Saturday 29 June 2013

Oily Fingers


It's me again with another offering from the humid hills of Oxfordshire.

We all struggle with men's cards (well we struggle with men really) so I thought I would give another 'boys card' a go.

This one I call "Oily Fingers", hence the fingerprints around the image.  (Not me forgetting to wash my hands I assure you.)

I chose my papers and them my markers to give a co-ordinated look.  I love the green and purple together.  I really enjoyed colouring in this little guy.  My brother Jonathan has just become an avid bike rider so he may get this for his birthday.  I would imagine he wishes he had that much hair though!

I embossed the strips of paper to give extra texture then used my new BFF, gilding wax, to enhance the pattern.

I hope that the circle dies around him look like a tyre as that was my intention.  As I did not have the right size die to mat my sentiment on I used my EK Success Circle Scissor to cut 2 tiny circles.

A close up of the colouring (& fingerprints)

Look out, these 'dabs' may appear on Crimewatch!

And there we have it.  Overall I think he came out really well and I love the colour combo.

    6 x 6” Kraft Card blank
    Papers & purple & black card from my stash
    Craft Style Stamp
    Neenah White Soar Card
    White gel pen
    Black Soot DI (applied with my little finger – Scotland Yard may be           interested!)
    Spellbinders Standard Circle & Scalloped Circles dies
    M-Bossibilities Harlequin folder
    Creative Expressions Pewter Gilding Wax
    Papermania metal cog
    Silver studs
    Kanban die cut sentiment
    EK Success Circle Scissor
    Bad photography!

Smiling always (oh wow the sun’s come ou… oh no it’s gone in)
Jane x

Sunday 23 June 2013

At the Barre


I am back again with another crafty offering.

For some reason I have had an idea for a while to do a little ballet class, complete with mirror and barre.  Bear with, there’s a short(ish) story coming up with added waffle.

So here it is my mini ballet troupe practising at the barre (bless them).

I call this card ‘...And Bend Two Three, and Up Two Three’

Sorry, not a great shot.

I was (and still am to some extent) a big ballet fan (now only watching not doing, heaven forfend!) and used to attend regular dance classes in my ‘yoof’.  I even had lofty ambitions to be a ballet teacher.  Never a prima ballerina of course (well, not with these hips) and threw myself into it whole heartedly. 

But then I discovered nightclubs and boys.  Oh dear!  The rest is a sad and sorry tale of shoulder pads, ra-ra skirts, dodgy 80’s hairdo’s and Dad taxi’s.  I hang my head in shame just thinking about it (but I’m smiling while I do it).

So back to my ballet class.  This all finally grew legs (wearing pink tights probably)  when I bought the Crafters Companion Inspiration Magazine that came with a stamp set, and on said stamp set was a little ballerina.  Perfect!  On seeing this little sweetie the idea for the class came rushing into my head like Margot Fonteyn on Red Bull!  Sometimes I see the design so clearly in my mind it is as if I have already made it.  Weird but true.

I decided to make a twisted easel card for my project so scored the front of a 6 x 6” card blank from bottom left to top right diagonally.  I embossed some Kraft card with a Wood Panel embossing folder and attached it to the base of the card.

I stamped the ballerinas three times and coloured them with Promarkers & Flexmarkers to match the papers I chose.  I decided to create them each as individuals, even though they are technically the same girl.  I didn’t want them to have an identity crisis!  I experimented with various skin tones and hair colours and gave them different dresses.  I think they came out quite well.  I then layered some papers onto kraft card then fixed my ‘mirror ‘to that with tiny brads.

For the barre I used a kebab stick (an essential piece of crafting kit that I cannot be without) and stuck it to the back of the girls with Collal 3D Glue Gel then stuck my troupe to the mirror.

Once everything was dry I glued the whole panel the card front.   Of course I needed a stopper to prevent the card falling forward so I used a music themed collection of stamps from Kanban.  However the stamps themselves were too big for the project.  So if something is too big what do you have to do (keep it clean please)? You have to shrink it.  So please step forward, my new BFF, white shrink plastic!  Who invented this stuff?  It’s fab.  I think I love it because it has worked every single time I’ve used it.  It always makes me smile to see how dinky the image becomes.  I always use a metal takeaway tray when heating as it stops the plastic blowing off the table and seems to get it to shrink evenly.  I got this tip from Mel Heaton on Create and Craft.  It’s fool proof (well if this fool can do it…).

