Florals Two Ways

I have a quick post today – two cards using florals and a lot of white space – but with quite different results.

The first was partly a result of playing around with die cut letters on busy patterned paper and partly inspired by a card I have seen somewhere…but I cannot recall. The designer had either stamped a whole lot of flowers and then die cut the letters, or die cut the letters then stamped on the lower portion only. It was a thing of beauty and if I could find it, I could tell you what they had done! I loved the look, but wanted a really quick version so took a shortcut. I selected a floral border from a digikit, resized it, and copied and pasted several times. This would give me lots of choice for positioning my dies. After that I just placed the letters to give plenty of variety in colour and flower. Once cut I popped them onto 3D foam and spent far too long painstakingly positioning them. Not quite as quick as it could have been but there you go. I make my own trouble.

flowered-happy-white

The second card is black and pink. Again. But actually I have been very good and not abused this colour scheme for a while. What can I say? I fell off the wagon and indulged in one of my favourite combinations. The roses are from a Craftwork Cards USB I have had for a while, which includes printables of the totally gorgeous Heritage Rose range. Hurrah! So all to be done was print a page of roses, fussy cut and layer them up. A die cut sentiment from Tonic, a knot of narrow black ribbon and we are good to go.

sent-with-love-and-heritage-rose

So, one understated card and one that kind of smacks you in the face, but smells of roses so you have to forgive it…just mind the thorns…

flowered-happy-and-sent-with-love

Supplies: XCut Wedding Alphabet and Numbers dies; Tonic Sent With Love die; Craftwork Cards USB including Heritage Rose Collection; Louise Tiler Birthday Florals digikit for Serif CraftArtist; card and ribbon from Create and Craft

 

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Bridesmaid Revisited

Sorry Evelyn Waugh.

One of my lovely aunts has got married. So, some paper craft was called for and I had a chance to rustle up a little something. Well, two little somethings, actually. I felt rather out of practice, to be honest, using paper and card again after a bit of a break. Inspiration was somewhat tricky, and I had a few epic fails, but overall I am happy with what I have made in the time I had.

It is a second marriage, so I didn’t want to use any bridal dress imagery, but any wedding is a happy event so a few bells and whistles are not out of place, right? So, and hearts and pearls for nuptials.

wedding-congrats-1wedding-congrats-detail

My one and only experience as a bridesmaid was at this aunt’s first wedding, back in the 1970s. Being the youngest sister in her family, unfortunately Auntie C had little choice but to select all of her elder sisters’ female offspring as bridesmaids. All five of us, ranging from about aged 10, to aged 2 or 3. She had my sympathy, even then. My sister, as a the eldest, was head wrangler chief bridesmaid. Not an easy job, and she was possibly suffering from PBSD (Post Bridesmaid Stress Disorder) anyway, as she had filled the role once before, years earlier, for another aunt, and lost her headdress down the toilet….

We were so excited about being bridesmaids. I think that is why Auntie C couldn’t refuse any of us the chance. I don’t suppose she really relished it, but bless her, she never let on. I do remember a LOT of talks about being on best behaviour from every other adult that knew us though.

So, in Britain in the 1970s, or at least in our corner of it, weddings were rather different to now. Rather more low key; a ceremony and a bit of a house party with family and friends rather than the larger affairs that take place in the 21st century. I can’t help but think that the 1970s version had something going for it. Everyone chipped in, got involved. And although obviously it cost money, it could not have been anything like the frankly astonishing amount that the average wedding costs today. Plus, less pressure for the ‘perfect day’ to remember. A church, a frock, some photos, a party, super.

Actually it is probably good that ‘perfect’ was not expected.

Back to the delirious bridesmaids. Our dresses were handmade by, I think, my mum and her other sister Auntie B (mother of the other three bridesmaids). They were yellow, broderie anglaise, lined (for extra swishiness, I assumed, probably modesty and a touch of luxury, in reality), with peter pan collars and puff sleeves. We were all pretty much in love with the frock. Then shoes. Ballet shoes. Some cups of happiness ran over.

