Friday, 15 November 2013

My little Christmas village

Hello there my blogging friends - hope you are starting to enjoy the preparations for Christmas.  I am definitely in the mood now and started making just one little house for a swap, then I got carried away and I can see this collection growing over the next few weeks - they are so addictive!

Just the right size to tuck a few little treats in too.  Think I'll have to get started on the cards soon though they won't be as much fun as these have been.  Thanks for stopping by to see me.  Margie x

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A double dose of craftiness .....

Things may have been quiet around here but I certainly haven't!  I've had two crafting workshop weekends in a row and learned soooooo much in the process, my head hurts (in a good way!)

The first was at Art From The Heart in Harrogate with Kaz Hall where we learned some amazing techniques, getting very inky and painty in the process and finished off the session making a fantastic album.

Here's mine and you can see just how many different techniques we were shown which I'm really looking forward to trying again at home.

Next came my 3 day textile art workshop at Oxford, courtesy of a WI bursary I won which included the residential course as well as my travelling costs.  This was with the wonderful Marilyn Pike who does classes as Rainbow Silks and her enthusiasm was inspiring.  We worked late into the evening and between the 9 participants, produced a grand total of 29 books - each a keepsake in its own right.  We even hand-dyed the pages inside and, with a bit of help, I conquered my fear of the dreaded sewing machine - yay!

Here are my books and I'm so proud of them, I can't wait to show my WI ladies next Monday.

The book cover at the back is made from crumpled magazine pages glooped (technical term) and waxed so they are as pliable as material and the button fastening covered in the same way.  The material cover on the left of the pic is made from tiny strips of fabric bonded and stitched onto a piece of denim (from an old pair of jeans) and the cover on the right is made from the leg of the same pair of jeans folded over and covered with torn strips of fabric and shiny magazine pages.  I love that one which has a pocket at the front as well as the pages stitched inside. 

I feel so priviledged to have had these two weekends of crafting heaven with such great tutors and to have made some new friends along the way.  Hope you are all well and enjoying some wonderful crafting time yourselves.  Thanks so much for popping in to see me.  Margie x

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Another Index Card for a friend...

Hello fellow crafters - hope you are enjoying your weekend so far.  Its much too cold in the North East of the UK to be outside so I am playing in my craft room this afternoon.  Here's another Index Card or Skinny I made recently for a friend.  So pleased to be introduced to these by Astrid and really enjoyed making the cover for it too.

My favourite "Jane" stamp again from Oxford Impressions together with a French script stamp and a bullrush stencil with some texture paste pressed through.  I sprayed the whole thing with the gorgeous Walnut Gold glimmer mist although the sheen doesn't show up too well on the pic.  I then added the butterfly, the handmade flower and the very appropriate sentiment for my friend.  She doesn't exactly have a library but does love her books and plants!

The cover was done with the lovely Prima Romance papers and finished with some peachy seam binding to tie the whole thing together.

This is the folded holder all fastened up and ready to send

Thanks for calling in to see me today.  Hope you manage to get some crafty time in yourselves over the weekend.   Margie xx

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Woo hoo - I'm in Craft Stamper!

Hello dear friends and I'm absolutely thrilled to tell you my news today!  I submitted a little dolly I made using that gorgeous free Elizabeth Bennet stamp with the September issue of Craft Stamper and they've chosen it to feature in their Over to You section on page 61.  I'm absolutely delighted as I've been a bit down lately and this has really lifted my spirits.  Here's my dolly...

and I won a gorgeous Crafty Inidividuals stamp too - even better!

I made my dolly using a TH dress form and the stamp as the face - it fitted perfectly and it was a joy to dress her up with some lace, flowers and butterflies and then give her some wings.  I wondered how to display her then found some packaging I'd kept (as you do) which made a perfect little stand for her.  Just shows - its always worth hanging on to these bits - that's my excuse anyway.

Hope you are all enjoying the Autumn colours - the weather forecast for the weekend looks good.  Thanks for popping by.  Margie x

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

In the pink, (ICADs sent and received ...)

Hello again dear friends - how nice to see you again.  As part of Astrid's ICAD swap, I received my first package today from the lovely Maryanne in the US and was delighted with the contents.  Hope you'll pop over to see it here on her blog and give her a quick hello while you're there.

Meanwhile, my second card and holder was received in Germany - so pleased it got there by the deadline of 11th September requested by Astrid.  Here are a few pics.  This is the front of the holder and you can see I managed to get the front fastening on the wrong side (again!)  What am I like?

