It’s beer, but not as we know it…

These two cards are made using a beer bottle die. Fabulously useful for cards for men, but you always want to get the most from your tools, so I tried using it for celebratory cards that are more feminine. I think they came out ok! Five bottles cut from coordinating papers, plus a glittery greeting.

AN bottle die - Tea PartyAN bottle die - Floral Muse

I have not been meeting my glitter quota lately so need to make amends and use it on everything. Just as a heads up, it is not good on cereal, adds nothing to a salad (apart from attractive sparkle) and makes uncomfortable pyjamas.

Supplies-Altenew bottle die; Poppystamps Fancy Celebrate die; Dovecraft papers: Tea Party and Floral Muse

 

 

93 to go….

Three cards, six red balloons down…

Today I set myself a challenge to use this one set of stamps only, and tossed in a limited colour palette for good measure. I often try to use just the one set, but as these only have a single image (the balloon) and everything else is a sentiment it required a little thought. Five minutes of cold hard staring pass, then, ping, lightbulb moment. I can use the balloon to be the dot on the ‘i’ of ‘wishes’. Super.AN birthday balloons red trio

So, three cards followed. I allowed myself to use the die for the balloon (no point in trying to fussy cut if you have the tool), and my own polka dot background fits in with the red, black and white colour scheme.

For the simplest two the stamping and die cut are exactly the same, just on a different sized cards. The other has a little bit more going on, and the balloons now a bouncy air-filled border, but all were super-quick, again!

AN birthday balloon red mid sizeAN birthday balloons red largeAN birthday balloons red small

Seems I am still in minimalist territory!

 

Supplies: Altenew Birthday Greetings stamps and balloon die; Altenew inks in Jet Black, Ruby Red and Grapevine; 3d foam from stash.

 

Victoria Station?

kensington dotty bags 2

Not a card today but something a bit more 3d. I got these Tonic Kensington Handbag dies ages ago, and they remained unused. Not because I don’t like them, but because once made up, the little gift bags and boxes etc which I love creating, do take up rather more room, so I only tend to make them as and when they are likely to be needed. Or when I just can’t resist any longer. I don’t think I mentioned before (and can’t be bothered to read back and check!) but when I started with stamping and paper craft, I said quite flatly that I was not going to make cards, but gift wrap, boxes and bags instead. Well, they were truly disastrous. The gift bags were the worst, made from quite flimsy paper because that was all I could get hold of and because I didn’t know any better. I stuck so much on the front that I had to counterbalance them by sticking something weighty to the back too or, when empty, they just fell over! And yet I was so proud of them…

Today we have lovely dies and all sorts of card and paper to play with. These are are actually easy and quick to construct and only takes one sheet of A4 or 12×12 for the main handbag, then you just add colour and accessories as you want. I didn’t go mad with these and kept them quite simple this time, but I can see endless possibilities! They feel nice and solid once made, measure approx. 10.5cm wide and 5cm deep. The side panels are 7cm high, although depending on how you finish them they will look taller (for example the blue one is 9cm high at the centre front).

No need for me to give instructions as Tonic have a great tutorial on YouTube. I watched it to see if what I thought I needed to do was correct…. No harm in making sure before diving on in!

 

 

The Knitty Gritty

I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing, but looking at other blogs has made me really want to take up knitting again. Not majorly, no great projects will EVER be produced, but just as something to do when watching a film maybe, or on a train journey. Why unsure if it is good or bad? Well good because I used to really enjoy knitting (and sewing too), and because I generally need to be doing ‘something’ and cannot always paper craft until I fall asleep, and because you get a useful end product, hopefully. Bad? Because I have a roomful of paper craft stuff which I need to use up…

Still, I counted and apparently there are way more reasons to knit than to not. Whoohoo! So, payday present to self this month was going to be a small little starter kit. I used to have needles of all sizes, cables, circular, bamboo, you name it; plus row counters, bobbins, pins, large needles, the works, but I gave them all away in 1990 something. That is how long it is since I have knitted.

Today I thought ‘well knitting is so popular again, there must be plenty of companies doing a cute little starter kit, needles included, at a reasonable price, just to see if I enjoy it or am deluding myself’. You’d think. After an hour of internet searching I had come across plenty of ‘kits’, but they don’t give you all the basic information. Some of the pictures were so bad you could barely see the item. Some didn’t include needles, and didn’t tell you what size you would need, so you couldn’t even buy them at the same time. I don’t want to have to wait for the parcel to be delivered only to then have to wait again to get an order for needles. Others stated they were knitting kits, but then mentioned crochet too, and my brain cannot cope with crochet. Another site I found was more helpful and told you everything extra you would need to complete a project, but for a cable cushion cover it didn’t mention that you would require a cable needle. Maybe knitting had changed and you don’t need one now? I don’t know. But I was unconvinced. It feels like the ‘tiramisu’ situation in ‘Sleepless in Seattle‘. It’s all moved on and I have some catching up to do.

