Monday, 31 August 2009

Competition and craft

The lovely Shimelle is offering the chance to win a place on her Learn Something New Every Day Course - no, let me correct that, she's offering FIVE places - the winner gets to pick four friends to join in too!! And if it's someone who's already signed up, they get a refund, so I've entered - fingers crossed! Now, it may be pretty stupid to lessen my chances of winning by getting more people to enter, but hey... What the heck! Just pop over to Shimelle's blog and leave a comment to have a go :-)

I'm hoping to finish a project later (before the class starts) and if I do I'll post it then, but meanwhile here's another 'old' project:

I decided to show you this LO because today we just happened to go back to where the photo was taken, on a bank holiday family walk. The background is a plain fawn-coloured card, and I enlarged the photo to 10x11 and cut it into three strips. I sanded and gold-embossed the edges of the top and bottom strip, printed the title and poem onto vellum, and secured the vellum to the photo strips with gold-embossed brads. I gold-embossed a metal bookplate and mounted it over the date and location, also printed on vellum, attaching it to the main photo with more of the brads. I inked the edges of the card and applied gold rub-on, though that doesn't show up too well in the photo!

I like this LO for its simplicity. I like it because I like the photo, and it reminds me of one of my favourite locations. Mostly, I like it for the poem. I've always loved this poem, and when we stumbled across the fork in the path the words came to mind immediately - I planned the LO in my head even as I took the photograph! The poem (by Robert Frost):

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Now, I know there's an 'ironic' interpretation, and that the poet himself maybe meant it that way, but I prefer to take this at face value as an encouragement to be an individual. And with that interpretation, I really like it :-)
PS Seem to be having some difficulty with the formatting of my posts... The poem may not appear properly, sorry! I'll see if I can edit it to be any better. Not sure why blogger isn't recognising that I want to leave a blank line sometimes!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Title page and birdhouse!

Still impatient for Learn Something New Every Day to start, so today I worked on a title page:
I've had the background paper for ages, I've never really liked it to be honest... Which made it an ideal candidate for using up as part of this project. I crumpled it mercilessly then inked it liberally, and actually after that I liked it rather more! I then - wait for it - GOT THE IRON OUT!! (I only ever iron for craft purposes lol... I even keep a travel iron in my craft cupboard!) When the paper was reasonably flat I put it through my typewriter to add the details of the event, participants and comments. It was going quite well till I accidentally leant on the 'f' key while leaning forward to reach the laptop and check Shimelle's website address (*doh!*) I went back over that bit with 'X's and actually, it turned out fine - in keeping with the distressed background. I also typed 'Good to go' on a separate scrap of the paper, crumpled and inked as before, and stuck it in the corner.
The picture above is a kind of reverse hybrid lol! I haven't printed the photos yet, but I've arranged them, added borders and text, and played around with the colour to tone them in more with the backgrounds. That file is saved in PSE and waiting to be printed (haven't sussed my new printer yet. Not that LSNED is an obsession or anything, but I'm deliberately waiting till September to try the printer again so if I can learn how to use it I can include that in my album...) I photographed the background page, opened it in PSE and dragged the photos on top to give an idea of how it will look when finished.
I promised Jess that at some point I'd post a picture of a birdhouse project I did. Coincidentally, she's been working on one too! Hers is here: Can You Pixel This? And mine is here:
Mine's a box frame from Ikea, painted white inside and out (deliberately going onto the glass - think painted-closed windows) then with gold paint thinly brushed over the outside. I stamped the bird onto old dictionary pages, using Feather Flourish stamps from Stampendous. The body is on the page listing 'bird', the wing says 'wing', and - you guessed it - the tail says 'tail'! I inked the pages before stamping, then mounted onto chipboard and trimmed outside the outline before sticking the pieces together with glue dots. I punched holes in the body with my Crop-a-Dile and used wire to make the legs and to attach the bird to a branch picked up on a recent walk. I put a blob of white-tack on the bottom and stuck the branch into this, then covered the base with white tissue paper. Finally, I used StazOn to stamp 'gilded cage' (PaperArtsy stamps) and 'tweet' 'tweet' (studio g) straight onto the glass. Birdhouses also happened to be the theme at "Something Completely Different" this week - just discovered this weekly challenge blog on Friday - it's cool :-)
Oh, you know that vow I made not to buy anything new for LSNED? Er.... Does ordering bigger book rings count?! The only ones I could find before were only just big enough to hold the pages together, and I haven't added any photos or embellishments to my pages yet!

