Saturday, 2 April 2011

Mini Catalogue Blog Hop!


If you've just joined me from Vals page, Hello!! You'll be following the Blog Hop, and I hope you've enjoyed yourself so far.

Don't you love the mini? (tardy with the linkage, I know) but I'm sure you've been tempted to look through it by some of the gorgeous projects you've already seen. I have to say I was delighted as soon as I spotted the Botanical Gazette Papers and the Nature Walk stamp set (being a back to front reader, I got to them before the Bigshot, at which point I squeaked a lot, much to Dear Fella's amusement).

If you don't already know, I used to work in several museums and art galleries which I'd known since I was a small child and have many memories of peering into trays full of eggs, butterfly and insect specimens gathered from all four corders of the globe, and so together these inspired my project - My own little wall mountable Specimen Box.

The various componants were gathered from my garden and the local parks, which just put on their years blossom show and in the case of the eggs, pinched from an old easter decoration! The blossoms were squished between several heavy books (protected by a couple of layers of Kitchen paper) and dried.

The box was very simple to make - simply a flat gift box made from chipboard and covered with the beautiful Botanical Gazette Papers. There was so much variety in the pack it was hard to choose! The middle was cut out so that a Window Sheet could be put in and the whole outside was distressed a little more with Crumb Cake and the inks and sanding blocks from the Distressing Kit, just to knock a bit of the shine off. 

It doesn't show so well, but the small egg were stamped onto CS (Very Vanilla) that had been dampened and scrunched, before being distressed with inks from the Distressing Kit, and generally being treated rather roughly. The flowers and the darling little bees were stamped in Soft Suede straight onto the the backing paper, which again was from the Botanical Gazette Set.

To finish, i used some of the beautiful new Seam Binding Ribbon, which is so light and silky, and creases well to give that 'old' look. I used some of the ribbon braiding and wrapped the ends around the box and tied them in a bow. To finish, I used a couple of buttons (from The IB&C, but only because silly me forgot to include the gorgeous new ones in her order - Do'h!) and popped on a pearl, for they have to be included on everything now.

Thank you so much for popping by and off you go now to see what Jacqui has in store for you - bon voyage!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Spring has sprung and the garden calls.

Hello all,

I've been concentrating mainly on other things this past week or two, and uploading the images of the album slipped my mind. Ack! The main thing I've been doing is weeding, tidying, sowing, mulching, and planting out in the garden. By the time spring proper arrives I should have tomatoes, peppers, potatos, poppies and a whole host of herbs and flowers. They are currently doing well, growing at an almost visible pace in trays on our kitchen counters (alas, my little growing shelves have bust a zip) I'm absolutly over the moon that most of the plants survived, not just my amateur efforts but also the terrible snows and frosts. But they are flourishing!

Its these lovely spring like happenings that i've been thinking about celebrating when our new mini is launched. Out at the beginning of April, I can't tell you how very exciting it is. As well as a host of beautiful new stamps, papers and accessories, theres one product that I know we've been waiting an awful long time for...

To celebrate the launch, i'll be taking part in a blog hop at the beginning of April - exact date to be confirmed - which is a wonderful way for you to see work form many of SU's Demos and gather a lot of inspiration on how to use the new products. Do come back and see it! And its this that i'll be using as an excuse to pick blossoms, leave random piles of books about the house and fill the kitchen with seedlings. 

I've been making swaps again too - sweet little ornaments based on easter eggs, using the sweet treat cups. They went down a storm! As i'll be at my mums place around easter i'm thinking a lot of them might be made with my neice and hung on branches as a decoration.

I also just learned how to braid ribbon - thanks to the lovely Julie at my craft club. I'm intent on discovering all the different ways that this lovely effect can be used and when I do I promise to share.

So as promised, the tri- shutter album. Still no name though - suggestions on a post card folks. I'm afraid you don't get to see the inside flap or the back though as i've already started recording all my weightloss bits and bobs in there.

See you all when I have some braided ribbons to squeak about, x

Monday, 28 February 2011

March Frenzy!


Stampin' Up! introduce their March Frenzy promotion 
- selected products at up to 30% off! 

Reduced products include papers, wheels, accessories, pastels and the gorgeous Greenhouse Gala Designer Series Papers - perfect for all your Easter, Mothers Day and general spring crafting (plus, for all you crafty brides out there, the white shimmer paper would be perfect for adding the subtle hint of glamour to your invites and favours).

Take a look at the PDF on the March Frenzy page at the top here, or view an easy to read text version via the link in the sidebar, and join me in getting just a bit excited about these lovely items at lovely prices!

Bye for now,
H x

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Colds, grrrrrrrrrrrr.....

