A really ‘wow’ tulip card!

This gorgeous tulip design is one of those ‘wow’ cards that looks amazing but is really quick and easy. It’s a great card for scoring brownie points from someone who isn’t a huge fan of handmade cards!

You will need the Butterfly Cloud die and die cut it 8 times in white card. Organise some pale blue card matted on a petrol or darker blue and then mat the topper from the Jane Shasky Garden Delights pad on the same darker blue.

Attach the blue backing to the 8” x 8” card blank and then stick the butterfly die cuts down onto the pale blue. If you twist and tweak them you can line up three down each side and fill in the gap top and bottom with diecut seven and eight. Obviously the middle can stay plain as you will be covering it.

Attach the topper to the card using foam tape to help it stick over the die covered backing card. Then snip out the extra decoupage pieces on the sheet from the pad and add those using glue gel. Finally add the sentiment top right, or wherever you choose.

It’s fun to make, simple and very impressive!

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A vintage anniversary card

I had such fun making this card as I adore all things vintage… if there’s a chance of making a project slightly vintage I grab it! It’s no challenge to make the gorgeous images on the Barbara Anderson pads a little bit vintage. They are all vintage collages and I just love her work.

There are twelve different images in the pad and two of each design. For this card I have taken borders from both of the sheets featuring this design and I will use the remaining topper on another card withouta border. One border is at the top (placed upside down to get the heaviest concentration of roses) and the other at the base of the card. The sentiments come on the sheet too.

I have embellished each side of the main image with the Signature dies Tessa lace edger and stuck it onto the main card using foam tape to give it a lift.

That’s when I started playing – oh I do love old button! My mother had a button box and as a child I adored just going through it and ‘sorting’ the buttons. I still have the box and add to it when I can. I showed it to Grace the other day and she stared at me as though I was talking a foreign language.

“But what does it do Granny?”

“Oh you just choose your favourites and sort them into colours, it’s great fun.”

“Why don’t you play with that granny while I play with Grandpa.”

OK… point taken 21st century children think you are nuts for sorting buttons! Will they even learn how to sew on a button? Who knows.

I used glue gel to secure the buttons, you need a fairly good sized blob to hold them in place. It doesn’t work trying to use something like a quickie glue pen.

Have fun – meanwhile I’ll just sit here sorting my buttons…

 

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A bit of a swagger!

As I think many of you know, I have spent a great many hours of my life cutting, drying and arranging flowers both for work projects and also for my own personal pleasure, especially at Christmas. It’s a hobby I love and never tire of. Those of you who have read my latest novel ‘The Proof is in the Pudding’ will know that this keen interest of mine has even crept into a murder mystery!

But anything I have ever produced as a Christmas decoration pales into insignificance next the utterly extraordinary giant swag that, every Christmas, graces the Great Hall in Cotehele in Cornwall. Although this National Trust property dates back to Tudor times, the yuletide tradition of decking the Great Hall with a garland is a relatively recent one. Begun in the 1950s, the Christmas flower garland is now firmly established as one of Cotehele’s annual highlights.

Every November, gardeners and volunteers at Cotehele create the 60ft long Christmas garland using thousands of flowers grown on the estate. The giant swag hangs in the Great Hall throughout the festive season and, if you are anywhere near Saltash on the Cornwall/Devon border between now and 6th January 2018… I urge you to go! You will need to book, so do have a look on the website before you set off.

Preparations for the garland begin almost a year earlier in February when the flower seeds are sown and planted in early spring in the Cut Flower Garden. The gardeners pick them daily during the summer, strip their leaves and carefully hang them in the potting shed to dry. Stripping the leaves from each individual stem is one of the most time-consuming elements in the garland-preparation process. Typically, the gardeners would like about 30,000 flowers in the garland – yes THIRTY THOUSAND!!

One of the things I love about this magical project is that, rather than following a standard design, each year the garland is different and depends on which of the specially grown flowers have done well. The garland often includes ornamental grasses, paper daisy, paper rose, statice and garden thrift.

Creating the garland is a task that involves Cotehele’s gardeners and volunteers using scaffolding to add flowers into the growing festive display. The results are spectacular, not only because of the stunning visual impact the garland makes but also because of the months of work, skill and care that has gone into creating it.

Photo:  The Christmas swag at Cotehele – photo copyright National Trust, go to their website for more information and photos

 

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Sunshine and swing seats

Ah yes, sunshine and swing seats… Now that summer is a distant memory, I thought I’d reminisce about the summers of my childhood with this pretty card. When I was little we used to go and visit my godmother deep in the country and the main thing I remember from her garden was a lovely swinging seat. I have always loved swings and the luxury of a wide and comfy seat with cushions while you are swinging – yes, I was easily entertained!

The background image on this card is from one of the new Jane Shasky pads, Birds in the Garden. All of Jane’s work is brilliant for cardmaking but the latest couple of pads, Garden Delights and Birds in the Garden are particular lovely.

On this card I have snipped up a Morning Glory Vine die and wound the pieces around the swing seat, which softens it and adds a lovely embellishment. The basic card is 8” x 8” which is a size I find really easy to work with.

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A window of opportunity

The other day (over yet more book signing – yippee!!) I was discussing houses and décor with my partner in crime writing, Julia. She has recently moved house and is blessed with wonderful views of Dartmoor. Not wanting to obscure the views behind blinds or net curtains, she was telling me about the ‘window art’ she has discovered… hmm, interesting I thought, tell me more!

After living in a very old and dark farmhouse for the past 20 years, Julia wants to ensure she gets lots of light (and the gorgeous views) in her new house. She has opted for clear glass in her front and back doors, as well as patio doors and even her bathroom window! But to ensure privacy and to deter people, dogs and birds from colliding with the glass she has bought several designs of decorative window stickers.

I guess we’ve all seen the bird silhouettes you can stick on your patio doors to try and stop bird strikes, but if you look online there are a huge range of really lovely designs that transform glass to look as if it is etched.

All these images are from Metal Monkey, they have a huge range!

You can either buy frosted and decorative window film where there is a pattern or image cut out of the frosting (offers the most privacy), or you can go for the reverse, where you add a frosted design onto plain glass. While rummaging around on the internet, Julia came across some wonderful designs from Metal Monkey, the most expensive about £18 while the majority were under £10. It’s a very reasonable way to add a lovely design touch to what used to be a rather ‘utilitarian’ look and often involved buying whole new panes of glass and the expense of having them fitted.

Photo: Brume.

Julia has opted for modern designs to reflect the style of her house, but also kept them very ‘natural’ to compliment her lovely countryside surroundings. She has bees and birds for her patio doors, mostly to stop her dog Moss from squashing her nose on the glass when she forgets they are closed, and some lovely allium-inspired designs for her main doors. Oh, and some lovely Japanese leaping carp for her bathroom window! Can’t wait to see the finished results!

Jewel-like stained glass film from Brume. Photo: Brume.

One of the suppliers Julia came across is called Brume, and they are actually based just down the road from me here in Devon! They have some lovely contemporary designs as well as more traditional ones. As well as the frosted stickies, they also make the most gorgeous stained glass colours. Their coloured transparent window film can give you the sophisticated look of traditional stained glass without the costs and installation problems. And of course, if you decide to have a re-design, you can easily remove your stained glass window sticker and replace it with a different colour that reflects your home’s new look.

I must say I do fancy having a bit of a play with the stained glass idea… Have any of you already tried something Like this, I’d be interested to hear how you got on!

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