 I've been using up some of my stash of gorgeous papers on these holders in a serious bid to create some space but really have hardly made a dint in them.  Does everyone else have loads of papers they hold onto for ages?  Anyway, here's the back of my folder,

I do like those JOFY stamps so much (thanks to my very kind friend Anne!) 

And lastly, my card inside the folder.  The background was done with Fresco paints then the texture added with Grungepaste through some stencils then rubbed with treasure gold - I'm getting a little more adventurous with this now.  The pink flower was decoupaged on top of the blue one I did first and didn't like but I was happy how it turned out.

Thank you so much for taking a look and thanks again to Astrid for organising the swap.  Love, Margie xx

Monday, 9 September 2013

Time to add some curves.....

Not to me you understand - no, I certainly don't need any more of them!  But I thought you might just be getting a little tired of the straight folded lines in my book art so how about a few curves for a change?

 Now as you know, I usually stamp out some images and slot them between the pages but I didn't think this design needed anything like that so I just stamped on some spare book pages and slotted them into the sides.  I really like this 3D effect which is achieved by folding the pages as before, then taking two at a time and rolling them towards the centre of the book in different directions each time, clever eh?  And no, those two books underneath aren't waiting to be folded - I couldn't bear to do that to them.  I just really liked the covers so much when I spotted them at our local collectables fair.

Here's another view from the side:

and the final one:

Thanks so much for popping in to see me - I do appreciate it and all of your lovely comments.  I'm entering this into the challenge called Hit the Books at Anything But a Card

Margie x

Friday, 6 September 2013

Astrid's ICAD swap - Part 1

Hello there my lovely followers - its great to have you here on this cool, rainy day!  I'm actually quite pleased its raining as I've been able to stay indoors and play without feeling a bit guilty!  I joined up to Astrid's ICAD swap and this is my first card and holder which has now been received so I can show it here.  The second one is on its way to Germany so will appear at a later date.  Great idea Astrid, I really enjoyed making these.

Here's the actual Index Card which is 5" x 3" so gives a bit more space than an ATC. I made mine from mountboard so I could slosh a bit more texture onto it without it buckling.  I embossed the dragonfly in gold first of all and that resisted the sprays of Dylusion Blue and White and Perfect Pearls Biscotti which gave it a lovely sheen not quite visible in the picture.  The swirl was made with grunge paste through a stencil and then rubbed with some treasure gold.  I adore that Jane stamp from the Oxford Impressions set Jane's Garden so you will see it a lot here but I liked the added texture on her dress done with some acrylic paint and squared mesh.  Tiny bees, a lovely sentiment and a brass corner to finish.  Then onto the cover:

This is the front and I don't know how I did it but each time I managed to get the opening on the wrong side!!  I must have dyslexic fingers I reckon but I was still pleased with the way it turned out.  Isn't that bird just gorgeous?  Some lovely old papers I managed to use on this and the edge was cut with a TH on the edge scroll die then rubbed with several colours of gilding wax for a metallic look.  Here's the back of the cover:

Some lovely lace with added pearls and a butterfly in recognition of my swap partner Alison who goes by the blog name of Butterfly.  I'm sure you all know her!

The inside was kept fairly simple with a little pocket to hold the card but again using those lovely papers I've had for such a long time:

And that's it.  Thanks for visiting and I hope you are having a better day weatherwise but if not, enjoying some crafting time like me.  Hugs, Margie xx

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Forgotten things

Hello dear friends and welcome along to my latest DT post for Our Creative Corner.  The challenge set this month by the delightful Anne was to come up with something we'd forgotten about - a technique, a product, anything really that we hadn't used for a while.  I was rummaging through my stash looking for inspiration (as you do) when I found the instructions for a miniature book that I used to make quite often when there were weddings to go to.  I would make this for the bride and groom with a lovely old prayer inside and I'd make sure it was on the bride's plate at the reception - well everyone else has a wedding favour and this one was a special keepsake for the bride and groom.

This time though, my little book has a special message for a dear friend who is about to start chemo after two lots of surgery for breast cancer.  She is such a brave and positive person and I know she will appreciate the sentiment inside.  First of all, here's the little box I made to hold my book.  You can see how tiny it is by the 50p piece alongside.

