Thursday, 20 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

Hello there

I just want to take a moment to wish anybody reading this a very happy Christmas and a successful, healthy and happy New Year.

I've been quite affected by the Cinninati shootings, as have millions of others, I know. It's hard to remain light hearted in the immediate shadow of such an event. I have no concept whatsoever of how those families are keeping going. I just wish that some power greater than us humans, can help them to see a point in living full lives.

Here are just a few cards I made this season.

Snippets of three cards
Take care out there and enjoy, no matter how little the pleasures.


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Christmas table decorations

Hello there

Yes, it's definitely 'that' time of year again. Pressure on us unorganised folk to get things organised for a specific date/time. I've yet to send out the majority of my cards; only some overseas ones have been sent. One of the things I have managed to do is get my Christmas placemats and coasters made.

I made the paper rose too and the tealight holders are cool -
they're from a Partylite party I went to a few weeks ago-
there's space in the holder to place items, which you can
change to suit whatever the occasion is- brilliant idea!
I'm hoping that the astute amongst you will notice that I've done free motion quilting on them. It was the first time I've ever done a project using that method. It was great fun and obviously I got better at it as I went on. The batting is too thick really but it'll flatten once they're washed and ironed. I remembered to iron the batting before putting together the coasters, so they're not as bouncy. The main fabric of the placemats is made from old sheets. I just had to buy the starry material, of which I only needed half a metre and I got the gold thread, both from a great shop called Sew Simple in the Lady Heyes centre in Frodsham. The lady in there is so helpful, it's worth travelling a bit further for the customer service and almost knowing that they'll have what I want, as they concentrate on quilting and patchwork.

I love the effect of the quilting and of the gold thread. I do have to give thanks to Leah Day for her tutorial on making a star quilt pattern on her blog freemotionquilting. Mine don't look anything like hers but then she's been doing it for years and her machine cost at least £1500. After doing this, I really could do with a machine which has push button speed technology, an 'up/down' button for the needle, font stitches, a walking foot, a quarter inch seam foot and a few other things. That's the only trouble with crafting; there's always more you 'need' :-)

The back of some of the quilting isn't brilliant but a few of them (as I got better) are fine:

I have to confess to replacing the placemats for dinner, as we had meatballs and spaghetti, so there was no way I was going to let them get covered in pasta sauce, the very first night they were used! :-)

Take care out there

Monday, 10 December 2012

A sale!

Hello there

Just a brief little note to let you know that I've had my very first Folksy sale. A lady has bought a set of the portable coasters from my shop 'By DW'. I'm custom making them, so that she gets what she wants. I'm so so pleased. Now all I need is a bucket of free time from somewhere to ensure that this lady gets the coasters as quickly as possible.
Simples, hey?!!  :-)

Take care out there

Thursday, 29 November 2012

A new item in my Folksy store


Incase you didn't know, I've recently started up a Folksy store and today I've added a new item.
The item is a set of 6 portable coasters in a decorative box.

A photo explains much better than I can:
Head on over to the shop now and see what you think -

Take care out there

Monday, 26 November 2012

A whole lotta die-cutting

Hello there

Let's see how Blogger treats me tonight.

Just a quick post to show you this gorgeous yumminess:
That photo doesn't do the 'Summer Blues' by Tilda paper pack any justice but believe me, they're so lovely. They die-cut on my Cricut like a dream too, hence I've gone to town with it:

Hearts ready to be 'taken out'
I've used the Flower Shoppe cartridge for all the cuts and that's about all I can tell you about this project right now, as it's all hush, hush :-)
Yee hah! Blogger didn't give me hardly any hassle at all - I just had to put the photos on Picasaweb first and then insert them here. This post has taken me five minutes, which is the way it should be in my opinion.

Take care out there

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Moving on

Hello there

I've got mixed news for you today.

The good news is that my daughter has decided that she wants to make polymer clay mobile phone charms for her friends' Christmas presents. She's thought about what would be good for certain people, such as headphones for a friend who likes music. We 'had' to go to Hobbycraft after school on Friday to get the basics. They're mega cute and I'm so proud of her for doing such a good job and for making such thoughtful presents. She's been watching youtube videos galore to get different ideas and tips on techniques. Her Christmas wishlist has doubled in size this weekend too, with different tools!
Here's a few examples of the charms.