Saturday, 29 August 2009


MAJOR disaster!! Ben & Jerry's is on special offer at Somerfield! What's a girl to do?! ;-)
I've done a lot of tweaking to my blog today, including redesigning the header bar - which took WAY too long, I tried to do it in a couple of different software programmes then turned to PSE (which I should've done in the first place) - only it wasn't working properly for some reason so I had to uninstal and reinstal it!! Eventually got something I'm happy with. It's a strip from a photo I took on holiday (mountains in Austria) with the title and intro to my blog on top. It's a definite improvement on the default header! I much prefer the clean white background, too. This may not be the final 'look' but it's a lot better than the previous one I reckon. What do you think?

My favourite layout

I don't expect to get much crafting done today - maybe a few bits and pieces in front of the TV tonight, but nothing worth posting. So instead, I thought I'd sort through photos of some of my older stuff and start sharing that :-)

Here's my favourite LO I've ever made:
I did this as part of an article published in Scrapbook Magazine Issue 27, round about November/December 2007, about how to use old clothes on your LOs. My first and only published scrapbooking article (so far...), though I've had a few cardmaking ones in print now! The title is cardstock stickers from Handcraft Art, which I painted pink to match the pink flowers (it took three coats and lots of remixing white, red and a touch of blue to get that shade right!) The flowers are die-cut (Sizzix Flower #1) from an old burgundy corduroy skirt of mine and an old pink corduroy skirt of my daughter's, then finished with coordinating buttons. The stems are handstitched in green embroidery thread. I love the simplicity of this, and the way the blue of my girl's eyes matches that of her denim skirt - not planned, but I like it!! I should confess though that I took the photo with this LO in mind - I took the two skirts to the florist to find flowers of the exact right colour...

And I'd also just like to tell you how I ever had my work published in the first place! I started by sending a couple of cards into readers' galleries and letters pages, and had some success with that. This was my first ever readers' gallery card:
This was in Cardmaking and Papercraft way back in Issue 7, Christmas 2004. That gave me enough confidence to send in a few more, and to start putting my work on a couple of online galleries. Around about that time, a new magazine was starting up: Simply Cards and Papercraft. Someone on the production team saw my gallery and contacted me to ask if I would submit cards to their readers' gallery. My first was in Issue 4, Easter 2005. Here it is:
Gosh, was my hand sore after all that hand-cutting!

Well, after a few of these and winning the 'star letter' prize with a photo of a mini album I'd made, I gained enough confidence to start entering competitions. In Issue 19 of Simply Cards they ran a competition to make a card using fabric. I had a sudden idea involving the back pocket of my man's ragged old jeans. Here's the card:
As you can see, it's a hanging card, and various greetings are printed onto strips of card tucked into the pocket. I added a flower made from felt, an altered clothes tag and a charm made from fibres, ribbons and metal embellishments. I still love the idea, though now I have more experience and know a bit more about composition etc I'd do it differently, I think. But - I won the competition!! Woo-hoo!! £200 worth of products from Crafty Computer Paper (I'm still working my way through it!)

That was exciting enough, but then Simply Cards contacted me to ask if I'd work up the idea into a whole article on using fabric on cards. Would I?!! Oh boy!! I'd never dreamed I'd be good enough to write for craft magazines! That first feature appeared in Issue 27, Christmas 2006. Since then I've been asked to do several other articles for Simply Cards and its sister publications, and I've submitted a couple of my own ideas for publication too. I'll share more of my published work in due course!

