I love lavender!

I know I write often about lavender, but it’s a herb that brings me so much pleasure. I love the way it looks in the flower beds in the garden, but I also admire the many different ways it can be used.

Let’s start with drying or preserving it, so simple … the trick I feel is picking it at the right time. I find I get the best results if I pick lavender that is fully out but only just. If I need decorative dried lavender or just lavender flowers for filling sachets etc., then the bigger the better really. If you pick it too early, the flowers are tight and narrow with minimal colour. Pick a reasonable length of stalk and then bundle together with an elastic band and hang up to dry.

The reason for the elastic band is that the stems shrink as they dry and can slip out of string ties – so use an elastic band and it will shrink to fit so to speak!

If you want dried heads for their scent not their looks, then you can strip the flowers and lay them out to dry – I tend to use a metal pizza tray as it has holes in it (meant to crisp the pizza base no doubt!) cover the tray with some kitchen paper and then sprinkle the flowers across and leave to dry out of strong light.

The final tip I would add is that if your particular variety of lavender has long stalks as opposed to a stubby variety, then don’t waste your stalks – they look interesting bundled (maybe 30-40 stems) and tied with a ribbon – or if you are a real fire person, they smell nice chucked onto the fire with logs.

But really this blog is meant to be about the card – it’s using the new Jane Shasky Garden Herbs paper pad, which I love.

Mat some backing paper onto cardstock and add to the card blank. Tape on the border from the paper pad and mat the main image onto card and glue on, then add white die cuts using our Signature die Bubble narrow ledger (SD484). Add an embellishment of some ribbon and other pieces from the paper pad page and there you are! Simple but fun to make. Maybe you could scent the card with some lavender, or include a sachet?

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Thank you!

 

‘Thank you’ truly is a magic phrase at times. It’s amazing how powerful just saying thank you – or forgetting to say thank you – can be. We all feel good when someone thanks us for a card or a present and it’s obvious that you have pleased them.

In the old days, we would perhaps dutifully write thank you letters and this has understandably changed a bit over the years, I am just as chuffed with a thank you email or text these days! But a particularly lovely way to say thank you is to make a beautiful card like this one.

The main butterfly image comes from the Jane Shasky Vintage Butterfly paper pad – I can’t rave on enough about how beautiful the images are and every sheet will make a fabulous card for loads of different occasions.

The backing paper, which blends perfectly is from our Age of Elegance CD. This is such a handy resource to have tucked away in a drawer. There are dozens of quite gorgeous papers on here apart from the main toppers/images etc. My favourite component of this CD has to be the William Morris paper collection.

There’s nothing complex about this 8” x 8” square card – but it proves absolutely how heavy techniques or tricky ideas are sometimes outshone by simplicity!

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Get well again soon!

Oh dear – January the month of coughs and sneezes and all things cold related – I thought I ought to have a get well soon card as the theme for today. If any of you have a nasty old cold then get well soon, but also if you have a friend or family member that’s suffering – send them a get well wish to speed things along!

There are so many things people recommend for coughs and colds and we all have our favourite tips and tricks. The main thing I was always told was drink lots and lots (not alcoholic!) – my choice is often just plain water but I often make up a jug with lots of slices of cucumber in it, a slice or two of lime or lemon or even satsumas. This, after it has been in the fridge for a while, is wonderfully refreshing and fractionally less boring than plain water!

Another favourite of mine are all the new flavoured green teas – have you tried Twinings salted caramel or fudge melts flavoured green tea? No calories to worry about and I am really keen on it at the moment (drinking a fudge melts one as I type). There are loads of fruity and flavoured teas on the market these days, hot and refreshing and, no doubt cool, and refreshing if I were to make up a jug and put in the fridge this summer.

Anyway I am going off track! I added this card as today’s blog as I wondered if it might inspire you to send a card to a neighbour, friend or relative that’s under the weather for whatever reason – you can rely on House-Mouse to cheer someone up!

Ingredients

Instructions

This is a nice straightforward card, so doesn’t take long to make – trim some raspberry card slightly larger than the main image and another piece to just less than the 8″ square main card. Then cut some aqua card slightly smaller again than the main raspberry.

Run the aqua through your die cutter to get the lovely arch edge to it. If you feel unsure, then do this first by cutting say a piece 8″ x 8″ and then trimming once you have added the edge so that it’s smaller than the raspberry card.

Now using double sided tape (or your choice of glue) add the raspberry to the card blank. Then layer on the aqua. Cut out the main topper and layer onto the smaller piece of raspberry card and attach.

Then simply decorate each of the top corners with a plaster (made me smile as I was doing that!). Now hand deliver or pop in the post.

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The perfection of poppies

fourpoppies

Poppies are always such a popular choice. Obviously, there’s the Remembrance Day connotation but as a field and garden flower, they are definitely in the nation’s top ten!

I love the huge oriental poppies that wave majestically in the summer breeze with their huge frilly heads, I have some lovely pink ones in my garden. Size isn’t everything, and there are gorgeous small and dainty poppies too – like the Californian poppy that adds sparks of yellow and orange in the flowerbed. But for many people, a poppy just has to be red – whether a garden poppy or the glorious sight of wild poppies in the fields and preferably near cornflowers and wheat – a fabulous combination!

This card uses the poppy image from the One Summer’s Day CDrom which features artwork by Barbara Mock. There are so many brilliant ideas on there, whether main images for toppers or gorgeous backing papers like the pale lace backing paper used on this card, it’s a CD I would definitely take to my desert island! The dies here are from my Signature die range and I love the way they are cut in plain dark card and then again using the papers from the poppy image on the CD. The cut petals then slip inside the main outline and make a super match giving a great effect!

 

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Lisa Audit artwork

happyanniversaryroseIf you haven’t had a look at our Lisa Audit Cardmaking pads yet… you should! Her work is so pretty, contemporary and useful for, oh, so many cards. They are lovely.

The nice thing about our paper pads is that everything you need to get you started on a card is there and then you can add embellishments or backing papers as you desire.

With this card, several Signatures dies have been used – our rose tea set and our Harriet Lace Edger down the right-hand side.

To complement the teapot there’s a fun little tea bag and string bow, and the bunting in the top right is one of our Signature shapes.

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