More good news. I have more floor space available in my crafty room/spare room, as we bought a new bed, which is a single yet can be extended into a double if required. It also has two lovely big drawers, which I told Chris would be ideal to keep guests' stuff in. He can believe that if he wants but I thought it'd be brill for some crafty stuff

Space, space, glorious space!
Space for my cutting mat, for example :-)
Another little project I've done lately is to make a wedding card for a young couple, whose wedding was in New Zealand and we couldn't get there unfortunately.
That was the original version of the card but then I added some Creative Expressions silver lustre pva onto the dress to make it stand out a bit more.

I then stamped some wine glasses inside and used a frame from Craftartist to put the sentiment on. I also stamped the glasses on the envelope too.

The wedding has happened now, so I can only hope that my card has arrived by now as recently my cards and presents for various occasions have taken an absolute age to get there.

The bad news as such is that the first placemat of the Christmas set I've made, involved me making a mistake in the binding section but I'm keeping it anyway. It incorporates my very first attempt at free motion quilting, so there's no way I can get rid of it. I love the look of the star, so can't wait to get time to do the others; hopefully before Christmas! :-)
I've had so much hassle putting photos on this post, and it's nothing like I wanted it to be after over two hours of trying with dinner inbetween. I'm giving up now.
I've got loads of projects in the pipeline or on the go, so call back soon to see if Blogger behaves for me next time.
Take care out there and try to do what makes you happy as much as you can, even if it's only for short periods at a time.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Scrap happy

Hello there

Whilst surfing the net, I came across Katherine's  (Sutty)post for today -Fruit of my Scraps. Katherine does amazing scrapbook layouts, plus all kinds of different crafts. She's one of many whose work I almost drool at.
Therein lies a problem though. When I'm constantly exposing myself to such creative people, a) I'm not creating myself whilst looking at websites and b) it gives me too high expectations of myself. Those reasons partly explain why I don't scrapbook anywhere near enough. At the beginning of the year one of the goals I set myself, was to make a scrapbook page a week - visit here if you want to see what else I set myself up to do. I haven't managed to do a page a week and that's another reason why I'm always hesitant to do one, as I'm slow as I'm out of practise.
To break that chain of nervousness/hesitancy, I need to scrapbook more. That's it. Not a complicated, high faluting solution at all. Just do it. Get on with it and similiar phrases. So last night, I took the tone and feel of Katherine's page and interpreted it in my way. I told myself from the start, not to expect it to be like hers but just to go with the flow and what I felt was right. That's exactly what I did and I'm happy with the outcome and the process I went through.

Crafting can be compared to how life should be; it's not all about the outcome, it's more about how you got there. Some of you might look at my layout and say that certain things are 'wrong' with it (as I often do) but it's my presentation of memories which are important to me and my family, so that can never be wrong. I'm making our memories more apart of me and my creativity, to preserve it for the future, when my memory might be even worse than it is now :-)
I've got 7 photos on this page, as the central photo has two photos underneath the flip up front section. This way I get the whole trip on one page, which is fun for me and practical since I don't scrapbook that often. It creates a conversation piece in itself of our memories of the day.

Strangely for me, there aren't any die-cut shapes at all on this page. I used the Dear Lizzy 'Twinkling lights' mason jar as Katherine did and some of the papers I used are also from other Dear Lizzy papers. The background paper was a great find out of the huge K&Co. pack, as all those words are summer related, which is perfectly apt for the event the page is highlighting. The waves at the bottom right are part of a K&Co. citronella travel adhesive border pack I got in Florida - lol- I've only just realised that they're adhesive; as I looked at the packet to see what they were called, so I could let you know..... see, blogging helps me in more ways than you think! :-)

Take care out there and try to do what you enjoy

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A quick sneaky post

Hello there
I'm being naughty and writing this post in bed, as 'him indoors' is away at the moment, so I can!
 I want to share a couple of cards I made tonight at a friend's Stamp-a-stack event. Catherine did a brilliant job of leading us rowdy crafters in the right direction, yet in a way which still let us have fun. 

