Lace and roses

FrenchFlowersI always feel smiley when I can include some lace on a card and of course I love using flowers. This die is the Signature Dies Wild Rose and it’s fun to use.

The basic card is an 8 x 8” white card blank, then I have matted some pretty grey lace backing paper from my Volume 1 backing paper pad (good value I reckon) onto dark pink cardstock. I used the same dark pink for roses plus a lighter shade too. The matted lace paper is then attached to the card blank.

The image was cut out from the Stefania Ferri 8 x 8”pad (she is SO talente!) and attached in the centre of the card. My choice is to use double sided tape, but some people have other favourites like photo glue or glue sticks.

Now, diecut roses in a couple of shades of pink and find a nice subtle green for the leaves. The thing I love about using dies is that you can use scraps and just keep on cutting to get as many flowers as you like as opposed to having a packet that runs out on you!

The centre of the wild roses just shows on the card as a glimpse of yellow – I have achieved this by cutting a square of scrap bright yellow card and attaching to the back of the flower – hey presto yellow centre! Before you glue the flowers onto the card, mould them a little to make the petals come up and away from the edges – this gives a lovely texture.

Have fun!

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Pearls and roses – just perfect!

Pearls and roses – another combination of ingredients that I love – whether I am playing with paper roses, dried roses, fresh roses, you name it! This card is extremely simple but, in my opinion, more beautiful for that simplicity – sometimes less really is more!

The basic card blank was an 8 x 8” white square that I trimmed a little to create 8” height by 6.5” width. The image is from Marjolein Bastin’s Summer pad and I took my inspiration for the colour scheme of the card from the edge printed around the image, light pink and a citrusy green.

Start with some citrus green card and cut slightly smaller than the main card blank. Now layer some pale pink card on top – my choice was to use double sided tape.

Now taking the main image, layer that onto some of the green card – this frames it beautifully. Attach that to the card as shown – with an equal margin above and each side of the image but a little more underneath.

The die I have used is from the Signature Dies range (surprise!) and is called Sarah Lace Border. I zipped this through the machine a couple of times using white card. Cut a piece to stretch across the width of the green card and then snip a single piece from the design for the top.

There are several ways to attach delicate die cuts – you can use a quickie glue pen or, as I did this time, use Glossy Accents and a cocktail stick. I love my cocktail sticks, they are cheap and disposable and I squirted a blob of glossy accents out onto a scrap of paper and then using the cocktail stick added little dots to the back of the diecuts.

Finally, my favourite, the pearls – these were self-adhesive type pearls but if you have flat backed pearls that are not, then again you can dot them with the glossy accents.

Voila! Elegant and simple card!

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Hydrangeas, my favourite!

Well to be accurate, one of my favourites as I have several! The thing I love about hydrangeas is that once they start flowering (mine are just about to burst into bloom), they carry on giving you a lovely show of colour and form all summer long. As an extra bonus they are fantastic to dry and arrange indoors during the winter, so fab – very useful plants!

This card uses a pretty image from the Marjolein Bastin Summer pad. Marjolein is an artist who has been working with the craft industry for many years and the range of her images is amazing. We have a Spring and Summer pad at the moment and will be launching  Autumn and Winter pads on Create and Craft in July.

This card is a simple one that I think looks really beautiful – it would be rude to praise one of my own creations too highly! The image is layered onto a leafy green cardstock and that same green used to diecut the hydrangea leaves. The hydrangea flowers have been cut in two shades of pink.

It is then easy to assemble. Cut the border out from the sheet on the Marjolein Bastin Summer pad, attach to the card blank (I trimmed a little off an 8 x8″ card) and then fix the image and arrange the diecut hydrangeas – all made using the Signature Dies Hydrangea and finally add a few butterflies, again from the pad – see easy peasy!


Homespun beauties…

I regularly post photos of gorgeous wall art created by ‘Homespun from Devon’. The very talented lady behind this company, Sue Lewis, lives nearby and our paths have crossed in the crafting world before… so I thought it would be interesting to ask her about her work and how she produces her stunning wet felted masterpieces…

Sue Lewis at the opening of her current exhibition in Devon.Sue has always been interested in crafts and trained originally as a graphic designer. Always busy with hobbies, she worked her way through textiles, home furnishings and painting and eventually arrived at ‘painting with wool’ as she calls it.