Now, here is where it could have ended. But, for a reason which has never been explained to my satisfaction, headgear was apparently also required. Perhaps it was the fashion, I don’t know. I was a kid. But if I had known the acronym ‘WTH (polite version) were you thinking?’ well it would have been extremely apposite right then.

We had yellow bonnets, made from scratchy net, like you would use for a tutu. When I say bonnet, think of those thingies that Cosmonauts wear under their helmets. So really, a skull cap, covering the whole head. And wreathed all over in several big, big, big fake white and yellow flowers. Kind of like a swimming cap from an old Esther Williams movie, but feeling more like a pan scourer. Then, it was fastened with a mahoosive bow, under the chin. Maybe my sister’s previous experience was being considered. Lash it to them, so they can’t lose it.

As if this wasn’t enough, I was also the object of scientific experimentation. My hair was permed. Apparently, it was because it was ‘so fine’ (as in thickness, not as in splendour). But then it was covered up with an enormous floral ritual offering, so why bother?! I don’t think Social Services would allow it these days…

So, the wedding day. We were of a generation that was taught to behave in public, do what you were told, drilled, even, by the adults who wanted the ceremony to go well. In a Catholic Church in the 1970s, there was precious little informality. Impeccable behaviour was expected, and, generally, delivered. Any deviation, signs of boredom or outright naughtiness was NOT good and you would be left in little doubt that you had let the side down. But the youngest bridesmaid was 3. Good luck folks! As I said earlier, this is from the perspective of a kid. I was both mortified by what happened, as the Bridesmaid Etiquette had gotten massively trampled upon, and yet couldn’t help thinking ‘well, what did you expect…’

I only recall what happened in the church. There was probably more. Perhaps I have just blocked it out with my own PBSD. The 3 year old cousin, we will call her D, was really not keen on the job. She was cross that she had different footwear to the rest of us. Apparently ballet shoes were not available in her size so she got snazzy new white proper shoes. Fair enough, she wanted to be like everyone else. But you know, deal with it, right? We are all standing here getting net rash, but doin’ it for Auntie C.

There was some kerfuffle as we prepared to parade down the aisle. D could not understand why she had to go last in the cloud of lemony scratchy flowery bridesmaids. She wanted to be front and centre. Some rank was pulled. Maybe some hair too? I don’t know. But she ended up back at the back, and grouchy as hell.

So, we have made it safely down the aisle, despite being hamstrung by the slightly blinkering effect of the stiff bonnets and blooms and the chafing of the double fisherman‘s knot they had been secured with. The couple are at the altar, bridesmaids assembled in arrow formation 2,2,1 – oldest to youngest – behind. Some solemn words are being said by the priest, and four of us are doing our best to look angelic and attentive. The fifth, Cousin D, has had enough. She stomps to the front and started fussing at the bride’s gown. The Chief Wrangler lived up to her title and executed a stealth manoeuvre. Order was restored, briefly. Then cousin D changed tactics, and started counting the holes in my sister’s broderie anglaise dress. Loudly. And poking each hole, vigorously. Enough to bruise. So the congregation is treated to “ONE! (ouch) TWO! (aargh) FIVE! (oooh) EIGHT!” (whoa).  ‘Bless the person that taught her numbers‘, I am sure the adults were thinking. Then, cousin D again, with slightly less confidence “NINE! NINE! NINE! TWO-TY TEN!” Okaaaay. Some querulous looks between the bridesmaids, hushed instructions and a snatch and bundle operation. Back to positions, pretend that everything is fine. Nobody noticed, right?

A bit more of the wedding service went on. Don’t ask me what. Cousin D decided it was a dull affair. She wandered in the direction of our grandmother (mother of the bride) and threw her bridesmaid’s posy at her, and hollered “here, you hold this, I have had E-NOUGH”. Yeah, the work of a 3 year old is truly hard… She spent the rest of the service pinioned to the front pew, humming as only a toddler can. Namely a selection of nursery rhymes mashed up with a smattering of her own interesting compositions, with gusto.