This was the first one we made. You'll see that I've not done a very good job on matching up my layers. I love the cherry cobbler colour though. You can't tell from this photo but I also sprayed a homemade alcohol mist over the whisper white card sections. You use the Stampin' Up gold shimmer mist with some alcohol in a spray bottle - it's so much easier and prettier than glitter.
The next card was my favourite -
We were shown how to emboss only away from the centre piece - it's a great technique to provide a very effective look. It basically involves creating a home made thick stencil of the shape you want and placing that on the top of your 'sandwich' whilst running it through your Cuttlebug or whichever machine you own. I chose a scalloped card base, as I think it ties in well with the scalloped circle in the middle.
I had a fun night with my crafty friends and I've still got all the kit to make another 5 cards at least from Catherine.  We were too busy chatting to make a 'stack' :-)
Thanks again x

Take care out there and try to craft with friends as often as you can

I really should know better

Hello there

 Sometimes inspiration and that 'oh yes, this is a brilliant idea' feeling isn't a good thing in the whole. The card I'm posting about today is an example of that. I obviously got carried away with the fun of making it and didn't think clearly about the process involved. I still enjoyed the project but the slight 'blip' I learnt about at the end of the process put a slight dampner on things.

Sit comfortably and I'll begin this tale.
N.B - A word to the wise - don't follow the instructions for this card until you've read the whole post!

This is a Cricut project - so firstly I cut the basic Scallop card from the Wild Card cartridge at 'fit to page' on a 12 x 12 mat. In the photo above, the top piece is the blackout version of the card, which is glued to the basic card blank on the inside. One of the brilliant things about this card is the lovely corners it has and also the holes it provides to thread the ribbon through. On the shift icon function, you are provided with cute surrounds for those holes, which add to the whole thorough detail.

Those pieces of patterned paper on the front of the card are cut using the liner function. Please make sure that your paper is facing the correct direction BEFORE you cut it, unlike certain crafters who shall remain nameless :-) But hey, I'm sure that nameless crafter will still use that incorrect cut in her scraps box.

My not quite immaculate little box of ribbon off cuts
In your doubtlessly immaculate ribbon box, collect a suitable coloured ribbon/twine/cord and make sure it is long enough to allow the card to be opened, without the ribbon coming out of either hole on both sides of the card's opening sides.  I found one just the right colour and the right width, so I was a happy girl.

Now follows the bit which threw me off whack. The next sentence explains where it all went slightly awry. I cut the envelope AFTER finishing decorating the card. Uh uh! Not good! Not bright, Diane! I cut it at fit to page but just as I was cutting it, I knew it was going to be the wrong size. Whenever doing these card and envelope cuts from a Cricut cartridge, you ALWAYS cut the envelope first, so then you know what size to cut the card  and all it's accompanying decorative pieces. Since it was cut at fit to page, I couldn't make it any bigger to fit my card, as I only have a 12 x 12 cutting mat.
It's a really pretty little envelope but I can still use that for another card or in a mini album or on a scrapbook page or..... well, sufficive to say, I won't be throwing it away.

I cut another envelope out of the same patterned paper as I had used on the card, using my Ultimate Pro to provide the correct size. I also added a frame from the same scallop card page 32 of the Wild Card booklet; that frame was necessary, to allow me space to write the address legibly for the postal system, as this card is winging it's way to Australia to my lovely step mum.

I love this card as it was so easy and yet gives such a pretty appearance. The frame on the front is the same as the frame I used on the envelope but without the centre piece. The butterflies are leftovers from another card I made this week; they were cut from the Walk in my Garden cartridge from page 116 in the booklet- it's btfly2.

So the morale of this post is that it is totally advisable to cut your envelope FIRST and then make your card cut, at the same size as it sets the envelope (it displays the size on the little monitor of my Expression machine).

Take care out there and learn from my mistakes! :-)

Friday, 9 November 2012

Stop the clock! Stop press! Just stop doing everything!!

Hello there

OMG! I'm such an excitable little girl at heart. Mr Postie just paid me a visit and once I'd stopped the dogs barking, put them in their bed and answered the door, I was able to open the two parcels (who cares about the boring envelopes that were there too?!! Certainly not me!).

