Thursday, 21 June 2018

I'm back!!!

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I'm hoping you've noticed I haven't posted anything for quite sometime - this hasn't been by choice, our broadband stopped working late on Sunday the 2nd of June and it's taken until today (the 20th) to get it sorted. We were fairly confident that the problem was with the router but our broadband provider wouldn't take our word for it and made us pay for new filters, then asked us to test and replace if necessary the face plates that the filters plug into (they were fine!), then arranged to send an engineer to our flat but didn't put the right information on the 'ticket' and the line was checked for the second time at their end. Then after a wait of five days we rang up and a second engineer was booked. He did actually turn up (yay BT engineer - our provider doesn't actually have any) and quickly decided the router was the problem (the lack of lights and our troubleshooting problem saying it was the router was a bit of a giveaway), our provider wouldn't accept his opinion and made him do countless tests which all confirmed that as we'd been saying ALL ALONG that the router was the problem. He then said he'd send in a report to our provider and they'd order a new router. By Saturday we'd still not got our router so we rang yet again to find out what was going on and we were told that they'd rung us on Thursday to see if we wanted another router sending. The mind completely boggles! No of course we don't want a new router sending what with us having perfect access to broadband without a working one (!) How stupid is that?? I would have thought it would be self evident that if someone has rung up numerous times to complain about having no internet and having an engineer state categorically that a new router is needed then one is needed to be sent - it's not like I could go online to price the damn things up what with not having any internet thanks to a broken router ffs!! I did look them up in the Argos catalogue but they don't actually sell them and in any case I don't see why I should pay extra for a new router when you can't access the internet without one and I'm paying a shed load of money to have broadband provided by my internet supplier! As you can probably tell I am far from being amused by the whole situation which should have been resolved two weeks ago and would have been if they had just listened to what we were telling them (and in all honesty if their staff knew what they were supposed to do!) *takes a couple of deep breaths* Anyway the problem seems to be resolved apart from our antivirus etc is having problems connecting to the internet to update etc but hopefully that will resolve itself - especially as I don't have a clue how to fix it if it doesn't - oh well say la vie!

Sorry this has been a bit of a rant, it's been rather frustrating not having the internet for so long and having to wait for it to be sorted out and what can I say - I'm a grumpy bum sometimes lol.

Hopefully I'll have some cards to share in the next day or two, I need to charge the batteries for my camera before I can upload them and I forgot to do it today - well as it's now after midnight, yesterday. I'll put them in to charge before I got to bed.

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Blog Challenge Cards and why I'll no longer be promoting the magazines I subscribe to on my blog

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you are all well and enjoying the weekend. It's very hot and muggy here on the Yorkshire coast and we've had a couple of downpours of heavy rain. I've got a dreadful headache which is making me a bit grumpy - I always do when the weather's this oppressive, tbh it's probably not helped by going to bed at 3am then waking up again at 5.10am - two hours is really not enough sleep! No-one asked to join in with the blog challenge but never mind Michele has made a couple of gorgeous cards and I have some to share with you all too.

Wow doesn't Michele's card look amazing!!! I love the bright colours she used and the background paper really goes well with the theme.I love the 3D bubbles too!

 I don't actually drink takeout coffee because I like my coffee very weak (I drink a mild instant coffee usually black) and most coffee shops add shots of strong coffee to their drinks - I have to add a zillion spoons of sugar just to be able to drink it lol so stick to tea when I'm out. However this card looks good enough to drink! Michele made this using a freebie from Simply Cards and Papercraft magazine. I love the coffee bean stenciling and the faux coffee ring marks on the backing paper.

Here are my cards.

My first card uses `the dies in the usual way and I combined them with the impossible card fold and a Wizz Kids paper pack. For my second card I tried to use the dies in a different way and turned the fish bowl into a wide vase for a bouquet of flowers, I added a vellum piece to give the vase a frosted look and layered it on a black background. It looked a bit bare so I added some glittery splatters for added interest. The flowers were die cut using flower dies from my stash and the leaves were cut out using a Memory Box leaf stem die.

