Visiting Amish country…

We have just returned from America – primarily to attend the CHA craft/trade show but also to take a few days break. This time we decided to do a road trip with our friends Randy and Cheryl from Michigan and we headed out to Amish country in Indiana.

I am fascinated by the Amish, I admire their courage in trying to live yesterday’s life in today’s world and their tenacity to stand out and be different. Having said that I won’t be turning Amish any time soon as I love my computer, phone, electricity and female emancipation! I love being able to get into my mini and zoom off whenever and wherever I like, picturesque though these horse and buggies are.

The Amish people are gentle and friendly towards tourists and I was even able to have dinner one day in an Amish home and spend a lot of time exploring the real meaning of being Amish. One of the huge highlights for me was mooching around in Amish quilt stores and craft shops… oh their quilting! Some even extend their quilting to the garden and you can see here a patchwork piece made from flowers – some lovely ideas and inspiration to be found.

The other obvious passion the Amish have is home baking – mmm, the pies and the cookies, the sweets and the home made bread – so good for the diet Joanna (ok not..) A frequent item on their menu is home made bread spread with a peanut butter, marshmallow and honey mix… oo-err low calorie or what!

I came home with a lot of interesting spice mixes and my mind buzzing with ideas for recipes and quilting themes… and a really different view of how life can be lived.

11 Comments

Peaches and Cream

I just love this rubber stamp – in fact I love the whole range of fruity/kitchen/recipe stamps we have. This particular stamp is from a sheet called Spiced Peaches and has a lovely recipe included as well.

The design idea behind this card is such an easy one for you to have a go with – just using a die cut shape – stamp the image and colour (go Promarkers!) and then soften the edges with some of the Old Paper or other soft beige Distress Ink pads.

While we are talking Distress Ink pads – many of you will have tried to use them with the Inkessentials Blending Tool – which is a good piece of kit, but I have to say I have found the Inkylicious Duster brushes so much easier. The brushes come in a set of three and they have made me a lot keener to use the Distress Inks around the edge of my cards and I agree this can add a lovely texture and effect. Now I feel happy that I can achieve it with no blips I am doing it so much more often!

Soft, pretty cards are always well received, as I am sure this one would be… of course if you were feeling really generous you could make a jar of spiced peaches as a gift to go with the car… or not!

4 Comments

Velvet and Lace

My favourite cards always involve something feminine and this example is definitely a favourite! I love the effect you can achieve with the lace stamps (there are several to choose from on the web site) and the mixture of parchment, velvet, lace and flowers is wonderful. Those hydrangeas from my garden look pretty too don’t they – thank you photographer!

The way to get one of the best effects from the lace stamps is to choose a “detail white” embossing powder, stamp with a Versamark pad and then sprinkle with the embossing powder – tap to clear any excess and then heat emboss. This is an easy task once you have the hang of it – using parchment I always heat from the back so I can see the changes taking place and move the heat along to prevent burning/overheating etc.

Both the backing paper under the parchment and the main image come from the Jane Shasky CD – “From the Heart of the Garden” – if you haven’t had a look through the contents do go to the website and click on the videos section where you will find a wander through all of our videos – worth looking before you buy!

So I will go back to admiring my hydrangeas out of the window and see what we can come up with for next week’s blog!

 

5 Comments

Just for you…

We have been keen on guinea pigs in our family for many years. My daughter Pippa had 13 at one point and until she started ‘collecting’ them I had no idea what characterful, communicative little creatures they were.

This card is made using our “Out of the Hutch” guinea pig decoupage. Once made up, this decoupage doesn’t need a huge amount of embellishments to set it off. And the great thing about this particular design is that the embellishments are just trimmed pieces of leftover card – so very economical, yet it looks great!

My personal recommendation when you are making up decoupage is to use some Pinflair Glue Gel – but some people prefer to use the small white foam pads, or silicon glue. All of these methods are fine and it’s just a personal choice as to which product you prefer!

Crafting is all about what works for you, so always go with what suits you best rather than feeling you ‘have’ to use a product because a crafting expert says so!

0 Comments

Corks galore!

This cork mat was made by a friend’s son for me many moons ago but I have always planned to make some more like it and so the collecting of corks began!

If you are thinking: “Wow, I enjoy wine but not THAT much!” – then there are lots of ways to get corks. Try asking nicely at your local pub, restaurant, club or boozy friend’s house!

The basic frame here is made from recycled wood but you could just buy a plain wood photo frame and frame a piece of hardboard and then distress it. The fun part comes with laying the corks onto the hardboard and gluing.

It’s important to use strong glue. I used Pinflair Glue Gel when I made a teapot stand to match but it did use quite a lot and I felt it might be too expensive to recommend for this job. We now sell a glue called “Yes” which is all purpose glue and would work well. But any strong glue would be fine.

Take care when you are attaching the corks – to me this is the fun part – choose the prettier, more decorated sides of the cork (if they have some) to be visible and mix and match different varieties if possible. You can find some really pretty ones and the overall effect is very rustic and French and rather effective I think.

To finish your mat/stand – add some baize to the underneath or you can buy little pads to stick on as feet. This is important to ensure that no tables get scratched when it is in use!

9 Comments