Parcel numero uno contained:

Oops no, not that photo - move out of the way Alfie!!
Craftbarn don't send Cocker Spaniels with their deliveries, so please don't worry! :-)

That's it Alfie; you guard my goodies
When I got Alfie out of the way, these are the goodies I ordered recently and which I'm mega excited about getting started on. I'm meant to be in the middle of putting a wash load on and vacuuming and mopping the kitchen and downstairs but that is on hold at the mo, as I spread some joy around the crafting world. :-)

Since ordering it, I've changed my mind about where I want to put the cuckoo clock, so now I'll need different coloured paints.    Schucks! :-) I've always loved cuckoo clocks, so to make my own will be vunderbar! I don't strictly need the other three packages for the clock but hey, you never know when musical scores or various arrows and borders will be needed! :-)

The other parcel held another exciting purchase I made recently. A Scotch advanced tape glider - ATG to those 'in the know'!! lol I've seen so many videos on youtube where women just casually get the atg out to glue and it always looks so mega cool! This one is bright pink too, so of course, that makes it an even better tool to own :-)

I didn't know whether to photograph the atg
or Alfie with his paw in my slipper, so I've
gone for two in one :-)
I nearly got myself into deep water with ordering the atg on ebay, as I was out walking the dogs when I got a message saying that the bidding was nearly over i.e four minutes to go, so I got onto the ebay app quickly and increased my maximum bid to £12.53 but then a little further on, I got a message saying that I was winning the bid but hold on a moment; does that say £17.53?!! I haven't got my glasses with me, so I hold the phone further away from me (which isn't easy when you have two dogs on the end of two leads too, who don't respect owners who can't see and are rushing to look at their phone!!). Sure enough it was £17.53. I had only forgotten to put the decimal point in when doing the maximum bid amount! It's more than I wanted to pay for the atg really but it could've been ALOT worse with a maximum bid of £1253!!
I hope this has made you smile as I'm such a happy girlie now these have arrived. I do need to go and finish the housework but later on, I will play!!

Take care out there

Thursday, 8 November 2012

For my next trick

Hello there

If you read my last post (if you haven't then I can recommend a course of action, which includes clicking here :-)  ) you might remember that I said I wasn't going to blog about the making of my Christmas cards. That is still in theory correct but I've made a box for a pack of Christmas cards I'm making for a raffle at work. So the theme is Christmas but this post is about the box making, not the cards.

Phew! Wonder if I'll get away with that? :-)
The box containing the cards and envelopes I made

At first I just got an A3 sheet of white card and laid it under my set of 10 cards and envelopes. I fiddled and faffed around, trying to picture how to cut the card to make it into a box. I then laid the cards flat on the A3 card and starting drawing and scoring lines and then actually cutting lines.

This is what I ended up with after cutting a window for acetate in the front of the box:

I made two errors with scoring lines and the card isn't the best in the world but I'm extremely pleased with it as my first try. It's for a raffle prize at work, so I think it makes an absolute bargain for a 50p ticket. If it was for a customer, I'd use better card and ensure no mistakes were made.

I do love this 'engineering' type project. Not only do I love crafting for the creative expression it allows me but also because it stimulates my brain and makes me think ideas through to completion.

Then on I went to decorate. I die-cut the same images as I'd used on the cards. I inked up the box's edges and put the acetate in before glueing it together.

The life saver product of this project was the roll of velcro dots I found in my sewing box, which are exactly what I wanted to keep the lid closed, yet openable loads of times.

So, the morale of the post is; if you ever need a box for anything, get in there, mess about, trial and error and you'll be so pleased with yourself for doing so. I know there are templates you can buy and ideas online but when you're making a custom sized box, this is the best way to do it and once you've done one, you've got the ideas for making more.

Take care out there

Sunday, 4 November 2012


Hello there

Today might be the day that I reach the 5000th read of my blog; as I type this post, my figures state that 4997 reads have happened. I wasn't even sure I could keep it going, when I first started it out. Now I find that I can't blog about everything I make, as it just takes up too much time away from crafting. I love that I have reached various people 5000 times though. I often despair that not many people comment on my blog but everyone is different and maybe doesn't have enough time to comment on everything they read, which is true of me too of course. As long as the inspiration or the instruction is provided, then I feel this blog is worth it. Do feel free to comment as much as you like though. You won't like every project I do but perhaps a constructive comment is required or just a ' I just nipped by to say hi and tfs'.

