Thinking of you…

There are times for all of us when we want to send a hug through the post to someone. Whether they have lost someone dear, a pet, been unwell, lost their job – oh a million and one reasons that can make us all sad. A card can be a really nice way to show you care and can mean more than just picking up the phone – although I would encourage you to do that too!

This design is from the Thomas Kinkade Everyday Paper pad from our website and I think this picture is very useful for a huge range of issues from happy, sad to randomly everyday! The great thing with the paper pads is that you get the image and the sentiment (and other bits and pieces) all on the same sheet, so there’s no scrabbling around for extras apart from perhaps some embellishments!

You can see the whole contents of the pads by clicking on the product on the website so that you know what you are getting before you buy – couldn’t be easier!

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Thank you!

Do we all say ‘thank you’ enough? I know we are all polite and always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when we are given things, or someone does you a favour or something unusual occurs. But I wonder how often we think to say ‘thank you’ to someone who is always there or who constantly does things for us?

My mother made me a card (not this one) to say ‘thank you’ for doing her online Tesco shop for her as she can no longer cope with either list making or get out and about for shopping these days. It is something I will always treasure and was a lovely way to say an extra big ‘thank you’ for something that I have been doing for quite a while now.

This picture comes from the Howard Robinson decoupage pack on the website and has a lovely cottage but a great bit of decoupage going on that shows the flowers and birds – so bright and cheery.

The problem with being a cardmaker is that it’s sometimes hard to find enough occasions to feed our habit – there are only so many family birthdays after all! So maybe there’s someone in your life that is around a lot for you, and who perhaps gets a little take for granted, so why not make them an extra ‘thank you’ card? I am sure it will bring a smile to their face, and yours too!

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A Calendar for 2015?

I know we concentrate on cardmaking most of the time but there are just some products that immediately make me think about calendars and Howard Robinson’s cottages are one of those things!

We have produced a new decoupage pack using 10 of Howard’s designs (you get 20 sheets in a pack) and they make wonderful decoupage with little frames and borders. Some of you may recognise Howard’s work from jigsaw puzzles you have seen or bought, he is madly popular and successful both in Europe and across America.

This country scene is what many of us consider a perfect country idyll. There are golden labrador retrievers by the doorway, roses, ducks, swans what more could we want!

The calendar is simple to make, you take half an 8” square card and cover with some backing paper. Add the image and all the layers of decoupage and then use one of the very handy little calendar pads which you can buy at craft shops or online. The hanging ribbon is made by punching a couple of holes along the top and tying the ribbon securely in a knot. Easy-peasy and a fun little gift that someone will enjoy for the whole year!

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Planning for a Merry Christmas!

Ok, so it’s too early to start sending festive greetings but last weekend, I thought it really was time I got down to more card making. I can’t say a whole load was achieved but lots of preparations, die cutting and cardstock organising got done!

Here’s an example of a card made with the Margaret Tarrant cardmaking pad. It works really well building a slightly larger card around the main image that appears on the sheet. This means the 6” x 6” pads can be flexible – ideal for smaller cards or by adding layers as on this card, they can make far larger cards too.

The ivy in the corners is using my much loved (by customers and myself) Signature die ivy corner. This and the ivy flourishes are definitely the most popular dies that we sell and I love using it in green obviously but here in white it looks really beautiful.

The diecut backing piece behind the design is a Sue Wilson die entitled Spanish background which makes a lovely border.

How are you getting on with your Christmas planning?

 

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A step in the right direction!

Top to bottom: The gradual build up of the paint effect on the steps.The paint effects course I recently went on with my partner in crime writing, Julia, has come in unexpectedly handy! Rather than a nice coat of wax on a wardrobe or a bit of light distressing on a dresser, Julia decided to ‘go for it’ on a grand scale and create a paint finish on her front doorsteps. I’ll let her explain…

It all started when my Other Half (OH) decided to replace our steep, crumbling and positively lethal steps up to the front door with nice new, wide concrete steps. Fine, I said – although secretly wishing for granite – but needs must and he was keen to get on with it… Eventually, we were the proud owners of three drab, hard edged, business-like concrete steps up to our nice old house. They looked awful! If Prince Charles had dropped by he would have described them as a “carbuncle on the face of an old friend”… or whatever it was he once said that got him into hot water.

I decided to make the best of it and, with the OH’s blessing, bought masonry paint in different colours. I bought one big tin of a sort of stone colour and then small sample pots of various different colours including black, terracotta, ochre and white. My aim was to try and dull down the steps and make them blend in better with the granite that is everywhere here on Dartmoor from the cobbles in the yard to the walls all around the house and garden. 

Having slapped on two coats on the base colour and let it dry, I got down on hands and knees and started stippling with a stencil brush. I covered about one square foot in an hour – this was not going to work. Then I tried a hard roller to skim over the top of the rough concrete surface – better, but not ideal. I then tried crumpled up newspaper – messy, a scrunched up plastic carrier bag ­– OK but very slippery.

By lunchtime, I was suffering from sore knees, backache and arm ache, so I decided to throw in the sponge – a nice big bit of natural sponge that I had forgotten I owned! Ideal! I was able to dab on the different shades in a random pattern and splodge away to my heart’s delight. The soft sponge got into the dips and bumps and the irregular texture of the natural sponge meant nothing looked regimented and regular.

It was almost dark when I finished, but I was pretty happy with the result. By the time it has weathered and got mucky and a bit of moss growing on it, I think it won’t look too bad. 

As you can tell, this isn’t one of Joanna’s master classes in crafting, but it does hopefully show a few things:

  1. Don’t be frightened to ‘have a go’
  2. Improvise – if your initial idea doesn’t work, try something else
  3. Make sure you use the right paint for the job – this had to be masonry paint to be durable
  4. Experiment – if you discover a good technique, try it on something else.
  5. Don’t be afraid to think big
  6. If all else fails – just paint over it and forget you ever started!
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