Monday, 27 October 2014

Welcome little one....

Hello crafty peeps - welcome to my crafty nook! A wonderful day today, my new niece Isobel was born at 2.08pm weighing 6lb 15oz. Her mum was booked in on Saturday to be induced but nothing happened until late this morning. We are all pleased that mum and daughter are both well.

To celebrate this special day I made three more cards, I've decided to give the original baby card I made to the dad as Sue and Steve don't live together. So I needed a new card to give to Sue.

I thought this Crafter's Companion S.W.A.L.K. 'New Mum' stamp set was perfect for Sue (not that you'd catch her wearing an apron!) I coloured her hair, eyes and skin tone in to match Sue's own and just gave the baby blue eyes - I haven't seen the new arrival yet so aren't sure what colour hair she has or indeed if she has any!

The second set of cards are stamped with another Crafter's Companion Stamp set called 'A Little Bird Told Me' and I've made these cards for Isobel's older sisters Millie and Bethany. Again I've personalised the images by colouring them in to match the recipients. Inside I printed've got a new sister! I really enjoyed using these stamps even though I had to cut them out myself and use stick and spray to mount them to the acrylic block - unlike a lot of new stamps I didn't have to sand them before first use as they give a crisp stamped image from the outset.

Well that's all my crafty news for now, I'll post a photo of baby Isobel once I've seen her and with her mum's permission of course! Hopefully I'll be back with some crafty goodness to share with you soon - until then keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Fed Up with FedEx! A Rant I'm afraid!

Hello crafty peeps, welcome to my crafty nook!

I haven't been writing this blog for that long but one of the things I've tried to be in my postings is honest and fair, if a company hasn't been able to provide me with a service (see Seriously Impressed... 9/9/14) through no fault of their own, I haven't named them as it would be unfair to imply bad service when it's as a result of events beyond their control. However I feel the need to name and shame FedEx after the experience I've had with them lately. On the 10th October 2014 I placed an order with one of my favourite online craft shops Every Crafts A Pound ( and as always I got a series of emails informing me of the status of my order. On Monday 13th October I got an email around 12.30pm saying my order had been dispatched and I anticipated it coming either the next day or Wednesday. So I stayed in and waited but no parcel arrived and nothing was in my post box so I stayed in all day Thursday and then Friday. By Saturday I was getting a little bit fed up so I emailed Every Craft's A Pound asking if they knew why it was taking so long for my parcel to arrive. Martin Crowther from ECAP quickly replied saying he wasn't sure why my parcel hadn't arrived and that he would ring them on Monday, he attached the FedEx status report regarding my order and the last thing recorded was Address Query on the 17th October and it also said that a delivery had been attempted on the 15/10/14 with a card left. This wasn't the first order I've had from ECAP in fact this would have been the 18th delivery to my address in three years. I looked online for FedEx customer services and typically they weren't available over the weekend so I sent them an email about the situation and highlighting the fact that according to the status report a card had been left on the 15th which was a total lie!

Monday 20th October: I rang the customer services number displayed on the FedEx Website and eventually got transferred to Christine at the UK customer services. She told me my package was on its way for delivery that day and because it was possible that my package was being delivered by a new driver she emailed the depot with my instructions on how to get to my home from the main road. I'm the first to admit that where I live is a tad confusing - for some reason part of it is at the bottom of the hill and the rest is round a bend and up the side of the hill and there is a street with a different name in between (when I first moved here I thought it was just a very small street!). I updated Martin by email and he replied that he'd also rung customer services and he was told that they would speak to the depot and my delivery would happen the next day (21st). So we now had two conflicting pieces of information and yet again I was stuck indoors to wait for my parcel to be delivered. 5pm came and went with no sign of my delivery so I rang customer services for a second time, spoke to someone else who told me that because there hadn't been any tracking inputting since Thursday there was a chance that my parcel had been "misplaced" and that I needed to get Martin to ring them ASAP (please note that's it's me having to do all the chasing here! - why FedEx couldn't contact Martin I've no idea!) So yet another email to Martin who'd left for home. I checked my emails at 6.15pm (ish) and discover an email from FedEx time stamped 18.50+2.00 which I assume means it came from abroad as time travel even in cyber space isn't possible as far as I know! It said my 12 digit tracking number wasn't correct and I had to provide certain information so that they could help me with my query. I replied at 18.34 with the requested information and pointed out that is wasn't surprising they'd had trouble getting the consignment details from the 12 digit tracking number because it only had ELEVEN numbers and for their information it was definitely the correct ELEVEN digit number because I had just inputted it into their tracking system and it came up with all my details.