Now, just to be awkward, I wanted to have some ballet shoes hanging from my sentiment banner but I had nothing in my stash that I could use.  I toyed with the idea of making them out of air dry clay but all my efforts looked like clogs or clown shoes!  So the only thing I could do was to draw them myself.  Now I am no artist (obviously) but this was only my second attempt at them and I am quite pleased with how they turned out.  They don’t look like they belong to Bongo the Clown and that’s what counts.

I used a Tonic flower punch and a Spellbinders leaf die to create some little accent flowers at the front and there you have it.  Mission accomplished.

My hand drawn ballet shoes (not too clown-like)

"I love you shrink plastic, I do.  Shrink plastic I love you"

Can you spot me, trying to get in on the act?

There I am again!  Go away!

One taken in my photo booth, but I'm still there.  I have no shame!

Basic recipe:
            6 x 6” card blank
Stamps – Ballerina by Crafters Companion, music images by Kanban, sentiment (free with a magazine)
Promarkers & Flexmarkers
Papers – Sweet Wishes (free with a magazine)
Mirri card
Kraft card
White Shrink Plastic
Sheena Douglass Wood Panel embossing folder
Dies: Spellbinders Ribbon Banners & Jewel Flower & Flourishes (leaf)
Inks: Momento, Stazon & Tumbled Glass DI
Tonic flower punch
AB crystals
Tiny silver brads
Kebab stick
Hand drawn ballet shoes (don’t look too close)
Scary photography!

It is not until you realise that you have in essence attached a reflective surface you could do your makeup in to your card that you realise photographing it will not be easy.  I was constantly staring back at myself (very disturbing).  My camera and my fingers make a few unscheduled appearances in my pictures for which I apologise.  If you are of a nervous disposition please look away.          

Smiling always (but not at my photography)!
Jane x

Friday 21 June 2013

Gone Fishin'


I have had a headache all day so am glad to be home to get on with relaxing, forgetting about pain, and crafting.

My youngest dog, Millie (a dark brindle & white Staffie (she’s dinky)) is currently trying to entice me into a game of ‘ball’ and thinks chucking it on my knee will do the trick.  I have to say it does.  She’s no fool that dog.  We play, she’s happy; I get on with what I am doing.  All is right with the world.

So to today’s card which I have to admit I am just in the process of completing.  It consists of a gorgeous image from Elisabeth Bell called: One Sunny Day (oh if only).

I call it, ‘Coffee Stirrers: not just for Coffee’

Before I began colouring I picked my papers which I think (and unfortunately cannot confirm) are from K&Company.  I thought they were quite masculine, not a flower in sight, and would suit the design very well.  I then picked my Pormarkers & Flexmarkers to match.  I really enjoyed colouring this image.  There is so much going on. 

I had intended to simply die cut this little chap and place him on mats to complete the design.  However that was not meant to be as once again I had an idea that came to me at ‘stupid-o’clock’ in the morning that I had to do something about.  To complement the image of the bridge I thought I’d use lolly sticks to make a ‘wooden’ frame.  The realisation that lolly sticks were not something to be found in my house led me to my rather impressive collection of coffee stirrers.  I confess to having ‘purloined’ them from various beverage selling establishments in the local area!  Ho hum.  Hope Crimewatch isn’t tuning in!  I stuck them around the image with Collal 3D Glue Gel and embellished them with twine.  It looked good.  3 cheers for coffee stirrers!!  I need more now.  Watch out Costa!

I distressed the edges of all my papers and backing card with my scissors and added stitching around the edges with a white paint pen.  I was hoping to emulate the patch on the little boy’s dungarees but I’m not too sure that’s very obvious.  I wrapped more twine around the small mat then stuck them all down.

