Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A Few Labours of Love (and as it's turned out a bit of a rant!) part one

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you're all having a brilliant week so far. It's beginning to brighten up here on the Yorkshire coast after a few days of rain and gloomy weather which is lovely for the kids celebrating half term and even better for the parents as it means they can spend the days on the beaches instead of in the amusement arcades.

There has been two significant events happen in my life during May - the first was on the 16th when my sister married her long time partner Simon. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend because I came down with a severe tummy bug (which was extra contagious because even though most if not all of his symptoms had vanished a week after he started with them, my husband still manage to infect my mum when they met up!) I was worried about the journey (an hour on a bus with no loos!!!) and about infecting everyone at the wedding so decided it would be best not to go. As much as it may have upset my sister I'm sure it was the best decision because who wants to be ill on their wedding night or for days afterwards?? Partly down to the bug and other reasons beyond my control (i.e. my hubby refused to go into town and the card needed to go large packet) their card didn't actually get send until Saturday, for which I am sorry. I have no idea if my sister has got her card or not as she's not mentioned it but I wanted to share what I made as I'm rather proud of the card I made for the happy couple.

 I don't think non-crafters truly appreciate what goes into a handcrafted card, even the most simplest of my creations takes a minimum of 40 minutes to make and as the national living wage is around £7.50 per hour that represents £5.00 of my time - when was the last time you paid £5.00 for a card? That doesn't even take into account the time it takes to come up with the idea or the materials used. The card I'm going to share with you is far from being a 'simple' make and took nearly five hours to make (which in monetary terms is around £37). I think the point I'm trying to make for all you non crafters who might be reading this blog is that a handcrafted card (and I call it handcrafted not homemade for a reason!) isn't just a piece of card, it's a gift of the crafter's time and should be appreciated as such. So if cards aren't to your taste or arrive a bit late or even very late, take into consideration the fact that the sender is human not a card making machine and remember that that human had to design the card, make the card and send the card - and may have personal or health difficulties that you are unaware of.  Anyway nuff said lol *dusts off soapbox and puts it away until next time!* here's the card for my sister and her new husband.

Bookatrix Easel Card

Tattered Lace Butterfly swirl diecut twice to make layered embellishment

Layered Sentiment with cupped bejewelled purple flowers 

Memory Box Heart Stems combined with diecut butterflies 

Card opened using the easel with entwined wedding band/engagement ring stopper

Layered stitched oval sentiment with cupped bejewelled flowers

Entwined wedding band/engagement ring diecut 8 times to make it 3D

Stitched Oval sentiment with bejewelled cupped flowers

A closer look at the opened Bookatrix Easel card

The purple heart strips were die cut three times and added to the edge to keep the card shut when not opened

Layered square sentiment panel on back of  card decorated with paper dots

Blank layered square panel for personal message

The back of the card

I'm sorry there are so many photos but when you've spent 5 hours making a card it's important to show all the details that take so much time to make (the diecutting and layering etc). This isn't perfect - but then if you want perfection I suggest you go to a shop and buy a mass produced card - but it is one of the most intricate and beautiful Bookatrix cards I've ever made (I'm never sure how to decorate them once they're made!) I don't have very much lilac card in my stash so compromised by using lilac script paper on the front layer of the book and dark purple Centura Pearl cardstock for all the other purple elements. I'm not going to go into much more detail as this post is so long that I'm going to have to share the second card another time plus I'm seriously considering entering a similar card for one of the cardmaking of the year comps which should should be starting soon and I can give the details on how to make it when I've made and sent them off. I've tried to give details of some of the supplies used in the photo captions if that helps in the meantime.

Part two of this blog post will be added tomorrow - my fingers are getting tired from all the typing lol.  As always if you have any questions then please leave them in the usual places and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Sunday, 28 May 2017

A New Challenge and a few cards to share.