I have had a stonking cold the last few days! That combined with some seemingly endless rain means I haven't managed to get outside to take some decent photo's of the finished Tri-shutter album. I think maybe its time to find the brightest corner in the house and make it into a proper mini photography studio.

Of course to do that I have to oust the cat from her spot, seeing as she's probably going to be sleeping in the brightest corner.

I don't know if I would win that tussle.

Hope you are all well my lovelies, and that you all enjoyed National Chocolate Adoration/Valentines Day.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Training Days

Last Sunday was the second Passionettes training day i've been too, and it was just as much fun, if not more fun, than last time. Bekka's Business tips were inspirational (as expected, she really has got a gift - and not just for creating lovely things) and all the demonstrations were so wonderful, with practical help on using various SU projects. The make and takes were also brilliant - Monica and her helpers excelled themselves!

One project I particularly loved wasactually done by my upline Caroline. If you're at all familiar with Tri-Shutter cards then you'll get why I loved it. It was a photo album made from two of the cards joined together and decorated very prettily.

It open out into a long shallow album, with lots of little places to pop photo's and other bits and bobs

It struck me that it would be the perfect way to document a journey - something like a baby's first year, or a period of travelling, or as a fellow Demo sugested to me, weight loss! 
So, inspired by that and the idea of journeys, I went home and immediately tryed my hand at making the album. I'm quite pleased with the results (even though its not yet finished!)


To the front i'm still thinking what i'm going to do, but i've also added a panel on the back using the lined paper in the Newsprint DSP pack, to record significant events and targets - more pictures when its complete I promise. 

Since then Caroline sent me a copy of the tutorial she's produced for the projects, complete with a presentation box, making it a perfect gift. So I might just have to make more and send them to friends and family.

The colours I used were Pink Pirouette, Crumbcake and Very Vanilla cardstock, Newsprint DSP and Crumbcake ink to the edges of the DSP.  The edges of the crumbcake matts were distressed with my finger nail, but believe me thats not good if you have a lot to do (owie!), so i'll be purchasing the distressing tools Stampin' Up! do for just this job! I also used the Small Heart punch to clip the corners into an interesting shape, and finished them with a flat backed pearl.

See you soon x

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Bird wing flowers, a bit of a swaps tutorial.

Hallo all, I decided to try putting up a tutorial to show how the wing shape from the 2 Step Bird Punch can be used to make what I think are lovely little life-like flowers. Based primarily on the Exochorda, or Pearlbush I have growing in my garden - A gift from my grandmother and mother when I moved south and it produces beautiful five petaled white blossoms in spring.

I had an awful lot of seed from it last year, and wondered what to do with them. Though i'd love to fill the whole garden with them, there really isn't room! So when the theme of 'New Beginnings' came up for Monica's training day, I couldn't resist going with the idea of  new life in the form of plants. Its a particularly suitable plant too, as its variety, macarantha is commonly called 'The Bride' and often given as wedding gifts - two for one!

The swaps 

An exercise in using up scraps (I had a lot of them!) The boxes themselves were 2x4" Triangle boxes - these boxes a so quick to make and there's not a bit of glue needed - just a hole punch and a tie (in this case the ever useful silver elastic)


I decided to keep the decoration simple - stamping all over with Versamark for a subtle texture. I used the lovely little butterfly and bee from the Sale-a-Bration set Sweet Summer, to tie in with the idea of garden and blossoms. (Remember the Sweet Summer sets, and three others, are absolutly free if you spend more than £45 before the end of February!)


Once I'd stamped the random pattern (have you noticed how hard it is to be random?) I scored the card peices as you can see in the picture - basically mark the central point on each edge, then score across the middle, then in the diamond pattern to link up the four midpoints. 
I found the easiest way to punch them was to fold them up until they were closed, then wiggle your fiskers punch into the opening at the top - punch through the two layers on one side, swivel it round and punch through the other side.

Now for the flowers. I'll warn you these aren't the quickest of flowers to make, but I do think they are worth the effort. Using the 2-Step Bird punch, cut out five wings for each flower you need - In my case 250! I used off cuts (using up scraps again, yey!) from when I made last years christmas cards, and having the paper in thin strips meant that none was wasted in punching out the other pieces - a wonderfully handy tip if you only want one part of the punch.

One tool that was absolutly indespensible was a
toothpick - primarily for rolling the petals into shape.

I started by rolling the thinnest point into a slight cone, I then worked on the outer edge, rolling inwards and outwards as I pleased in an effort to make each petal unique.

However be prepared for a LOT of broken picks! Don't throw them away though.


For my swaps I chose to sponge a little green onto the thin end with the daubers, because that was where the colour was if I remember back to last spring rightly. You can also choose to give them streaks of pink or red with the markers, or to colour the round edges if you like - its entirely up to you and however you want it. 