The photos were a bit hit and miss. Some had four bridesmaids, some five. I expect remonstrations and toilet breaks were the cause. Then the party, afterwards, in my grandparents’ house. A real meeting of an older generation and my aunt’s super cool friends, who were so lovely to the bonneted scratchy ones, now blessedly bonnetless and craving the calm of calamine lotion.

Anyway, Auntie C is married again. I know she will be happy, and had a lovely day, but she didn’t ask us to bridesmaid this time…..

wedding-heart

Supplies list – I used so many individual items! If anyone wants to know what something is, or how I made these, drop a line in a comment and I will get back to you.

For when only a giraffe in a party hat will do…

I needed a couple of 16th birthday cards recently for a female relative. I have no idea what is ‘in’, or indeed ‘out’ of fashion, what is cool and what is hot. Funny that these last two can mean the same thing, isn’t it? Like fat chance and slim chance? I digress. Odd, that has never happened before. Ever. Really hard to type with my tongue in my cheek though…

So, back to the point. I didn’t want them to be childish, nor did I want them to be too ‘old’. A Goldilocks card, if you will. Much frowning followed. I may have developed another wrinkle. The things we do for art….oops, back to the tongue in cheek situation again…

Anyway, some miracle face cream later, I had a plan. One card would be contemporary (I hope!) and simple, spelling out the age in die cut letters. I used punchy contrasting colours and printed pattern for the letters to make it more interesting. Hopefully minimal is acceptable!

pink-sixteen

The second one was still giving me trouble, but I had used up all the face cream so couldn’t risk another wrinkle. Then, it came to me. On such an occasion, go to the mattresses, as they say in “The Godfather” and “You’ve Got Mail”. Time to break out the giraffe in the party hat. This is such a fun image from one of my Louise Tiler digital kits in Serif CraftArtist. I added a few extra gold dots to the background and drop shadow to the crittur and cake before printing. The banner is also from the same kit. I decided to cut a star from packaging acetate and added the ’16’ in peel offs (remember them? I have a sticky stack!). Hopefully quirky, or just plain crazy, is also acceptable.

giraffe-16giraffe-16-detail

Supplies: Louise Tiler Birthday Florals digikit for Serif CraftArtist; XCut Wedding Alphabet and Numbers dies

The Jaws Legacy

I refer to the famous and fabulous movie, Jaws, of course. I saw it at the cinema, when I was rather younger than the age group the film censor board had set, but you know how it is. I was with my sister who had seen it before and promised to warn me of the bits where I ‘shouldn’t look’, seeing as I was, and still am, very squeamish. She did her job just fine, but even so, well, let’s just say it affected me. I already had a recurring dream about crocodiles to deal with, now I had lurid visuals of shark attacks and that menacing music to throw in too. I absolutely kid you not, but a few weeks after seeing the movie I was standing at the kitchen sink and out of the corner of my eye, just for a split second, I thought I saw a shark on the kitchen floor….and I actually jumped…. Imagination is sometimes a scary thing!

Of course I have rewatched the movie many times since then, and seen all the sequels too ( the fourth was hilarious), but there are still bits where I have to look away.

I realised whilst watching TV the other day, there was what should have been an idyllic scenario. A beautiful day: azure sky, sapphire sea, and a small boat bobbing up and down. A handsome couple are aboard, chatting lazily about something inconsequential. And whilst doing so, the chap dangles his left foot into the water. Instantly, inner alarm bells sound. I think ’NOOOO! STOP! What are you THINKING?!’ I can’t help it. Instinctively I imagine he, and everyone else that languidly dips a limb into the ocean, is being a stark raving idiot. Don’t they KNOW what might be down there, waiting? Don’t they want to keep all their limbs intact? Or have they maybe worked out which is their least favourite, the arm or leg they don’t mind sacrificing, just to cool down a bit?

