Saturday, 25 August 2012

Project 42: New tools and the start of Christmas

I’m going to give you two post in one as I haven’t had a chance to blog in 8 days! Work is insane and is really getting in the way of my crafting. Which is sad.

Firstly, last weekend I went to a craft fair with Claire. It was epic, largely because there are just so many crafters out there. We saw some cool new tools being used, got some sweet kit and talked each other out of some truly unnecessary purchases (while encouraging just a few unnecessary purchases because after all, we like a bit of fun). I'll have to tell you my opinions of some of the other things we saw privately as I don't want to publish anything unkind.

This is the haul I came home with:

We learned two really good techniques, one using inks/embossing and another using a punch/press combination. The punch we (yes we – too expensive for one of us to have so we have joint custody) bought is a flower punch that can be used on its own. But if you put it into the press you create a 3D flower that rivals most of the paper ones you can buy in shops. Pretty cool. 

It's hard to capture the texture but the flowers have little lines on them that are make them more realistic. I'll save the embossing technique for another post when I have a chance to practice it a bit more.

The second post shows a usage of it – I’ve started making Christmas cards already! I thought the green flowers would lend themselves well to a wreath: 

I’m not sure about the bow or bling, I need to play with that a bit more. 

I have a few new Christmas papers I’m trying out and I wanted to make some designs that were paper-led rather than stamps or stickers. Here are a few of the designs I put together, including a joy fold card that we tried a few weeks ago: 

What do you think- any of these take your fancy? They need a bit more work but I think they’d be pretty easy to reproduce. The squares are my favorite, you could put bling or any embellishments in there depending on the papers. The buttons, bow, snowflake and glitter (on the presents, hard to make out) go with these but I think anything could work. Will let you know how we get on and when the cards will go on sale!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Project 41: Bakewell tart cupcakes

One of my favorite English treats is a cherry and almond flavored tart called a bakewell. I don't think we use enough almond in American cakes and desserts and this is one that my husband I used to buy as a snack when we were students. That's right, we snacked on whole tarts. Because we were classy like that.

Anyway, I found this recipe to take the classic flavors and make them a bit lighter into cakes. To get the cherry filling, you add a dollop of thick jam in the middle of the cupcakes. The recipe's comments section said the filling sunk to the bottom so I made sure to make the base as covered as possible and tried to keep the jam in an even layer in the middle. But I wasn't that picky really as you can see:


 When they bake they looked like regular cupcakes. I then glazed them in a simple powder sugar icing (incidentally they call it icing sugar here in the UK) and topped them with a cherry. I made them shabby chic, which means I didn't have enough icing and couldn't be asked to make more so this is an intentional look.

I can't wait to tuck in, I'm being good and waiting for company to share them...I should have made 13 so I could sneak one without being obvious.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Project 40: Cross stitch

I decided to start a more time-consuming project to see me through to the end of the summer. I am going to a craft fair with Claire this weekend so I’m certain I’ll return to serious card making very soon. 

My mom gave me this cross stitch pattern with the Mansfield College crest. That’s where I met my husband so it’s always going to be a special place. I don’t have much experience in cross stitch but luckily this is a pretty simple pattern.

I bought my embroidery frame and took stock of what came in the kit: 

The previous cross stitch patterns I’ve followed before have been printed on the material (admittedly I think they were for children) so this is the first time I’ve had to work it out on my own. Like a grownup. Go me.

I don’t have a picture yet of where I got to because I’ve started with the yellow and white and it doesn’t look much despite about 3 hours of work so I’ll wait until the red and black have been added to give you a progress photo. 

This is going to be a serious output of effort as every few stitches I have to work a knot out of the tread and I’m going slightly blind as the lighting in our lounge is poor for this type of detailed craft. But I’m going to persevere. Any ideas what I should do with it when I finish? Frame it or something?

Monday, 6 August 2012

Project 39: Soft Neutral Mojo entry

I gave myself the luxury of time tonight to do a blog challenge. I haven’t made cards in a few weeks with all of the wedding craft that I’ve been doing so I decided to spend a dedicated evening on a challenge entry. 

I wanted to get double the inspiration as it’s been a few weeks so I checked out two challenge sites: Mojo and Shabby Tea Room. Above is the inspiration for Mojo and the theme for Shabby Tea Room was Soft Neutrals. Perfect. Here’s my entry:

Where to start with the process and technique! I put a layer of an almost-sheer natural paper that has strands of dark beige running through it. Next for the skewed layer I added an embossed cream card. Running behind is a thick ivory cord that I’ve not found much usage for. I added three ivory candies to offset the bow.

The details on the top layer are my favourites. First a tag with gold in from a new stamp set. I don’t have many long greetings and I think this works on the flag shape. The white square which you can barely see has a doily layer on top to give it texture.

Finally the scallop punch came out of a beige piece of heavy card stock – this is actually a wedding invite (not the one I’m attending this weekend!) that I saved because I couldn’t bear to throw it out for the quality. I should seek help.

I stamped a music pattern in the same gold ink over top, pressing faintly to give it the antique feel. I then added depth to the edges with an almond coloured Pro Marker that I have never had a need for before tonight.

The colours are a bit more realistic above but you can't see the gold ink without the flash. For one card, this is exceptionally high in the effort stakes. But I’m really pleased with it and hope it stands out from the crowd. 

PS: Can another blogger give me some advice on how I get quality pictures of the details? I have a decent camera but when I zoom or hold the card to close it blurs. I want to do the cards justice but am quickly losing patience!