The eternal charm of Jane Austen…

This fabulous card has been made using our cameo stamps, which never fail to please me when I plan a design with them. The frame is lovely and there are several heads to choose from.

There are corners that I just love – these are just so detailed and stamp out perfectly whether you choose to use a flat ink like Memento or something raised using a heat embossing technique. This example shows off the use of embossing folders and assorted dies really well. When a design works it reminds me how much scope we have nowadays with all the new inventions that have come into paper craft in the last few years.

I think this particular cameo stamp has a real ‘Jane Austen’ feel to it. This year it’s the bicentenary of the publication of her most famous novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’. It has sold over 20 million copies worldwide and has been made into numerous film and television adaptations. Who could forget Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy emerging from the lake in the famous BBC adaptation… not me!! The Jane Austen’s appeal is as strong today as it’s always been.

A local company based up in Chagford on Dartmoor, Right Note Stationery, produce a lovely range of products, all hand drawn by the wonderful Richard Sawers, a designer and illustrator of the old school.

He has a lovely range of stationery for Jane Austen fans including a Lady’s Journal and Lady’s Address Book. They also stock Jane Austen bookplates – absolutely vital to ensure everyone knows it’s YOUR copy of Pride and Prejudice!

You can have a look at Right Note’s lovely range of products on his website.

 

 

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Keeping the children amused during the Easter Holidays!

There are several ideas here for you to use with your children or grandchildren if they are visiting at Easter. Crafting can never start too early I reckon! It’s best to get everything prepared so that you can get straight into the ‘interesting’ bits with them rather than boring old getting things ready!

Easter Basket

There are dozens of free basket/small box templates on the internet if you do a Google search. Just choose a pretty basic one, you could try this one.

You’ll need coloured card, a butterfly punch or similar and some pretty ribbon. Use the punch all round your basket once it is made up and keep the butterfly pieces for decoration.

We used PVA glue to stick it together and while it’s drying, hold together with a large paper clip or a clothes peg to stop it slipping. We then cut a length of card and glued on a handle then added more butterfly decorations.

Decorated Eggs

These polystyrene eggs are a lovely way to craft with children and use up all sorts of odds and ends that you have in your craft room.

You can paint the eggs, decorate them with scraps of ribbon or self adhesive gems and pearls (as the blue one at the front of the picture).

Try wrapping them in tissue paper, decorating with punched out butterflies and snowflakes or maybe just draw a funny face on them!

Pipe Cleaner Pets

These easy projects need pipe cleaners, pompoms, googly eyes and some coloured card.

Twist the pipe cleaner around your finger (or two children’s fingers as they are so much smaller) and then take another pipe cleaner to make wings for chicks or ears for the rabbits. Attach them to the back of the first spiral by twisting them on. Glue on the pompoms and googly eyes using PVA glue. Then cut small pieces of card for the mouth and the feet.

What a lot of wobbly fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chicks and mice and all things nice!

House-Mouse cards are fun at any time of year but there are lots of suitable Easter designs and so they always seem to come out at this time of year. Everyone in the family enjoys the drawings anyway so I know my cards are going to be well received!

Whether rubber stamped, decoupaged or just printed from a CD, there’s something for everyone in this range and we thought they went rather well with these funny little chicks!

PomPom Chicks

To make the chicks you just need yellow pompoms in various sizes, orange card and pipe cleaners and some googly eyes and perhaps some feathers.

Cut some feet and beak shapes from the orange card then glue the pompoms to the feet and add the eyes and beak and finally feathers for wings.

We’ve got some more Easter crafts for kids for you in next week’s blog!

 

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Flowers in a box

I am always looking for a more unusual way to give flowers to my Mother and this was my solution this Mother’s Day.

The circular hat box is not too expensive and can be bought online or from a local craft store. Line the hatbox with some polythene and then pack with soaked Oasis. Then you have an easy container to fill with flowers. Add a satin ribbon at the end and there you go!

The papier mache containers that are available, range from very large to very small and cover such a wide range of ideas. I sometimes paint and crackle finish them, or you can use them with napkin craft, traditional flat decoupage, painting and stamping or just plain colour them with your promarkers.

I will be writing more blogs for you in the coming months to show what imaginative things you can do with containers… and maybe I can add the finished result of my Mum’s hatbox as you can be sure she will be decorating and playing with it the moment the flowers have gone!

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A real Valentine’s ‘sweet heart’!

These sweet little cakes would make a great Valentine themed treat. The mould is available from our website and you just put one on top of another to make little layered cakes – cute don’t you think? The great thing about making an edible present for Valentine’s day is that you both get to eat it!

Chocolate Hearts

To make the cakes:

  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 240ml boiling water
  • 175g all purpose flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 115g butter
  • 200g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 190º C.

  1. Mix cocoa powder into boiling water.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time and finally add vanilla.
  4. Sift the flour mixture into butter, sugar and egg mixture and combine, then add the cocoa mixture and combine.
  5. Spoon into heart cases and then once these are full fill a few ordinary cupcake cases and bake for about 15mins.

Chocolate Fudge Topping

  • 120g dark chocolate
  • 150g butter
  • 160g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water or in a microwave.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla.
  3. Combine both mixtures together.
  4. Then pipe or spread over cooled cakes.

These hearts were decorated with pink fondant roses, but if you wanted a simpler feel, you could use chocolate buttons or any other decorations you have.

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