Inside the little book the verse reads:

There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done.  
One is called Yesterday, and the other is called Tomorrow.
So Today is the right day to love,
believe, do and most of all, live
- Dalai Lama -

The cover is made from a strip of thin paper (not card as that would be too thick to fold) cut from the long side of an A4 sheet.  The width of the strip should be exactly 37mm and then, if you fold the strip into 8, each little square will be 37 x 37 mm.  Now you need to follow the directions I've scanned and reproduced at the bottom rather than me try to explain them.  I can't remember where I got this from and as it was a few years ago when I downloaded it, I'm not surprised!  I think the lady was called Janine Anderson so if you see this Janine, thank you for your inspiration.  Now, I made one little change to the instructions which I think you'll be able to see where I've altered "behind" to "in front of".  Otherwise, I hope its self-explanatory.  Have a go with plain paper before using any nice designer stuff.  I'm sure you could make a simpler cover for a miniature book but really, once you've got the hang of this one, its quite straightforward.

Once the cover is made, you can make a little book to go inside by cutting another strip of plain paper from the long side of an A4 sheet, this time just 34 mm wide.  Mark this every 30 mm into 10 and then fold it accordian style.  The last section will be slightly shorter than the rest but that doesn't matter because it won't be seen as the first and last sections will be slipped into the pockets on the inside of the cover.  You'll want to stamp or decorate your pages first though.

I like to tie my book up with ribbon fastened across the back of the cover and topped with the decorative panels on the front and back.  This tiny die and the embossing folder have been in my stash for years - more things I'd forgotten about!

I put a little square of gold crepe paper behind the die and then rubbed gold rub'n'buff round the page edges to age them a bit.  The box was given the same treatment and then topped off with one of my handmade crochet hearts using a fine cotton thread and the smallest hook I could find.

Hope you like my little book and heart topped box and I'm so pleased I found the instructions as I'd never have remembered how to make it.  Thanks so much for popping by and I hope you'll be inspired by all the lovely examples made by my teamies this month and come up with some forgotten things of your own for our challenge at Our Creative Corner.  Margie x

Instructions for miniature book cover:

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Through the looking glass?

Hello everyone and a big thank you for all the lovely comments you've been leaving lately.  I was really pleased to hear that some followers are having a go at folding books and I wanted to share my latest creation with you.  This one uses an easier fold which gives a bit more room to add the stamped elements and with this one, I didn't even need to fold the whole book!  Here's the finished book looking down on it to show you the folds and the 3D effect.

I'll show you some more pictures of the book shortly but first of all here are the folds.  If you're new to book folding and want to try it, get a hardback book that's all text (pictures don't work so well), choose one where you like the colour of the pages as well as the size of the print and a reasonable number of pages to keep it sturdy - this one was numbered up to 500 which meant 250 pages to play with.  Opening the book at the centre, fold one page in towards the spine, then the next page gets folded up from the bottom as shown.

Then the same page gets folded down from the top like so:

Thats it!  Just keep making these folds on alternate pages until you get as far as you want to go through the book then turn it round and do the other side the same.  Press all your folds down so you get nice sharp creases and keep that point in the same place all the time - just keep closing the book every now and then to make sure you're keeping on track with the pattern.

Once I'd folded quite a few and was pleased with the 3D pattern in the middle, I decided to cut two niches in the remaining pages on the right hand side.  I did that using two large punches, one square and one round, cutting a few pages at a time and lining the punch up with the top and bottom lines of text on the pages - take your time doing this as its a bit tricky to keep the edges in line.  Once I'd done that, I glued those pages together with glue stick to make them nice and solid, then put the frames around the niches.  I could then fasten my little "Eat me" and "Drink me" bottles inside.

Then the fun bit started with all the images being added to the folds.  This time, as well as the tabs on the sides of the figures, I used a couple of Tim Holtz memo pins which worked really well.

I really  liked the White Rabbit stamp here and just wish I was a bit braver to stamp directly onto the pages - perhaps next time!!

Here's a final pic of my book - hope you like it.  The next one will be a Christmas theme - I'm really fancying doing A Christmas Carol........

Hope you are looking forward to the Bank Holiday this weekend, looks like the weather is going to be good for a nice finale to the summer.  Margie x

Friday, 16 August 2013

7 year hitch?

Hello there friends and a special welcome to my new followers - nice to have you along.  We've had another lovely warm day here in the north east of the UK and it still feels very much like summer.  Its my youngest son and DIL's 7th wedding anniversary at the weekend and I wanted to make them a nice simple card.

