Welcome to my Country Days Blog!

I’ve lived in Devon for over 30 years and while I spend most of my time working in my studio, or in front of a TV camera or on an exhibition stand, country living does give me some time and space… to think about my next project!

A crafter in the country is never bored – nature is a huge treasure trove! Beachcombing, walking on Dartmoor, or rummaging about in hedgerows (while Richard pretends not to notice) produces all sorts of goodies. Shells, feathers, wildflowers, leaves – natural things are so often the ‘light bulb moment’ that gives me an idea for something new!

I have hundreds – actually, make that thousands ­– of ideas and projects from crafts to cookery to flowers that I thought I could share with you through a weekly country-inspired blog.

I love hearing from fellow crafters and swapping ideas and useful hints and tips, so do please feedback your comments on my blog, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun!



I love all things lavender. I grow so many varieties in the garden from the traditional British plants to the more exotic, lumpier Mediterranean varieties. Lavender is such an iconic scent – it makes so many people think of relatives that have used it, my grandmother always had some Yardley’s Lavender handy.

Jane Shasky

Jane Shasky

We have quite a range of lavender related things on the website that I can dip into and use for cards – from Jane Shasky’s Lovely Lavender pad, the Lavender stencil and of course lavender cutting dies (one of my favourites is the border). Can I also sneakily include the Tim Holtz oxide pads and distress marker in Milled Lavender!

I promised in a recent newsletter that I would share some tips on how to fragrance cards.

There are several ways and which I use depends on the time I have. The quick and obvious one is lightly spritzing a finished card with some lavender cologne or at a pinch (as I had to the other day) some lavender ironing water, I reckon it was just very diluted cologne. Keep it to a light waft though or you could mark the card.

If you have more time, then another way to add scent is to complete your card and then carefully put it into a box (old tupperware I use!) and then drop a little lavender essential oil onto some cotton wool and add this to the box. Now the crucial thing here is that the oil must NOT come into contact with the card as it leaves a nasty mark so I add a greyboard divider between the card and the cotton wool. Just cut two or three strips of the greyboard and quarantine one end of the box to put the cotton wool in and hey presto!Lavender

The third way I am going to mention isn’t something I have tried but I know a friend that does this – she stores her cards in one of those really useful plastic tubs and also in the same tub has a lavender air freshener – again not touching the cards just down at one end lying on its back to allow the fragrance to wander round the box. I suspect this might be an almighty strong way to have scented cards but hey – give it a try if it appeals – experimentation is everything.

You can see from this display of cards how beautifully all the lavender products I have mentioned work together to make yummy lavender cards! Whether you want a painted image or to create a personal stencilled creation, we have something for everyone.

Faux Acrylic pouring

Faux Acrylic Pouring

Faux Acrylic PouringI have been playing with paint effects for many moons and am very taken with the Acrylic Pouring technique. There are loads of YouTube videos to watch if you fancy.

However – when I did quite a few last autumn, I wasn’t the most popular person in the house ….. it has to be said that despite it being huge fun to play – the mess is pretty intense. The table was well covered with a plastic sheet and I deliberately played in the kitchen as we have a laminate floor. HOWEVER, two chair cushions, one shirt, and quite a lot of cleaning up of floor, sink and flip top bin created a few growly moments! Not to forget the large number of disposable gloves I waded through (I have many, many boxes of them from when my parents needed help).

If you are not put off by my messiness, then we have a lovely selection of pouring acrylic paints and accessories here on the website.

So I came up with this idea – the effect of acrylic pours but in a printed format. I made about 30 or 40 paintings and then we had them professionally photographed and printed onto our usual high quality satin finish cardmaking pad paper. I did some on canvas and you can see the texture coming through and some on Tim Holtz Yupo paper for a change.

This card was one of the demonstrations I did last week on Create and Craft – I think it was Friday’s show.