In this illustration though I've left them blank, primarily as i'd only just got all the Wild Wasabi ink off my fingers and my hands are bad enough at the moment (do forgive my apalling nails, I've lots 12lbs recently and all that virtuousness has had its toll on my poor thumbs).

The leaves were also made with bird wing, and again from scraps i'd cut into strips for ease of punching. 

I shaped them the way i'd learned many years ago in school - with a scored wavy line. It gives a wonderful shape and with the two tones of green - Wild Wasabi and Certainly Celery - it added a bit of depth.

You can use your scoring tool, but as a fine line was needed, I ended up using the toothpick again. Just simply draw a wavy line traveling roughly from the middle of the round end to the point - as you can see i'm not that accurate, but I found it didn't matter.

Then I simply pinched them together, if they don't respond properly, you can also get in there and fold them along the line, but most of the time, pinching sufficed.

To assemble the flower.

I used a round base - but you can use anything, or mount them directly onto your project. Using Tombow I put a little bit on the middle and another bit to one side.
On the side I glued the leaves, one in each colour, but experiment and see what you like.


As the petals of the Exochorda were quite distinctly separated, I arranged them so that the points didn't quite meet in the middle. If you were doing an apple or cherry blossom you could bring the petals in to meet or even overlap at the point to suit the flower.


This is where those little bits of broken toothpick come in - they make excellent little tools for pressing the petal points into place and holding them there while the glue takes, meaning you don't get Tombow (which is designed to remain tacky even when dry) on your hands, making the job twice as fiddly.

I finished the flower by punching out the two smallest shapes from the Boho Blossoms punch. I did them in So Saffron as I wanted to inject a little more colour into the flower. I sprayed them with a little water and scrunched them up, then glued them to the centre and, because they are so pretty and make the perfect finishing touch, added a large flat back Pearl to the centre. 
I then simply glued the flower onto the boxes, filled the boxes with seed and tied them together.


I do have to admit though that not everyone got a box of my Pearlbush seeds, as there were fewer than I thought. So instead some got Sweetpea seeds, as I know of noone who doesn't enjoy their bright colours and gorgeous pong. Be careful though if you have a cat who nibbles (as Faran always does, her favorite being roses), as all parts of the plant are poisonous to kitty's - make sure you put the flowers out of their way.

Getting carried away!

The swaps made I felt inspired, so this afternoon I had a go at making two more types of flowers - the first was simply the Exochorda with more petals. 

With the circle to start with again, I simply placed them closely together and added more layers, finishing again with the Boho blossoms centre. 

The third flower was a little more ambitious. I was aiming for something more old rose like - lots and lots of tightly packed petals! I started with the centre this time, tightly rolling the first petal, then the second slightly looser.
I stuck them together with more Tombow, putting it this time on the inside of the next petal to be attached. As I went I pulled the top edges out a little, to make a bud. Once the glue is holding them securely, snip the bottom off (just a few millimeters will do).

When I had about six or so petals forming the centre, I went back and started the base. This time I started gluing from the outside in, adding as many layers as I could get in. Again the bits of toothpick came in use to press the petal points into place - i didn't escape without some glue on my finger though, it does get a bit tricky!


I continued cramming in the petals, getting asmany as I could, before popping a blob of glue on the base of the bud and. Placing it in the centre

To fix it all in place I rested it in the palm of my hand and pressed it into place, making it slightly cup shaped - you don't have to do this, I just wanted the petals more 'squished' together. 

On both flowers, I glued the leaves on to the outside edge so the tips could just be seen.


So there we go, three (I think) lovely flowers from one punch shape. If you make some of these do let me see them!

Sunday, 9 January 2011


I have to let you all know about this wonderful promotion. Having heard about it spoken of in glowing terms since I joined, I can now confirm that it is just as cool as everyone says!

The basic premis is that by spending just £45, you can pick one of these four exclusive sets absolutely free!

These are the stamp sets available, and having seen Sweet Summer and Bliss 'in the flesh' I can confirm that they are just wonderful, and perfect for light summery projects.


So Happy for You
wood-mount set 121853
clear-mount set 123220

Punch Bunch
wood-mount set 121847
clear-mount set 123211

Sweet Summer
wood-mount set 121849
clear-mount set 123214

wood-mount set 121851
clear-mount set 123217

As you can see you get the option of unmounted or woodmounted with each one, so you can choose exactly to suit your crafting style. If you're not sure whicht to choose, have a read through the guide at the top of the page.

Get FREE stamp sets by doing any of the following:


You'll receive a free Sale-A-Bration stamp set when you spend £45 on Stampin' Up! merchandise (product sales before shipping and handling). There's no limit—for every £45 you spend, you can select another FREE Sale-A-Bration reward!