Sue explains: “Having read an article about wet felting, I was intrigued. Unable to find any local classes I taught myself. I was immediately hooked with this method of painting with wool. As I got more experienced I introduced freestyle stitching to my pieces and started to hand dye fleece to add texture.

“Using locally sourced, rare breed fleece is important to me. There’s a certain satisfaction in collecting fleece straight from the sheep, washing it, hand dying it and transforming it into a work of art. I take my inspiration from nature and the beautiful countryside that surrounds where I live in Devon.” 

Sue works with a range of different fibres.

In the flesh, Sue’s pictures are fascinating as they have such depth – both in colour and actual texture. They Wet felting is hard work!are mounted in deep box frames that draw you in but which sadly also make them impossible to send by courier or post. “I spend quite a lot of my time delivering the pictures myself as I can’t get them insured for transporting,” says Sue.

Her landscape pictures are her most popular works and Sue particularly enjoys creating dramatic skies. If you think it’s a relaxing and gentle art form… think again! Wet felting takes up a lot of room and a lot of strength! 

Sue says: “I create the picture ‘dry’, laying the coloured wool fibres where I want them to form the picture. Then it is sprinkled with a water and soap solution. I lay bubble wrap over the top and smooth it down, very carefully. The wool can be up to 3” thick and I then have to roll it up to start the ‘meshing’ process of the wool fibres. The knobbles on the bubble wrap are very good for this process.

“I have to roll the wool in different directions to ensure the fibres lock together. It is quite hard work and also leads to a degree of ‘randomness’ which (usually!) results in creating lovely effects that I hadn’t necessarily planned!”

Different fibres create different effects and Sue uses all sorts of things in her work  including, silk, hemp, rose fibres, banana fibres and different types of wool. And then of course, there’s the issue of shrinkage. “The picture will shrink about 30% when it dries out, so I have to plan that into the design. Different fibres also shrink at different rates, so that can also lead to unexpected results.”

Before and after – stunning foxgloves!Since October 2014, Sue’s hobby has become her full-time job and her house is full of bags of wool, grouped by colour, a large table top to work on – and she spends a lot of time in the bathroom! “Once the picture has thoroughly ‘felted’, it has to be rinsed in cold water then very gently squeezed to get rid of excess water, so I spend a lot of time hauling the heavy felt in and out of the bath!”. If the weather is kind, Sue’s work gets to dry outside in the sunshine, otherwise it finishes off on top of her Aga.

Her work sells widely through galleries across the country and she also sells through the National Trust. As well as her stunning landscapes, she also makes gorgeous felt flowers. Having made red poppies for a British Legion fundraising event, Sue received a commission for felt flowers for a winter wedding – such a clever idea!

You can follow Sue on Facebook or see her work for sale on Etsy, or find out where she is exhibiting by dropping her a line.

PS. Sue has also just launched place mats and chopping boards based on her designs.



Gardening time!

Much as I adore this time of year in the garden it is hard to keep up with everything. My rhododendrons are an absolute picture and new leaves are shooting everywhere, not to mention the gorgeous blossom. Thanks to the spells of hot sunshine (quite short) and the spells of heavy rain (quite long) everything in the garden is growing furiously.

I don’t know how to do that time lapse photography stuff, but the weeds in my garden are trying very hard to manage without it, you can almost see them move… I swear as I turn round to speak to Richard they will have grown several inches before I turn back!

I was glued to the Chelsea Flower Show coverage last week and I do miss being there. I exhibited at Chelsea for over ten years with my pressed flower pictures and it was a really fun experience, exhausting, but fun!

Gradually I find myself more and more drawn to using my papercrafting skills to make cards with a difference, creating inexpensive presents or things to keep. It always saddens me that we can all spend so much on cards and then they just get thrown in the bin. Also – and believe me I am not being a meanie – the cost of birthday presents if you have a large circle of family and friends can be astronomic. So why not give a card with an extra feature – a packet of seeds tucked inside or a lavender sachet – a little ‘extra’ designed as part of the card that is something special to keep?

I thought this card – using an image from the Summer Cardmaking Pad by Marjoleine Bastin – would be just perfect with a little pocket inside with some Welsh poppies or, as it also features some herbs, why not plant up a terracotta pot with cuttings of herbs?