Thursday, 14 November 2013

Story Stones

I know that it is nearly Christmas, my craft room would testify to this! Hoever I have been making a few non Christmassy items for friends which are prooving to be a great success and are great for presents.

Once Upon a Story Stone ~ £25
I am currently selling these on Etsy.  They are a set of 12 double sided stones.  All handdrawn and designed by myself each stone is varnished several times in order to make them as durable as possible and to avoid damage while they are in their custome made bag.  Each imagae has some sort of relation to the image on the reverse side.  There is also a book with instructions and ideas for ways to use them with children or adults, large groups or small!   

Once Upon a Story Stone ... The Gruffalo
These stones aren't for sale but been given as gifts.  Mainly due to copyright issues as they are so similar to the original images so not quite sure where I would stand on this front! But thought I would share them anyway!

Once Upon a Story Stone ... Room on the Broom
Again these were a gift but I was so please with the finished result!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Christmas Craft Parties

Well it is coming up that time of year.  Argggg some would say, and to be honest, when the first Christmas craft displays started showing themselves in the local shops in late August I had to immediately text everyone I knew to demonstrate my disgust at how early Christmas had started...However!!!!! I have decided there is too little time, when now in October, I have far too much to do!  I declared this year there would be 'NO MORE' Handmade Christmas cards for anyone and so far all the card making items are still safely stashed away in their respective boxes.  Don't let me fool you  though, there is Christmas everywhere in my craft room!

This year I am branching out into giving crafty parties and workshops.  After my very successful demo to the lovely WI from Dorchester I now have a party and another workshop booked.  As Christmas is nearing the theme for these will be ..... (wait for it).....CHRISTMAS (surprised?). 

Here are some of my creations, I will be making them into kits to buy so you can make them yourself or if your local you could always book a party and you and your friends can make some while having a glass of wine and friendly banter.  

Here we have two handbag boxes, lidded box, exploding box and a treat pocket.

Here is a close up of the treat  pocket.  An easy little craft which can be used for teacher gifts, friend gifts, tree decorations or even advent calendars.

This is the exploding Box close up.  Once the lid is removed the sides fall down to reveal a card and 3D Christmas tree.

Here are some of the creations the ladies at my last party created! We had a wonderful time and I was so impressed at all those creative juices flowing around!

Everyone got the chance to make a Handbag box with card and a treat pouch.  There was also time for some tea and cake and a raffle!  What a wonderful afternoon.  Thank you ladies.

If you would be interested in a party or demonstration don't hesitate to contact me on  Keep checking here as new courses will be added soon.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Handbags at dawn!

Well it was nearly handbags at dawn! I was up early enough preparing some of these beauties for a craft demo I gave today for the lovely ladies of the Dorchester WI.  

What a fantastic few hours with a lovely bunch of ladies making these bags.  I really wish I had taken photos of their creations as there were some truly wonderful bags made.  These humble offerings were mine.  The larger ones are made from 12x12" scrapbook heavyweight papers, the middle sized one was 9x9" and the baby one 6x6".  The card you can see was an example of the cards we made to go inside!

Also hidden among these luscious girly bags is a 'man bag' (without a handle!) it is meant to look like a mans shirt, the tie lifts with the collar to reveal the box inside.  The paper I used for this was 12x11".

'But what could I do with them? I mean they look nice but...' I might hear you say.  Well in the past I have bought large tins of sweets and split them up between the bags so my daughter can give them as thank you presents to her teachers.  (that is if there are any sweets left I have tested a few out...wouldn't want to give them gone off sweets would I!)  Other ideas? maybe you could roll up a pair of socks, or pop in a lipstick and a mini tube of hand cream.  I occasionally sell my jewellery in them as they provide a good open space inside and look fab.

If you would like to see how to make these bags I did a tutorial a few years ago which you can find on this blog under tutorials, or follow this link there are a few differences as I have developed the design since creating this video.

Happy bagging!!!!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Story Stones

Well I have been exploring the wonders of story stones recently.  Inspired by a great friend who wanted a set of Gruffalo story stones painted ...

I am so pleased with them that I had to do another set straight away!