My fish embellishment came from an idea I had whilst playing around with my Martha Stewart Air Dry Clay.  This stuff is fab, I love it.  I thought ‘what would happen if I smooth out a piece and stamp into it’?  Only one way to find out!  So I found a stamp of a fish that I have had for more years that I care to remember and pressed it into the clay.  Hey presto! One impression of a fish!  All be it one with a rather grumpy face.  I carefully cut around him using my craft knife (beyond fiddly!) and left him to dry.  I decided it was a ‘him’, nothing to do with the grumpy expression! J   Once dry I painted him lightly with Aquamarkers. 

I had completed this phase when……… all hell broke loose…..

An explosion of dogs going barmy (I have 3, a Labrador and 2 Staffies – I know I must be mad), barking and running up and down the hall like the crazy canines they are.  It was someone who had the audacity to knock on our front door!  Well really!

But it was my lucky day as it was our courier bringing me my newly ordered Marianne Creatables Anja Vintage Swirls dies. I tore open the packaging and immediately cut 2 from green card and stuck them to my design.  Who says it’s not all about the timing!

So there we are.  A slightly too orangey sun later (bit miffed about that actually), cut from Spellbinders and using a Hunkydory sentiment, and I am done.

Close up of the colouring.  |(If only my pets were as good)

My grumpy Guppy!

Twine & vines!

Basic recipe:
            8 x8” card blank
Image: Elisabeth Bell’s One Sunny Day printed onto Neenah Solar White card
            12 x 12” papers from K&Company (probably)
            Brown and orange card
            Promarkers & Flexmarkers
            Papermania twine
            Coffee Stirrers (various cafĂ©’s)
            Marianne Creatables die– Anja Vintage Swirls (a timely entrance)
            Sentiment by Hunkydory (inked badly with Rusty Hinge DI, good grief!)
            Spellbinders dies: Inverted Scalloped Circles & Standard Circles
            Martha Stewart Air Dry Clay (stamped then coloured with Aquamarkers)

Smiling always (got nothing to stir my coffee with now)!
Jane x

Thursday 20 June 2013

Sepia Sweetie


A warm and humid day here in Oxfordshire so that means thunderstorms later!  Oh well apparently we have 10 years of this to look forward to so that will be nice!!?!!

So to today’s card.  I made this because it was an itch I had to scratch; meaning that it was an idea in my head that refused to go away.  I wanted to create something that might resemble an old photo, sepia rather than black and white.  I knew the image I wanted to use: Sylvia Zet’s gorgeous Sweet Blossom and that I wanted it to be surrounded by an ornate frame.  So I had to get on with it before it drove me mad!

I call this card ‘Sweet’ in Sepia.

I do love to colour in.  It must be the most relaxing thing imaginable, and watching a simple outlined image come to life is something very special indeed.  It gives you the sense that you are the artist.  I am a migraine sufferer and had one at the time of creating this card but the whole process so took me over that I can barely remember suffering any pain at all.  Does that mean that crafting should be prescribed by the NHS, “Crafting to be taken 3 times a day after meals”?  Would Boots have to stock stamps and pens?  Worth a thought I think.

I coloured Sweet Blossom with Promarkers and Flexmarkers.  I have to admit that I did struggle somewhat with her hair but I think it turned out all right in the end.  I stamped and cut the Heartfelt Creations Posy Patch flowers using some of the paper already used in the mats and layers and glittered them using Debbi Moore’s fab Kaleidoscope glitter.  So many colours in this stuff it’s beautiful.

I used the Spellbinders Elegant Labels 4 die to cut my frame and inked it with Vintage Photo DI then backed it with brown card to emphasis the design.  I love this die.  It’s a wonderful size and just the ornate look I had in my head.

I made the rose sitting on the bow using the Sizzix 3D Flower Bigz die (I always make my own flowers where I can), and felt I needed to glitter that too.  All in all I think I fulfilled my original vision for this card.  I love these colours and it is my first foray into single colour-family card making.  I will be doing it again.

Yummy glitter.

 Sorry, lots of photos.  Can you tell I like this one?

