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Monday, 9 October 2017

News and a couple of cards.

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you've all had a brilliant weekend - it was International Card Making Day on Saturday - did you make any cards? I didn't actually make any on the day but I did have an overnight crafting session last night.

First a couple of bits of good news, to start with my card featured in the last post was shortlisted for the competition I made it for. I didn't win but I'm absolutely thrilled to bits that it was shortlisted as there were some really good entries. My second piece of good news is that my lovely wonderful husband has treated me to a brand new Sizzix Big Shot machine (£55 from Amazon) and it arrived today!! I am very excited and looking forward to finally being able to use my intricate dies without having to shim it to death! It's a different colour to my original machine and has a tabbed extended platform rather than the solid platform with a removable plastic shim which might take some getting used to, I'm going to try and mend my old machine and see if my mum in law would like it, she's not a papercrafter as such but likes to sew and make things for a doll's house that my dad in law has made for her. I know you can get dies to make quilting shapes and other stuff which might make her life easier otherwise I might get some replacement cutting plates and offer it to a craft group/charity in the area who may be able to use it. I am really grateful to my husband for getting it for me, it was £55 which doesn't sound like a lot but is probably more than we spend on electricity in a month and we don't have a lot of spare money especially at this time of year. #feelingblessed

Apologies for the long delay in adding the last blog challenge cards - Michele sent me photos of hers weeks ago but I've had real trouble making the cards this time round, part of it was my usual procrastination but part of it was down to things going wrong with my projects. I decided to colour the Gnomes in with a combination of alcohol markers and Spectrum Noir Shimmer pens and I had a lot of bleeding outside the stamped outlines even though I was extra careful and used a card suitable for both mediums then I'd make a card and absolutely loathe it so had to start again about a dozen times.

Here are Michele's gorgeous creations.



Aren't they fantastic? I love the way Michele spelt out XMAS by nestling the letters in the Gnomes' beards and the Anniversary card is so sweet! I really like the heart shaped tree slice in the background.

Here are my cards.









I hope you like my cards, again apologies for the delay in getting them made and up. If you want to know how my card was made please leave a comment below. This month's blog challenge is to use the card kit that came free with issue 175 Cardmaking & Papercraft magazine to make as many items from it as possible. You can use additional card stock from your stash and any dies, embossing boards, embossing folders as you want to make tags, ATCs, boxes, bags and of course cards! You can also use other embellishments like ribbon and twine etc to give the items a finished look but the challenge is to be left with only tiny scraps by the end. Because this is a big challenge it's running until the 31st October and as always please feel free to join in - there's no prize apart from the satisfaction of having done a job well done and freeing up a tiny bit of space in your crafty nook! I'm really looking forward to seeing what Michele comes up with this time and I'd love to see your creations too. As always if you have any questions or comments then please leave them in the usual places and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Saturday, 30 September 2017

No, Not Another Hover Card...

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend, it is a glorious day here on the Yorkshire coast and I'm spending it catching up on housework while my hubby is out with his family for lunch and a catch up. It's strange but I'm a lot more productive when he's out of the flat then when he's at home - it could be that subconsciously I'm resentful that I'm doing the work while he's sitting/laying listening to his book or sport on the radio and drag my feet as a result which is very passive aggressive of me! I wonder why I'm not equally PA about it when he's out enjoying a nice meal?? I shall blame my inner child - she can be a bit of a brat sometimes and quite frankly needs a bit of a spanked bottom! lol Well I hope you all enjoyed that little insight! Let's get back to the important stuff in life - crafting! (btw I'm writing this in 15 minute bursts, I do some chores then add a paragraph or two, then get back to the housework.)

I was planning on sharing my revamped Hover Card design but to be honest I haven't got around to making it, it's been one of those weeks plus Papercraft Magazines and Craft Stash UK have been running a card competition on Facebook to celebrate Thinking of You Week. The first competition closed on Friday at 12pm and was a thinking of you card with a sweet sentiment as the theme and there's also a second competition that needs to be a 'say it with nature' card - the competition closes on Sunday. I was planning on combining the hover card with the sweet sentiment card but when I'd coloured the image I wanted to use I realised that the topper was far too big and would make the card topple over. I made this card instead.