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you are all well and enjoying your weekend. We haven't had the forecast thunderstorms though it has gone very overcast, it did the same yesterday but no rain to relieve the pressure. Michele and I have decided on our next challenge and it's a good one to do yourself if you have the latest issue of Quick Cards Made Easy magazine. The free covermount gift this month is a Nautical card making kit which contains die cut pieces, patterned papers and four printed card blanks. We have challenged each other to make a card that's not featured in the magazine (so no CASE cards) using the kit and basic cardmaking supplies. In addition we can use twine or ribbon, gems (in all their forms so pearls and enamel dots are ok too), Card Candi, brads and embossed card but like the first challenge the kit items must be the main event as it were. It would be brilliant if some of you joined in too - I don't have the expertise to link your cards to the blog directly but if you decide to join in then either leave a link to your blog in the comments section and I'll link it in a blog post when the challenge is over or email me a photo (like Michele did in the first challenge) with a few details about yourself and what you used to make the card and I can add them to the completed challenge blog post. We've decided the deadline for the challenge should be the middle of June so that we can challenge each other again for the last two weeks so please try and get your entries in by the 15th of June 2017. If you don't have the magazine feel free to share your cards anyway if they are nautical themed (I don't know about you but I have a lot of seaside and ocean themed stuff in my stash) just let me know what you've used. Please don't be shy, I love to see what people make and sharing is caring (unless it's germs!)  😍

I've made a few cards recently but haven't had chance to share them on my blog so I thought I'd just do a gallery style blog post (though without the fancy graphics or music lol) for the rest of this piece.

I've kept the photos smaller than usual just because there are so many of them and a lot of them are the same card but taken from a different angle. I hope you like my card share, if you want to know how a particular card has been made then please leave a comment in the usual places and I'll either answer your question in the comments section or I'll add a new blog post. On Wednesday I'll be sharing a Wedding Card and a New Baby Card so please look out for that and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,


Saturday, 27 May 2017

Unused Die Challenge - my card

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you've all had a good week and have lots of crafty plans for the weekend. It's a bank holiday weekend in the UK so we are expecting thunderstorms here on the Yorkshire coast - lol I know the British talk about the weather a lot but that's probably because it's so changeable. We've had a mini heatwave the past week and as long as they aren't as severe as it's been predicted, I'm quite looking forward to a thunderstorm to clear the air a bit and make it a tad cooler. There's a possibility we might be having guests at short notice at some point so I'm having to do my least favourite activity this weekend - cleaning! Not sure why I bother true be told because it never stays that way and I spend more time then I'd care to think about re-cleaning things I've just done - my husband blames the cat so much that I'm thinking about entering him on Britain's Got Talent as Jinx obviously has amazing human like abilities that need to be exploited on TV lol.

As you know from the last post my friend Michele and I challenged each other to use a previously unused die set to make a card. The last post showcased Michele's lovely weather themed card and this time it's my turn to share what I made. Michele chose a die set by Xcut called Bee Keeping (bought because it was a bargain as so many items in my stash are.) It's been lurking in my stash for absolutely ages mainly because I wasn't sure what to do with it. We were allowed basic craft supplies and up to five additional items but the dies had to be the main focus of the card.