Basic recipe:
            8 x 8” Card Blank
            Image: ‘Sweet Blossom’ by Sylvia Zet printed onto Neenah Solar White card
            Promarkers & Flexmarkers
            Brown, Cream & Matt Gold Cardstock
            Papermania papers
            Crochet Ribbon                     
            Brown Silky Crush Ribbon
Dies: Spellbinders - Elegant Labels 4 & Labels 4 & Heartfelt Creations Posy Patch – Cheery Lynn Fanciful Flourish – Sizzix 3D Flower Bigz Die - Tattered Lace corners
Stamps: Heartfelt Creations Daisy Patch – sentiment from Kanban
Debbi Moore Kaleidoscope Glitter (Burnt Orange I think)
Gilding Wax (for the tips of the flowers)
Tonic small flower punch

So there it is.  I hope you like it.  I am very proud of it.

Smiling always (but just seen the black clouds)!
Jane x


Friday 14 June 2013

Mother’s Day Card 2


Well it’s another ‘sunny’ day here in Oxfordshire, ho hum.  Thank goodness the weekend is only a few hours away and head down, full speed ahead crafting can commence!

Well despite it being June I am blummin’ freezing.  My office is like an icebox.  Maybe they are trying to keep me awake.  Yes, that could well be it.  My snoring must be quite off putting!

Any way here is today’s effort.  It is the card I made for my mother this year for Mother’s Day and I call it “’s supposed to be me!”

Had a minor glue disaster near the base of the banner.  Pinflair glue; may dry clear but not invisible!

I chose this image from the Paintbox Poppets as I believed the rosy cheeked young lady bore a passing resemblance to me when I was that age.  My hair was not as blond though.  It would seem though this was pure fantasy on my part as when I explained this to my mum all she said was, “Oh!  Really?”  Good grief!

See what I have to put up with.    However, being a crafter herself she was more interested in what dies I had used.  I work to a tough crowd.

Look at those rosy cheeks! (And the flowers of course.)

Basic recipe:
  • 8 x 8” white card blank
  • Silver mirri board and Centura Pearl card (my favourite card of all time)
  • Decoupage image from Paintbox Poppets CD-ROM
  • Dies: all Spellbinders - Grand Scalloped Ovals, Jewel Flowers & Flourishes, Bitty Blossoms & Ribbon Banners
  • Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink
  • Pale blue crystals
  • Blue Stickles
  • Craft Concepts Budding Vine Embossing folder (used behind the aperture so not that easy to see)
  • Bad photography!

Smiling always (teeth chattering a bit)
Jane x

Thursday 13 June 2013

CAS Card

Hi there

Today I will not mention the weather (biting my tongue) and just get on with the matter in hand.

I have to admit that I am having a wonderful time searching through all the amazing blogs here in Blogland.  Wow, there are some mega talented people out there!  I find it all a little daunting sometimes seeing the extraordinary skill level that people have and it can be a little off-putting too.  I know that I am highly unlikely to achieve such quality work but I am enjoying the journey (a famous phrase out there I think) so I will, in the Great British tradition, ‘Carry on Regardless’ (Ooh Missus).

So today I would like to show my first ever foray into the uncharted waters of CAS cards.  

I call it, ‘With Love’ (well it should have a CAS title too don’t you think?)

When I saw the acronym ‘CAS’ on some of the blogs I have to admit to not knowing what it meant.  A few visits later and the penny dropped.  So a Clean and Simple card it is then.  It is quite hard not to fill empty space.  You look at it and think, “Something should go in there, surely”, but sitting on your hands is the way forward with this type of card I believe so here is my effort.

I made this card for my brother and his wife’s wedding anniversary.  I knew what I wanted to do; a long branch spanning 3 panels sparsely decorated with tiny flowers.  So off to my stamp files I go only to discover that the branch I wanted to use is too ‘busy’ and not long enough.  Fudge!  So what to do?  Now I love Imagination Crafts stencils and I have to confess to owning quite a few (!) and as luck would have it the Butterfly Blossom stencil had exactly the branch design I was looking for.  So, using the stencil the old fashioned way, I drew through it and then coloured it in.  Colour is to my mind the most vital part of the design.  Get that wrong and it can completely ruin what you were trying to achieve. So I chose to use the softest aqua that I could find (one of my favourite colours) which seemed to add to the simplicity of the overall effect.

