Monday, 30 December 2013

How I made a Fairy tale story using MCS and CAP2 software

Once I saw the artwork "Fairy Land" that My Craft Studio came out with recently, I knew that it would be ideal to create a story book type thing for my daughter's boyfriends neice for her birthday which is coming up soon and decided that it would be titled "Sophia's Fairy Tale"

I also saw that Craft Artist Professional 2 had some Fantasy/fairy tale digikits which would come in useful too - I have to admit that though I do like the My Craft Studio Elite, to do the actual designing and creating the pages, I keep on coming back to CAP2 - it has everything you need in one area and is full of other options that I keep on discovering!

Now I had to decide if there was to be any words - again I thought it would be nice if the story involved her name so she could feel as if she was the girl in the story!

And so...

Looking at the designs that My Craft Studio produced, I decided  on which ones I would use and so then created individual pages to allow her to colour them in with a couple of pre-coloured ones included to add a bit more interest to the story and came up with the following pages....

As you can see, I made them all 8 x 8 inches square so that they were big enough for her to colour in (she is only 3 years old) and then tied them all up with a pink ribbon - I then put them in an envelope with her name on and VOILA a story book that I hope will be different and one that she will like....

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Pukka pad to something different using Graphic45 Steampunk Spells...

Pukka Pad to My Notes (or spells) a few easy steps...

My Notes A5 pad from a Pukka A5 Project pad

Having bought some Graphic45 Steampunk Spells paper recently, I wondered what I could use it for - the images are absolutely incredible - vibrant, fun and colourful - see their website for an idea of what I mean...

Products and tools you will need to make this project:-

Products for the A5 pad

  • Pukka A5 project pad (or any other A5 pad)
  • Steampunk Spells 12 x 12ins black cog on the cream background
  • Steampunk Spells alphabet stickers
  • We R Memory Keppers Washi tape or any of the others available or even paper borders
  • Black and gold zig-zag peel off sticker

For the matching bookmark

  • Any white cardstock measuring  xxx or bookmark from Craft Creations - see here
  • Steampunk Spells black cog on the cream background (left over from the pad)

Tools you will need for both items

  • Glue (Collal all purpose glue or Pinflair glue will do fine) - or 
  • Roller tape adhesive - there are many options out there - I use either the Crafters' Companion Double sided adhesive tape or C&C Tape Roller
  • Crop-a-Dile Corner Chomper (Deco) - optional - see here for stockist
  • Crop-a-dile eyelet setter tool - see here for stockist (I have bought it from Handy Hippo and eyelet!
  • Raffia or Bakers Twine 
  • Liquid Pearls - White opal (optional)

Steampunk Spells pad of 12x12ins double sided cardstock 24 sheets
I have lots of ideas but the "plainer" patterned paper made me think a bit harder - then it came to me that they would be ideal to cover an A5 pad - luckily I had an A5 Pukka Project hardback pad spare and thought they would do nicely!

It is a problem however, if you do want to do more than a couple as there are only 2 sheets of this cardstock in the pad and I have had trouble finding any more.

Graphic45 - it would be really useful if you could consider producing a CD/DVD of your artwork so that we can produce more of the designs we like - especially here in the UK where I cannot find anyone else selling this pad in the 12"x12" size (I bought the 1st lot from Create & Craft TV but they don't seem to be doing that size any more..

  • Anyway, I know you should probably measure the paper to fit the covers but what I have done is put some adhesive tape or glue along the edges of the front cover and placed the paper on it and then cut it to fit it! I then did the same for the back cover.
  • Once the glue has dried (if you've used it), then I added some contrasting tape - I used Washi tape as it lets you see the pattern underneath it. (There are lots of other varieties available - some plain and some patterned - you can find a selection from Handy Hippo
  • I have then added some black and gold zig zag peel off stickers (or any other ones you may have) around the edges adding a border to it on both the front and back so it matches.
  • Then, I have used the letters you find on the Graphic45 Steampunk Spells Alphabet stickers to make the words MY NOTES (but you can obviously choose whatever sentiments you like).
  • Finally, when you are completely satisfied with the way it looks, you can add some Liquid Pearls (or even self adhesive ones) in each of the corner on the front cover - though with the first you must wait a few hours before it has hardened!

Now to make the bookmark...