Tuesday 21st October: After another poor night's sleep (I don't handle stress well and being cooped up inside was seriously stressing me out!) I dragged myself out of bed and got dressed etc ready to wait in again for the parcel. At 8.32am  Martin rings me to let me know that he had spoken to FedEx again and that they promised to deliver it that day and it was already in the van (is this sounding familiar to anyone??). It should be with me by 4.30pm at the latest but just in case he gave me the number of the depot in Knaresborough so I could contact them myself if it hadn't arrived by then. I waited and I waited and I waited but woo hoo surprise surprise, 4.30pm and no parcel! I rang the depot, spoke to some bloke who sounded as fed up as I was feeling and was told that my parcel was still in the warehouse and had been in there since Thursday. He did apologise and promised to dig out my parcel and put it on the desk of his colleague who started work at 4am the next morning who would ensure it went out first thing and that it would definitely be delivered the next day. So yet another email update to Martin! Martin replies and promises to ring FedEx in the morning.

Today Wednesday 22nd October 2014: Yet another bad night - I'm getting seriously frazzled at this point and have flu like symptoms. 8.18am an email from Martin - parcel has been scanned and is marked for early delivery but if I haven't by 11.30am to let him know. 11.30am guess what - no parcel so I ring Martin and we decide that he's going to ring yet again and he would ring me or email if there wasn't going to be a delivery today. At 13.45 a white van pulls up and I walk down the stair and wait in the lobby for my parcel and finally I have it! "There's been a bit of drama about this parcel," the delivery man says. "Yes I know - I've been waiting in for it since last Tuesday!" I said with gritted teeth.

I take it back to my flat and notice the parcel has not one but two bright yellow stickers on it saying, deliver before 9am. Do FedEx work to a different time zone perhaps??? Before I even opened it I emailed Martin to let him know it had finally arrived (after so much interaction with him this week, I almost added a x to my name!)

I want to stress here that in no way do I have any problem with Every Craft's A Pound - Martin has been brilliant helping getting this sorted and once Christmas is over and done with I'll be placing another order with them (do you realise Christmas is only 62 days away - how scary is that!). My problem is with FedEx and it isn't even the delay that annoys me but the lies and excuse the language bull crap they tell you. A genuine apology wouldn't go amiss either,

Well that's my rant over for now! I hope you've managed to bear with me and you'll excuse me using my blog to complain about poor service - but everyone has to vent sometimes!

I'm off to play with my new craft goodies (they are fantastic btw!) and I'll be sharing the ECAP haul with you in the next few days once I've regained my inner calm lol. Until then - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,
Sarah xx

Monday, 20 October 2014

Storage Solutions for ribbons, baker's twine and crochet lace (plus a few odds and ends)

Hello crafty peeps - welcome to my crafty nook! Hands up all you who'd prefer to spend their crafting pennies and pounds on craft goodies rather than craft storage? Me too! As much as I would like the posh custom made for crafting storage the fact of the matter is that the majority of it is way beyond my price range but with a little imagination and a lot of creative thinking, everyday items can be turned into craft storage.

My first craft storage solution I'd like to share is reusing sweetie jars, this one is an old Quality Street jar but if you go to an old fashion sweetie shop and ask nicely they'll often give you their old jars for free as they have to pay the council to recycle them (I was told this by the owner of a sweet shop when I was making rose buttonholes for all my wedding guests - the jar was the perfect place to store the finished paper roses). Just wash in hot soapy water and leave to dry and they are ready to hold whatever you wish - I've used mine to store my unused baker's twine.

My second idea started life as a peg basket from the pound shop, you can't see in the photos but this basket has a handle with a hook on it and I usually have it suspended from the shelf above my desk. I wanted some new pegs but didn't want to use the basket for them as I'd made one years ago out of a tea towel and coat hanger. I've seen ribbon storage boxes with holes cut out to thread the ribbons through and I thought this peg basket would be great to store my loose ribbons and trims. I've only threaded one side with ribbon so you can see how it originally looked but as I have it suspended above my desk I normally have both sides threaded. It's a great way to store all those short pieces of ribbon without them getting tangled and it's surprisingly roomy.

My final storage solution is actually a jewellery "tree". I was given it last Christmas and although I really liked it I knew I wouldn't use it for jewellery as I like to keep mine in it's original packaging or in a case. Because it was a gift I wanted to keep it and decided that it would be the perfect place to store packets of ribbon, trims, gems and other odds and ends where a hanger opening is build into the packaging - I've even threaded ribbon spools onto cord and hung them from the arms! You'd be amazed at how much you can pack onto something that's not very big, I tend to put 8 -10 items onto each arm and as there are 6 arms I've got my gems and pearls on one and different trims and ribbons on others depending on type and colour.

I hope this post has given you ideas on your own creative storage, if you've found it useful and would like to see more of my storage solutions, please leave a comment and I'll be happy to share more with you. Also if I've sparked some ideas I would love to see them so please leave a link below.