·       A5 card blank
·       Aqua linen effect shimmer card stock
·       Tonic flower punch
·       AB stones
·       ‘With Love’ stamp by Chloe
·       Papermania twine
·       Kanban small swirl accent stamp
·       A4 M-bossilities Dainty Dots folder. 
·       Imagination crafts stencil
·       Letraset Fine Line drawing pens

Smiling always (happy with this one)
Jane x

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Father's Day


Well I’m back again.  Not too summery outside today I’m afraid.  The Oxfordshire cloud is looming low and menacing but the sun is trying to shine.  Not trying too hard though. 

Why are we so obsessed with the weather in Britain?  I have to admit I am a weather nut.  I have to see the forecast every morning (and then again in the evening) and I am constantly logging on to the BBC Weather site to see if there have been any shocking new developments.  How sad is that!  Still it means that I am never caught out by a sudden shower or snowfall.  Just call me Michael (or more appropriately Michaela) Fish!

So, to today’s offering. I call it: ‘Waistcoat Wonder’.  

I made this card for my dad for Father’s Day this year.  It will be winging its way to him tomorrow.

I had a devil of a time wrestling with the template which I hand drew.  It was not until I had completed it (much mumbling, rubbing out and throwing in the bin later) did I realise I could have found something on the internet (infinitely better and not half as stressful) but I felt a small sense of accomplishment that I did it myself.  I even used a roll of double-sided tape to draw round for the armholes in the waistcoat.  Who says tape is just for sticking!

The template complete with pencil marks (this was my 5th attempt)

·       A5 card blank
·       Brenda Pinnock 12 x 12” papers
·       White card
·       Papermania mini buttons & watch cut from Chronology papers
·       Kanban ‘DAD’ stamp
·       Chain from stash
·       Handmade template (never again)
·       Bad photography!

Smiling always (even in the gloom)
Jane x

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Get the professionals in…

Hello there

Well today the sun is shining and all is good with the world.  So nice to see the summer finally arrive after the dismal few days we have had.  Can I turn my heating off now please? 

Well at least my mum and I managed to finish wall papering and painting her small bedroom whilst the rain poured. It was a bit of a chore and my legs are killing me after going up and down the ladder umpteen times.  But it is done (huge sigh of relief and the overwhelming odour of Deep Heat).  And so, as we stand back to admire our handy work,  gazing in awe and amazement, I allow myself a thought, “Yep, should have got a professional in”.  The words ‘job’ and ‘botch’ came to mind, but not necessarily in that order!!  If we had worn boxing gloves we couldn’t have done a worse job.  Still it’s done now.  With the utmost sincerity I have recommend that she keeps the door shut and only goes in there with the light off.  I realise now why I never went into the painting and decorating business.  But I guess the next best thing is crafting; much smaller in scale and a lot less likely to induce crying (well…..).

Anyway back to the business in hand.  My card today is something I made for my sister-in-law for her birthday but changed my mind and gave her something else instead.  I’m always doing that.  So here it is.

It’s entitled: First Time Use of a Doily (it’s a work in progress)

Basic recipe:
  • ·       6 x 6” Scalloped card blank
  • ·       Papers & Card: Dovecraft Back to Basics III & Core’dinations
  • ·       Stamp was free from Papercraft Essentials magazine
  • ·       Sentiment stamp free from Cardmaking and Papercraft magazine
  • ·       Dies – Spellbinders: Die D-lites Garden Weave, Jewel Flowers & Flourishes (butterfly) & Lacey Ovals
  • ·       Promarkers
  • ·       Crystal glitter
  • ·       Pink gems
  • ·       Doily and feather from Hobbycraft
  • ·       Pan Pastel red tint (that thinks it’s pink)
  • ·       Bad photography!

Hope you like it.  I’m not sure.  I love the image and I think feathers give a nice touch but there is not a lot of definition in the papers to really give any dimension.  Oh well, must try harder (and will).

Smiling always (been to the dentist actually)!
Jane x

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Deja Vu??


Well I made it to post 2 which can’t be bad.

