Sunday, 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas all!

I'm taking a little break from Blogger over Christmas but will probably be back after boxing day....or may be playing with all my crafty presents!

I've got work tomorrow then I'll be coming home, chilling out with a festive drink drink or two while painting my nails in a festive style and looking forward to the Friday Night Dinner Christmas Special!


Have a lovely Christmas!

x

Sunday, 16 December 2012

New Auction Style Site for Crafters - Craftbidder

While reading through my copy of Papercraft Inspirations I came across an article on Craftybidder, an auction website for crafters to sell and purchase craft items. It was put together buy a couple comprising of a wife who loves crafting and a husband who loves computers so brings their two loves together.

Their Facebook page describes the site as:
Craftybidder was setup to give UK crafters and opportunity to buy stock, find new projects, and to sell their finished wares. Craftybidder is free to join and free to list items . We only charge a small fee when your item has sold or if you upgrade your listing.


I've signed up and can't wait to use it after Christmas as I'm going to have a good tidy up of my craft bits and I'm always on the look out to buy more craft bits.

You can also set up a store on Craftbidder to sell your finished items. It's a bit like eBay and Etsy all mixed together! I also like the fact you can post items you are looking for.

Another aspect I like is the forum and the spotlight on crafters section. It's got everything in one place.

You can sign up and visit the site by going to: https://www.craftybidder.com/index.php?ref=100357

I'm definately going to get organised and get on there as soon as Christmas is over.

You can also follow Craftbidder on Facebook by searching for Craftybidder.com

Has anyone tried this site already? What did you think?

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Hedgehog Christmas Hat

I only took up knitting two weeks ago and today finished two snowballs and started off on a Christmas hat.

I'm loving 'We Knit You A Merry Christmas' with its beautiful knitting patterns and easy to follow guides.

The hat I made was actually amended from the pattern in the book as the original pattern was too small. I'm so happy it turned out and it only took two hours while watching the Girls Aloud programme on ITV.

The hat is for Spike our Pygmy hedgehog. I'll try it on him tomorrow night if he is in a good mood (he had a bath tonight so is in a grumpy mood). It will then go on top of our Christmas tree (as ours isn't strong enough for a angel or star grr).

I may make another hat for Festive Mark (my old Mark Owen I found a few years ago in a box of of Christmas decorations, he was naked apart from some tinsel....I must have done that to him but can't remember ever doing it!) Mark resides in the study most of the year watching over me crafting and gets brought out at Chrismas!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Different Uses for Sugar Buttons Stamps - Wedding Card / Thank You Card

I've been having a play around with the stamps from the Sugar Buttons kit and using the topiary tree stamp I have made a card that can be used for weddings, thank you and so many other occasions.

I stamped the topiary tree onto some acetate using Stazon ink and the turned the acetate over and coloured in the image using Amos glitter glue.




Image on acetate








Glittered image before it dried





Back of the acetate tree next to one that had been stamped and coloured on paper

 I left it to try overnight and then put it into an aperture card (which I cut myself) and to keep it neat I sandwiched it in-between the card blank and a patterned paper (I used the swirly white glittered one from the Sugar Buttons kit).



Image on acetate glued onto the card (glue at top and bottom)

Side view


Finished card with glittered paper


 

You will see from the top right corner above the acetate that there is a small cut from where I cut the aperture but I'm thinking of putting a ribbon in the corner to cover this.
 
I'm not sure what I'm going to use this for yet but it would make a lovely thank you card, wedding acceptance card or birthday card. All I need to do is add a sentiment or I can just leave it the way it is. I may put an insert in so that when the card is closed you don't see any writing in the card. 

I LOVE the stamps from the Sugar Buttons kit, they are so useful and multipurpose.


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Sugar Buttons Stamps


Firstly I apologise for the bad quality photos as they were taken in bed on my phone.

Today I've been unwell and after trying to get better and get into work, I ended up back in bed at lunchtime.


To feel better I did a bit of colouring in using my new Sugar Buttons stamps.

Below are some examples of the stamps from the Sugar Buttons kit from Create & Craft, and some coloured images.