The main image is a 'The World of Tatty Buttons' stamp and the side panel sentiment is a Kaisercraft stamp. The inside sentiment is a Katy Sue Designs stamp. I used 300 gsm Sheena's Stamping card for the stamping and the card blank and the paper is from a Dovecraft 8" x 8" paperpack called 'Sweet Paris', The gold photo corners are by Scrapbook Adhesive. I used a combination of Promarkers and Spectrum Noir Shimmer brush markers to colour the images. I added a layer of Glossy Accents to the umbrella, rain drops, puddles and Tatty's button on her dress.

I hope you like my latest make, hopefully I will get around to making the revamped hover card and the challenge card for the craft stash/papercraft magazines Facebook competition. *Shock Face* I've just noticed the date so I'll also be sharing the cards Michele and I came up with using the Enchanted Garden stamp and die set in the next couple of days. As always if you have any questions or comments then please leave them in the usual places and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Monday, 25 September 2017

Hover Card

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you all had a brilliant weekend - we've had some very lovely weather the last couple of days with lots of sun and high temperatures, a great start to autumn.

I'd like to share a new card style today, something called a hover card (I think that needs a bit of work!) so called because the topper 'hovers' when you open the card. In all honesty it doesn't so much hover as hang there limply but I've a twist in mind which might make topper at least move with a bit more enthusiasm (if a piece of card can be enthusiastic lol) then it does at present but that is a card for next time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CizLzGWsLKM If you click this link it will take you to the video on youtube that showcases this new technique - I feel it's superfluous to write blog instructions if I'm just repeating what I've already watched (unless I tweak the recipe as it were) which is why I tend to link the original video tutorial rather than writing one (I'm not being lazy - honest!)










Originally I was planning on giving this card to my niece who turns three a couple of days after my birthday but I'm ever so slightly creeped out by the panda's expression - I feel like the panda belongs on a bear version of 1984 (big panda is watching you!) - so I'm not sure if it's suitable for a three year old. I've also managed to get a dirty mark on it thanks to my 'dear' cat Jinx who likes to go to sleep on my cards and craft supplies so I'll have to make a new one in any case hopefully sans the sinister expression lol. I used a bear face die to make the panda and coloured all the black areas and shapes with a Spectrum Noir black shimmer brush marker, I'm not positive but I think it was with the silver and gold pen set (3 colours in a pack £12.99). The gorgeous pink heart paper is from a Trimcraft 6" x 6" Whizz Kids paper pack and has an embossed finish to it.

I hope you like my latest make, apart from having to die cut the face three times, it's quite an easy card to make and the 'hovering' element is certainly fun. Like I wrote earlier I have an idea in my head that may make the hovering part more impressive and I will be sharing the card I make in a day or two - assuming it works of course lol. As always if you have any questions or comments then please leave them in the usual places and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Friday, 22 September 2017

Review on The Works Make and Create Mini Die Cutting Machine

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you've all had a good week and if you haven't *huge hug better* and just think it's nearly the weekend!! This review is a little bit later than planned because I've been waiting for Customer Care from The Works to get back to me - it's now nearly 10 days since I emailed them but they've not responded so I shall review the machine accordingly.

SOME INFO AND A HOW TO USE GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS

The Make & Create Mini Die cutting machine is available at The Works priced at £30 and because it's over £20 you get free delivery plus 450 rewards together points if you've registered your card and remember to log into your account before buying! https://www.theworks.co.uk/p/craft-essentials/mini-die-cutting-machine/5052089215177?cm_mmc=GooglePPC&gclid=CjwKEAjw6ZLOBRCLyNXAwfCPmlQSJADHPIJb9-wLEhIKkwFaIKJwXtf9NvZnCACrNlh26rUr-1933hoCqTnw_wcB please click the link if you are interested in purchasing the machine though I'd wait until the end of the review before buying if I was you! For £30 you get the machine and one set of plates but no dies or extras. There is no assembly required (unlike the Big Shot for example which requires it's handle being screwed on before first use) and it doesn't really have any instructions apart from three photos on the packaging but it's extremely easy to use so doesn't really need any. Once the machine is removed from the box it looks like the first photo below. To use it you just need to pull each side down where the carrying handle is to form the platform, the handle can be used either side, just turn the machine so the handle is on your desired side (I'm actually left handed but use the machine with the handle on the right).
The mini machine with the cutting area folded for storage