The card I wish to show today will certainly give you a sense of deja vu.  I went through a brief ‘butterfly and flower wreath’ stage. 

This card was made for the Create and Craft birthday card competition (don’t ask).  I love entering competitions and now hope to be entering all the lovely Blogland challenges too.  It really focusses the mind and sometimes takes you out of your comfort zone (well not too far, it’s another wreath after all), which is not a bad thing.  I used shrink plastic on this make which I haven’t used in a donkey’s age.  I forgot how much I love it.  The butterflies are so cute and shrank to a natural shape which was more luck than design.  After colouring in the stamped image with pencils I used a tin foil tray whilst heating which I saw Mel Heaton use on C&C a while ago.  It’s a top tip I must say. It worked brilliantly as the butterfly did not ‘fly’ all over the place and heat was conducted from the bottom as well so there was not too much curling.  Remember it gets mega hot though so keep crafty fingers well away! Crikey, was that my mother then?

So here are some close up shots.

Love, love, love shrink plastic!  This was before I added the pearls.

Pearls added and all done.


  • 8 x 8 white card blank
  • Spellbinders dies: Les Papillions, Delicate Asters, Venetian Motifs & Grand Scalloped Circles
  • Heartfelt Creations stamps: Delicate Asters & Butterfly PreCut Sets 
  • Flat backed pearls
  • Shrink plastic
  • Promakers
  • Pencils
  • Kanban sentiment stamp
  • Silver embossing powder
  • Thickers glittered chipboard letters
  • White Silky Crush ribbon
  • Bad photography!

So there it is!  Hope to be back soon

Smiling as always
Jane X

Monday 3 June 2013

And so it begins......

Ok, so here goes, my first blog post.  Well, as it is very, very doubtful that anyone is reading this I will just get on with it.  Knowing no one is there is quite liberating actually!  I could say anything I like!  Mmmmm……….. OK so I’m not really a rebel, I’ll just chill and type.

So, who am I?  Well I am a 48 year old Civil Servant (yeah I know) with a passion for craft.  I have made things of one shape or another ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon.  My particular love is paper craft which has proved to be both an obsession and the most expensive hobby ever!  I recently won a sewing machine making a card for Creativity! Magazine so I guess I’ll have to master that at some stage.  So many crafts; so little time.

The idea of this blog, as with most crafting blogs I guess, is to give myself a crafting focus and allow me to enter all those wonderful challenges that are out here in Blogland.   So I will post my makes as often as I can (or when I remember) and hope that you like them (if indeed I have anyone viewing them at all).

So we have lift off!

The first card I wish to show is one I made for Mother’s Day. 

Brief story coming up; bear with.

I have 3 brothers and they all insist I make a card for them to give to my mother be it for birthdays, Christmas or indeed Mother’s Day.   No money ever exchanges hands I have to say and not many words of appreciation either! (Rolls eyes and tuts loudly at this point).   But I love to do it so I shouldn’t really moan (but I will).  Brothers; can’t live with them and can’t roll them through the Bigshot either!

Any road up here it is:

Basic recipe:
 8 x 8” white card blank
Centura Pearl card (my favourite)
M-bossilities Dainty Dots A4 folder. 
Craft Concepts Budding Vine A6 embossing folder
Spun Sugar Distress Ink  
Various Spellbinders dies: Picot Edge Circles , Lacey Ovals, Anemone Flower Topper, Les Papillions, & a butterfly from Jewel Flowers and Flourishes
Cherry Lynn flourishes (surely this must be in every crafters die box)
Mirri card
AB gems
Flat backed pearls
Papermania pink twine from their Spots & Stripes Pastel capsule range
White Silky Crush ribbon
Personal Impressions Springtime 'tinchies' stamp & silver embossing powder
Bad photography!

Needless to say my mum was stoked.  She’s a crafter too and does appreciate the effort (Richard, Jonathan & Simon I hope you’re listening).

So there it is my first post.  You will be pleased to hear that I shall endeavour to improve as time goes on and hopefully you will be able to join me on my creative (mis)adventures.

Smiling always (jaw’s hurting a bit)
Jane x