Vintage card and ATC

Early planning

I am writing this post so far in advance that I’m almost bound to forget that I’ve done it. I am unable to publish this post any earlier as the card I’m showing you is for my very good friend Stacey, whose birthday is today (happy birthday Stacey!!). I do hope she likes it.

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The papers I used for this card (and the idea too, actually) was from issue 91 of Simply Cards & Papercraft magazine. The magazine suggests using old cigarette cards for crafting. Now, I had a look on eBay, but the only nice ones cost a fortune, so I decided to print my own. Unfortunately my printer ink was running low, hence the unusual skin colour, but that aside, I thought it still looked nice and ‘vintage’.

I loved the vintage look of the card so much that I ended up making an ATC along the same lines too, using a strip of vintage lace and an old button to set it all off.

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January No Spend Challenge!

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to join in a challenge originally set by Stephanie at her Full Of Great Ideas blog. I was invited by Mother Hen Strikes Again, who I follow on twitter. Ever since reading up about the challenge I have been thinking it over and wondering if I could possibly stick to it. The rules are quite simple: no frivolous spending. Essential items only. That means no crafting items, no sweets or treats, no books, clothes or CDs.

I can tell you now that I need to do this challenge as my bank account is in a very sorry state after Christmas, but I am a devil for snapping up a ‘bargain’ (read ‘buying unnecessary crap’). The thing is, now it’s New Years Eve and I’ve not made any half decent resolutions, and this challenge has been playing on my mind. So I’m going to take the plunge. January will be a month of essential spending only. I’m afraid I’m going to totally plagiarise Mother Hen’s blog here and copy her rules, which I will endeavour to stick to.

Mother Hen’s 7 golden rules are:-

1. Thou shall not spend ANY money on Crafts

2. Thou shall not spend ANY money on DVDs, CDs, Books or Clothes

3. Thou shall not spend any money on Sweets or Treats (make whatever you got for Christmas last until February young lady!)

4. Thou shall only buy essential groceries and make savings wherever possible!

5. Thou shall only complete crafts with the items already in the house

6. Thou shall not go to ‘Coffee’ or ‘Lunch’ with other Mummies unless invited to their home or them to mine

7. Thou shall think “thifty”

I confess, I have just placed an order for 3 books which are not essentials, but my justification is that a./ it’s not January yet, and b./ I received a gift voucher for Christmas which covered 80% of the cost and it would have been very rude not to spend it 😉

Oh yes, and I may have bought myself a dress yesterday too. But again, that was with Christmas money. Ok, you can see I’m already justifying things! All I can say is that I will do my best to adhere to the rules. Hopefully by the end of the month I will have saved enough money to get my car through its MOT in February. That’s the goal anyway!

So any January blog posts will contain craft created from what I already have in stock (although in all honesty I probably have almost as much craft stuff crammed into my house as my local craft shop so I don’t think that part will be tricky!).

I will try and keep you informed of my success (positive thinking there, see?!). Thanks Mother Hen for inviting me 😉

Advent Challenge: Day 17 – Music Peel-off

Day 17: Music Peel-off

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I love and hate this peel-off in equal measure. When I first found it I thought it was fab, but when I got it home and actually *looked* at it, I realised that it is musically inaccurate – the rhythms are all wrong. But hey-ho, I’ll just have to send it to someone who isn’t musically minded, they won’t know the difference! Regardless of rhythm, this peel-off is a great way of making quick and easy cards – you get about 8 or 10 on a sheet, for less than £1. All you really need to add is some subtley patterned backing paper.

To make this card:

  • Cut a sheet of fairly plain backing paper into a square approx 2 cm smaller than your square card blank.
  • Stick the backing paper to the card blank centrally using double-sided tape.
  • Place the music peel-off a little above halfway up the backing paper, and carefully place the words below. A pair of tweezers can be very helpful when trying to pick up the tiny words.
  • Outline the backing paper with a zig-zag peel off in a colour that matches the music.
  • Add a black adhesive gem at each corner of the backing paper to finish.

Of course, there are so many possibilities for change within this design – using a different colour backing paper for example, or substituting the gems for brads, buttons or even tiny doodled musical notes!

Craft fair at Birmingham NEC

Shopping time!

For the last few years I have looked forward to November with both excitement and trepidation. Excitement because it is Crafts for Christmas and the Hobbycraft fair at Birmingham NEC, and trepidation as I know that I will inevitably spend too much money. Again.