I used three of the nine dies in the set, from my basic craft supplies I used white card, a Dovecraft white card blank, an ink blender, scissors, various adhesives and black ink and my five additional items were a typewriter alphabet stamp set, yellow cellophane, frosted thin acetate taken from the packaging from some felt embellishments, a gold Spectrum Noir Shimmer brush pen and distress inks in stormy sky, fossilised amber and a tiny bit of walnut stain. If you've been counting it would look like I went over my allotted five extra items but we'd agreed that colouring mediums would count as one item so if we used three alcohol markers for example it would count as one item but if we added a different medium such as a white gel pen to add highlights then that would count as an additional item. Every now and again I'll spend an hour or so just cutting A4 card stock down to A6 size (so cut the card in half then each half in half so you get 4 pieces of pretty much the same size out of each sheet) so I have a good stock of card the perfect size for making card toppers, for this card I used Sheena's stamping card as it's really good for ink blending and it is 300gsm - it feels thicker than that though. I took one of my pre-cut pieces and ink blended stormy sky ink completely over the card, I wanted it to have a textured look so splattered it with some water and mopped it with kitchen towel, I allowed it to dry then added more ink and water until I was happy with the result. Next I took seven sheets of my pre-cut card and for the first five, I ran them through my die cutting machine with the honeycomb die one at a time. I kept the hexagons to one side to use later. For the remaining two sheets of card, I ran them through the machine together so the die cut out the first layer but just impressed it's design into the bottom piece. I now knew how much of the card to colour with the fossilised amber distress ink. I coloured over the impressed area with the ink and a blending tool and put it to one side to completely dry. I wanted my honeycomb to have lots of depth to it so I stuck four of  die cuts together using wet glue - I found it helpful to weigh the glued pieces down with an acrylic block to stop them from shifting before they were totally dry. I wanted the honeycomb to look full of honey so stuck a sheet of yellow cellophane behind the stacked layer with wet glue, it was quite tricky and the cellophane went a bit crinkly in places as it dried. Once it had I added the remaining two die cuts behind it and cut off the excess cellophane. I coloured the top and the sides (but not the interiors of the combs)with the fossilised amber ink then went over it with a gold Spectrum Noir Shimmer brush pen. Once it was all dry I coloured two of the hexagon shapes with walnut stain distress ink and added them to the back of the honeycomb as I wanted them to look like empty chambers waiting to be filled with honey then I lined the piece up to the impression on the remaining piece of card and glued it into place. Once it was completely dried I trimmed around the honey comb with a pair of scissors. I stamped 'bee happy' onto the hexagon pieces left over from die cutting out the honeycombs and coloured over them using the gold shimmer marker. I die cut the honey dipper four times out of the scraps of card left over from the honeycomb die cutting and stuck three of them together, I replaced the negative part of the dipper onto the fourth die cut and held it in place with some double sided tape, then blended over the dipper with fossilised amber ink, I allowed it to dry then added it to the bottom of my stacked die cut. I went over the top of the dipper with the gold shimmer pen. Next I die cut the bee out of a scrap of frosted thin acetate and then out of a piece of white card. I trimmed the card so only a body and head shape remained and carefully coloured it with fossilised amber and walnut stain ink so it looked like a fuzzy bee's body and I added this over the frosted acetate with wet glue - it took ages to dry. Now that the die cutting was all completed I assembled the card as shown on the photos using a mixture of wet glue, foam squares and double sided tape.

This wasn't the quickest card to make due to all the die-cutting but you could get a similar effect just using one layer of die cuts instead of the stacked version I've made. I think the die set may have a matching stamp set because the bees in particular are hard to use on their own (they look weird just die cut) so I may have to try and find it online. I hope you've enjoyed my challenge card - I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in it and I'm looking forward to our next one. If you'd like to take part (just for fun, no prizes I'm afraid) then please let me know and I'll be announcing our next challenge shortly.

As always if you have any questions or comments then please leave them in the usual places, please take a few minutes to check out Michele's lovely creation (it's the post preceding this one) and until next time - keep crafting!

Love and crafty hugs,

Sarah xxx

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Unused Die Challenge featuring a card by Guest Designer Michele Coffey

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! It's nearly the weekend again and it should be a hot one here in the UK even though it's a Bank Holiday this Monday (*shock face*).

 One of the things I love about the online crafting community is the ability to make new friends with a common interest and this blog is no exception. Thanks to my crafty nook I've made a very good friend - Michele and we email each other on a regular basis. It is really nice to be able to share things with a crafty pal as my non cyber world doesn't contain many crafty people (there are a few exceptions of course!) so most of my friends don't really get my craft obsession and even my dear husband accuses me of being a craft bore on occasions (but then again he bores me half to death with sports stuff so we're equal  😉). As you may have noticed I have a bit of a crafty obsession with eBay dies at the moment and after going through my stash it sparked a question for Michele - had she ever bought a die and never used it? I have quite a few unopened die sets in my collection but the dies that triggered the question was a set of Chinese Theatre characters which I bought fully knowing I'd probably never use them but wanted because they were so novel (see photo below). The only other time I've been tempted to buy a die set I knew I'd never use was after the USA Presidential Election when a set came out called "Avatar" and turned out not to be characters from the film but profiles of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump - I'm not sure in what circumstance Clinton and Trump dies would be necessary but I wanted them for the novelty factor, if they'd been a bit cheaper they'd probably be in my stash now! It turns out that I wasn't alone so we decided to challenge each other to use an unused die set chosen by the other person.