The lovely stamp is from Flonz and I added the butterfly because its a little family joke.  Their wedding nearly didn't happen at all because the bride was (and still is) petrified of butterflies and just as she was heading towards the room where we were all gathered, my son noticed a big butterfly fluttering about.  He told his older brother that Nicola wouldn't come in the room if she saw it so with a magnificent leap, the butterfly was caught and released out of the window seconds before she arrived.  Phew!  We still laugh about it and I always make sure there is one little butterfly on their anniversary cards. 

Hope you are all looking forward to the weekend and enjoying some nice weather too.  Margie x

I'm entering this in the Clean & Simple challenge over at Fashionable Stamping Challenge.

Monday, 12 August 2013

How does your garden grow

Hello there blogging friends!  I've got a workshop coming up with 20 lovely WI ladies tomorrow night and they want to make boxes and handmade flowers so I've been playing about with some samples.  Here's one I made with the lovely Jane's Garden stamps from Oxford Impressions - really like that set.

Its just a simple pizza box and the flowers are made with five tiny circles glued onto a sixth circle and then the edges curled with tweezers and a pearl centre added.  Don't think we'll have time to make Jane's little beaded bag but it will give them some ideas anyway.  The other flowers I've planned are rolled roses and hydrangea florets - both very easy so wish me luck with my class!  I'm all prepped up and rarin' to go.  Thanks for popping in to say hello.  Margie x

Sunday, 11 August 2013

What a doll ...

Playing about today making birthday cards instead of doing the housework (as you do!) and really enjoying using this new Julie Nutting stamp and the border stamp too.

I paper pieced her dress and added a piece of lace around the hem for a bit of texture.  I'm entering this card in the Runway Inspired Challenge where you can see the great pic given for inspiration.

Thanks for popping in - hope your weekend is going well.  Margie x

Friday, 9 August 2013

The perfect place ...

First of all, can I thank you for all the wonderful comments on my book art.  I really appreciate them and was thrilled to see that Julie Ann had even created her own and its magnificent - see it here That's amazing! 

I've also been doing more folding and thought I needed somewhere to display my books so I bought an old set of steps from a vintage barn store and leaned them against the wall in my dining room (just like I've seen in the magazines!)  I think they look rather good.

The tree shaped book is made from a paperback and you actually have to rip off both covers so that it wraps itself round and holds that shape without any glue.  The only tutorial I could find was in Spanish but I could follow the pictures.  The one on the second shelf down is an experiment and I think it would work much better in a book with lots more pages and the one on the bottom shelf is a variation on the first fold I did but it gives a bit more room at the top and bottom to add the images.  That one is going to be an Alice in Wonderland theme when I finally get all the pages folded but I thought you might like to see work in progress.  Thanks for popping in and have a great weekend!  Margie x

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Oh Jane, what are your Wordsworth?

Hello dear friends, especially if you have joined me from Our Creative Corner.  I must say a big THANK YOU for all the lovely comments left on my Memory Book last time - I really appreciated every one of them.  This time the challenge was WORDS and I immediately thought about altered books and the lovely new Oxford Impressions stamp set called Jane's Garden I just bought.  I've wanted to do a folded pages project for ages - there are some great examples out there but they all looked so complex.  Anyway, here's how I turned this charity shop buy:

into this eye-catching piece of artwork:

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I'll begin.  (Oh, that takes me back.....)

First of all you find the middle of your book and open it flat.  There are only two folds to this pattern and you make them alternately as shown here:

The first fold is just turning the page in towards the spine and creasing it flat.  The second fold turns the top corner and the bottom corner in together until they meet and then pressing them down firmly as shown.  I found it easier to cup the corners in my hands and roll them together until they met before pressing them down to avoid any tears in the page.  Continue in this way, until you get near to the cover and then do the same on the other side and you should end up with the book looking like this:

Be prepared for it taking some time - do a few pages at a time and then do something else to avoid getting bored - it does require a lot of patience to get this far!  I left a few pages at the back and front of the book but I've seen it done right to the covers and then some scrapbooking paper used to add to the background.  Both ways look good.

I then wanted to add some Jane Austen figures to look as though they were emerging from the pages so I stamped them in black on some pale cream card which went well with the book pages.  A little tip here - decide which way your figures are going to face and then make a little tab to fold and glue into the pages so that the images face the right way.  One of my butterflies is done that way and one just sticks out at an angle - learn by my mistakes LOL

I then stamped the sentiment "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need" and stuck that in at the bottom.