I first went to the fair in November 2005. My son was barely 4 months old and I was pretty much a crafting novice. Although it was a real experience taking a baby to a very busy show, in the end I was very grateful I had him with me because his buggy became a very handy shopping cart to carry all my purchases!

If you have never had the joy of a Hobbycraft show, let me explain. The November event comprises 3 shows – Crafts for Christmas, Hobbycraft, and Art Materials – Live. It seems to be held over approximately 84 football pitches worth of ground, and attracts about 6 million visitors. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but that’s what it seems when you walk in!

The gist of it is – if you can craft with it, you’ll find it there. In abundance. The real trick is knowing when to stop buying stuff (usually at the point just before you collapse in an exhausted heap on the floor). For the last few years I have been lucky enough to be treated to the ticket and the travel down there by my mother-in-law. Only fair really, as she was the one to get me into crafting in the first place 😉

This year 5 of us went together. A rather eclectic bunch – myself and my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law and her friend, and my 8 year old neice. We took lunches and and one of those wheeled shopping bags to store our goodies in at half time (a wise move, especially if you’re buying card blanks for example – they get very heavy very quickly).

My usual ploy is to try and decide two things before I go – what I want to buy, and how much I am planning on spending. Taking cash and leaving credit / debit cards at home is a good plan as it ensures you stick to your budget (if you do this though, make sure you pay for the car park at the start of the day so you don’t forget!).

This year, I really had no idea what I wanted. I certainly don’t *need* anything else – I can barely fit what I already own into my broom-cupboard of a craft room. So I went with only the plan of sniffing out a bargain. It has been discovered in previous years that I am very good at that. Last year I spent half what the others in my party spent, but ended up with 3 or 4 times the number of bags! (ok, I know it should be quality, not quantity, but never mind).

This year turned out to be no different. I spent in total just under £40, and £10 of that was on one item. Here’s a photo of the ‘haul’:

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I’m not sure I’m ever going to use all this stuff up! In summary, this is what you may expect to see on any card you receive from me in the next 3 years…

3 packs of paper flowers

4 packets of buttons

8 packets of brads (2 epoxy, 1 fabric, squares, stars, hearts, and two normal circles)

1 pack of multicoloured Card Candi (I have discovered it is Card Candi *not* Card Candy as I had previously thought)

6 rolls of double sided tape (2 different widths)

3 packets of sticky foams pads

5 gorgeous 12×12 scrapbooking papers, which at 30p each were a steal

1 (only 1!) pot of glitter glue

1 stamp pad

2 packets of stamps (24 stamps in total)

1 pack of 12 patterned card blanks

1 pack of baby boy card toppers

2 sheets of decoupage

An A5 sketch book (this was free for signing up for a competition!)

A craft magazine, with a free quilling kit on the front

And the big spend was on a fabulous paper punch and embosser which makes utterly gorgeous shaped and embossed paper flowers (like I need more paper flowers!). I have hardly stopped playing with it since I got it.

I made a card using the punch and embosser. I was just playing with it and punching flowers out of a craft catalogue I’d got with one of my purchases. I realised that actually, the flowers were really pretty, and I soon got carried away and had made loads (my son helped with this bit too!). I put a dot of my new glitter glue in the centre of each flower, and then went to town sticking them on a card blank. I’m really pleased with the result, and I think I will be using that punch and embosser a lot!

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Ephemera ATCs

Ephemera is defined as something that is used or enjoyed for a short time only, or something that was only expected to have short term usefulness, for example a train ticket, or theatre programme. I regard using ephemera in my craft as a form of recycling – often ephemera is something that most people would throw away, but a hoarder like me would keep!

I’ve recently made a couple of ATCs using *my* definition of ephemera.

En Francais

Someone sent me a gorgeous notecard in a beautiful matching envelope. I’ve kept the notecad, but thought that the envelope was just too pretty to just throw away. So I cut it up, and used it on an ATC. The backing paper is the design from the inside of the envelope, and the little mock-stamps and images of France decorated the outside of it. I had fairly recently received a page from an old French dictionary in a swap, so I found a suitable word, cut it out, mounted it on a bit of ribbon, and arranged all the other bits around it. I outlined each of the images and also the ATC itself with a red pen to match the ribbon, et voila!