Finally I came across one site that seemed to do exactly what I wanted. For well under £10 I could have yarn and a downloadable pattern for a small project; it gave you an idea of difficulty and specific skills required, and a list of the needle sizes and any extra items. Super. Trouble is, they ship from the US, so it takes a couple of weeks to get here. I am an impatient shopper and having made my mind up, I want it as quickly as possible. Also, really, UK, can we not just try to be a bit more customer friendly, a bit more helpful? Take a lesson here?

This is what I have to work with. I haven’t knitted for years but used to knit a lot – would probably call myself an ‘experienced beginner’. I can remember how to cast on and off, decrease, increase, knit, purl, cable etc. I was ok at simple lacy patterns but nothing too complicated. I was also fine with swapping colours. I do have to confess to still keeping one WIP for all this time – a sweater based on the Bayeux Tapestry!  Forgive me, it was the 1980s and picture knits were compulsory…I have 1/3 of it completed but gave away the remaining yarn. Genius.

My major problem is that I cannot ‘un-knit’ if I make a mistake. I used to have to get my mum to do this for me! So no complicated patterns. And no crochet elements.

I don’t want to go mad and blow loads of money. I thought about cushion covers as I love the look of them but I have far too many cushions as it is and knitted styles don‘t currently fit in with my home or that of anyone I would be likely to gift it to, should it turn out ok. So then I was looking at either a chunky scarf, those things that are like mittens but with the ends chopped off (wrist warmers, maybe?), or a simple cowl. I cannot remember if I can knit in the round or not, so I suspect I never tried – that might be enough of a challenge for now!

I will probably end up buying from the US company, but if anyone knows where I can get a similar kind of small restart project in the UK, or has any suggestions of items to consider please let me know! I am yearning for yarn…

 

Simple tulips

Having not made anything for the best part of two weeks, last Friday night I had to get back to my happy place, just briefly. I gave myself 30 minutes to produce two cards from scratch, with no preplanning. For me it is always the planning, composition, and general indecisiveness that takes the time. But on this occasion I made it with minutes to spare! These two little offerings are simple, simple, simple. With a side order of simple. I considered ribbon and baker’s twine but was not keen on the look. Pared down is what I am after, probably because we have been stepping round boxes and moving piles of stuff so we can sit down for days now.

Tulips are my favourite flower. Unless I am in ‘blow the budget’ territory in which case it is peonies, but, on any given day, a bunch (or two) of tulips makes me a deliriously happy woman. Altenew stamps + plus tulips = happy clappy dance. Nobody need see.

I decided to try out my grey inks again – the ones that went green when I used them before. Different card this time: an all-purpose one, but it is marketed as good for stamping, plus it is a high gsm/lb weight so you can use it for your base. I stamped the leaf/stem first, then stamped it again directly over the top in the same shade as it was just a bit too pale for my liking. Then the leaf/stem detail. I am not kidding you, again they were grey to start with, then morphed into something greener. I carried on with the flower head, unconvinced of a happy outcome, but everyone and everything deserves a second chance, right? Using the next dark shade for the flower head, I had a definite and absolute grey, no question. And now, was it a reaction with the card again, or just a trick of the eye? The leaf/stem looked more grey than green…

AN tulip grey

Because the colour change drama happened overnight last time, I just waited to see, but, hurrah! Definitely all over more grey than anything else. The stamping isn’t perfect but it’s fine. I’ll give it to someone who has mislaid their glasses…

AN tulip purple

The second one was just to make a colourful contrast. And whilst you have the stamps out, you may as well make two. I really wanted to use pink, but am trying sooooo hard to choose other colours!  like the way the ‘h’ is wishes follows the line of the tulip stem. Little things….

What’s your favourite flower?

 

 

Identity crisis

It has occurred to me that my bloggy pals are calling me by different names. I am Gillian, I am chicken46, I am PaperPuff and I am paperfluff. I have more names than a member of the royal family or a pedigree dog. All totally my fault, because I didn’t have the tiniest clue about how to manage a blog when I started doing this, so made some (?? about a bajillion!!) rookie mistakes.

Time to rationalise. Chicken46 is going into semi-retirement on the farm in the country. Free range, obviously, all the corn she can eat and with a nicely feathered rooster or two for eye candy.

