Bird Cards

Late last year, under the guise of a Christmas present to myself, I subscribed to Simply Cards & Papercraft magazine. Each month I get a magazine full of ideas, plus some freebies. This month the freebies included a set of clear stamps and some rather gorgeous backing papers that I just had to have a play with. My inspiration has been sadly lacking lately, so a couple of these cards are pretty much copies of ideas in the magazine, but I still have heaps of the backing papers left, so hopefully once my inspiration returns I’ll be able to make some more to my own design.

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I’ve added my own little twists to each card with the addition of Card Candi, buttons and brads. I really enjoyed making them, despite having to have *every* piece of backing paper spread over every available surface in order to be able to choose which to use!

Advent Challenge: Day 11 – Card Candi Tree

Day 11: Card Candi Tree

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When I went to the craft fair at Birmingham NEC earlier last month, I bought a packet of Card Candi in assorted colours. Usually you only get a few complementary colours in a pack, but I can never choose which colours to buy, so a random selection was perfect for me. I could probably make 100 cards like the one above using just the single packet I bought, as no matter how many you use, there never seems to be any less! This card is a really good ‘stand-by’ to have in the memory banks as it’s super-fast, cheap and easy to make. Great for when you have that last minute panic and need a card for someone you’ve forgotten. Not that that ever happens to me of course, ahem.

To make this card:

  • Take 11 pieces of Card Candi in various colours.
  • Attach an adhesive foam pad to the back of each one.
  • Fix to the front of a small square card blank in a tree shape, with one forming the trunk at the bottom.
  • Create a doodled border around the card edges.

I actually used another craft show purchase to make the border – a zig-zag border stamp, but borders can just as easily be drawn on by hand.

Advent Challenge: Day 3 – Tree with Baubles

Day 3: Paper Tree with Baubles

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I did warn you that I make a lot of tree-based Christmas cards! This is another one of my designs from last year, and another one that I love and made loads of. I drew the tree shape by hand – something I am usually dreadful at. This time I was sensible though and created a template first, which I folded in half (top to bottom) before cutting, to ensure it was symmetrical. I love the funky shape of this tree, but you could use a simple triangle, or a spiky shape – whatever you fancy really.

To make this card:

  • Draw a rough tree shape onto scrap paper. Fold in half top to bottom, with your lines on the outside.
  • Choose one side and cut along the lines. When you open out the paper, the tree should be perfectly symmetrical.
  • Draw around this template onto some dark green paper and cut out.
  • Cut a 3cm strip of gold ribbon to use as a tree trunk.
  • Use double sided tape to attach both the tree and the trunk to a card blank.
  • Take 8 different colours of Card Candi and mount randomly on the tree with adhesive foam pads.
  • Create a border by writing ‘Merry Christmas’ repeatedly around the edges of the card.

I made about a dozen of this design last year. I varied them by using different borders – some just had dashes, some dots, or doodles. You could also try using just one or two colours of Card Candi to create a different look.

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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Birthday cards

I have two friends with birthdays in August – Jay and Kirsty. I thought I’d share with you the cards I made them. Particularly as it’s Kirsty’s birthday today, and I know she’s already opened her card!

Kirsty’s card

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I enjoyed making this. I used a free sample of wallpaper border taken from a DIY store for the background. This has the advantage of being adhesive on the back, so no need for glue! I mounted it onto a square of purple card, and glued some purple glittery foam butterflies and flowers to it. Another piece of purple card with a Happy Birthday peel-off attached was placed across the middle using sticky foam pads. A dab of glitter glue here and there (of course!) and a couple of adhesive gems for flower centres finished it off. I hope Kirsty still likes it as much now she knows it’s a bit of wallpaper!

Jay’s card

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I actually used proper card supplies for this one! All things I’d received in a starter kit a few years back from my mother-in-law. I like the monochromatic look, and throwing the silver into the mix just adds a bit of shine. I wanted the flowers to stand out from the card a little, but I didn’t want to use foam pads as it would all be too thick. In the end I placed each flower on a thick foam sheet and pressed down with my finger on each petal. This curled them just enough to stand proud of the backing paper. I used Card Candy in the centre of each to add dimension.

I would like to take this opportunity to promote Jay’s blog here – in October she will be travelling to Uganda to perform eye tests and prescribe glasses for people out there who are functionally blind, simply for the lack of a pair of glasses. Please visit her blog here and read all about her project – she is currently fundraising, and even a donation of £5 will enable Vision Aid Overseas to provide an eye exam and a pair of specs for someone who’s life could be altered by such a simple thing. Thanks..

Recycled ribbon ATCs

Here’s a couple more ATCs I’ve made recently.

‘Love Ribbon’

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This was a recycled ATC! The card heart originally came in a pack of ready-to-make handmade cards. I made all the cards, then gave a selection of them to my mum for her birthday, for her to use throughout the year. She sent the one with the heart on back to me. Usually I will keep any handmade card I receive, but this time I felt a bit weird about it, as I’d made it in the first place! So I decided to reuse and recycle! The heart turned out to be a perfect size to fit on an ATC (the ribbon was already on it). All that was required was some decorative scissors to trim the backing paper, a coloured marker to edge the ATC blank, and some Card Candy, and Bob’s your father’s brother.

‘Weave’

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This one was also made using recycled materials – mum went through her wardrobe and cut out all the hanging ribbon from the inside of her skirts and tops, and donated them to me. There was plenty there to make this lovely woven ATC, plus some left over. It took quite a while to make, and was a bit fiddly (and sticky – I coated the ATC blank with double sided tape to ensure each ribbon layer stayed put. I nearly stuck it to myself several times!), but I really love the look of it. I didn’t feel there was any need to add any further embellishments, I like the way the colours and widths of the ribbons are quite random.

A – Z challenge: Y is for…


Y is for Yule.
Ok, I know it’s April, but when you make your own Christmas cards it pays to start early! To be fair, I usually start making my Christmas cards in about August, and try and get as many done as possible early on. I try to make each one unique, but it can be tricky as I tend to make fifty plus. Last year I decided to bulk make some cards (one design of which was my Tunnocks Teacake card which you can see here) and tweak each one to make it more individual. I had a bit of a ‘Christmas tree’ moment whilst doing my designs, so here’s what I ended up with:

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I drew the tree shape free-hand on white paper to start with, then used it as a template to make about a dozen in green card. A small strip of gold ribbon for the trunk, and lots of Card Candy made for a colourful and pretty card. To make each one unique I did each border slightly differently.
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Another Christmas tree card was made using glitter paper purchased in the January sales 6 months previously. I managed to make 12 cards using just one A5 sheet of green glitter paper, and a tiny strip of the red. The sequin at the top I think came as part of a free gift on the front of a magazine. This was such a bargain card to make! The unique point of this design is the peel-off – each one has different wording. I was really pleased with this card – I felt that for such a small outlay financially, the finished product looks very elegant, and sparkly!

I love making Christmas cards, I could make them all year. As I also love a bargain, it’s great picking up reduced price Christmas stuff in the sales. By the time I get round to using it though I’ve generally forgotten I’ve got it so it’s a nice surprise to discover it it my ‘Christmas drawer’!

I guess I’d best show you my ‘Christmas drawer’. You may wonder why I still feel the need to continue acquiring more Christmas stuff. Sometimes I wonder too!

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