Chinese Theatre Characters Die Set

We both went through our stash and chose some die sets (I'll freely admit I was too ashamed to share all my unused sets as there were loads of them!) then emailed photos of them to each other. We decided to have a few rules to ensure that the die set remained the main feature of the card. We were allowed to use basic craft supplies (plain card, adhesive, ink for stamping (but not colouring), scissors, die cutting machine etc) and up to five additional items (but as it was our first challenge we wouldn't quibble if we used six) to make the card - for example we could use an additional die set and the set would count as one item regardless of how many dies were in that set, the same applied to colouring mediums (though alcohol pens would be one item but if you then chose to go over it with a sparkle pen then that would be another item out of the five), stamp sets and to speciality papers etc. I chose a weather themed set for Michele to use. Originally we had the deadline of 16th of May to make the card and Michele made hers well in advance of that, unfortunately breaking my toe put a bit of a crimp in my crafting and combined with our computer being difficult (our Windows 10 vanished - we could get on the internet but couldn't upload photos without Windows 10, then trying to fix it ourselves resulted in us getting locked out of our computer - a very costly and frustrating set of events) I didn't manage to get a photo emailed until the 22nd nearly a week after the deadline.

Card designed by Michele Coffey 

In her own words, this is what Michele used to make her challenge card, "I used a white card blank, 2 colours of card plus white(pearl) , an embossing folder & glossy Accents. Oh yes-the graduated colour card on the background-I'm hoping that brings me to my "Five a Day"?!"

I'm sure you'll agree that Michele did a brilliant job - I love the graduated coloured card in the background and the embossing is so deep - I love it! All it needs is a sentiment and it would be the perfect card for someone feeling under the weather. I might have to invest in the die set too! It's a First Editions set called "Weather" (I think!) - see photo below.

First Edition Die Set

Michele chose a Docrafts Xcut die set called 'Bee Keeping' for my challenge and I'll be sharing my card and how I made it in the next blog post. A huge thank you to Michele for allowing me to share the card she made during our challenge. Her card is amazing and we both agreed it was a good challenge to do. We hope to challenge each other again soon and if you've been inspired to use one of your unused die sets that's currently lurking in your crafty stash, please leave a comment below or email a photo of your card so I can add it to this blog (email: I hope you've enjoyed this post, 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

Thursday, 18 May 2017

A non card post - useful info in case my computer goes wrong (AGAIN!) with Windows 10

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I seem to be constantly apologising for not posting very often at the moment and this blog is no exception. I am truly sorry for the delay between posts but Windows 10 on our computer went wrong and we couldn't sign in. To compound the problem, trying to fix it made the problem worse and we couldn't actually log into the computer itself which meant we couldn't reset it or anything. We ended up paying £70 to have it fixed but someone on Facebook saw a comment I'd made about how rubbish I thought Windows 10 was and gave me the information listed below. I have saved it onto a new document but then twigged that if Windows 10 messes up again I won't be able to access the folder. Until we locked ourselves out of the computer totally, we did still have internet access plus my blog is one of the few things my phone allows me to access with it's limited internet so I thought I'd add a blog post with the pertinent information just in case - I hope you'll excuse the non crafty post.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS INFORMATION IS USED AT YOUR OWN RISK, PLEASE DO NOT HOLD ME RESPONSIBLE IF YOU TRY IT AND MAKE THINGS WORSE, to be honest I'm only adding it to my blog because that's the one place I know for definite I can access if anything goes wrong again because I can access the posts on my phone (unable to add posts via the phone though).

