, which I cut free from a 1970s children's annual.
Unusually for me I went seeking out a focal image to colour co-ordinate after I'd already made the base. My process is generally the exact opposite but fortunately I found something to fit the bill after only the 3rd book I looked in.
So, that's the 2nd card I've made using novelty Christmas cracker gifts .. and it actually won't be the last ... and in saying that I'm suddenly I'm reminded of the quote with which I began this post.  
Here's hoping that this one will get a slightly more lively response than the last ... or else I think I will be defined as insane ... by Einstein. And how am I going to argue with that?
See you soon.
Julie ;-)
Supplies used:
*Papers, border + sentiment sticker: American Crafts '5Th & Frolic'
*Vintage image: original Plundered Pages [similar items available here in my Etsy shop and  if the thought of cutting up old books makes you wince then the tag line of the packs may help with that: I cut up the books ... so you don't have to!]
*Buttons + twine: The Ribbon Girl
*Scrap of paper doily
*Tape measure from Christmas cracker

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Cardmaking: with Crowned Bunnies

Hi hi hi.

As I mentioned yesterday [well, it was yesterday originally but somehow the post reverted to 'Draft' overnight and I've had to set it free for the second time now!] anyway ... as I mentioned yesterday [before I was rudely re-drafted] I'm squeezing this post in between sharing the cards I made using the gifts from Christmas crackers.

Now, would it be a pun too far to introduce today's cards as 'little crackers' too? It would, wouldn't it? OK then ... I won't ...   
The cards are my 3DJean Design Team blog contribution this month using another set from the new Alice Palace designed stamp range.

This set's called 'Crowned Bunnies' and, as usual, I stamped the images direct to patterned paper to avoid that 'oh-no-that's-a-very-blank-white-background' scenario which fills me with fear when stamping:
Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error, a bit of hovering and shuffling around to get the right kind of pattern in the right place on the finished image.
Ideally you want the base design to compliment the finished result and not hide or distract from what the image is meant to be. I think the swirls and light text print [from a pad of Prima 6x6] worked well with these stamps. I also knew I wanted a soft and delicate feel across the cards, so stamped in grey which is much less harsh than black ink: 
Once they were stamped I added some shading and depth of colour using pale peachy and beige toned Promarkers.

If you're not confident with colouring-in stamped images from scratch then stamping on patterned paper is the way to go!

This way most of the colour work has been done for you and you only need to experiment with the 'little extras' like the cheeks / ears etc.

The bunnies/hares? were the perfect size to sit on top the frames from American Crafts '5th & Frolic' range. It's a whole sheet of lovely, watercolour, Polaroid-ish frames which I seem to be using on everything at the moment!
This kind of card is one of my favourite and most frequently made. All they consist of is:
  •  a strip of kraft card [which I bought as a pack of offcuts] folded in half ...
  • a rummage through all the latest sheets of paper I've recently cut up for other projects, searching for leftover scraps and strips ...
  • some washi tape ...
  • a few embellishments ...
  • a focal image ... 
  • and ... repeat to fade ...  

Do you have a 'go to' favourite style of card? A 'fail-safe' way of cardmaking? Styles of project which you return to again and again?

Maybe we should call it something sophisticated ... like our 'signature style' rather than the term which first came to mind: 'brainlesss-but-it-works'.  Either / or!

Julie :-)


Supplies used:
Stamp: 'Crowned Bunnies' by Crafty Individuals / Alice Palace
Papers: some American Crafts '5th & Frolic'; some Prima, Kaisercraft and Studio Calico + scraps
Ballerina charm: The Ribbon Girl
Glittery gems: Papermania

Monday, 7 January 2013

Bang! Cardmaking with Christmas cracker gifts: 1

Hello again.

Happy New Year!  I told you I'd see you on the other side of the festivities, and here we both are.

How'd it go?

And what's the house look like now? Decorations down? All of them? Are you sure? There isn't a stowaway lurking somewhere?

I spotted one still attached to the bathroom door last night and promptly instructed someone taller than me to wrestle it down before it began to blend in with its general surroundings and we forgot all about it. As nice as the bathroom is it probably doesn't merit being bedecked in a silver celebratory wreath 365 days of the year!

That said ... I'd now going to try to persuade you that something as very specifically Christmassy as the gifts inside Christmas crackers can actually be used on any occasion cards at any time of the year!

Here's my first effort using a super-sweet little pen:
After decorating the rest of the card I simply punched 2 holes close together with a Crop-a-dile and tied the pen on using twine slid beneath the little clip:
I also ran a little bit of thin double-sided tape along the underside of the pen, just to stop it slipping around, but it's still easily detchable should the card's recipient ever wish to remove it and put it to use!

Yet, judging by the amount of ink inside I don't think it would have last very long so all-in-all I think it's been put to an alotgether better and cuter use:
And it's got to be better than it ending its days at the bottom of a bin with the leftover turkey!

If I'd known ahead of time that I was going to make cards with the tacky-cracker-goodness I'd have given you a heads-up so you could have kept yours.
  • So, right now I'm guessing / hoping that at least some of you out there are as weird eclectic and Magpie-like as me and have kept one or two of the novelties from your festive lunches? Anyone?
  • If not and you don't have any... go write 'for the love of cardmaking: remember to SAVE the crackery tat' on the December page of your shiny new 2013 calendar/ diary.
  • OR ELSE ... just keep your eyes peeled for other ways to reuse any small novelty / party bag items in your crafting.
 OK then, I'll be back tomorrow with a different set of cards, then over the week or so to come I'll share a few more of the ways I've used my cracker gifts on cards. 


Julie :-)

Supplies used:
Tiny pen from a Christmas cracker
Animal print paper: Crate Paper 'On Trend'
Mini notelet/frame: American Crafts '5th & Frolic'
Purple Onion sentiment stamp
Pink hair grip
Vintage ric rac