One more thing before I go. I've spent a lot of time over the past couple of days visiting other people's blogs - mainly those of my Learn Something New Every Day classmates. Wow! Firstly, what a lot of gorgeous craft projects - so much talent out there! But also, so many beautifully laid out blogs. I really need to revamp this one... I may be asking for help at some point!!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Today's project

Shimelle's first prompt arrived last night. It's all about getting prepared... But I already did that, right? I made my album, I made my covers, I even decorated the insides of the covers already! So I was excited to get the prompt, it makes me feel like the class really is about to start, but I didn't expect to need to 'do' anything else till 1st September. But then I began thinking about her ideas last night when I couldn't sleep. She talked about the different ways you can do this project: scrapping, digi, journaling, a combination... I was thinking about my plan to make notes in my diary throughout each day, so when I come to scrap/journal I won't forget the details, even if I can't manage to do the page straight away (and with two trips planned in September there will almost certainly be times when I can't). Shimelle mentioned that those of us planning to journal our way through the class should get prepared by finding a nice notebook and pen. I suddenly decided that instead of using my diary pages, I'd make myself a special notebook to go alongside my album. And here it is:
So that's what all the mess was on my coffee table earlier ;-) It's a 4x6 book; the front cover is heavy-weight cardstock covered in a piece from one of those Ikea pillowcases. I didn't worry too much about keeping the corners tidy, I felt it wasn't necessary for this project! I ripped a piece of corrugated cardboard and painted a line of white acrylic, then when it was dry I flattened it slightly and stuck on some Basic Grey letters (I ran out of 'e's so did that old trick of using a '3'). I attached the strip to the front then added 3 orange buttons with green embroidery thread knotted through. The inside cover is tidied up by attaching another piece of cardstock to hide the raw edges of the fabric. I also stamped the word 'journal' (PaperArtsy stamp). I didn't have quite the right colour ink, so I inked up in black, stamped onto scrap card, then inked again in Whisper Sage - perfect :-) See?
The inside pages are various repurposed papers, like with the album. In the photo above you can see a glimpse of a page from an old music book and the edges of the page after, which is made from graph paper. I used paper from a couple of notebooks, an old A-Z, a couple of postcards I got free from Ness Gardens, some trimmed down 'experiments' from when I was trying out lemon juice backgrounds, and pages from another couple of old books. I also put in a little envelope to collect any scraps, receipts or anything else relevant. This double page is an example:
For old book pages, I dry-brushed over some white acrylic paint thinly, so you can still see the text in the background but my writing over the top will be visible. On the postcards and any other dark pages I painted thicker white lines to make sure the writing shows up.

The back cover is a piece of chipboard, inked with more Whisper Sage and stamped with a few more PaperArtsy stamps:
I'm really pleased with it - it's cute, it's small enough to keep in my bag (together with my camera) throughout September, and it uses up some more of the stuff that was cluttering up my living room... BUT!! Take another look at the top photo. You see that dirty mark, near the top book ring??? It appeared when I used my Crop-a-Dile to punch the holes, and I have no idea how! :-( Never mind, I can live with it, and I'm sure it'll look rather more worse for wear when it's been carried around in my bag for a while, but still - annoying!

Just finally, in case anyone didn't see today's post from Shimelle, can I also recommend the Craftig site? It's a place where people share links to great craft projects and well worth a browse :-)

Ikea etc

Woo-hoo - I have comments!! I have followers!! I am pathetically excited about this... Thanks guys, you've made my day!

I went to Ikea on Wednesday. I went to find some new bedding for all of us; I came home with several metres of the most gorgeous fabric... But then, it's physically impossible to go to Ikea and NOT bring back something that wasn't actually on your list, right?! I did get the bedding I needed, too - and the single bedding sets came with 2 pillowcases each and the doubles with 4, while we only need 1 and 2 respectively - so I get to cut up the pillowcases and use that fabric too! Bonus :-)

(The first five patterns are 'proper' fabric, the last four are pillowcases - see how well the first pillowcase coordinates with the last couple of fabrics!)

I've already made a start at using a bit of this; this is what my coffee table currently looks like:

Note the cup of coffee riskily close to the project - I like to live dangerously ;-)

I hope to post later to show and tell about the completed project - hope you can contain your excitement...

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Learn Something New Every Day

So, I signed up for Shimelle's class last week. It runs through September, and - well, the title kind of says it all, really! We get a daily prompt to keep us going, and the idea is to produce a page each day. When I'd paid I got access to last year's prompts, too, so I had a good browse and started thinking about how I wanted to do this. I noticed that there was a prompt to do with the covers but I got a bit impatient and decided to put it all together now anyway! (I can't wait to get started properly - I keep learning stuff and wishing it was September already so I could scrap it in my book!)