  • Either use a precut bookmark (I have used the plain white one from Craft Creations or cut out some plain cardstock to 51x178mm
  • Then cover it in the remaining card that you have used for the pad - once again I have made sure that the card is matching the left hand side and the bottom of the bookmark  and glued/stuck it.
  • Once it is secure, I then cut the remaining sides to fit
  • I then added a strip of the black and gold ziz zag border peel off stick on the bottom of the bookmark to add a bit of interest.
  • You can then use the Crop-a-Dile Corner chomper so that the top have slightly more interesting corners but you can keep it plain - but if you do use one, then please make sure you do it after you have stuck the paper on!
  • Once you have done this, then mark lightly with a pencil on the back where you want the hole to go and use your Crop-a-dile and punch your hole (you could also use one hole from a normal punch) and then fix an eyelet (colour of your choice) to it - if you don't have an Eyelet setter then you can just fix it with a pen... (see a great video from Stamp.TV here as to how to do it)
  • Then add whatever sentiment you want - I have used a Happy Birthday one but it could be anything!
  • Finally you can use raffia or ribbon to add that extra touch...
And there you go - a matching Pad and bookmark set that I think would be a lovely gift for anyone!

NB - you could also add a matching ballpoint pen if you want - by taking some of the matching paper and undoing the barrel and placing it inside - this is a bit fiddly but would look lovely!

Also, I have just had another thought - you could also cover a strip of card 80x120mm with the paper and stick 3 sides of it to the front of the pad and put the MY NOTES on that instead  and then put the bookmark inside it so that it is secure!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

So many choices of crafty products - what to choose?

Looking at the various craft magazines, browsing the various craft shops (such as Handy Hippo, DoCrafts, Craft Creations, you can find online and now watching the Create and Craft TV channel (the only dedicated 24 hour Craft channel in the world), I am getting more and more confused as to what products I should be using for my various projects from "am I using the right sort of paper", "are the stamps and punches right for what I want to do" to should I embrace CD crafting or Paper packs? The list goes on and on...

It is also really hard to find a definitive answer as we all have our own preferences - I know I love CD crafting - I find the Craft Artist 2 Professional from Serif a brilliant companion to my project making as I like making my own designs - but I know some people wouldn't have the time or even enjoy doing it.

Here is a sample of what can be achieved using it:-

The above card is using the Pollyanna Pickering British Wildlife DVD which has 40 different images (based on her wonderful paintings) within CAP2 to add the background etc.

So, as part of my journey to find what works best for myself, I am going to jot down my thoughts - some of you might find them useful (well I hope you do)... it would be also really great if you could share your thoughts too!

Coming up in the next few weeks (not necessarily in this order)...

  • Digital stamps versus clip art
  • Digital stamps versus normal stamps
  • Glue - when to use a "wet" glue such as Collal or do you use a tape pen? Silicon versus PVA 
  • Angel policies - what is an Angel policy and who allows you to do what
  • Punches - various makes from Woodware, EK Success, Martha Stewart and many more...
  • Cardstock - what is the best cardstock to use for various projects and what weight paper/card is best for the various layers
  • CD kits - from Serif, My Craft Studio, Creative Card World, Keepsake and many more...
  • Terminology - what does Matt and layering mean? 

So look out for my next blog - coming soon

Friday, 19 July 2013

How to use a digital stamp - tutorial using Handmade Harbour stamps with Totally Tutorials

I think it is really important to choose the stamp (I have used one from Handmade Harbour stamps)  that you feel most comfortable with and also how you are going to use it - is it going to be a card focal point or a sentiment? Then you  need to download it and save it to your PC - this is usually self-explanatory but I can help if you need it.

Once downloaded you will also need to decide what size you want your card to be as you will have to adjust the size of the image to fit the card - most of the images from Handmade Harbour fit an C5 card and so you can print 2 of them off on an A4 piece of good quality card - super smooth or even watercolour card is best but you will have to find out what thickness your printer is able to cope with.

Now you will have to decide what medium you are going to colour it in. I have chosen the following images and will be using a mix of Pro-Markers and Spectrum Noir pens as I like working with them - I know some people mention Copic Markers but they are quite expensive and not the easiest to get hold of here in the UK.
Fairy stamp from Handmade Harbour

The fairy image will be coloured in pastel colours but the border will be bright to counter the pale colours and you can also cut the sentiment out so that you can add that to another part of the card.