You'll receive a free Sale-A-Bration stamp set when you host a workshop of at least £300 (product sales before handling and shipping)—this is in addition to all of the regular hostess benefits!


During Sale-A-Bration, anyone who joins as a demonstrator can choose any stamp set—a value of up to £44.95—from our current Idea Book and Catalogue!

The Sale-A-Bration promotion starts on 30 December 2010 and runs through 28 February 2011, so don't miss your chance to earn free products!

If you would likeyour own copy of the Sale-a-bration brochure, showing the sets as well as lots of ideas for projects to make, then simply let me know and i'll send you free copy. You can email me on - hope to hear from you soon!

P.S. For those of you who instantly fell in love with the dear little owl in the Punch Bunch set, Stampin' Up! have let it be known that they will be releasing the matching punch in the Mini Catalogue launching in the spring, making your crafting quick, easy and just a little less fiddly!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Oh so very late!

Happy New Year to you all!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas period. With the snows driving everyone barmy it was a little hard for most people but I hope that in the end you all got to be with the people you loved.

I have no idea where the time goes. My last post promising the tutorial for the onion objects was on the 15th November! So long ago now, yet it seems just yesterday almost - is it a sign that i'm getting old?

Well after attempting to photograph the making of the ornaments step by step I realised it wasn't really clarifying anything. What I will do is point you all to my source on the Fire Mountain Gems website. I found and printed this idea out what must have been years ago, and i'd had the instructions sitting in my idea folders (doesn't that sound organised?) until Stampin' Up came along.

I started by doing a whole lot of stamping and glittering! The paper for the strips was stamped in Serene Snowflakes in Perfect Plum, Baja Breeze, and Crumb Cake. Using the smallest snowflake I also stamped in Versamark then using the Heat and Stick Powder and the Dazzling Diamonds added some glitz.

 I wasn't too careful at all with placement - I started with the largest and worked down letting the snowflakes overlap and go a bit crazy, as they do naturally!

I then cut these into strips about 8mm wide, and pierced holes in the middle and at each end. It took 8 strips per ornament, and I managed to get about 3 and a bit ornaments per page.

The centre piece was made with the ornament stamp from the Contempo Christmas Set, stamped in Perfect Plum. This time I covered the whole surface of the stamp with H&S and glitter, before punching it out with the Ornament Punch.

I used 4 punched shapes, folded in the centre and glued back to back in order to get the 3d effect. Before 'closing' the shape I slotted it onto the ribbon to float just above the base. If you wanted you could first thread a bead onto the ribbon and place the shape directly onto it.

I finished both the base and the top with a 1" punched circle in Plum and Boho Blossoms punched from various offcuts. Then tied the ribbon in a knot whilst pushing the onion into shape) and trimmed the ends to finish.

I was pleased with the results, and liked the colour scheme so much I ended up using it for my Christmas cards this year!

 Sadly the Ornament Punch is currently unavailable. Stampin' Up! made the decision to withdraw it from sale whilst they investigated issues that some customers had experienced. With any new product style there are going to be teething issues, and as soon as its available again i'll let you know, as I discovered a technique to make the most beautiful Magnolia-like flowers with it - not just a Christmas punch!

I also hope that its back soon as these bookmarks were so much fun to make - using the same materials and technique as for the centre of the ornament, I simply used 6 shapes and sandwiched a length of Organza ribbon between the two halves. To glue them I used tombow applied with a sponge or dauber, as it left a fine, even layer of glue right up to the edges, which was just perfect for this purpose, and prevented messy splodges.

Now that i've made one style I want to make more and more - I had a though of using the Bird punch to make a spring inspired version with the Sale-A-Bration 'Sweet Summer' set, which lends itself beautifully I think.

A few tips I picked up though would help anyone trying to make these.

  • Its easier to arrange the strips of paper flat and glue them into place before gathering them at the top - My strips seemed to want to all hang out together and whenever one was moved all the others followed suit - much frustration! It also seemed to make the beads between each strip behave better - thought why is a mystery!

  • Pre pierce the holes at the top whilst the paper is flat - it stops the paper creasing and makes the finish neater.

  • Avoid creasing the paper, getting it wet or resting any weight on it - the shape relied on the curve of the paper so try and preserve that. When I make more I'm thinking of using a bit of acetate to support the paper strips. 

Well tomorrow is my day to get cracking with Sale-A-Bration - a fantastic promotion which means you get a FREE set from the exclusive range with any order over £45! I've already managed to get the lovely Bliss set just by ordering essentials. (Ok, so rhinestones weren't essential to anything but my love of sparkle, but hey...) Theres also free sets available for qualifying workshops, so its a great time to get everyone together and get crafting! 

I'm hoping to get them done before sundown so they can be photographed and I can update you all tomorrow - see you then!