G45 rooster

I couldn’t decide whether to lose the ‘chicken’ completely or just change my ‘display name’. Never one for pushing the ‘final solution, no return’ button in haste I plumped for the latter. If it is not what I want I can still change it later. So, if I pop up on your site looking confusingly familiar yet different, this is the reason! I don’t mind which name people use, I just figured three was enough…

 

My mum’s cat

This is Poppy. She is beautiful and she has a lovely disposition. Like her owner, really! She is 14 years old. She is tiny in stature and weighs almost nothing. She seems a little frail. She has always had a heart murmur and a ‘dodgy hip’. Because of this, sometimes, when she sits down, especially to wash, she looks like an exhausted contortionist. Everything is in the wrong place, as if she is filled with beans instead of bones. Poppy likes to head-butt, and will stand on her hind legs and grab your hand if she requires attention. She is social and can chat for England. There are no awkward pawses (sorry, I just had to!) when Poppy is in the room.

This week Poppy and my mum had a major life change and have relocated from the house mum has lived in for 50 years to the south coast to live with my sister and her partner.

Apart from all of the usual concerns about such a venture and personal emotions to deal with, my mum was terribly worried about Poppy. The long journey was the first issue, but longer term she stressed about how Poppy would adapt to a new home, having also lived in the same house since we took her and her brother as rescue kittens. Then there was the fact that my sister and her partner already have two felines, both considerably younger, and Poppy has been an ‘only cat’ for a few years now. How would they get along? Would there be hissing and spitting (cats, not family feuding), bodily injury (still cats), would they hide (could be cats or humans), run away (again, cats or humans) or would it (fingers crossed real tight) in time, just work out? Somehow?

Monday was moving day. Imagine all the usual stresses and practicalities of a move to deal with rather than me having to type them; we all know what it is like. And anyway, this is about Poppy! She spent the first night in my mum’s new bedroom and the following morning she stepped out and explored a bit. She ate, drank, christened the litter tray (in every manner) and then explored some more, without cajoling or an escort. Poppy just got on with it. She has adapted, in astonishing time. Today she and Sossage (another rescue cat) have made friends enough to lie on a rug in the sun together. The princess in the high tower (Sandi, cat number 3) is yet to be won over but it’s early days.

Aren’t animals amazing? They give us so much. I know we look after them, pay the vet bills and open the tuna tin, but they reward us much more. By adapting so well, and being so completely just plain super, my mum’s cat has lifted a worry and helped to make a major transition so very much easier. I would like to give Poppy a round of applaws!!!

P.S. I will also be reading this to Riley, my cat, who spent the best part of a week in the wardrobe when we had to stay at my mum’s for a while last year. He has much to learn!

 

M.I.A.

Missing in action.

I probably won’t be posting or commenting much (or at all) for the next couple of weeks after today or tomorrow. Nothing dramatic, everything is fine, it is just ‘life stuff’ that needs to be done. I will try to keep up with everyone with the occasional ‘like’ here and there but please don’t be offended if that is all I manage, or if indeed there is complete silence! See you soon xx

 

Using up leftovers

I don’t mean making a gourmet meal from the remnants of today’s feast. I cannot do that. If what was left was a few cold roast potatoes or a vegetable medley then that is exactly what you would get served back up again. With perhaps a garnish of fresh herbs, if I have them. But I am BRILLIANT at saving leftovers, because we all know we should do it. Unless you are clever enough to only prepare exactly the right amount of food in the first place. Not me: there is always a bit of surplus. So everything gets covered, wrapped or bagged to protect it against unspecified dangers and added to the contents of the fridge. Then, somewhat surprisingly and pointlessly given that the universe needs to be protected, the chaps from Men in Black turn up, erase my memory with their special mind-wipe gizmo and the delicious morsel is forgotten. Completely. And rendered invisible too, just for good measure and in case I should happen to go back to the fridge in the next few days (?!) and spot it. This lasts only until fridge clear-out day, obviously, when I rediscover the leftovers and do a comedy forehead slap to indicate my own stupidity. I don’t actually leave them in there until they evolve into a sentient life form, able to walk out on their own, introduce themselves in Esperanto or Panglish and ask for a razor and a  decaf latte…

So, crafty leftovers then, grab the attention rather more. These cards were rustled up from superfluous Altenew Painted Flowers lying around on my craft table. Rather than squirreling them away, doubtless never to be found again, I am determined to use up such scraps somehow. They won’t be any good for bubble and squeak (sorry, probably only Brits will know what this is!) so cards it is.

This is (almost) the last of the yellow flowers I have stamped recently.

AN yellow leftovers card

 

These pink flowers are quite muted. When I first got the stamps I tried and loved a black outline, but also tried it in grey and was less sure. But now I have put them with more grey and a softer look works fine, I think. Also, I made the spotty background myself! Whoo-hoo!

AN pink leftovers card

Both cards are really quick once the stamping is done, and even that doesn’t take long!