Off to colour them - be back soon...

Welcome back! I have now coloured the 1st image using Spectrum Noir pens - having thought it would be more pastel shading I decided that I had a purple frame that would fit it so changed the colouring to brighter more vibrant colours. Oranges, reds and purples seemed to go it with it - I am not an expert on these type of pens yet and so have tried to get the shading right - I have left the sky and the bulk of her wings uncoloured as I think I might try and use some pastel chalks on them - but might try that on another one... 

I then decided to add a bit of Rangers White Opal liquid pearl (you can get them from Handy Hippo)  to each corner of the frame and a drop of their Ruby red in the heart. Having left these to dry overnight, I then attached it to a C5 scalloped edged card which I got from Handy Hippo too as they come in a great value pack including envelopes

And here is the result....

I hope you like it... will try another one soon.. Love the designs by Handmade Harbour by the way - full of fun!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

My first stall as Handmade Cards Shop - how it went....

A few weeks ago, my daughter suggested that I had a stall at her Summer Carnival selling my handmade cards and gifts as a way of bringing them to a wider audience whilst I continue to design and build my website ( ).

The idea was both exciting and daunting - oh I have had experience with selling things (I used to run the bookshop at the Labour Party taking things to all their conferences etc but that was a few years ago and I wasn't sure how my cards and notebooks would be received. I agreed and then had to decide what items would be suitable - I wanted them to notice my own designs and price them competitively enough that people would like to buy them!

Ladybird meets Art Deco -  range of goods to follow

So, the day came and boy what a scorcher as some people would say - hottest day of the year so far! I had got all the stuff ready as time would be tight - so loaded the car and we were off!  Thankfully the traffic was brilliant and we got there in good time to set up.

Thanks to my daughter and her boyfriend who helped set it up! 

Handmade Cards Shop Cards and gifts

Cards, gifts and decorations ready so would we get any customers given that it was Wimbledon Ladies' final and other sporting events going on? Luckily it was really well attended and quite a few people made their way to the stall - next time I must make sure we maybe have a gazebo or something as the sun was so hot! (and maybe even sell drinks - soft ones of course)!

The afternoon went by - people coming up and looking at what I had to sell - several of them complimenting me on my Ladybird design cards/bookmarks (see above pic for a sample) - this was really great as I had designed it myself and so I am definitely going to expand on what I had and produce a range of various items from cards, bookmarks and tags - have also made my own envelopes to go with some of the cards and would love to produce some wrapping paper on it too!

I was also chuffed that people also liked my other products (not just cards but my notebooks (being added to my website soon) too....

Notebooks - A6 spiral bound - many different designs and colours
Four hours flew by and it was time to pack up and go home - my head full of ideas and how when I next do a stall things can be improved - one down many more to go I hope - thank you to everyone who complimented my designs and showed it even more by buying some!  And a special thank you to my daughter and her boyfriend who helped make it possible!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

How to make a mini bookmark

How to make a mini bookmark

Tools and products you will need for this project

a)   Piece of card (10cm or 4.25" long by 5cm wide) (can be matching the card used to make the Post-it Note holder - see previous blog)
b)   Contrasting card - 4cm square (we have used the Woodward Giant 2.5" Scalloped edge punch - click here for a link as to where you can buy it from Handy Hippo
c)   Decoration for above
d)   Hole punch and eyelet - we have used the Crop-a-dile eyelet setter with a 1/16" eyelet - but see below to watch a video from to see how you can use just a pen to set an eyelet in a card project - really useful video**
e)  Ribbon or Baker's twine 
f)  Corner rounder - we have used the the Woodward corner punch which you can get from Handy Hippo

Instructions how to make it 

1)  Cut your card to 10cm x 5cm - if you have made the Post-it note holder from our previous blog you should have a piece of card left over that will do for this.
2)  Round all the corners with the Woodware corner punch
3)  Punch a square from the contrasting card using the Giant 2.5" Woodware punch
4)  Place the square at the top of the other card and using your Crop-a-dile punch through both pieces of card - approx 1cm from the top
5)  Using the 1/16" eyelet, place it through both pieces and secure it using the Crop-a-dile - this will mean that the contrasting square will be attached to the base card but there will be space for you to place it in the book at the place you need it

6)  Add whatever decoration you would like to this piece of card - I have used a Celtic Square peel-off sticker - Multi on black  (small one) from Craft Creations 
7)  Then add the ribbon or Baker's twine either knotting it or by doubling it up, threading the looped end through the eyelet and then pass the loose ends through it to attach it.