After larging it up with the Gruffalo I thought I would try something different, so after yet another trek to the beach (my poor family) i set about painting random images onto smaller pebbles.  This was then the inspiration for after dinner frolics when we each had to choose 4 from a bag and tell as story including each one!  

Next move.... what could i possibly paint now??? I know my fav kids book 'Room on the Broom'

The broom stone is reversible! I am so pleased with them! What do you think?????

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

New Makes

I haven't stopped!!!!!


I have been busy crafting as and when I have been able to, what with a baby to look after as well! I have managed a few bits and bobs as birthday presents so thought I would share some of my latest things!

A new style plastic bottle bracelet, the beads look a little like roses and like the other upcycled plastic bottle pieces I make the colours are easy to customise! I particularly liked these colours and felt they suited my friend just right.  Hope you like.

This Peg bag is made from water resistant material and with the flap that can be pulled down your pegs won't get wet and rust if they are caught short in a little rain!  This was really just an experiment, the design criteria was to use fabric a little like Cath Kidston fabric but to be better proportioned to hers and to also be resistant to sitting in the rain occasionally! This one seemed to do it and was v successful!

Heart Bunting.  I love this! each heart is made from upcycled cereal boxes and then covered in scrap papers.

This Quilled J is using thinker papers than my previous experiments, it worked far better in that it was more solid but due to the larger paper it didn't work well with a tighter pattern like my other designs.  That said however, I think I may try an ornate one with the 10mm paper next time.

Quilled B, this is using 3mm quilled paper in a variety of blues, I used 5mm papers around the edges to form the template but all the rest are narrower.  It worked well I think although I do find that the paper buckles a little sometimes and it is hard to make a straight line look truly straight!

Cake Pops!   MMMMMMMMMMM  a commission for a birthday party.  I made these ones with a proper cake pop mold, they were very yummy although I think I may prefer my other, denser recipe with out using the mold.  Advantage of the molds however is that they always come out round...ish! and they are a lot lighter for decorating.

I have done a few other bits as well but just can't find the photos anywhere! Oh well that will give me something to post next time!


Monday, 4 February 2013

Some upcycling and a bit of a quill.

Good morning to you all, Hope the sun is shining where you are, it keeps coming and going but at least it is dry, such a welcome change!

Well what a weekend, I have managed a little crafty shop, some crafting and a session of ice skating (I know a totally random selection!)  I was so relieved to have survived the skate in on piece as well as not falling once! My daughter however was so excited at the prospect of me falling over, I almost felt guilty for not damaging myself!  What a mean mummy I am for not falling over and breaking down in spontaneous floods of tears!  Fortunately (or not depending on your point of view) there is no photographic evidence of my ice skating skills!

I will have to settle for posting pics of my latest makes.
This first one is a notebook cover I made for one of my closest friends, hopefully she won't see this before I get a chance to give it to her!

This cover has been made from upcycled fabrics so ultra eco friendly!  As you can see in the top picture the notebook stays together with a button (or two! I like layering my buttons)  there is enough give for her to stuff all sorts of extra bits of paper in.  The bottom pic shows the inside, the cover can be slipped on and off so when her notebook is full she can just whip it out and pop another one inside! she could also use it to put a reading book inside as long as the dimensions are the same!!

Project number 2 this week was a decorative quilled letter F, I had seen many images on Pinterest of similar letters and thought I would give it a try, I used to quill so much when I was younger and my first business was selling quilled cards when I was 10!  I haven't picked up a quilling tool for years so was a learning experience all over again!

I didn't use a pattern but I do love the effect!  The hardest part and strangely enough the thing that took hours to sort was the initial shape of the letter.  Filling in with coils and pegs wasn't too time consuming, only a couple of hours!  I am hoping to work my way through the alphabet eventually.

Monday, 28 January 2013

New Images

Well here they are! A selection of my latest photographs.  It has been quite a journey but I am really pleased with these results.  Trouble is I have sussed the bracelets but what of my bags and bunting, not to mention the necklaces!!  I think it is back to the researching for more ideas.

Only Question I have now however is how many times should you use the same prop??