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Friday afternoon

No, this ATC was not named for when it was made, but more because this is what I require to get me through a Friday afternoon! Someone sent me some ribbon in a swap, which was wrapped around a piece of card from a pack of Hershey’s chocolate. I just couldn’t resist cutting out the square of chocolate from the packaging and using it on an ATC! The lovely chocolate brown striped ribbon top and bottom works perfectly with the main focus, and I added the buttons in the corners just to finish it off.

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When you start crafting, especially making ATCs which are so tiny, but can be created from anything and everything, you really start to look at the things around you differently. I love being able to use ‘trash’ in my craft – you can’t get away with it as much in card making, but with ATCs there are no rules really, apart from size. Your imagination can go wild, and it’s great to see the range of crazy art your brain can come out with, if you only let it!

How to make a ribbon flower

I recently recieved some lovely ribbon flowers in a Swap-Bot swap. My swap partner said that she had made them herself, so I just *had* to find out how! I have to say, I was really impressed with how easy they are to make, and lovely they look. I thought I’d share with you how to do it. It’s also a great way of using up ribbon scraps, as you only need a few inches of ribbon depending on its width.

Step one.

Take approximately 4-6 inches of ribbon depending on its width and how ‘ruffled’ you want the finished flower to look. A wider ribbon will need a longer lenth. You will also need a small amount of thread in a matching colour (abouth the same length of thread as the ribbon will be ample), and a brad or button to finish the flower off. I used some leftover cross-stitch thread (this is why I keep so much ‘rubbish’!).

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Step two.

Sew a couple of stitches into one corner of the ribbon, or be lazy like me and just tie the thread in a knot to secure it. As this will become the centre of the flower it won’t be very visible, especially if you’re using a biggish brad or button in the middle.

Once the thread is secure, make a running stitch along one edge of the ribbon. Bear in mind that the bigger you make the stitches, the more depth the flower will have – if you’re planning on mounting it to a card to send in the post this could well turn a ‘standard letter’ into a ‘large letter’ and cost you more to post!

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Step three.

Once you have stitched down the whole of one side of the ribbon, you’ll need to pull it tight so that the ribbon ruffles up, like so:

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Step four.

You can now either sew the two ends of the ribbon together, or use the ends of the thread and tie them together. It’s going to depend how long a piece of ribbon you used as to which option will look better. Finally, I sewed up the ribbon width, just to keep the outer edges together nicely (you can just about see this in the next picture).

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And that’s it! You can glue or sew a button onto the front of the flower, or use a brad through the centre to attach it to your craft. In the ATC below I used black brads through red flowers to make poppies. The poppy stems are made from thin slivers of leftover Funky Foam. You can also see how one flower is a bit more ruffled that the other – I obviously used a longer piece of ribbon for that one!

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I’m going to post a few more ribbon flower related pictures soon – I will link back here so you can see how else you can use them.

 

American adventure (in a craft store)!

Ok, so I may have got just a *little* carried away in the craft store (oh alright, stores) we went to in Florida. Here is what I brought back with me:

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I purchased 3 new scrapbooks (one 12×12, and two 8x8s), a pad of 8×8 papers, some 12×12 patterned papers, some 12×12 plain cardstock, 20110604-163549.jpgsome random sized and patterned card, a couple of packs of notecards, a notepad, some stamps, paper flowers, adhesive gems and pearls (really looking forward to using those!), glitter glues ($1 each, I couldn’t resist!), flower buttons, star buttons, flower brads, sparkly letter stickers, a Martha Stewart punch-anywhere-on-the-page circle punch, and a huge pack of 36 gorgeous coloured permanent marker pens. Oh, and a few ribbons. 116 yards of it to be exact. I *may* have gone slightly overboard with the ribbon. But just look at them! They’re sooooo lovely!! Since I’ve got back I’ve joined another Swap-bot ribbon swap, so I’ve already cracked some of them open to send off to my swap partner.

20110604-163556.jpgOne of my favourite purchases is this —> which is a 12×12 lacy scrapbook paper. I had to put some white paper behind just half of it to give you the true of idea of how gorgeous it is. I’ve seen a beautiful layout using one of these in the past, and I’m really going to have to put some work into whatever I make with it to do it justice.

I’ve not had any time for crafting since I’ve got back, although I have loads of ideas running through my head. Hopefully over the next few days I can get some time in the craft room and get some stuff made. I have a few birthday cards I need to make, plus Father’s day is coming up rapidly, so I need to get going!