Friday, 25 January 2013

In Print

I've long used Vistaprint to design promotional products for my little crafty business, and calendars and other photo gifts for family and friends, however the company recently branched out into photobooks.  I'd lots of digital scrapbook pages that had never been put into print (a very expensive business at the local print shop) and as there was a good introductory offer going I went ahead and designed and ordered a book.  When it came I was very pleased with the quality of the printing and the book itself, so much so that when there was another good deal on offer a couple of weeks ago I was tempted again and ordered two more books - one large square and one large landscape.

The scrapbook page book is 8 inches square and although traditionally scrapbook pages are meant to be 12 inches square, this size is perfectly acceptable.  The only potential problem with getting pages printed in book form is possibly losing edges due to "bleed" in the printing process, ie to get images printed right up to the edge of the page a tiny strip will be cut off. 

This doesn't usually matter much but needs thinking about when adding text or journaling notes to pages - I was lucky at the bottom of this double page spread.

I wanted to print my blog monthly review pages from 2012 in a separate book so this was my second square title.  There are 24 pages in a book (extra pages can be added at a small cost) therefore 12 monthly layouts fitted in easily and I added some of my favourite 2012 photos to the other pages.  The monthly review layouts mostly go right to the edge of the page and if I'd thought about it more I would have paid extra to add in the "lay flat" feature.  Must remember that for next year.

My large landscape book was pure indulgence!  In the age of the digital camera, holiday photos are mostly destined to stay in digital form, and once the holiday is over probably never to be looked at again.  I captured some lovely scenes during my visit to Nice last October and thought they deserved to be seen in print.

I must say I'm really impressed with the quality of the printing and the finish of the books.  I opted for photo covers - which is included in the basic cost - and chose the page layouts myself instead of letting Vistaprint fill the book with my photos automatically.  However its an easy process and not at all lengthy if you don't change your mind a dozen times about which pictures to include (like I usually do).

So if you've lots of photos you'd like to see in print - either from your blog, a holiday, or a special occasion, its worth keeping an eye out for special offers from Vistaprint and grab a bargain when you see it.

By the way, this is not an advertisement for the company - I'm sure there are other equally efficient companies out there that do just as good a job - this is just the one I use and have found very efficient.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Eira Fach, Eira Fawr

We crafters do suffer for our hobby!  Sitting still stitching, hooking and stamping in this freezing weather is not easy, especially when hands are cold and you need to make tiny stitches.  This morning my hands and feet have been like blocks of ice and I think I must get my hot water bottle down from the bedroom and refill it to warm my hands.

My new kitty Titch is very young and has probably never seen snow before.  She's not quite sure what to do with it.  Its still snowing tiny flakes at the moment - just one or two ice crystals stuck together.  I remember we used an old Welsh saying when we were little and it was snowing - eira fach, eira fawr, which literally means little snow, big snow.  In other words if the flakes are small there is lots more to come!

With St Dwynwen's Day just a week away I managed to create some more felt brooches for my Folksy shop this week.  I found this lovely celtic style die last weekend and decided it was perfect to present my brooches for our Welsh lovers' day on 25th January.  I added some suitable Welsh wording with wooden peg alphabet stamps - rather time consuming but the font was just right.  If you'd like to see more you can find them here in my shop. 


Coming home over the mountain this afternoon we saw several fields where people were sledging.  While it's nice to see the kids enjoying the snow, I'm always dismayed to see the aftermath once the snow has melted...... I just hate to see broken sledges left behind, litter and even holes in fences and hedges.  No wonder farmers will hit back by spreading manure on popular fields

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

St Dwynwen's Day

Now the Christmas season is over crafty blogland is awash with Valentine's Day projects.  There's plenty of time to create some lovey-dovey cards and gifts but here in Wales we only have a couple of weeks before St Dwynwen has her lovers day.  I've been experimenting with my new heart dies from Papertrey Ink - they were expensive but as there was nothing else that appealed to me last month I didn't mind splashing out on them.  And I'm glad I did as I've enjoyed creating these little hanging heart decorations with them.  Yesterday was dark and wet and not conducive to photography but today the sun has returned (though as you can see above, there are strange clouds hanging on the mountain) and I was able to snap them pinned to the old shed outside the back door this morning. 

They are quite easy to make.  The patterned edged dies cut my favourite Myriad felt really nicely - even the lacy edge cut perfectly.  I then stab stitched fabric hearts to back and front and added buttons or Die-namics rolled felt roses to decorate.  The little leaves were cut using another Papertrey die from the Lovely Layers collection.

Easy-peasy as you can see from the photo.  I did use iron-on interfacing to ensure the fabric hearts cut cleanly and there's a smaller felt heart layer underneath each fabric heart to add a bit of subtle padding.

As you might imagine, good Welsh language rubber stamps are impossible to find and I'm too lazy to stamp a greeting out with individual alphabet stamps today, but I found this lovely card on the Visit Wales website (its a free download), along with St Dwynwen's story and some suggestions for romantic breaks and restaurants -  if you should need that sort of thing!!


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