This blog helps give me focus at times and even provides time frames, as I tell myself that I must finish a project so that I can do another blog post. That is brilliant as it moves me forward with a stronger impetus, if I'm perhaps feeling a bit lazy or my mojo has 'upped sticks' and left me.

My blog is also good as a memory jogger of things I've created. Sometimes I like to spend a short time flicking through some of my old work and either thinking 'wow, wasn't that great?' or sometimes I think, 'mmm, Diane you could've done better there'.

This year for my Christmas cards, I'm not going to do a post per card I make. I'll just do one post and provide a collage of some of the cards I make. If you see a snippet of something you like the look of though, please do ask me for more details and I'll provide those. This is just a different sort of post, so that I'm trying to keep my blog 'alive' so to speak and not always be the same layout. That's why I occasionally do a video of my projects, so that you can watch that instead of just looking at photos. Variety is the spice of life, as they say :-)
Here's a taster:

Since I've also done the bare essentials of opening a Folksy store, I'm hoping this site can now be used as a background for people wanting to buy any of my projects. This will show them some of the other items I've created and perhaps give them ideas of things they'd like me to make for them. A little bit of my personality should come across as well and hopefully that will appeal to some folk.

My blog is quite important to me now and I've learnt and am still learning various skills whilst doing it, so it's helping me grow as a person too and definitely as a crafter. I love looking at other people's blogs and their marvellous work, so for me to think that I ocassionally help people in the same way, is a lovely feeling for me. Using technology to have a positive impact on people.

Keep on enjoying this blog and of course,

take care out there

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Freebies AND hide contour

Hello there

Well you know how it is? You get landed with the job of making a pumpkin design at work and before you know it, you're learning things about Cricut Craftroom? .... No? Never?! How strange! :-)

I don't really celebrate Halloween but I've never been against my daughter doing little things for it or going out with her friends trick or treating. In regards to the pumpkin,I got myself involved in creating a pumpkin design for a little competition we were running at work to raise funds for a local charity; Jump. I looked at a few places online for designs and printed a couple off but then they were too big for the pumpkin and my printer software isn't working properly to allow me to change their size and I couldn't be bothered messing with that. In the interim I saw a post on the Cricut EU site which showed a pumpkin design which could be downloaded and used in Cricut Craftroom (CCR). I had heard of digital cartridges but had never ventured forth, so to speak.

The page which had the design I liked is here. I was very excited when I very easily opened it in CCR (thanks to tips from Joy on Obsessed with scrapbooking ) and was able to do exactly the same as I can with every other design I use on there. Unfortunately I should've realised that I had to own the cartridge that design came from, which is October 31st but there's no point in me owning that as I don't do enough halloween stuff.

To resolve the issue, I just hand drew the design on paper, cut it out myself and then blu-tacked it to my pumpkin and used one of the tools my friend had lent to me, to prick the design out.
I then cut the design out with the little saw tool and hey presto, a pumpkin design was before me.

Then after all the looking at blog posts which were halloween inspired AND most of all learning about free cartridges which are only available for a week on CCR, I had to make a decoration with one of the free images on the Thanksgiving free cartridge for this week. The image I chose was a pumpkin with swirl decoration and then put the standard pumpkin to layer the image. Yet another thing I had learnt about CCR was that there is now (or I've never noticed before) a 'hide contour' function. This is brilliant and was one of the things I missed from my Gypsy when it broke. It enables you to not cut certain parts of an image. To try to help explain this, here is an image.
The lower two images come as one cut/image on the free cartridge. That doesn't suit me at all, as I don't want the stem to be the same colour as the pumpkin. So I hid the contours of the pumpkin itself, so it didn't cut at all and hey presto:
So then I copied and pasted the single stem and cut them, as I was making two.

This is what the final decorations looked like.
Not a great photo with all the reflection but I think they look sweet
Take care out there
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