Monday, 28 October 2013

Halloween Pumpkins

I love carving pumpkins but hate getting all those seeds an bits out (they also make the floor terribly slippery). My husband and I usually like to carve up pumpkins in intricate designs such as these two which are a ghost pirates ship and a vampire and his victim from last year.
 We printed designs onto a4 paper then pricked the paper through the paper onto the pumpkins with a cocktail stick, removed the paper and cut out the design. When we first did them we didn't think they looked very good but when it got dark and we lit the tea lights they were amazing.

I did want to do pumpkins this year but as Halloween falls on a Thursday we wouldn't have really had time to carve pumpkins unless we did them at the weekend and then they would have either been blown away by the awful winds today or rotted. I was looking to try an idea I saw by Martha Stewart where she used a drill and made a lace doily design - isn't this amazing! I think I will be trying this next year 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Christmas Cracker Hat Craft Tutorial

This year I've decided to make my own crackers. I decided this just after Christmas and then it became much easier with the Tonic cracker dies which they started selling in the summer (early I know but you have to be prepared!)

So I have the crackers theirselves sorted but I wanted to make my own hats as a cracker isn't a cracker without a paper hat. Today (27th October 2013) it was really handy as Aldi had a special on lots of Christmas wrapping including tissue paper so I sent my husband off with a list of things to get when he popped round there (it's virtually next door to us) while I slept off my migraine (grrrr). With all this windy weather my husband told me he was nearly run over by the outdoor plant shelving units on wheels! Luckily he ran out the way. 

So my husband came back with a pack of tissue paper, curling ribbon and fabric ribbon. I just said 'get any design' as my migraine had taken hold and he came back with the ones I actually wanted so that was amazing (I wouldn't have minded design as long as I had the actual items)

So now to the tutorial. To make paper hats for crackers you will need:
A ball point pen (I used a white ball gel pen)
Double-sided tape
Tissue paper (you will need enough to make 2 pieces 31cm x 12.5cm for each hat).

1. Get your tissue paper and measure and cut into two pieces that at 31cm x 12.5cm (if you have tissue paper 61cm long you can just cut this 12.5cm tall)

2. Use double-sided tape and stick this on one end of each piece of tissue paper. (If you are just using one piece 61cm long just put tape at one end) 

3. Stick the two pieces of tissue paper together to make a round piece of tissue paper. NOTE: Make sure if you are using a pattern that as to be up a certain way that you stick the paper together with both pieces up the right way)

4. Fold the hat flat so it looks like the below.

5. Mark every 5cm and then folder that hat in a concertina way.

6. Snip the top of the hat diagonally 

7. Ta-da you now have a paper cracker hat!

Just fold and put it in your cracker ready for Christmas (don't forget to put a present and joke in your cracker too!)

I made my hats in a few different patterns. You could also print on white tissue paper and make your own personalised hats (I've not been brave enough to print on tissue paper yet)

You can also make smaller hats for children or make a curvy line instead of a zig-zag. I did try to punch shapes out of tissue paper but found as it was so delicate it tore the paper but worked if I put paper in the punch with the tissue paper. 

With my tissue paper due to the size I had off cuts so I used them to decorate some tags for my gift wrap so very little wastage.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Yey! I'm a Spectrum Noir Accredited Alcohol Marker Colorist

Since I found out about Spectrum Noir alcohol markers I've wanted to do the accreditation. When I started crafting I started with ProMarkers, but then won a Spectrum Noir giveaway and was sent a six pack of greys and loved the numbering system (I never knew which pens blended in ProMarkers). I quickly amended my Christmas list and replaced ProMarkers with Spectrum Noirs and my lovely parents brought me my first bulk of Spectrum Noir pens last Christmas. 

I've printed off the accreditation test sheets a number of times but my blending skills weren't great, I'd do two great examples and then mess up the third and then find the test had changed as I'd taken so long to get round to doing it, then I got the latest Crafters Inspirations magazine from Crafters Companion and found the Spectrum Noir CD-Rom so helpful, especially the hair colouring as I could never get the hang of it even though I was watching YouTube tutorials, everyone seemed to do it differently.

Two weeks ago I completed the test, then kept going back to it, then re-did it as I didn't feel happy with it. I was so worried I'd get an email back telling me it was all wrong so thought I'd re-do it until I was happy with it myself. I sent it off and then got an email a few days later and was so worried it was going to say it was wrong, but it just said they'd received it. 