I'm hoping to have a couple of card making sessions in the next few days which I will share once I've made something worth sharing, until then keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,
Sarah xxx

Thursday, 16 October 2014

another baby card...

Hello crafty peeps, welcome to my crafty nook!

In my last post I promised a second card using the Little Onesie stamp from Clearly Besotted Stamps and here it is!

My original idea was to have  the onesies pegged to the washing line but not only did I not have enough mini pegs to peg all five onesies but when I added them they turned out to be far too wide and looked odd.

To make this card I stamped the onesie five times and added a different motif to each one using different coloured inks. Once the ink was dry I went over the flower, heart and rubber duck using Dovecraft clear glitter glue and put them aside to dry. I folded a sheet of A4 300gsm cardstock in half length ways to create a long skinny card blank and rounded the bottom two corners. I added a length of blue polka dot washi tape to the top edge of the card blank and taped a length of black waxed cord beneath the washi tape to be the washing line. Once the onesies were all dry I fussy cut round them and mounted them of sticky fixers just under the washing line, unfortunately I didn't use enough sticky pads and a couple of the images are a bit buckled but I'm pretending that's part of the design and they are moving in the wind lol. The baby and It's A Girl sentiments are from an old card making kit I've had kicking around my crudy was years so I mounted them onto the right hand side using sticky fixers.

I had fun making this card but I'll probably never send it out because I don't have an envelope to fit!

Well that's all my crafty news and makes so until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,
Sarah xxx

Monday, 13 October 2014

An early birthday pressie...

Hello crafty peeps - welcome to my crafty nook.My lovely hubby let me place an order with Clearly Besotted stamps last Tuesday and it arrived Wednesday! I continue to be amazed by this company. It's got to have the quickest order to delivery times of any internet craft company ever. To take advantage of the free P & P if you spend £50 or more I placed an order of £52.60 for 8 stamp sets and 4 dies which are my birthday present from Chris. He very kindly allowed me to have it straight away instead of waiting until the 25th so I've been able to have a bit of a play with two of the stamp sets.  My order consisted of the Notebook Edge Die @ £3.00, Geometric Style II Die Collection @ £5.50, Apple Die @ £1.50 (fits the apple stamp set I got in my first order), Wave Edge Die @ £2.60 (sale item), You're A Hoot stamp set @ £4.00, You're A Hoot II stamp set @ £4.00, Scientifically Speaking stamp set @ £9.00, Key To My Heart stamp set @ £4.00, Little Onesie stamp set @ £4.00, Just A Note stamp set @ £4.00, Dandelion Dreams stamp set @ £9.00 and Build A Bug stamp set @ £2.00 (sale item). Included in my order was a mini banners stamp set as a thank you for loyal custom over the two years that Stephanie Wincott has owned Clearly Besotted Stamps Felt a little guilty for receiving this freebie as this was only my second order but also extremely pleased to get it as it has some fantastic sentiments on it and fits the mini banner die I got in my last order.

Dandelion Dreams stamp set £9.00

Scientifically Speaking Stamp set £9.00

Little Onesie stamp set £4.00 and Key To My Heart stamp set £4.00

Just A Note stamp set £4.00 and Build a Bug stamp set £2.00

You're A Hoot stamp set £4.00 and You're A Hoot II stamp set £4.00

My free stamp set!

Notebook Edge Die £3.00

Geometric Style II Die Collection £5.50

Wave Edge Die £2.60

Apple Die £1.50

To show my appreciation for the free stamp set I made a thank you card using the free stamp set and the Dandelion Dreams stamp set - I love these stamps as they are very versatile even though the dandelions aren't exactly what I'd call a dandelion clock but are very attractive in their styling.

Thank You card using Dandelion Dream 

I kept things simple by stamping the images out using black ink and added a splash of colour with polka dot red washi tape. I think I went a bit OTT with stamping out the individual seeds but it was very rather relaxing and I couldn't stop lol. I continued the seed theme on the inside of the card and went over the black ends of both the flower heads and the seeds with a black wink of stella marker. Finally I added a single coloured gem to the centre of the main flower.

The other stamp set which demanded instant use was the Little Onesie stamp set - deceptive in it's simplicity I've actually used it to make two very different style cards. My sister-in-law is due to have her baby girl on my birthday but I've a feeling she'll have it sooner than that so I wanted to have a new baby card ready for her.

This very simple card was made by stamping the onesie using Memento Black ink onto white card with the flower stamped using a purple ink (not sure of brand). The centre was coloured in using a yellow Promarker and some Dovecraft glitter glue was added to the top to add some sparkle. Once the glue was dry I fussy cut the onesie out (really easy with such a simple image) and then a It's A Girl printed sentiment was added behind it (originally from a card kit) and the whole thing was popped up on sticky pads and stuck down to the centre of a scalloped edge card blank. Crocheted lace and pink velvet ribbon was added on the right side and BABY was spelt out using embossed letters from the same card kit as the it's a girl sentiment.