When the platform is in the correct position, it looks like the photo below.
Once open, the machine is around 30cm or so long
Now all you need to do is add one cutting plate to the platform, then add your card and die to it facing down. Add the second plate so it covers the first and crank the handle - make sure the cutting plates are in far enough or the rollers can't grab them and move them through the machine. Crank the handle until the die has gone completely through the machine, it's quite common to hear a cracking noise - don't panic it's just the metal die crunching into the cutting plate. WARNING IF YOU HAVE ANY RESISTANCE DO NOT TRY TO FORCE YOUR PLATES THROUGH BECAUSE THIS MAY DAMAGE YOUR MACHINE. Your die should have cut it's way through the card but if it hasn't just run it through again and if necessary add a small piece of copy paper over the parts that haven't cut through to act as a shim. Remove the cutting plates from the machine and use a pokey tool or a pin to push the die cut out of the die. I would recommend using one plate to cut into and leave the other pristine so that it doesn't mark your card stock as you die cut. As you cut your dies it also cuts into your cutting plate leaving an impression and sometimes thin slivers of card embedded into your cutting plate and after time the plate will warp and bend, this will make your machine less effective. The life of your cutting plates can be extended if you flip them over for each use and as stated earlier if you keep one exclusively for cutting. You might also run the plate you use to cut into under a hot tap and scrub it with an old toothbrush to dislodge the card slivers from time to time but that's not a necessity. The cut marks will emboss onto any card run through the machine which is the main reason I suggest keeping the top plate pristine because it is frustrating to spend the time die cutting a shape only for it to be ruined by having marks embossed into it.

MY REVIEW

This is actually a great machine with a generous cutting area of 3" wide by 6", it compares favourably with other machines and in fact is superior to the Diamond Press machine that's available from Crafter's Companion. I bought it to replace my much loved and now sadly kaput Sizzix Sidekick and it's the perfect size to go on my very cluttered desk to cut mini (and not really that mini) thin dies. I've only tried unbranded dies in it so far and for the most part they've cut beautifully - for those that haven't I've just added a small piece of paper and run it through again and that's usually solved the problem. One thing I did notice is if you don't line the plates up perfectly before running them through the machine, it can result in one of the sides of the machine (the one opposite to the handle) popping out slightly but once your plates have run through it pops right back into place if you push on it. I'll add a couple of photos beneath the review to show what it looks like popped out and closed. I think this is an actual design feature which is brilliant because I will admit to having damaged my plates in the past by not lining them up correctly. These extra few millimetres means your plates run through without damaged themselves or the machine.

The machine is very sturdy and feels well made - if you read the reviews on The Works website (see above for the link), a few people mention the fact that the Tattered Lace mini machine "The Baby Blue" feels a lot flimsier compared to this machine (which is priced anywhere from £30 up to £50). I've not used the TT machine so I can't really comment, but I do prefer a die cutting machine that has a solid platform base like the Make & Create machine rather than a machine without a platform like the Baby Blue or the Diamond Press machines. Once you factor in the plates that most machines use (the Diamond Press has flimsy folders that I hate!) the Make and Create machine doesn't actually take up that much more room than a non platform machine but feels a lot sturdier and doesn't require suction to hold it down (none of the three machines that use suction that I personally own actually stick to my desk which is very frustrating!) and once it's closed the machine is probably a little smaller than the Baby Blue.

As much as I love this machine it does have a major flaw - it's cutting plates. As you'll be aware either by reading the how to use instructions above or through experience, cutting plates warp and crack after repeated use. That normally wouldn't be a problem but The Works doesn't sell replacement plates and though I've emailed the customer care team to find out where replacement plates can be purchased, I've not been able to find out where to purchase them from (customer care haven't bothered to get back to me and it's been nearly ten days since I emailed them!) I've had my machine less than two weeks and because I do a lot of die cutting, my bottom plate is already badly etched - far too scratched to return to The Works as I'm rather inclined to do due to the fact that once the plates are too warped to use I'm going to be left with a useless machine (at the rate I'm die cutting that could be in 6 months time!) and I can't afford to fork out another £30 a few months down the line just so I can die cut at my desk. If replacement plate were readily available I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this machine for both beginners and the more experienced crafter but as things stand in all conscience I can't.

This happens if the cutting plates aren't aligned properly

But it clicks back into place if you push on the side

I hope you've found my review useful, if the cutting plate become available then I will update this blog with the relevant information. All products have been purchased by me personally and I have not been paid to write this review (as you can probably tell, though even if I had my review would remain the same). I hope you've enjoyed the review and it's been useful. If you have and would like more reviews (I am on a very limited budget so I can't buy considered purchases such as this very often) please let me know in the comments section or via the comments form in the sidebar. I hope you all have a brilliant weekend and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah

Sunday, 17 September 2017

A couple of cards to share

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you are all well and are enjoying the weekend. Since I last wrote a few wonderful things have happened - my husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary and I became a great-auntie for the fourth time! My eldest niece had her third daughter about a week ago and she's called Grace which I think is a beautiful name.