This evening I got an email, and luckily in the preview on my phone I saw it said I'd passed! I'm so happy as I've wanted to do this for ages and I got a certificate too. I love colouring in and now I have something to say I'm good at it with Spectrum Noir pens.

I was given some pointers on the dimension section about blending my dark colours more which was the only bit of the test I wasn't completely happy with myself either so I'm going to be working on that more to improve.

So now I can put my Spectrum Noir blinkie up! Yey! A great start to the weekend. I'm just so happy, it sounds silly, but I really am.

You can find out more about Spectrum Noir and the accreditation programme at

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Pet Advent Calendar Jar

While doing my food shopping I saw they had a chicken Dreamies advent calendars which would be perfect for my Pygmy hedgehog Spike but as he loves chicken Dreamies however as Dreamies are for cats the packaging was cat based and it came with a cat I set about making my own advent calendar for Spike and came up with this which can be re-used each year!

An advent calendar jar for Spikes treats!

I brought the car in Hobbycraft for under £3 then used the embossing folder from the latest Crafters Inspirations magazine. For the count down I used a tag as the base and then printed out a countdown 

I printed the count down (along with the date in the corner) on Centura Pearl paper (so it's got a gold sheen). I cut them to shape on the guillotine then I used a perforating blade on my paper trimmer to perforate the top of each dated paper square so that I can easily tear off each date (then I'll know if he has already had his advent treat). I then stacked the pieces in date order and stuck them to each other along the top seam (although next time I would use tacky glue as it's far quicker and easier to line up)

I then decorated the jar with glitter snowflake stickers, Merry Christmas stickers and attached some bells onto the jar handle (all from the DoCrafts Christmas craft goody bag).

Now all that's left to do is fill the jar with Dreamies or some hedgehog friendly biscuits (if I can find a recipe)

I'm going to be making another similar jar for my parents dog and fill it with dog treats or homemade dog biscuits.

I loved making this and in the end it's cost me around the same as the Dreamies ready made advent calendar but I can re-use this each year (obviously I'll have to stick a new count down on or he'll think it's Christmas every day!)

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Blog Candy on Pan Pastels UK Challange Blog

Pop over to the Pan Pastels UK Challenge Blog and enter their competition to win over £120 of crafty stash including Pan Pastels, mask and stamps

Just visit enter

I don't have any Pan Pastels yet but I'm looking to get the amazing metallic ones as they look so good on embossed images.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

After a random morning I'm in the craft room!

This morning Lee told me he was getting up and was going to do some housework.....a little while later I heard a really weird sound but thought I must have dreamt it until Lee came running in and advised me the oven door had exploded! He cleaned the oven, shut the door and BANG the glass shattered and he was left holding the oven door handle! Glass went as far as 2 1/2 metres, it proper went! 

So home insurance people sorting that out tomorrow phew! Although it'll be microwave meals, takeaways and a lot of hob use for a while.

I then took Lee off to his guitar lesson and waiting in the car with two craft magazines and a coffee - Simply Homemade and Creative Stamping (lovely free stamps which was why I got it lol)

This afternoon I've managed to get in the craft room and investigate the DoCrafts Goody Bag I brought yesterday. I've never brought one before but it had lots of things I wanted anyway, Kraft card, tacky glue and loads of embellishments. I love things like this where you get a bundle of stuff you don't have and don't usually buy and you can make things you wouldn't. 

For example this card which I just made - I love the bells and spent a good five minutes playing with them. 

I've still got lots of Hunkydory Christmas kits from their Pick of the Week in the summer but have decided that I'm going to try as keep some of the kits for next year and make more cards with the new stash I have. I'm also going to be making an advent treat jar for my hedgehog with some dreamies in and will post once I've completed it.

Back to crafting and trying to tidy up a bit

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Girly Birthday Card

A quick make using CraftArtist, some dies, an embossing folder and spare papers from my stash 

More cards for men!

This month I've got a few men's cards to do and rather than going to my stash of Kanban men's toppers I used Craft Artist and some Father's Day papers I had from a magazine (the only time you seem to get men's backgrounds and toppers!).

I printed the bear with the beer 5 times and cut out sections to decoupage then to make the beer more shiney I hear embossed it using clear embossing powder. 

I also did another similar card but without the decoupage