* Hold-and-press or right-click on Start menu, select the Command Prompt (Admin) from menu.
* Within Command Prompt, type the command below:

REG ADD HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\XblAuthManager /v SvcHostSplitDisable /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

and press Enter to execute it.
* Then restart the system to take effects.
If that is still not working, you might need to clear the local stored Xbox identity data
* Open the File Explorer, access the location by coying it and paste into the address bar:
* Delete the Accounts and Cache folders completely, and start Xbox app again to check if you login the app fine.

I will be adding another blog post featuring actual cards in the next couple of days, until then I hope you are all well and looking forward to the weekend (only a couple of weeks until the next Bank Holiday!) Until then, keep crafting.

Crafty hugs and love,

Sarah xxxx

Monday, 8 May 2017

Having a Break...

Hello crafty peeps and welcome to my crafty nook! I hope you all had a brilliant weekend. It's been a bit longer than I was hoping between blog posts but for a very good reason - I broke my middle toe on my right foot a week ago. You wouldn't think a broken toe would prevent someone from crafting and it sort of hasn't, instead it's made it very difficult to get into my crudy. My craftroom is very small and has lots of stuff in it including a couple of plastic towers which cut the path to my desk to about 8" wide. As a result I have to do a sort of shuffle past the stuff to get to my desk and it is extremely painful to do this with a broken toe. I managed to grab my Sizzix sidekick, a die and a few bits and pieces earlier in the week and took them into the lounge so I could craft with my foot elevated and I actually crafted in the early hours of this morning as I couldn't sleep but I've had to keep things fairly simple and have only managed to die cut things that can fit into my sidekick (more than you'd imagine but not as many as I'd like!) because it's painful to stand for more than a minute or two and my Big Shot is on a pile of plastic containers away from my craft table. I'm trying to rest my foot as much as possible because my sister is getting married next week and I need to be able to walk for that (I've ordered some mock crocs online because the thought of putting the rather nice but tight fitting shoes I'd bought for the wedding gives me the cold sweats! I'm going to bling them up a bit to make them look a bit more festive). I even let my husband do the washing up last Tuesday and I'm a total control freak when it comes to the washing up! He didn't do a bad job of it even if he did use a bath's worth of water to do a sinkful of pots (and he used clean water to soak the recycling - who does that when they are on a meter??) I'm very grateful for his help, it isn't easy for him to do the tasks I take for granted. There isn't really much you can do for broken toes and they don't even require hospital treatment unless it's your big toe or a compound fracture (that's when the bone pokes through the skin - extremely rare for toes) so I've followed the advice on the NHS Direct website and have it taped to the toe next to it and I'm keeping it elevated as much as possible. Most of the bruising and swelling has gone now and it only really hurts if it's touched (apart from a faint ache) the top part of the toe is sort of bent to the right which is rather funny to look at as it's almost as though it's trying to get away from its 'buddy'.

Let's get to some crafting! I made another Catitudes card, this time a birthday card for my Auntie-in-law.

I used another piece of the luscious 6" x 6" DCWV glitter paperstack that I've carefully hoarded for years - I've come to realise that if I don't start using the gorgeous papers I already own, then I'm going to run out of space to put new ones. One of the things I love most about this collection (apart from the sheer gorgeousness of it!) is the fact that the glitter is totally encapsulated and won't rub off no matter what you do to it. I die cut the cat out of Centura Pearl black card and decorated it with AB nail gems as shown (you just need a dab of glue to stick them on) I bought these from eBay and you get a lot of different sizes for the money all neatly stored in a round container about the same size as a needle dispenser (for sewing), it's great because only one section at a time can be opened so you don't risk spilling the whole lot on the floor. The ornate shape that the cat is mounted on was die cut using a Xcut nesting doorplate die set. The next size up from it is a considerable amount larger than this one so I die cut it a second time using the black card and cut it in half so I could shadow mount it behind the white piece. The stamped greeting was made using Versafine Black ink and a stamp from my stash. This is a top folding card and the black matting layer was made using some more of the Centura Pearl black card.

I have made a second card but I will share it with you another day - just in case I don't manage to do much crafting. 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