Here is the card I made for Beth and her partner Tom.






I was a little late making this card because my little die cutting machine (Sizzix Side Kick) has been playing up and my full sized machine (Sizzix Big Shot) is pretty much kaput as well so I've been waiting for a replacement machine to arrive from The Works (a review on the machine to follow). This card is a top folding US A2 sized card so 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". For the life of me, I can't remember what paper pack I used for the background paper and envelope - I must be having a senior moment! The pram die, double heart and baby bottle (on the envelope) were die cut out of pink Centura Pearl card stock and I went over the metallic areas with a silver metallic Pro-Marker and the inlaid pieces were coloured with a Lavender Spectrum Noir Shimmer brush marker. I added hot pink flat backed pearls to the wheels of the pram and around the heart (on the latter to hide some glue that had oozed out). The baby girl sentiment was stamped onto white card stock, coloured with Baby Pink and Pale Pink Pro-Markers and then fussy cut out. The stamp set used was a Crafter's Companion Sara's Signature Collection stamp set called Little Angel. They were added to the card front using sticky pads. I added some sheer pink ribbon to the top and layered some crochet trim over it as shown. The matching envelope was made using my WRMK envelope punch board.

My next card is the one I made my husband for our wedding anniversary.






Sorry this photo is on it's side, I wanted to show the star borders that were added later
       I used Forever Friends Opulent A5 Paper Pack for the background paper, I love the combination of the dark blue and warm copper foil. The world stamp came from an unbranded stamp set purchased from eBay and is a brilliant set for masculine or travel themed cards. It comes with the globe stand and a number of different globes showing various areas of the world - I chose the most well known one that features Europe and Africa etc but there are stamps that show the Americas, Asia and Australia and one that I'm afraid I couldn't identify as geography isn't my strong suit. There's also quite a few sentiments and small add on images such as map pins, a paper airplane and hearts perfect for building up the card. I chose the sentiment And i think to myself, what a wonderful world (little i is how it's written on the stamp) as it's one of my husband's favourite songs. I used another unbranded stamp for the There is no greater love than ours sentiment and the Happy Anniversary stamp is one from a Crafter's Companion Love sentiments stamp set. I felt that the inside was lacking somewhat after I took the original photos so added some sparkly gold foam star strips to the edges of the inside to finish it off. Chris absolutely loved his card and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. It doesn't scream wedding anniversary on the outside but has a nice metallic feel to it which is the look I was going for.

I hope you like my latest creations, I hope to have a product review on the Make and Create die cutting machine up in a few days, I'm just waiting to hear back from The Works Customer Care team as I need to know where replacement cutting plates can be purchased as the machine will be pretty useless in a year or two without them and The Works doesn't sell them on their website as far as I can see. As always if you have any questions or comments then please leave them in the usual places and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Friday, 1 September 2017

New Month, New Challenge.

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you are all well and looking forward to the weekend. It's been a lot quieter in my crafty nook, I've not done any crafting apart from a few messing around sessions that resulted in very little apart from a strange chemical odour that's been hanging around for a while - I did have a bit of a play with some acrylic paint writers that I bought from The Works (the snow writer is lovely apart from it dries clear not white as I was expecting, the gold one's okay but the silver one had separated and isn't usable - one of the downsides of purchasing online) so I think the smell may be down to that.

It's been a while since Michele and I did a challenge, I think doing two a month on top of our usual crafting burnt us out a bit and I personally haven't got my crafty mojo at the highest level at the moment so for the next month we're going to just have one blog challenge and then we'll see about upping it to two at the beginning of October. Michele and I have decided on a theme for this month and it's a two card challenge so it'll run until the 30th September. As usual there isn't any prizes just the satisfaction of challenging ourselves and taking part but if you'd liked to follow along we'd be delighted to see what you come up with.

