Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Floral Papertrey Blog Hop

I may have said this here before, but I absolutely LOVE Melissa Bickford's little Floral Fusion series of stamps for Papertrey. The May Papertrey blog hop is tonight and as the theme is anything floral I'm posting the gift tag sets I've been making for my next craft fair using FF#2 and #3. Don't you just love those little blooms!

Another floral project - I'm in the middle of a half dozen eggs I want to stitch from an idea I saw in a brand new craft magazine in the UK - Mollie Makes. I was really looking forward to the first issue and wasn't disappointed. Its full of inspirational people, ideas and projects. I will definitely be getting the next issue and hope it's as good as the first. And I understand its going to be published in the US in a couple of weeks.

My eggs were cut from some vintage hand embroidered napkins I bought in France last year. These two are spicy versions - one has cloves in the filling and the other star anise. I love the smell of star anise - when crushed it gives out the most wonderful strong scent. I'm hoping they are going to repel the clothes moths I've caught flitting about the house recently!

Stamps: PTI Floral Fusion #2, Floral Fusion #3, Polka Dot Basics' Fillable Frames #7; Darkroom Door Gingham Background stamp
Dies: PTI Floral Fusion #2 & #3, Fillable Frame #7, Tag Sale #2 & #4

Saturday, 21 May 2011

White for NF Macro Flowers #2 too

Following on from my white card post below, I thought I'd have white flowers for my NF Macro Flowers #2 post.

This "tempestuous tulip" was past it's best but I love it at this stage - it seems to be letting go after standing to attention for so long.

The beautiful opium poppies always flop around as I never get round to staking them in time. I've got a gorgeous salmon pink one too - but not for this post!

The humble daisy couldn't be more of a contrast to the first two flowers but has a simple beauty of its own. I don't know why people want to dig them out of their lawns - there's nothing prettier than a grass plat sprinkled with daisies.

And my last white beauty is this little flower that covers the overgrown rockery in the front garden. I think its Stitchwort, which is a wild plant, but it certainly likes growing in the garden as it increases every year!

Here's the Stitchwort Fairy's Song from Cicely Mary Barker:

I am brittle-stemmed and slender,
But the grass is my defender.
On the banks where grass is long,
I can stand erect and strong.
All my mass of starry faces
Looking up from wayside places,
From the thick and tangled grass,
Gives you greeting as you pass.

Yes it certainly sounds like my plant - especially that "thick and tangled grass" bit!

Friday, 20 May 2011


I'm going along with Lisa's new Card Photo Tutorial series and here's my results for Experiment #1 - photograph a white card in new locations with the white balance on auto. I have to admit I'm lazy and tend to leave my camera on auto almost all the time and get Photoshop to enhance once I've downloaded my photos. However here they are in their raw state. I've taken the photos (from left to right) on the mantlepiece with the sun shining directly on the card; on the table in the same room with sun shining in; in the bathroom near the window early evening when the room is at its brightest; and on the bathroom windowsill angled outwards into the garden.

I like the third one best (but I couldn't resist a tiny tweek and a crop here!) taken in the bathroom near the window on top of the toilet cistern. I'll be using this location again - the only problem is the slanting surface. On the widowsill was good too but I was afraid the card would blow away! The sunshine in the living room gave the card a pink tinge and although the second photo was good the prisms I have hanging in the window cast a shadow in the photo even though I couldn't see it when I was clicking.

A bit of a boring post if you are not into photography - but a good exercise for me.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Ladybird bookmarks and photographing projects

My next craft fair is looming on the horizon and although I have plenty of stock left from last month, I want to add a few new things in to keep any repeat customers interested. I was quite surprised to find there were no cards or papercrafts on sale last time so I'm going to try to fill that gap.

Although I'm not a hugely keen card maker, I do enjoy making bookmarks. They make very acceptable gifts, either to add to a book or book token, or as a small gift in themselves. I've made them using vintage copyright-free images in the past, but these are my latest bunch, using pages from old Ladybird nature books. I've collected old Ladybird books for years - they are always so beautifully illustrated, and I can't pass by if I see one in a charity shop even if it is in "very well-used" condition - and even if it's a title I already have! I've used duplicates from my collection to make these bookmarks and added small greetings cards to match.

To make the bookmarks I've die-cut two layers, one from the book page and the other from cardstock, and stitched them together with a piece of muslin sandwiched between. The cardstock is stamped with a suitable image and a bookish quote from PTI's All Booked Up before stitching.

Now, something else. As you can see from the images in this post, I'm not very good at photographing my projects (why some of these have come out pink I do not know!). Bookmarks are not the easiest things to photograph anyway, and I resorted to a digital frame and Photoshop here. But I'm seldom pleased with how my photos turn out no matter where or when or how I try to get a good image. So I'm really excited to read about Lisa Spangler's new card photography series on her Sideoats & Scribbles blog today. I'm definitely going to play along with this project and for my first assignment I'm going to try photographing the paper aeroplane card in the bath - without the water of course!

Stamps used: various images from Lavinia Stamps, Papertrey's All Booked Up plus some sentiments, Darkroom Door's Wildflower
Other: Papertrey's bookmark die

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Clematis Montana + NF Flowers #1

I was so sad to find that my gorgeous Clematis Montana had died during the winter. I had trained it into a dead pear tree and it was a delight to behold at this time of year - here it is photographed last year. I haven't cut it down yet as there is another clematis growing through it so its going to be a long and fiddly job. Happily I've another smaller Montana in the border and this was the first flower it opened a week or so ago. I took my photo as the sun was going down and love how the flower centre casts a shadow on the petals.

NF Macro has started a weekly meme (no I didn't know what it was either before I googled it!) of flower photos and as I love photographing my garden I'm going to join in. Here is my first offering - as a memory of my beautiful Montana. It will be interesting to see what is blooming around the world each week. Would you like to join in?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Two birthdays in May

So there are two birthdays to celebrate next week. My great niece J turns 11, and Claire at Waltzing Mouse Stamps is holding her second birthday party. I can't believe its already two years since she started producing her wonderful clear stamp sets. And as well as stamps, she has a great talent for designing clever templates - I couldn't resist this month's offering of a cute cupcake box.
So I've turned it into a small birthday gift set and as well as the felt hair clip I'll be adding something delectable to the box before presenting it with my birthday card. I found it hard to get a good photo of the card showing the second tiny bee properly. I've punched him out with a quarter inch punch! and mounted him on some fine crinkly silver wire to look a bit like he's flying.

So I'm joining in the birthday party and as Claire always says - hope it tickles!

Stamps: Papertrey's Tag-Its #3; Green Thumb

Sunday, 8 May 2011

In London with Eva

If you are reading this I expect you will also have many friends made on the internet you never expect to meet in person. In the old days we had "penfriends" in foreign lands and I remember the excitement of the postman bringing a letter with a strange stamp on it. But today contact with like-minded people in many lands is possible and with just a mouse click you can find a friend thousands of miles away with exactly the same views, interests or values as yourself.
I met up with such a friend for the first time in London on Friday. She was over here for a week to carry out research at the British Library, but took a day off to be a tourist with me. We had a lovely though tiring day. Our on-the-spot decision to take a trip on the London Eye took up most of the afternoon as there was quite a queue for tickets - however it was so worth it as we really enjoyed the experience.

But although a day out in the city is something to be enjoyed once in a while, I'm so thankful to come home to the relative peace and quiet of our small market town in North Wales - as distant from London as Eva's home in Denmark!

A wander in the evening garden could not be further away from the heat, noise and dust of those busy city streets! And here is a photo of apple blossom in the garden last week (already falling like snow) for all Mothers celebrating today. We celebrated Mothering Sunday here in the UK at the beginning of April.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Make-It + Mail-It Challenge #2

Lisa Spangler has one of my favourite blogs - Sideoats & Scribbles, and now she's started a challenge - Make-it + Mail-it - ie, make a card (or something else) and then mail it to make someone happy. Well I've just got to take part and although I missed out last week, a family birthday next week has got me card making. And as the theme of this week's challenge is "sweet" - what could be sweeter than a cupcake?

I bought some Flowersoft a long time ago when it was all the rage but I couldn't get on with it and in fact didn't like the look of it. But if you wait long enough, everything comes in handy sooner or later - later in this case - and it was perfect as the icing (frosting) on my cake. And doesn't that red button look delicious on top! The cupcake stamp is from Papertrey's Baby Button Bits set.

And to go with it what about one of my sweet apple keyring/bag charms wrapped up in a stamped and beribboned coffee filter paper - an idea I saw on Nichole Heady's blog here. Hope that's enough SWEETNESS.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Happy May Day

I'm sure we have all been safely casting our "clouts" this week as the May (hawthorn) has been out in the garden for a few days now. It really is a beautiful blossom and at this time of year it covers the roadside hedgerows around here, putting me in mind of May Queens or spring brides.

Re-reading "Little Grey Rabbit's May Day" this morning it seems we should have been out early gathering flowers with May-dew on their petals which we must collect in a jug. It has magical properties and in the book when old Miss Susan (who makes lace) rubs a little on her aching head and eyes her headache vanishes and she can see clearly again. "Her eyes sparkled, her face was fresh and young again." If only!
On another subject, I had my very first Craft Fair yesterday at Llanasa Village Hall. It was a very small affair but was just what I wanted for my first attempt as selling to the public. I took my great niece along for company and we had a really nice time. Sold a few items but unfortunately didn't make much money as, apart from paying for the table, we also spent quite a bit on the other stalls and on the very acceptable refreshments provided by some lovely ladies in the kitchen.

And I met some very talented crafters who were all really friendly and helpful - a couple of them also first timers like me.
So I've signed up to do the other Fairs this year - 5 more I think, and my helper can't wait for the next one on 28th May. If you are in the area why not call in. The ancient village is very pretty and is set in beautiful countryside above the Dee estuary.

And this is where I want to apologise to all my blog friends for not visiting them recently. I've been so busy preparing for the fair I've missed many inspiring posts on my favourite blogs - hope to catch up with you all this week.

Thanks to Maurice Clarke for the lovely photo of Llanasa village.


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