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Poppies, butterflies and lace

Poppies, butterflies and lace, such a pretty combination! This is a relatively quick and easy card and I love the finished effect. I have a pack of white lace edged hankies that my Mum thought would be useful for smarter occasions (she was never happy with the small packet of tissues solution). I am afraid I never really used them and they just sat in my cupboard, so I transferred them to my craft room in case I got inspiration.

You never know I might have fancied embroidering my initials or screen printing…. ok, stop being silly, you ended up cutting them up for card making – much more realistic!

So, to make this pretty background, I folded the square hanky into four and then across that quarter to make a pointed shape as you would with an icing bag. I cut across the plain cotton in the centre to remove the bulk and was left with a handkerchief with a massive hole in the middle.

Using red liner tape as it is that much stronger than double sided, I added at least two strips to each edge. Then gently press and shape the handkerchief around, the red liner tape will let you reposition a bit and make it fit the square card. Add more pleats if it’s a bit big.

The main image comes from the Jane Shasky poppies pad. I layered the topper up on blue and green card to make it nice and study and then using tons of glue gel placed it over the fabric. Press gently and then leave to dry overnight.

Finishing touches were extra butterflies provided on the sheet.

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In love with Orchids!

This gorgeous Orchid image comes from the Barbara Anderson pad, I have enjoyed working with this pad more than any other product this year I think. The cards you can create are just beautiful in my opinion and there’s nothing more satisfying than standing back and looking at your latest card and being happy you have produced a truly stunning design!

I have used two Signature dies with this card – Tessa Lace SD246 and the English Rose SD587. I really recommend both dies but particularly the rose die, it has come in so handy for many cards recently. My choice with flower dies is to die cut in white and colour with Promarkers, but if you aren’t a fan of colouring then it’s easy to die cut in several colours and paper piece the design together.

The backing paper I have used here is interesting. I collect (ok, I hoard) a lot of old rubbish, says Richard, but this is an instance when it comes in handy. I have several old (like, 1800 old!) receipts and pieces of paperwork. I scanned them and then printed them out. If you are clever on the computer you can assemble a collage of the bits on there in Photoshop or some other program, however I did it the old fashioned way. I cut some plain white card to the size I wanted for the backing paper (7” x 7” from memory) and then trimmed and shuffled the printed bits around until I was happy. You could do this with many different things – scraps of fabric, pieces of lace, leftover pieces of backing paper. Just have fun playing!

Add some ribbon (which, by the way, was ivory satin and I coloured it with a Promarker) and the pieces from the pad sheet and there you go, a really stunning Orchid card!

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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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