Issue 150 of Papercraft Essentials comes with a sweet Gnome themed stamp and die set called Enchanted Corner, there's a bit of controversy about this month's covermount gift because the Editor's letter states that there is a paper pack as part of the 'free gift' but if you subscribe it's not included however if you purchase the magazine from Tescos then they are included. If it says in the Editor's letter that the free gift includes a paper pack then it should include one for everyone, not just those people prepared to buy it from Tescos - it's caused a lot of upset on Facebook and it's been reported to ASA because it may be false advertising. PP have tried to smooth ruffled feathers by offering it as a 'free' download but that's useless to people like me who don't have a printer. As much as I like Papercraft Essentials magazine I'm seriously considering cancelling my subscription with them and potentially all the other Practical Publishing titles I subscribe to as well because I feel very let down by them. Anyway mini rant over.

To get back to the challenge, as already stated this month is a two card challenge. PE have actually made the free gift an all year rounder (love when you can use Christmas stash for other occasions!) so the challenge is to make a Christmas card and a non Christmas card using the stamps and dies. Obviously if you have the paper pack feel free to use it but if you don't then you can craft your stash (i.e. don't go out and buy anything specially - it's not what these challenges are about). The cards can be any size, any shape and any theme for the non Christmas card but must have the Enchanted Corner stamps and dies as the main focus. One of the things I really love about this stamp set (apart from it's total cuteness!) is it has a little wooden sign that's been left blank so you can add Santa's Workshop or North Pole on it - the latter is a real blast from the past because when I was a little girl we were told that Santa or rather Father Christmas lived at the North Pole not Lapland as kids are led to believe these days. Kudos to the Finnish for coming up with that particular money spinner but I'm rather fond of the idea of an inaccessible Father Christmas working away all year round with his elves rather than one that spends his time with tourists. *winks*.

Well I've probably sounded like a grumpy old lady for most of this post (ask if I'm bothered? lol) but I hope you'll join in the challenge if you're able. As always if you have any questions or comments then please leave them in the usual places and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Saturday, 26 August 2017

A few new cards to share...

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you are all having a brilliant weekend, it's an extra long one here in the UK as we've a bank holiday on Monday. I haven't actually done any crafting since my last blog post as it's been quite a busy week, it was my husband's birthday on Monday and we met up with his mum and dad and my mum for a meal in a local pub - I had a cocktail (just the one!) and was a bit tiddly afterwards as I rarely drink - perhaps a Long Island Iced Tea wasn't the best choice for a near teetotaller lol (it tastes so nice though!) even if it has the word tea in it 😉. The following day we went back to the same pub with my lovely friends and my God-Daughter for another meal but I was very good that time and stuck with soft drinks - I even had a salad instead of my usual burger. For some unknown reason the pub had it's heating on and as the seating was built against the radiators, it was extremely hot! I haven't done a lot since Tuesday, I don't make a huge thing about it but I am bordering on being agoraphobic and have only left my flat around a dozen times this year so to actually go out two days in a row is quite debilitating and takes a lot out of me. I'm not even sure if my closest friends realise this about me because I manage to hide the symptoms well in front of people and I don't talk about it.

Here are the cards I want to share with you.






This is the card I made for my lovely God-Daughter who was baptised almost four weeks ago. I did have to look on Pinterest to get a few ideas about what sort of card to make as I was really struggling to come up with my own ideas. I do love this card though, I don't make monochromatic cards very often and I suppose with the small touch of silver this isn't a true one but I felt the added silver layers made the white ones pop plus a white on white sentiment would be quite difficult to read lol. I used a Verity Rose (Starlet) embossing folder to emboss the sun rays behind the cross panel and dies from my stash to cut out the cross shape and the stitched oval.

My second card is the card I made for my lovely husband, he wanted a nautical themed card and I wanted to make him a pop up shadow box.

.








Everything on this card started off as white and was coloured with either distress inks, Metallic markers or Promarkers. All the diecutting was done using unbranded dies purchased from eBay with the exception of the smallest anchor die near the sentiment which was from a Xcut scene building die set and the sun which was a Diamond Press stamp and die set. The 44 were scrap die cuts from my stash and all the stamped images were made using unbranded stamp sets from eBay.  Lawn Fawn have a die which cuts out the shadow box shape (you need to cut two for each box) but I don't own it and it would have been too short for my purposes so I just made one from a sheet of A4 card and cut the front part out using a rectangle die. I would have liked to have added a ship to the waves (or a mini mermaid) but all the ones I currently own were too big to fit inside the box. One of the best things about this card design is that it folds flat enough to go into an envelope.

I hope you've enjoyed my latest card share, as always if you have any questions or comments then please leave them in the usual place. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx