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!