The second baby card isn't quite finished yet so I'll share it with you all the next time I post. Until then - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Baby, it's cold outside!!!

Hello crafty peeps welcome to my crafty nook! Brrr, well you can certainly tell it Autumn now. Cold, rainy days and nights have made it the perfect time to snuggle into my crudy and work on some projects. As you know if you're a regular reader of this blog I'm rather fond of entering card comps in magazines and as it's looking increasing unlikely that I was one of the winners of the Cardmaker of the Year 2014 comp I've started to work towards the next competition, "Papercrafter of the Year 2014" that's currently running in the Papercraft Essentials magazine. The entry needs to consist of two cards and one papercraft project (mini book, scrapbook page etc) and as I find the papercraft project the most challenging I decided to work on that first. To begin with I did consider making an emergency card kit out of some cardboard packaging sent through the post (the judges seem to like upcycling if previous winning entries are to be believed) but as one of the rules is that the third part of your entry must not be a card I was slightly worried that my entry would be disqualified if I did this project. So instead I've made a Santoro Simply Gorjuss themed birthday book with matching gift bag. Ironically enough the pages of the birthday book are sort of gatefold cards - 14 of them in fact!
Front Panel of Gorguss Girls Birthday Book

Simply Gorjuss Gift Bag featuring "The Fox"
Close up of "On Top of the World" stamped image
I had to trim the OTOTW stamped image because once I fussy cut it out I realised it was far to big for the front of the book but I think it still looks okay.

I made 14 gatefold cards out of A4 white cardstock and trimmed them down to 7" tall as I wanted the gates to be 6" by 3" and the inner panel to be 6" by 6" (ignoring the tabbed top) I used a WRMK envelope punch board to create the tab top and cut the excess card from the gates. I then used an ordinary two hole punch to punch out the holes for the Woodware book rings to go through.The hole reinforcers were plain white but I stamped over them using a script stamp and Distress inks then I blended the same ink over them once the stamped image was dry. I used Dusty Concord, Red Brick. Walnut Stain, Shabby Shutters and Tumbled Glass (I think) to stamp and blend over the various hole reinforcers. I added the altered hole reinforcers and trimmed them slightly down to size. I've had a Santoro notepaper set for absolutely years and it had 15 sheets of gold embossed paper with faded script in the background which is perfect for this project so I cut them down to size and added them to the inside of the gatefold as above. The front panels were decorated with Docrafts Santoro Simply Gorjuss 6" by 6" paper pack and were simply cut in half and trimmed slightly so that there was a small white border round each panel. I then stamped 15 Gorguss Girl stamps, coloured them in using promarkers and fussy cut round each image. I went round the images using a waterbased black marker (a black Promarker would just bleed into the image as I discovered on one of the images - I had to start again!) so the edges look more finished (think I may have missed a spot or two) and then the coloured images were added to the inner panels. To finish the gatefold "cards" I stamped the tabs with the relevant month using a calendar stamp set which I got free with Simply Homemade magazine last year and the front and back panel were stamped with notes and calendar notes. I thought these panels could be used for things like Easter which changes dates and for Christmas card lists. The front and back panel were cut to 6" by 7" and tabbed in the same way that the gatefold "cards" were but I used 350gsm hammered white cardstock instead of the 250gsm plain white cardstock that I used for the gatefolds. I decorated the front panel using more of the 6" by 6" paper and the On Top Of The World stamped image. I hand lettered some relevant book titles and "remember" on a piece of white cardstock which I stuck behind a metal book plate. I then fixed the book plate to the front page using two mini brads. Finally I added a length of "Remember" printed ribbon to one of the book rings and secured it using black waxed cord.

The paper gift bag was simply decorated using Santoro A4  butterfly paper cut to size - it's hard to tell from the photos but the butterfly paper is textured and feels like canvas. I added a Gorguss Girl Notelet (£3.00 for a pack of 12 assorted from Docrafts) to the centre, made a tag using kraft card and a Sizzix Tag#2 die and decorated with the cut off strip from the front panel then finished the whole thing off by adding some green gems (Hunkydory - total bargain from Goodwins in Bridlington at only £1.00 a pack!) and a length of printed ribbon. Because the paper bag is quite flimsy I added a sheet of kraft card cut to size to the back and a panel of mountboard to the inside of the back to reinforce the bottom.

Below are some more photos of the complete project. As always, if you have any questions please write them in the comments section and I'll get back to you ASAP. I got a birthday present from my lovely hubby today which I'll be sharing with you in the next few days, but in the meantime - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,
Sarah xxxx