Michele and I have enjoyed sharing our creations using magazine freebies but this sort of blog challenge  will be the last one for a while. Michele and I like a lot of people are subscribers to various magazines and as a subscriber you have a certain expectation of the level of service you receive. In recent months a number of magazines that we both subscribe to have fallen short of that expectation. As a subscriber you expect to receive your copy of the magazine a few days before it becomes available to buy in the shops and you also expect to have exactly the same so called "FREE GIFT" that non-subscribers receive, however that really isn't the case. Copies of our magazines primarily ones published by Practical Publishing are frequently late - in one instance earlier in the year one magazine arrived TEN DAYS after it became available to buy in the shops, sometimes they arrive the day before they go on sale but it is now the norm that they turn up the day it goes on sale or a day or two later. This isn't good enough but what particularly grates on me is the fact that subscribers don't get the same so called "FREEBIES" if these gifts are indeed FREE why do non-subscribers regularly get extra ones that subscribers are denied? The latest example is the free gift with Papercraft Essentials Magazine, in last month's issue it states that the free gifts are a stamp and die set with a bonus embossing folder yet subscribers DIDN'T receive the bonus embossing folder with this month's issue. This is blatantly unfair to subscribers and I don't feel that I can continue to promote the magazines involved through my blog and as a result I will not be sharing cards made with the freebies on this blog. There is an exception to that, I'm not yet a subscriber but hope to be soon to a magazine called Making Cards - I frequently buy it direct online because their free gifts are brilliant, the magazine is about market value so not overpriced unlike a lot of Practical Publishing magazines (I've noticed the coverprices have creeped up substantially the past 18 months!) they don't charge you postage to send you their mags direct unlike (very expensive and bloody slow! Your mag can be out of date by the time you actually get it!) and subscribers get exactly the same free gifts as non-subscribers. Plus I really like the quality of the free gifts, quite frankly about one third of the freebies with Practical Publishing are utter crap and go in the "might use if I run out of better things to use" box (most still in there!) rather than my regular stash - a lot of the freebies lack imagination and originality (I mean honestly how many butterfly/dragonfly/floral stamps does one crafter actually need?? They're even repeating themselves now - we got a dragonfly stamp and die set a few years ago and the exact design earlier in the year just slightly bigger *rolls eyes*) If there is a particularly good free gift AND it is as stated in the magazine, then I may share cards I've made on Facebook or Twitter but until things improve I'll not be sharing them here.

Hope that wasn't too much of a rant - I feel very let down by Papercraft Essentials Magazine and their parent company Practical Publishing, I have been a very loyal subscriber for years (over ten for some magazines) and I've been left feeling very unappreciated by their unfair treatment of subscribers.

Hopefully my next card share will be a lot less angry lol, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Thursday, 24 May 2018

A Shabby Chic-y Pillar Fold Card

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you've all had a brilliant week and have something fabulous planned for the weekend. It's another Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK which probably means it'll be raining lol. It doesn't make much difference to me personally because we don't tend to go out on Sundays or Bank Holidays since they stopped the town buses, if we do go out we have to get a taxi there and back which is rather costly as you can imagine. I'm hoping to get lots of crafting done, cricket starts later today which should keep my hubby occupied. You'll have to excuse any typos or general rambling in this post as I'm actually writing it at 3.30am! I love watching The 100 on E4 but it clashed with other programmes I watch so I had to stay awake until 3am to watch it (well worth it!) I used the time in between programmes productively though and tried a new to me card fold called the Pillar Fold Card - I saw a tutorial by Mixed Up Craft on YouTube (she's rapidly becoming one of my favourite crafters) and I've adapted it slightly as Sam used a piece of card 6" x 12" and I made my version using an A4 sheet of card cut to 6 1/2"  by the A4 length. Here is a link to Sam's video tutorial on YouTube .

I made this card pretty much the same way that Sam did apart from the scoring is slightly different on one side. I cut the A4 card down it was 6 1/4" in height but with the full length of the A4 remaining - I can't really give you the exact measurement because whoever came up with A4 decided it should be a really stupid length - it's about 8 1/4" in width (21cm) but lengthways it's 29 and a bit cms, but to be honest it doesn't really matter what the actual length is because after scoring the card on the left side I rotated the card and did the exact same scorelines on the other side so they are both equal. If you want to make a card like this and don't have any plain 12" x 12" cardstock to cut down, just use A4 like I have. From the left side score at 1/4", 1 1/4", 2 1/4" and 3 1/4" then rotate your card so the score marks are to the right hand side and repeat the scorelines. Burnish the scorelines on both sides and add strong double sided tape to the 1/4" flaps on the ends. Decorate the middle panel and the panels of the Pillars with decorative paper - I used K&Company Brenda Walton 8.5" x 8.5" designer papers which have been languishing in my crudy for YEARS!!!! I cut the papers approximately 1/4" smaller than the panels so that there's a 1/8" border around them, I actually did my first try at this design with a complete sheet of A4 and decorated it with 8" scrapbook papers so it's possible to go from 5" in height up to 8 1/4" depending on if/how you cut your card so it's best to just measure the panels of your card and cut your designer paper accordingly. The bridging piece was cut to 5" by 2" and layered with a piece of designer paper 1/4" smaller to leave the border as shown. It's quite difficult to explain how to make the pillars so bear with me or better still check out  Sam's video so she can show you how to do it. Basically what you need to do is decorate the card with the mats, remove the liner tape on the 1/4" flap and fold it over facing the inside of the card along with the next scored panel so that there are only two panels facing you, press down and 'pop' up the column pulling it up until it forms the pillar. Repeat on the other side and add the bridging piece. I found it easiest if I folded the columns flat and lined the left edge of the bridge piece with the left edge of the flattened column - I added 3/4" wide d/s tape to each end of the bridging piece and stuck down the left side first. I then pushed both the columns down and carefully removed the backing from the tape, lining the right edge of the bridge piece with the right hand edge of the card, once stuck the columns pop back up once pressure is removed. I then decorated it with a 3D butterfly die cut out of the same papers as the panels using a Memory Box Butterfly die (die cut three times and stuck wing to wing so it pops up, I wrapped thin black wire to form the body and it's feelers) a birdcage cut out of foiled card using a Marianne's Design die and a layered flower using a generic die from my stash. I added gold pearl effects to the centre of the flower and stamped a sentiment onto a small tag which I then tied to the birdcage with some black and white bakers' twine. This card probably isn't a truly shabby chic card but as near as I can get it - the layered shabby look just looks messy when I attempt it but I really love this version!  I've made this card for my friend's birthday but I'm half tempted to keep it for myself as I think it's really pretty.

I hope you like my latest card, please check out Sam's video (link above) and let me know if you give this a try yourself - I'd love to see what you come up with. Have a great weekend my lovely crafty peeps and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Saturday, 19 May 2018

I can see right through you..... (or I can see clearly now, the card has gone... lol)

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you are all enjoying the weekend, here in the UK the big event has been of course the Royal Wedding which I have cheerfully avoided ;) the only wedding's that's interested me this week was the SHAMY wedding on TBBT which happened on Thursday on E4 - I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to see what happens in the next series.

Have you ever had an idea for a card but not had time to actually make it and end up kicking yourself because someone else makes it first so it looks like you've copied them when you finally get around to it? Well I'm very much kicking myself at the moment! As you've probably noticed I'm really loving the impossible card which has taken the card making community by storm. It was shown first on FB by the Trimcraft Blog team, quickly picked up by a couple of people on YouTube and is now everywhere, I'm on a constant lookout for new card blank designs and was pretty much one of the first peeps to blog about them after first seeing the post on FB then googling it and coming up with only two tutorials on YT. About a week or so ago I was wondering if you could make one out of acetate but I had a shed load of other cards to make and tbh I wasn't really sure where my sheets of acetate were at that point (I've been trying to save some of my good acetate recently by using old packaging when making pop up box cards etc so I put my acetate away to prevent me from using it out of habit). and decided to make a clear impossible card at a later date. The upshot of it is the Trimcraft Blog have beaten me to it and have a very quick tutorial on YouTube with their version of a see through impossible card. My attempt is a lot more see through than theirs because I've not put any layers on mine, just a topper and a few steampunk elements.

In a way I'm grateful that Trimcraft made their card first because I probably wouldn't have made a card template to put behind the acetate and use it to cut the various lines like I did after viewing the tutorial, I'm not exactly known for taking the easy option in things and would have struggled with measuring and marking a very slippy surface if left to my own devices whereas putting the template behind the acetate (I held it in place with a couple of bulldog clips to prevent the acetate shifting while I cut) and cutting through both the acetate and the card is a much smarter and easier way of doing things - I've kept the template in a pocket of my card shape notebook for future use. So if you want to make one of these see through cards yourself I'd recommend making a paper or card template first just to make things easier.  My acetate is cut to 5" x 7" but because the clock topper overlaps the top edge of the card base, I'll need to make an extra large envelope for it before it can be posted. I wanted to make a steampunk themed acetate card because I love steampunk and I had a couple of Memory Box Steampunk Corner diecuts left over from the first anniversary card I made for my sister and brother-in-law earlier in the week (see below for photos). I've actually still got those diecuts because I realised that it would be incredibly time consuming (and fiddly!) to try and glue them to the acetate without making a complete mess of things and it would be a lot simpler to cover the back of the foiled card with d/s tape and die cut them out again using the Memory Box die. Once it was die cut it was a simple matter to just peel all the backing off and stick it onto the acetate as shown. There was a little bit of the die cut overhanging the acetate but I just trimmed those parts off and added them to the acetate in a different place. I also used Keys & Keyholes die plate by Die-Versions for the keyholes and the Make Time Perfect Partners Time Traveller die by Sheena Douglass/Crafter's Companion which was die cut twice. I also used a Sizzix Bigz circle die for the black circles behind the clock faces. I think this card's got a real wow factor but I'm not sure who I'm going to send it to, it might just end up in a box waiting for a home.

Here are a couple of other cards I've been making this week. It was my nephew's 15th birthday on the 15th and my sister's first wedding anniversary on the 16th (it was also my God Daughter's first birthday on the 17th but I forgot to charge the batteries for my camera so didn't get to take any photos!)

The  music/star themed impossible card had a mini seed packet on the underside with some money for my nephew. Black and silver may not be a traditional colour combo for an anniversary card but I think it looks very classy and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

I hope you like my latest makes, I'm hoping to create a few more cards during the rest of the weekend. Whatever you've got planned I hope have a good weekend and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Thursday, 17 May 2018

A Card Share

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you are all well and looking forward to the weekend.  Here are a few cards that I've been making recently including a few I made a while ago but haven't shown until now.

The card I made for my lovely friend Michele who was one of the few peeps who said thank you! I (heart) Michele 

Rather scary 'skull' I made using shimmer ink markers.

These cards have all been sent (some quite a while ago) and I assume received but only two people have either thanked me or let me know that they've got them. I know it's only a card and if I'd gone out and bought one off the shelf then I wouldn't expect any acknowledgement but when I've gone to the trouble of making a hand crafted card I don't think it's much to expect a quick thank you via text or Facebook in return, after all I've given you a gift of my time it's not unreasonable to hope you'd spend 30 seconds PMing me to say thanks. It's getting to the stage where I'm just going to grab a load of cheap cards from The Works and send them instead of spending hours (yes hours!) thinking up the perfect design then making it and saving my handcrafted cards for people who appreciate them and who actually take the time to let me know. If by the way anyone feels angry towards me for writing this post you should examine your conscience - perhaps you're actually feeling angry because you feel guilty for not taking the time to say thank you.

Anyway rant over, hope everyone has a great weekend, I'm planning on spend it in my crudy well away from all mentions of the Royal Wedding - I'm soooo tired of hearing about it! Can't wait for Shamy's wedding tonight on BBT though ;)

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Thursday, 3 May 2018

A Card Share and an update on the Blog Challenge

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you've all had a great week and if you haven't, just think it's nearly the weekend!!! Things have been quiet here in my crafty nook, I've made a few cards, made some mess and I've even made myself cry a couple of times lol (usually when I've been trying to make a card and it's not gone well). One of the things that hasn't gone well is last month's blog challenge - I've started making cards for it a couple of times but nothing's turned out any good and then I managed to lose the card blanks I actually had made. I'll be totally honest with you, I don't think the Tonic die is particularly attractive and I've had a lot of trouble getting anything looking presentable, it's not helped by the fact that it's not very well explained in the magazine how to actually use the die and it just doesn't look right once it's cut - I'd much rather use a nesting die set and partially cut the shape or better still use my lovely Crafter's Companion dies which cuts beautifully and has concise instructions. Michele's not managed to complete the blog challenge either so we've decided to skip it especially as there's been zero interest in anyone actually joining in. I know that unlike other blogs this challenge doesn't have any prizes but if no one joins in that's not going to change, if we had any people expressing an interest in the challenge and better still people JOINING IN then who knows what the future might hold, companies might offer to sponsor the competition or I've got a few spare items that need a good home which may end up as a prize at some point but neither of those things will happen if the level of interest remains at it's current level - after all it's not much of a challenge if there's only Michele and I taking part so please, please if you have any interest in this challenge then leave a comment on the blog, fill in the comments form in the sidebar or email me at Anyway Michele and I have decided to swiftly go on to the next challenge and it's another magazine freebie (don't worry it's the last one at least for the foreseeable future) and again it's the 'free gift' that came free with Die cutting Essentials Magazine issue 36, it's been out for a month and issue 37 is probably in the shops now (I've had my subbie copy for about a week) but I really like the fish bowl die set and need an excuse to use it. The closing date is 31st of this month which is plenty of time to make two cards using the dies. The first card we'd like you to make is just a plain fish tank themed card using the dies that came with the magazine plus any items from your stash but make sure the dies are the big event not your stash extras. The second card/part of the challenge is a bit more fun, we'd like you to use the dies in a different way, by that I mean think outside the box a little, flip the fish bowl upside down and turn it into a spaceman's helmet or is there a way you could make the dies into something Christmassy? Let your imagination run riot and let's see what we can come up with. Again you can use items from your stash and though we want you to use the dies in a different way we've got to be able to tell what you've used so try to make the die cuts your focal image if possible. We would love it if some crafty peeps joined in so please don't be shy - leave a comment with a link to your blog featuring your creations or send me an email using the comments form on the sidebar or by emailing me at the address above. I can't wait to see what you amazing peeps make!

Phew, that was a long paragraph! You must be tired now so here's some photos of a few of my crafty makes that I've not shared before, hopefully they'll refresh your eyes :)

A fishing themed card for my husband's grandad made using a die from Crafter's Companion and items from my stash.

I loved making the pop up/out Polaroid card for my dad in law so much that I made a second one (hope I've not already shared this) The (heart) this die cut was made using a die from my stash, I can't remember the brand but I'll update this post with the information once I find the die set.

Not a card but a cute photo of my lovely cat Jinx who turned 17 on the 27th April - he's 84 in cat years!

Hopefully your eyes will be a bit rested now especially after looking at my lovely Jinx =^..^=
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, 23 April 2018

Impossible Cards with a twist (or three!)

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you've all had a brilliant weekend, we've been blessed with a mini heatwave here in the UK though it's a lot cooler on the coast then in some parts, I'm not a huge fan of a lot of heat so I've been grateful for the slightly lower temperatures. It's rather dull and overcast at present but hopefully we'll have some more sunny days in the months to come. I am still loving the Impossible Card and I've attempted Mixed Up Crafts' triple twist impossible card too, it took two attempts to get it right (I was trying to get just one panel to twist instead of the whole card twisting - very hard to explain so check out MUC's tutorial on YouTube) but I'm very pleased with the results and I've also made another ordinary Impossible Card, this time one suitable for a teen.

I thought I'd start with the classic Impossible Card. I've made this (probably) for my nephew's birthday next month. I always find teenage cards a struggle to make so decided to make this baseball boot themed card as it's quite timeless in feel. I'm not sure what collection the sneakers paper is from but suspect it's probably DCWV, I won a massive stack of 6" x 6" and 12" x 12" paperstacks in a card making competition about five years ago and TBH I've hoarded the suckers like there's no tomorrow! I have the 12" x 12" hidden away in a cupboard which is quite difficult to get into so when I do move boxes etc to get in there for a particular paper, I tend to grab a sheet or four of anything that grabs my attention and I keep them in a protective sleeve near my desk. The only problem is I never know what papers I'm using this way (ha spoke too soon! When I was adding the labels for this post I typed in DCWV and it came up with Homeroom - I googled it and it's the paper stack I used for the sneaker paper). The baseball boot is an unbranded die set from eBay which I love as it has loads of dies including the donut shapes that go around the lace holes, I die cut mine using silver holographic card backed with d/s sticky tape so I didn't have to mess around with glue just remove the backing piece. I've made another three baseball boots including a very tactile one made of white fabric backed onto card teamed with funky foam for the side of the sole - it feels very realistic.

Originally, this triple twist card was going to be another sneaker/baseball boot themed card for my nephew because it can be backed onto a piece of card to make it stronger and I was planning on adding a zip strip to an additional piece of cad to make a hidden pocket on the underside of the card but the baseball boots are too big for the panels on a triple twist card. I saw this card style on Mixed Up Crafts YouTube channel (here's the link to the video) and couldn't wait to try it out, it is a bit fiddly to make and as I said at the beginning of the post, it did take me two attempts to get the twists right but in some ways it's actually a bit easier to decorate as you don't have to fiddle around cutting L shaped mats to cover the panels just ordinary rectangular ones and MUC has kindly provided the sizes in her blog which is linked under her YT video. I added strips of card both at the front and behind the pop up panels which meant I didn't need to adhere it down to another piece of card which looks great but distracts from the wowness of the design (if it's mounted on card you can't see it's made of one piece of card) because it gave it a sturdiness that's missing with only one strip. I used a coffee themed stamp set to decorate card panels which I added to the pop up panels and coloured them in using Flexmarkers, I tried to use similar colours to the takeout coffee cups on the backing papers - I used two papers from Trimcraft First Edition 'Grand Plan' 6" x 6" premium paper pad, the coffee cups have UV detailing on them and the die cut coffee cups have a gem finish which is very lush. The takeout cups were die cut using a Spellbinders die set called 'Hipsters 1' D Lites Etched Dies, there are two takeout coffee cups on the front and two on the back. I added Glossy Accents on some of the coffee beans for a bit of added interest.

I really enjoyed making these two cards and look forward to making some more, if I can find some Christmas themed papers without having to rake through 3/4 of my crudy, then I may very well be using this design (the original impossible card) as my batch Christmas card as it's very simple to make once you know the secret! I think it would make a great new home card too with keys linking the panels together on the front and a house die that handily came free with a magazine a couple of months ago, you could even personalise it by adding map paper highlighting the new address (make sure you use copyright free images though!) with geotags showing local attractions - the possibilities are endless!

I hope you like my latest designs, don't forget to click the link and check out Sam's (Mixed Up Crafts) YouTube tutorial and why not subscribe while you're there she has lots of amazing fun ideas using paper. 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 xxxx