Friday, 26 June 2009

Sneak preview

Thought I'd share a sneak preview of something I've been working on for Etsy over the last few days.

I'm not giving too much away, other than to say it's made to my own pattern and each one will be unique - (I'm not allowing myself any re-listings of this one) and its totally organic!

This has turned out to be a whole family venture. Everyone has an opinion on how the finished item should look and they've all encouraged me to make yet another version every time we thought that something needed tweaking. Laura has put herself in charge of naming them, so don't blame me if they are somewhat outlandish!

Its been a really fun adventure making these - just the antidote that I needed to all the tedious proof reading I had to do last week

It will be another week or so before I'm ready to list the first few, but I'll let you know the very moment that they go on sale

Friday, 19 June 2009

Cards with honeycomb paper pop-outs

Just a quick post to let you know that I have a set of three cards featured in Making Cards July issue which was published yesterday.

They all have honeycomb paper pop-outs in the centre. This is the type of paper that "older" readers will remember as the stuff that Christmas decorations were made from and the younger of you will have seen used in shop windows displays at Valentines and Easter, creating 3D hearts and Easter eggs etc.

It's fun stuff to use.

Several years ago when I had an online store and used to have a stand at the NEC Hobbycraft exhibitions in Birmingham, I would sell loads of the stuff. My lads used to come to the shows to help out and they enthralled many customers by giving a demonstration of how to use the honeycomb paper. The customers were as impressed by the fact that a teenage lad was demonstrating the product as they were by the paper itself.

When I made these cards recently to send to Magmaker, my youngest son was happily recalling the items he used to make whilst helping on the stand and laughing about his twice yearly stints as a papercraft demonstrator.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Finding long lost treasure

I have Yo-Yo kids. They live with me a while, then go away either to uni or to work elsewhere, then they move back home again.

The trouble is, when they move out, my crafting stash migrates into the cupboards in their bedrooms, so when my eldest son said he and his girlfriend would like to move back home in a couple of weeks time, one of my first thoughts was "where do I put all the craft stuff ?"

So, I'm having to de-stash a bit, and generally re-organise, and its amazing what I've found.

Thanks to the re-organisation, this little book which I made over a year ago, has seen the light of day again. I was doing a lot of experimenting with silk fusion at the time and I wanted to see if I could make an entire book (pages as well as covers) out of silk. I wanted to be able to write on the pages, so the thin silk paper that I usually make, which is translucent in places, would not do.

The pages are slightly thicker than I would have liked them to be, but it made it easy to create the
signatures, and I love the natural speckled effect.

The silk for the covers had gilding flakes embedded and was spray dyed. I then hand embroidered the spiral pattern before trimming it down to make the covers. The book mark consists of several lengths of glittery silk strands attached to the inside of the spine with a bead attached to one to weight it.

So re-organisation is good! Who knows what other treasures I may un earth in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Father's Day wallet card

Well, this weekend I have been both very disorganised and well prepared at the same time.

Sunday was Mike, my youngest's birthday and his girlfriend Laura's. Yes, they are both the same age and have the same birthday, so we have a double celebration. Laura is the artist behind Magmaker's Cards for Children Special edition and a new title which we can't yet reveal. She is also an extremely talented jewellery designer/maker.

Somehow, I was just so busy with life in general - we had just moved Mike back from uni, so the house was, and still is in turmoil, that I just didn't have time to make them cards!

However, I redeemed myself yesterday afternoon, by making my Dad's Father's day card well in advance.
It's a design I've made many times before in one format or another, but I've decided its still worth sharing the instructions with you. It doesn't just have to be for Father's Day - just make it suit whatever purpose you need it for.

If you cut carefully, you can get all the pieces out of one 30x30cm piece of card. (12"x12")

You need to cut the following pieces:



14x6cm (cut x2)

14x4cm (cut x2)


Take the largest piece (the outer wallet) and round the corners. I machine stitiched all around the edges to imitate a bought leather wallet, But if you "don't do needles" this is entirely optional. Score and fold in the middle.

Take the next size down piece and score and fold in the middle. Attach the 14x6cm pieces to either side of the fold line,leaving the tops open, and the bases level. Line them up with the outside edges of the folded piece, not the fold line.

Attach the 14x4 pieces in the same way. level with the base.

Round the corners of one end of the 8x2.5cm strip, and machine stitch around. Fold in half and glue the straight edged section to the inside back of the outer wallet. Glue the pocketed section to the inside of the outer wallet. Hold the wallet in closed position as you do this or it will buckle as you try to close it. I just attached it at the two sides, not along the top or base.

To make the closure I stitched a small plastic pop fastener (the type you would use for dressmaking) to two small circles of brown card and glue them in place.

You could use Velcro circles or the magnetic dots that you get for scrapbooking, instead.

I'm not the greatest fan of peel-off stickers, but I remember my dad having leather wallets and briefcases with his initials embossed in gold across the corner, so for once I felt they were the most suitable item for adding the "Dad" to the front.

Now comes the part where you personalise the inside. Print out your own "treat tokens", or small photos of the family. Design your own sports club membership or video rental cards and pop them into the pockets. Just dream up and print out any type of items to represent the interests of that person. Have fun!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Calendar Girls 10 years on

I wonder if anyone else saw the documentary on UK TV about the amazing story of the Calendar Girls last night?

It is the story of the journey of a group of ladies who all rally round their friend who has lost her husband to leukaemia. They make a calendar - a nude calendar (with all the crucial bits well hidden!). They are all middle aged members of the WI and get a lot of stick for their so called "disreputable" activities. The calendar went on to make more money for Leukaemia Research than most of us could ever dream of raising. A film was made of their story - which I fully recommend, having seen it several times over, a stage show has now been made and they have launched a second nude calendar. These ladies are in their 60s and one is over 70!

The doc set me off crying of course, but it reminded me of why I too am trying to raise money for Leukaemia Research. Every little flower embellishment, baby beanie or handmade book I sit and make, helps in its own small way to provide money for the research for treatments for this life changing illness. My Etsy shop is my version of the calendar !

Thursday, 4 June 2009

New colourway embroidered flowers

I've just added some new colourways to the embroidered flowers i've got on Etsy. I just love making these little flowers. Its adding the embroidery that I find so relaxing. I finish them off nicely on the back so if you want to add them to a hairband, or use them as a key or bag charm, they still look when the reverse side is showing. They are proving to be one of my most popular Etsy items, which is great as it means i'm generating a steady income to my Leukaemia Research Fund charity page on JustGiving.

Here is a picture of the new flowers and I'll add some piccies of items made with them soon. (Promise!!)
If you want to see the other colour options, just go

Monday, 1 June 2009

All tied up in knots

Having had a nice break over the weekend, I was back to my crafting today and I made a couple of cards using mizuhiki embellishments.

Misuhiki is an ancient Japanese art form that uses special cord made from rice paper. The paper is covered with thin strands of silk or mylar. Originally the mizuhiki knots were used to tie up the hair of the samurai,but nowadays they are used to decorate gift wrapping, cards and jewellery.

I have bought special misuhiki cords to make these cards, but I have seen them made successfully with embroidery threads and cords - which are a lot cheaper!

The book I used to learn to make the knots is called "Knots To You" by C.A. Cota. Its a great little book with lots of easy to follow pics.

I think I might try adding one to a brooch next.