The structure is quite firm and stands up really well - no fear of it falling over.  I'm now starting on a more complicated fold so watch out for version 2 of this project appearing on my blog soon.  I do hope you'll give it a go and give some new life to an unloved book.  Don't forget to see what my teamies have been up to for this Words challenge and I hope you get inspired to join us this month at Our Creative Corner.  Thanks so much for popping in and I'd love to hear any comments you have - they make my day.  Margie xx

Sharing this at Any Way You Fold It over at Frilly and Funkie

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Doggies having fun!

Hello again and I hope everyone is enjoying this fabulous sunshine while it lasts - we are forecast thunderstorms for the weekend!  Not much crafting getting done here - its far too hot in the house and we are spending as much time as we can in the garden or at the beach.  The dogs are loving their dips in the sea and rolling in the sand.  Not great for long haired dogs but worth the effort of getting them brushed again to see them having so much fun.

Here's a card I made for a recent swap which was to use die-cuts.  I love this set of X-Cut Haberdashery dies I got for my birthday and use them a lot.

I used a piece of striped material for the background to my kraft card, then wrapped that with some tape measure ribbon and some orange fibres.  The die-cuts have been enhanced with some rose quartz Treasure Gold which gives them a lovely metallic look.  I was particularly chuffed with the die-cut pin I cut in half and added to the Tim Holtz price ticket - love that effect.  The line of stitching down the right hand side of the card was also die-cut using a die in the set and there's another one with cross stitches .  Really, the whole set is brilliant, containing 20 dies.  I hope they bring another set like this - retro kitchen equipment would be nice!

Keeping my fingers crossed for a few more lovely sunny days!  Love, Margie x

Monday, 1 July 2013

Captured Memories - rubber band mini-album for Our Creative Corner

Hello friends and a special welcome to those who have popped over from Our Creative Corner.  Its really nice to see you here again.  Linda on our Design Team set us a lovely challenge this month.

Captured Memories
Memories are fleeting but photographs help us hold dear those special people and times. Our project this month is for you to share with us how you capture your cherished memories. All types of art are welcome: cards, tags, canvases, mixed media, etc., but your project MUST INCLUDE A PHOTOGRAPH. 

I wanted to make a mini-album to hold some treasured photos and I really enjoyed putting it together.

I was captivated by the examples shown by Paula Phillips (JournalArtista, Mixed Media mini books) and really liked the way she used the rubber bands to hold the pages which could then be pulled out to view the pictures like this.

So if you'd like to know how I turned an empty dishwasher tablet packet and four elastic bands into a super-easy album, read on.  But you'd better grab a cuppa first - its a long post!  First of all, I used a big craft knife to cut the empty packet slightly bigger than I actually needed then opened it flat and trimmed it with a ruler to the size of back and front covers I wanted  (12cm x 10cm) using the narrow side of the box (6cm) as the spine.

(Other brands will work just as well! )
You also need 4 rubber bands but more about them later on.  Next, the pages.  I made four concertina pages by joining strips of card and folding each length to make four 10cm x 10cm sections as below.
The super-easy bit is once you have decorated the cover (I used TH Kraft resist paper but I'm sure my artistic teamies would make a lovely job with paints and texture pastes) you just add the rubber bands to the spine as below.  I did use all brown bands in the end but used the red one in the pic so it would stand out.

Next, I decorated the pages.  Now, if you use 4 lengths of card as I did, that gives you 32 little squares to decorate and that's a lot of work!  I've actually only done 16 so far but will finish the rest later on!  A tip I really appreciated from Astrid was to cut a piece of card slightly smaller than your page, decorate that, then attach it.  This makes life a lot easier and you can juggle with the arrangement of your pictures before you stick them down.  I rubbed Rub'n'Buff round all the edges for that old fashioned look.  Here's all 16 decorated sections.  They include pics of my grandma, mum, auntie and a cousin as well as some "borrowed" family images.

My favourite picture?  Its this one of my Mum styling her friend's hair in their tea break!  Long, long time ago.... Look at her shoes!!

When you're all done decorating, you can slip the first section of each long page under its elastic band to hold it in place then concertina fold the rest of the sections into the cover.  I numbered my pages just so I could see where to pull them out.  This is one of the pages waiting to be inserted into its band.

Well, if you've got this far, I do hope you will be inspired to make a mini-album for yourselves.  The nice bit is you can add as many pages as you can fit in the cover - just keep adding rubber bands!

Thanks so much for visiting - I'd love to know what you think of my album and I also hope you'll join in this month with the Captured Memories challenge at Our Creative Corner.   Margie x