I love these stamps as there are some lovely large images and all the characters have dotting on the stamps for shading.

I can't wait to make cards with these. I think they may also make an appearance on my Christmas cards next year.























My First Craft Card Makes

I recently found this photo of some of the first cards I made after taking up card making. These were made in the days between my birthday on 9th April, and my wedding on 12th April this year. My husbands (then fiance's) family brought me a few card making kits which were lovely as it took my mind off of worrying about wedding plans! (and shut me up about talking about the wedding and annoying Lee)

A lot has changed since then, not just my last name! I moved my crafting from the kitchen table (pictured above) into the study after I started taking over the living room...boxes full of Crafty bits under the chair in the living room, Big Shot at the side of the sofa and cutting mat up against the other side of the sofa! My sewing machine and box still lives in the living room but that's hidden away.

Once I've tidied the study up after Christmas, and hopefully get more storage, I will post some photos of the study/craft room.

I'm also hoping to get the Ultimate Pro from Crafters Companion so I can craft away from the study if I want to (and let Lee play his guitars in the study)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Updated - Sugar Buttons - The Most Glittery and Girly Set Ever!

My order finally came from Create and Craft of the Sugar Buttons Kit from Kanban. I cannot wait to have a play with it at the weekend. 

I brought it mostly for my little cousins Georgia and Paige, so I can make them some lovely girly cards.

Picture from Create and Craft

The kit came with the papercrafting kit and four sets of stamps. I've taken a quick picture of them below but will be trying them out and will post some pictures of them stamped and coloured at the weekend or early next week. The stamps are not just for childrens cards, they look great for weddings and thank you cards too.


The papercrafting kit as so many sheets including lots of background card, decoupage and toppers. My favourite bit, which you can slightly see in the photo above, is the glittered acetate with starts, butterfly's and lots of glitter.

Such a lovely kit to kick start my non-Christmas card crafting.


*Update*


One of my favourite papers is shown below from this kit. I love it so much I could see myself not using it but after seeing some examples I decided to cut it up and use it for a few cards. I had originally thought about using the paper as it was and frame it with some decoupage on but then I wouldn't have displayed it anywhere.
 
Firstly I cut out the castle and layered some paper round it to make a frame. The card is so thick that my Fiskars circle cutter didn't like it and I ended up using scissors (I really need some circular and curved dies for my Big Shot for this type of thing).

I then put the fairy wand backing paper on top (cutting out a larger oval) and topped it off with a princess topper and sentiment. 




 I then used the rest of the scene background and matted and layered it onto an A5 card. I used two layers behind the main background cards and cut the middles out of the two backing cards so I can use these again at some point and I'm not wasting card.

I then used the prince and princess decoupage toppers. These came with oval toppers which matched but by using the decoupage parts separately I'm able to us the background toppers on some other cards.


 

I think this is one of my favourite kits ever! (can you tell with all my blog posts?)

My Two Loves In One - Hedgehogs and Crafting!

I keep looking for Hedgehog craft items which look sweet and while watching Create and Craft I saw Peerless Designs Hedgehog Garden Adventures and fell in love with it as some of the hedgehogs look like my hedgehog Spike.

It finally arrived yesterday after waiting just over a week for it and I can't wait to print out some designs to make cards and bookmarks...I just need to sort my printer set up so I don't have to run my laptop from the living room into the study/craft room each time I need to print (it's a wireless printer but for some reason my laptop decided it didn't like to talk to it wirelessly anymore)

I've never used CD crafting before and recently with Quick Cards magazine got a copy of 'My Craft Studio Elite' and found that I can import the images into the programme. The CD is also great, as if you are lucky enough to have a circut or similar cutting machine, the CD has cutting files to print out some lovely hedgehog boarders. I would really like the new Circut mini but I just don't have the room, my parents even offered to get me one for Christmas!

I can't wait to make some amazing cards with this CD.

Mine was purchased from Create and Craft but is now no longer available from them (I only got it last week) but can be purchased from Peerless Designs.

I will leave you now with a little snap of our little hedgehog Spike
 

My First Knitting Project Finished!

Following on from my last post, here is the finished knitted Christmas cracker! It's not the best but was my first attempt at knitting.

I just need to finish it off with some googly eyes and felt detailing.

Now....may try to make a polar bear!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Goodbye Christmas Card Making...Hello Knitting!

I've never knitted ever before but after seeing an article in the Daily Mail my Mum brought a Christmas knitting book and has taught me how to knit!

I cannot start a row but I can knit and purl now....with a few errors, but I'm working on it. I'm currently making a Christmas cracker character which is straight stitching with mostly all the same wool and have already confused what row I've done last and kept knitting not doing any purl rows...whoops. 

I've not got to the stage yet where I can knit without consentrating...ie I can't talk and knit...or even listen and knit! They make it look so easy on Create and Craft! I'm sure it will get easier when I get the hang of it. I'm using circular needles which seem much easier for me and they aren't as heavy and long.

It is nice to do a different type of crafting and learn something new. I did buy the sugar button fairy Kanban kit today on Create and Craft as it looks great for kids cards (and those who like pink and sparkly things!). I finally packed up all my Christmas card things and put them in the bottom boxes in my study getting my non-christmas bits higher on the pile. My study looks so much tidier! Really hope I get the drawers for Christmas to organise the study better. At the moment it's just random boxes around the room and I have to lift boxes to get to those underneath.

Well I'm going to get back to knitting with my hedgehog friend on my lap snoozing and my snack of choice....fizzy cola bottles!









Sunday, 18 November 2012

Tealight Christmas Cards

Following on from my chocolate window cards I have changed the sizes and made cards for my work colleagues with some glittery frankincense and myrrh tealights in.

We don't give each other presents normally or do secret Santa anymore due to our team always changing and getting smaller (grrr to restructuring) but I thought I'd make cards with year with some little scented tealights in. They worked out really reasonably priced too as the candles were on 3 for 2 in waitrose (2 candle tins for me and got the tealights free technically for the cards, they were on £4 anyway for 12). The card was from the free members gift a few months ago with Creat and Craft TV and the decoration was from Crafters Companion magazine and Papercraft inspirations magazine.

I'm really please with these. I will too them off with a bow to hold in the candles at the top.

By using Kanban card it helped as its longer than A4 cards and I used the too black bit from the card as the flap to stick down. My cards were 12 cm tall so the perfect height for my 3 candles.

Now I just have to make box envelopes for them....or slip them into bigger envelopes.....so hope I get a Crafters Companion Ultimate Pro for Christmas!

Please excuse the paper clips in the photo, they're just there while the cards dry completely.

Monday, 12 November 2012

My First YouTube Video - how to make window cards

I've just made my first YouTube video on crafting! The video give brief details on how to make and put together a window card.


I must admit its not great but I thought I'd give it a try. Think I remembered most things but if you have any questions please drop me a note and I will respond.

Off to decorate my cards now! Then upload later

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Chocolate Treat Christmas Cards

I saw on a YouTube video a while back some cards which had a panel in the side for candles and sweets so I thought I'd have a little go myself. I made a quick candle card from some old scraps and it seemed easy enough... So I decided to make some special cards for a few people/children.

I've done two with side panels and another that opens to reveal a giant chocolate coin. Below are pictures of the two side panel cards (I didn't get a chance to take a photo of the giant coin one before writing with a glitter glue pen on the front and know I'll smug it if I move it!) - On another note, if anyone is looking to get glitter glue I'm selling a bunch on eBay for just 99p per tube. They are so easy to use, just follow this link and look at my items: http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/saraleighuk/m.html?item=170940206542&ssPageName=STRK%3AMESELX%3AIT&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562

The two cards below have also been glitter after the photos with the recipients names on. Chocolate teddies are for the girls and coins are for the boys.

I hope you like them


 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Stork Baking Liquid Review

Please note that I brought this myself as I wanted to try it, I've not been paid or asked to do this review.

I love baking cakes and offered to make cakes for a meeting at work off my own back as we no longer are able to claim expenses or get refreshments for our meetings.

I always use stork for my cakes as my Nan always used to and she was always making cakes with me as well as my Mum (who was a professional cake decorator). I saw the stork baking liquid and just thought it was a fad but always forget to get my stork out to soften so thought I'd give it a try. It did work out more expensive than normal stork but thought it was worth a try.

It comes in a bottle and you use the same weight as you would for normal stork/butter/margarine.

I use the sponge recipe my Nan always swore by, her 6663 recipe:
6oz stork/butter
6oz caster sugar
6oz self raising flour
3 medium eggs

She would also replace 1 tablespoon on flour for corn flour to make it much lighter.

I simply replaced the 6oz stork for 6oz if stork baking liquid.

Usually I beat the sugar and stork together with a mixer but with the liquid I just beat it by hand which was so easy. It looked really yellow and runny which was worrying but I carried on and folded in the flour and eggs. It all seemed too easy....

The cake batter seemed really runny and sloppy so was hard to spoon into the cake cases (it got messy!)

I put the cakes in the oven and went off for 12 minutes to iron and then came back and put them on for another 5 minutes. When they came out they were perfect! Better than any I'd made before and raised evenly.

The proof was in the eating so I tried them prior to the meeting and they were amazing and they went down so well at the meeting.

I will be using Stork Baking Liquid always from now on!
Yes...I was baking in my dressing gown!



The Stork and Sugar mix
The Stork and sugar mix
Cupcake batter ready to go in the oven
Straight out of the oven and onto my cooling rack
All decorated
Airy and very yummy

Friday, 26 October 2012

Promarkers v Spectrum Noir

As you'll see from my previous blog entry, I won a set of Spectrum Noir pens. I'm usually a Promarker user but being fairly new to crafting I only have two sets of Promarkers (stamp colouring sets) and before receiving these Spectrum Noir pens I had out two sets of Promarkers on my Amazon wish list for Christmas...I'll let you know if that changed at the end of this post.

The reason I brought Promarkers originally was because they were always on TV and in craft magazines, I thought they were the only pens around for crafting having not heard of Spectrum Noir pens. When I started crafting I brought pens, stamps and an in pad....a Stazon ink pad, little dd I know you should use a water based one if your colouring in using Promarkers as if not the two permanent inks fight with each other.

My colouring style is mostly block colouring, I've not really tried shading but when I have I've just gone over with the same Promarker again and darkened the colour.

Things I like about the Promarkers:
Ease of getting the right nib without looking (thin nib lid is a bullet shape and the chisel nib lid is flat at the end)
Easy of finding the colour when in a case of box as the colour is down the side.
The lids having a bit jutting out so your pens don't roll off the table.

I saw the Spectrum Noir pens on one of the Crafters Companion shows as though they look expensive and complicated. It was only after winning as try out the cool greys I've figured them out and demos now make more sense. I also love colouring and want to get the accreditation from Spectrum Noir when I get more pens and better at shading and graduation.

Spectrum Noir pens are numbered in their groups and the higher the number the darker the shade. Mine are IG1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. IG standing for Icey Grey I believe. This makes it easier or shading and graduation. Using the rule of thirds you colour the whole area in a light colour, two thirds in a darker shade and one third in an even darker shade then you blend the really dark shade into the medium shade with the medium colour you used, then use the light colour to shade the medium colour into the light colour. Sara Davies explained it much better on TV but hopefully you get my point.

One thing I didn't like about the Spectrum Noir pens, which has now been resolved, was that I kept opening the wrong end since both the fine and broad end have the same lids and I have having to look on the pen each time for the images showing each end.... However I just realised that the casing on the fine nib is grey and the broad nib casing is black so you can see a fine grey line round pen where it meets the cap on the fine end! This makes it far easier now I've realised!

Another great thing about Spectrum Noir (which I don't know if you can with Promarkers) is that you can but ink to refill your spectrum noirs with and each bottle of refill will last for 10 refills which is handy if there is a colour you always use!

Having now used both pens a few times, although I only have grey tones in the Spectrum Noirs, I think I prefer the Spectrum Noirs and quickly popped onto Amazon and changed my Christmas list, removing the Promarkers and adding Spectrum Noirs! I will still use my Promarkers but as a system Spectrum Noir seem much better in my opinion.

What do you think? What's your favourite?