I was thrilled that the faux pour pads sold so well. It’s always gratifying when you really love a product and the sales fly to match your hopes!Faux Acrylic Pouring

The centrepiece of the card is created using the Long Stemmed Rose and the Gypsophila dies and the Hello is a Sue Wilson die. You could make a similar design by doing three strips or four circles – just whatever shape takes your fancy. Here I took one sheet of the faux pour paper (interesting how different the four pieces look despite coming from the same sheet) – anyway I took four pieces and then matted and layered them onto pink mirror card and then some silver.

One tip is when you come to place the four pieces on your card blank, you might like to use something like Pinflair glue gel that gives you time to move the squares slightly to ensure they are completely aligned. I used 2mm foam tape and add its instant grab to the pressure of being on TV I am amazed that I got the squares close to where I wanted them!

There’s so much you can do with these sheets – yes of course card making but also use them like original artwork – you can add glitter to make a geode, pens and stamping to add a special touch,  make a clock, frame a sheet, cover a notebook, top with some glaze and just hang on the wall like a canvas. Have fun and no mess!

Click here for more information on our Faux Pour Paper Pads.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

I particularly like House type craft dies as there are so many occasions that they can cover. Moving house/new home is just the obvious one – but there are so many others.

Take the one in the lower picture with the seagulls – I think that would make an excellent retirement card – moving to a bungalow near the sea! Birthday cards obviously and then as all these dies come with “add on snow” as an extra, they are there for assorted Christmas cards too!Home Sweet Home

I love the Tudor cottage – not that it looks exactly like my thatched cottage as ours is Devon cob (a building material mainly made from mud and cow pats I believe) and no pretty Tudor beams.

The contemporary house is massively like the modern house I had in Kings Lynn many years ago – but that’s just co-incidence as these dies were all designed by Sylvie Ashton and we hadn’t met in those days – gosh in 1973 I hadn’t thought any further than flowers and wanting my own company!

The Victorian house reminds me of so many of my friends’ homes, I have a real love of bay windows, so that part particularly makes me smile. I always hoped I might end up with a home from that era but it was not to be, having said that I wouldn’t swap my thatched cottage for anything!

There are several other Signature die-cuts on these cards and as I play with dies, I am always happily reminded that there a million and one things you can do with them apart from your first or the obvious thought.

Click here and have a browse through our other House Related Signature Dies.

Or if you are in need of more inspiration they try looking through our Gallery of  samples.

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New Foodie Collection in Signature Dies

Wowee zowee – it’s not often I am jumping about saying how much I love a new range of dies – but our new Foodie Collection in Signature dies – I am just loving to bits.

You can see from the samples, they are bright and breezy – you can paper piece or colour, whichever you enjoy and they make just the most wonderful cards.

I have had fun making a couple of doughnut cards for friends – it just amused me that we have to avoid the real thing like the plague (we are all on a diet!) but you can play with these as much as you like and add as many sprinkles and icing as you wish!

You can send chocolates and frothy drinks, cocktails and goodies galore to everyone and it’s such fun planning and colouring – these samples were made by Sylvie Ashton and they are fabulous!

If any of you have other foodie collections you fancy – why not email me at Joanna@joannasheen.com and I will see what our designers say!

There are five new food & drink themed dies:

Hot Chocolate, Doughnuts, Gelato, Cocktail and Chocolate Box.

Why not click here and have a browse at these and other Food & Drink inspired Signature Dies – perfect for making those celebration cards and projects.



Lavinia Stamps

I had a lovely surprise enclosed with our latest delivery of stamps, a collection of cards from Lavinia Stamps. I have long been a fan and indeed have several pieces from demonstrations as I watched them taking shape at the NEC when we used to be sited opposite each other at the big craft show every November.

If you haven’t played with these stamps before, they are both fun and produce beautiful results. The stamps themselves are very reasonable I feel and collecting them can become a temptation! I would advise not using Stazon inks with them and a good tip is that they do produce a range of lovely backgrounds that make using the stamps to make wonderful projects, even easier.

Just thought I would like to share these with you all!

We stock a growing number of Lavinia Stamps and Scenescapes – why not have a browse by clicking here.