Right now I'm loving handmade journals with repurposed materials (see Eve's work for examples of the kind of thing that inspires me!) I decided I wouldn't buy anything new for this project, but would make a real effort to use up all the stash that (a) I've been keeping forever for 'something special', (b) I bought on impulse 'cos it looked great but never got round to actually using, (c) it came as part of a pack and I've never really been sure about it, or (d) not in those categories but it's been hanging around for ages! (I nearly gave in and bought Shimelle's kit anyway, to put aside for another project some time, but dithered so long they sold out again - this is probably a good thing!)

I've put together a 6x6 album, made myself out of various papers and cardstock, bits of card where I experimented with background techniques, some acetate, an old cardboard box, some giant postcards I picked up free somewhere, an old birthday card, a pair of cotton trousers my daughter grew out of... Nothing really goes together, but hey, that's the style I'm aiming for with this album!

Here's the front:
The front cover's made from 6x6 acetate with various letter stickers. 'Learn' = blue velvet stickers free with Scrapbook Inspirations a while back; 'something' = me & my Big ideas mini alphabet (ran out of 'o's so used a button instead!); 'new' = Handcraft Art chipboard, covered with gold Stickles; 'every' = Basic Grey Fusion; 'day' = a random sheet from a whole pad of stickers, can't remember manufacturer, covered with rose pink pebeo gloss touch; couple of bracket brads. Behind that you can see a sheet of 6x6 cardboard box, stripped back to show the corrugated card!

This shows just the acetate page (these photos are dreadful, sorry...)
Here you can see the two pages from an old pocket dictionary I attached to the cardboard. I chose the pages with 'learn' and 'study'. Sadly, they turned out to also include 'lecherous' and 'strumpet'... rofl!! I painted over thinly with white acrylic paint to tone them down a bit and make the lecherous strumpet less obvious. I used Kopp design rub-ons on white cardstock and trimmed into strips for 'September 2009'. A couple of '&' rub-ons and an '8' from the same range provided the background for the punched stars.
Inside front cover. The background is a lovely Creating Keepsakes paper called Moments in Time, I've been hoarding it for sooo long... I stuck lace and printed twill along the edge, added a couple of buttons, stamped the butterfly quotation really badly the first time so restamped it a few times to make a feature of the shabby vintage look lol! Once that had all dried I stamped it once more, sprinkled with gold embossing powder, then gently brushed a little powder off so the embossed image would look a bit distressed. I stamped and embossed the watchface (stamp free with Simply Stamping, remember Simply Stamping? *sigh*), a PaperArtsy butterfly, and the word 'time' from that quotation stamp again, cut out the elements, wrote the other words in gold pen and trimmed, and stuck it all down with various bits from an old watch I took to pieces when it stopped working (if you look closely, the stamped watchface has real hands!)
Inside back cover. Another piece of the CK paper, with part of a page rescued from an old book, a couple more buttons, and a face stamped onto fabric (I felt like she needed a Cindy Crawford mole, so I added a brad too!)
Back cover. Very simple here, more corrugated card and a stamped 'Remember This' card waiting for my signature and date of completion (I'm an optimistic person!)
I'll post pages here as I complete them, and talk about the different repurposed stuff I've used as I go.
Phew, mammoth post... If you've got through that lot, well done!

Welcome to my blog!

OK, here we go! Even if I'm the only person who ever reads this, I figured it would be handy to have somewhere to put the photos of my craft projects - somewhere I could witter on about what I used and how I made them - and probably witter on about all kinds of other stuff, too. If you're not me and you've dropped by anyway, you're very welcome :-) Sorry about all the wittering...

The main impetus for setting this up now is that I'm about to start Shimelle Laine's 'Learn Something New Every Day' class (see her shop here) so I should be producing a fair few minibook pages over the next month or so. Part of the class is a forum where we can share our progress, but I kind of feel that I've already taken over the first thread there... So instead, I can now point people here and if they really want to find out how I made a particular page they can follow the link, and if not, I'm not taking up time and space unnecessarily. And even if no-one follows the link I still get the fun of chattering away to myself about what, when, why and how, so that's OK too!