Saturday, 26 January 2013

Taking better photographs


Oh my have these given me a headeache!! Taking decent photos is such a must to showcase your work, I know this, but how on earth are you meant to achieve this??

My original attempts involved laying each piece in an IKEA wooden bowl, such an inexpensive item, but I loved the effect.  Here is one of my first pictures ~

I still like it to be honest as it feels more natural, more in keeping with the recycling theme. That said however, the image doesn't show the bracelet to it's full potential, the flowers are lying  flat on the surface where as they wouldn't do this on your wrist.  I was also advised to photograph my pieces on white.

My next attempt was to use a white surface.  I wandered around the house with my white scrapbook page, bracelet and camera in search of some decent light.  The best room for light in undoubtedly the conservatory , although with the snow fall the roof was so dark that it didn't work too well.  Here is my next attempt (actually there were several before this one but silly me deleted them, so I can't show you how awful they were!)

This just looks so bland and too dark.

So my next attempt involved lots of research, I found some fab blogs, these were  great help not just by the articles but also demonstrating well taken images of their products.

I decided I needed to get a white vase, this would help give a little dimension, I also felt I needed a much larger piece of paper so that it will cover the surface area better and provide a vertical back drop aswell in one continuous piece.

I set up a small area in the conservatory, fixing a large length of paper to the windows so it draped down onto the table and covered the workspace.  I then put my new little vase in the centre and experimented with positioning.  Here is the results!

I like this, but the light was still a little dark.  I don't own any exciting photoediting software so wasn't sure what to do, I could alter the brightness and contrast but that was about the most I could do.

Until ......

I was browsing and saw a post by All She Crafts, she had recently discovered an online photo editing software called Pic Monkey.  What a program, I just inserted my pic, played around with some of the settings and produced this!!! 

It is cropped as well as the colours brightened and saturation changed. 
Here are the two images side by side so you can see the difference!

What do you think?? I am really pleased with the results.  Next task is to find a vase big enough to showcase my earrings better!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Single colour, 3D effect, flat card

Butterfly card

This card is so lovely and looks 3D but in fact it is totally flat, ideal for sending through the post nowadays with postage restrictions and prices being as ridiculous as they are!
The other bonus of this card is that it requires so little, no tape or foam mounts, no papers or extra colours, there is no worrying if this will go with that! This card only uses one colour and the pattern effects only use a couple of stamps.

First off lets see what you will need!
I used the following ~
  • Set of Stampin Up stamps, you could use anything however so why not experiment!
  • Ink pad ~ one that doesn't dry too instantly as you will be doing several stamps between inking.
  • Sticky notes
  • Card blank
  • Optional extras ~ daubers. 

Step 1

First you will need to mask off a rectangle in the centre of your card.  Mine left a 2cm gap around the outside.  Square sticky notes are fantastic as you can line up the edges to get a neat angular shape.

Step 2
Once the area is masked take your stamp and ink it up, I have used a solid butterfly shape but it doesn't really matter what you use.  The stamping you are going to be doing is to create a patten and texture to the card, you won't really notice what the image is.  You will need to stamp your stamp several times around the unmasked areas of your card.  I stamp at least three times before inking up again so that it adds texture and depth.

Here you can see how it is beginging to build up, I have stamped over  and over again in the same areas.

Here is the completed border.

Once you take the sticky notes off you are left with a fantastic border.

Step 3
Next you will need those sticky notes again (don't forget to reuse the ones you took off).  You need to cover the area you have just stamped, if you leave a little gap of white under the notes that is fine as it adds to the illusion of depth.  You will also need to mask off another rectangle inside so you are left with a rectangular line on your card.

Step 4
You can choose how you do this next step.  I used a dauber but you could use a tissue or finger or if your ink pad is a small one you could just wipe it over the unmasked area.  You want this area to be a solid a colour as possible.

 Step 5
Remove the sticky notes. Here is how my card looks at this point.

Step 6
Now it is time for you to be creative!  I think simplest is best however so I just went for a couple of butterflies and some wording.  If you weren't sending this card through the post then I would be tempted to add a punched butterfly on top.  Here is my finished card.

Now all that is left to do is to write something lovely inside and send it to someone!