Blue and White for Christmas

This was my favourite of all the samples I had for the Christmas Patchwork Stamps when I launched them on Create and Craft last week. The great thing is you only need one ink pad – a nice denim blue. You could try Faded Jeans from the Tim Holtz distress inks but there are dozens of others.

The white base card is just under 8”square or 203mm. The first lot of stamping is done on a 6 ½” sq (165mm) piece of white card and to get the stamps nicely lined up, it is much easier to use the patchwork grid that we have put on the tuition section of our website for you to download free of charge. Follow the pattern and when that part is complete, edge it with some dashes to look like stitching, done with a fine liner pen.

Then create the next piece of card which is 4 ½” square (115mm) – again follow the pattern in the picture and edge it with faux stitching as above. Fix the two pieces onto the base card and then embellish with the central squares and some flowers.

This could look just as nice in red or green if you prefer more traditional Christmas colours.

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Holly Pond birthday card!

I couldn’t resist another card using the Holly Pond Hill CD. This really has been one of my pleasures this year, using and playing with this CD set. Here the image shows a really wonderful summer scene with a family having a fabulous summery picnic. Let’s hope the weather this year allows us to do the same!

The base card is cream and measures about 9 ½” x 6 ½” and you can make this by overlapping two sheets of card and then trimming to size. The backing papers are also on the CD and the twisted piece of baker’s twin just adds some texture without being as obvious as a ribbon!

I hope you have all had as much fun as I have with the Holly Pond series – more to come soon with Christmassy images and stamps!

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Making beachcomber hearts

Aren’t these hearts just adorable? The base is a heart shaped MDF plaque. You can get these on our website.

The next time you are wandering along the beach, in the countryside, park or anywhere that you might find interesting natural bits and bobs – start collecting! There, you have official permission to collect bits and pieces… as if you didn’t already if you are a crafter!

Once you have a collection then sit down at your craft table or kitchen table or wherever you prefer to work, and start creating. It’s rather like doing a jigsaw! If pieces are too big, you can cut them up, but once cut it is worth sanding or smoothing them so there are few rough edges. You can use pieces of cork from wine bottles too (now they’re fun to collect!) but if you don’t drink wine you can try asking at your nearby pub or restaurant they will often oblige with used corks.

You could add little shells, pieces of dried sea weed, mini cones, even tiny pieces of sea washed glass… the sky’s the limit and I think it’s a lot of fun!

The key obviously is strong glue. My choice is a hot melt glue gun, but you could also use something like Pinflair glue gel – just be a little patient while it dries overnight.

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Father’s Day is nearly here!

Father’s Day is Sunday June 16th this year and I want to make sure I am way ahead of the game and card is completed and done! I have used one of the sheets from the Jayne Netley Mayhew Spring decoupage set. It appealed to me as it shows a parent bird feeding three youngsters which seemed apt for our family!

This is made on an 8 inch white card blank, with a Grand Nestability labels one cut out and some dotty red backing paper. Obviously there are loads of other options you could use. The main focal point of the card is the decoupage and as always I have built this up using Glue Gel.

Although many people bemoan the lack of available card images for men, I do think if you look carefully there are ideas on almost everyone of our CDs and much of our decoupage – you can tone things down by using more masculine colours and embellishments and any Dad would appreciate something made by you on his special day!

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My life in colour…

I was in Exeter recently in a pretty area on the outskirts of the town where there is a small parade of shops. There’s a couple of cafés, a jewellers, a clothes shop and more – all of them independent and slightly quirky – just my sort of place for a browse among lots of pretty bits and pieces! None of them sold ‘essentials’ but hey – you never know what you might discover for use in a project or to spark some creative idea… so I felt justified having a good rummage!

I spotted some lovely old buttons in one shop window and went inside where they had an amazing collection of old ‘recycled’ buttons of every shape, colour and design you could imagine! They also had a small selection of dress fabrics hanging up. Now I am no dressmaker, but these were lovely and reminded me of frocks my mother had worn. They even had dress patterns – remember the ‘Simplicity’ and ‘Butterick’ brands? – with shirt-waisters and 1960s shift dresses.

Everything seemed terribly familiar and ‘comfortable’ and I started chatting to the shop owner. It was then I discovered I was in a ‘retro’ shop! It seems my childhood era is now on the verge of being ‘antique’ and is classed as retro and therefore very ‘on trend’!

I have to say this didn’t do much for my ego, but rather than feel huffy about it, I just found it fascinating. Looking round this little shop was like stepping back in time and I felt about 12 again, and it was really rather lovely and comforting.

They had games and puzzles that I hadn’t seen for years. Remember how we all used to do jigsaws or play Ludo in the days before playstations and ipads? They also had lots of old cream and pale blue enamel kitchen bits and pieces – now called ‘kitchenalia’ apparently – and all carrying impressive price tags despite being chipped! 

What struck me most of all was how the colours then were so different from now. Not exactly more muted, just different shades. One big change is in the quality of print and packaging. Today we can print photos and patterns and pretty much anything on our home printers – look at all the lovely things we print out everyday for our card and craft projects – but back in the 1950s and 60s, most designs were drawn illustrations involving little photography, and the colours were much less ‘natural’ that we expect today.

While I wouldn’t swap our multicoloured hi-tech modern world for the 1960s, it was wonderfully nostalgic, and a little bit sad, to feel I was back in time to an era when life seemed slower and more innocent and it brought back lots of happy memories.

So tell us… What iconic images bring your childhood back to life?

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