And there you go... one very easy Bookmark that is slightly different from your normal one!

How to use a pen to set an eyelet in a card project video from   

Saturday, 16 March 2013

How to make a Post-It Note holder present

Post it note holder (3 inches Post it note pad)

Tools and products you will need for project

Post-It note pad 70x70mm - 
colour of your choice


Colour of your own choice that either matches or co-ordinates with the pad
Dimensions and pieces you will need are:-
1 piece - 10x20cm (approx 4 x 8ins) (if cardstock is less than 240gsm then you might want to have 2 layers - both Handy Hippo and CraftCreations have a brilliant range of cardstock available at reasonable prices
2 pieces - 9x10cm (for inside covers) 
2 pieces - 2x10cm (for front and back covers)
1 piece - 9x6.5cm for the inside back where the Post-it Note pad will slide in
1 piece - 1x10cm for spine (optional)
2 tag shaped pieces of card for front and back

1 co-ordinating button
Ribbon - co-ordinating or matching (optional) 1cm wide 20cm in length
1 length of Bakers twine (again co-ordinating or matching)
Glue dots, adhesive (I have used both Crafter's Companion adhesive and 1/8th inch Scor-tape

Crafter's Companion Clever Cut

Crafter's Companion Top Score Multiboard and scoring tool
Woodware Craft Collection Tag punch
Scissors, Rulers 


a) Cut your card so you have all the pieces ready - I have used the Crafter's Companion CleverCut as there is the option of deckle edging if you want it
b) Score card at 9cm and then at 11cm and fold into a book shape

b)  Glue the 2 9x10cm cards into the both sides of the inside cover
c)  Glue or tape the 6.5x9cm card on to inside back cover on bottom and left and right sides leaving enough space for the post it note to slide in

c) Glue 1 strip of 2x10cm on to the inside spine (optional) - you can also put this on the outside spine instead
d) Glue one piece 2x10cm on the right hand side of front cover

f)   Stick your ribbon around the holder in the centre of it - making sure it is straight  

g)  Thread the button with the matching bakers twine – either making a knot or a bow (whatever takes your fancy)
h)   Then place the button on one of the tags using a glue dot or foam tape so that it is raised up from the card so the loop can go round it
i)   Glue the tag in the centre of the front cover over the strip and make sure it is at the same level as the top of the inside flap (for the Post-it Note holder)
j)   Cut another length of bakers twine which is long enough to make sure that it will loop round the button comfortably and be “slack” enough to be able to open it with ease – once you are happy that it is ok – tie a knot in it and sellotape it down on the back outside cover at the same height as the button on the front cover. 

k)  When you are happy with it being at the right tension and height, then glue/stick the 2x10cm strip over the twine making sure it is covered – 
l)   When that is done then glue/stick the tab over it making sure it is the same height as the “flap” and the front tab
m) Then slide the post it note pad backing sheet in the flap and position it so it fits properly


And there you go…

One lovely present! 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

From then to now - how things are progressing...

From the 1st card to now - how my designs are hopefully getting better using different imaging products....

Imaging Software packages..

Looking back to the first few cards I designed and made, I am struck by how different they are now - as the old cliche goes - "practice makes perfect" - well not perfect but getting there...

The first design I produced was on Microsoft Publisher (at that time I hadn't realised there are so many great packages out there - a lot are free too though if you want more detailed designs then you do have to spend a bit of money - but they are definitely worth it... 

I think the various software programmes from Serif are really good - I use their Craft Artist 2 professional and their DrawPlus5 for some designs - they include options for punching and stamping images which can be great - you can also produce decoupage style things too!

For other projects I also use the Corel Paintshop Pro X3, (they are really good for resizing images by pixels or percentages - great for making sure that your design isn't enormous when adding to your blog or website...and is a free programme too! I would love to be able to use Illustrator or Photoshop but will have to wait for those...

Naturally there are so many other packages out there that might be better and it would be great to hear from anyone who knows of others that might be of use!