Don’t get me wrong – I am aware this is a totally insane reaction on my part. I know we are far more danger to sharks than they are to us, and that instances of attack are rare. I admire the stark beauty and efficiency of sharks. But, deep down, Jaws planted that fear, that terrible possibility… I mean, if I thought I was in danger whilst peeling spuds in the kitchen, clearly we are not dealing with rationality here. And that, I have come to conclude, is the Jaws Legacy. Maybe I can try suing for damages?

So here we have a card, with a flamingo staying safely on dry land. He’s not daft. Or maybe he has seen the movie too?

flamingo-frame

Supplies: Hunkydory Flamingo Party stamp set; Altenew and Memento inks; various alchohol markers

Broken bones, real and imagined. And a ninja cat.

If anyone has noticed a lack of posts and comments from me for a while, the reason is that I have been away from home and a bit busy. My poor mum has broken a limb, again. An ankle. Last time she was in plaster (one arm, one leg) it was about 18 months ago, and because some total idiot (IMO) hit her from behind as she was walking in a supermarket car park. It was life changing. The mere thought of broken bones kind of freaks me out. Apparently I told my sister she was one up from a zombie when she had a leg in plaster, although I honestly cannot remember saying it. Years ago when my partner was found to have been walking around on a broken leg for three days I threw up as they showed us the x-ray. Breaking bones easily, as happened this time, without any impact, trauma or fall is truly scary. All I can say is keep up your calcium intake and hope it doesn’t happen to you. Cheese sandwich, anyone?

But a broken bone needs help and company, so Riley (the cat) and I headed south. Like birds. Or the cavalry. Not that the Cavalry went south, particularly, just wherever the action was. Of course my sister and her partner are doing a grand job of looking after mum, but extra hands are always welcome.

Anyhow, once the exciting train trip with a cat was done, Riley and I took up residence in my mum’s living room, the room Riley had only briefly entered at Christmas before his tiny little melt down.

Hopes were high that this trip might ‘build on’ the last. Or at least that is what they say in those self-help manuals. In reality it just means pray for less of a disaster. Prayer was to be of no help here.

As soon as I brought Riley into the building, two of the three house cats (all girls) Poppy and Sandi came to inspect the sorry male specimen in his travel prison. The pheromones must have given him away. I think I registered distain, ennui and resignation on their furry faces. I let the cat out of the bag. Literally. I have a soft-sided cat carrier (like a sports bag) which I purchased with trepidation and is actually rather good. Riley shot under the sideboard. I say ‘shot’. It was fast, but not dignified as it required a fair bit of belly crawling and some shunting with the back paws. He stayed there for most of the evening, although a couple of times he scooted to the other side of the room and hid behind a chair. Nothing like a change of scene.

Eventually everybody went to bed, and with me being alone Riley emerged from the self-imposed exile. Sleep was had, and I was slept on, sporadically. Hopes were still buoyant.

The following morning I could not initially see Riley, but given his previous behaviour, I was not worried, and figured him to be under a cupboard or behind a chair again. But then I couldn‘t see him anywhere. After a bit of calling (he always comes when I call him) I was slightly less confident. The room had an inside lock, which I had used, in case one of the house cats had summoned up the strength of Hercules and launched themselves at the door. Stupid, I know, but sometimes we do these things just in case! So I KNEW he had to be in the room somewhere. After about 30 minutes I was feeling twitchy. Nobody else was up, so I kept it to myself. Another 30 minutes passed, and I had searched under every cupboard, behind every chair, opened every drawer, and called him about a hundred times. Nothing. No squeak, mew or meow.

A tiny amount of panic now. Controlled panic. “It’ll be fine. He can’t have gone anywhere”. But then where IS he? I searched the rest of the house as best I could, trying to be quiet, not scream, as it had now been a couple of hours at least. Then the rest of the household got up, and got involved. Now it is worth saying here that we are all experienced cat owners, so that room was searched like a forensic science team employed on a results only commission basis. Sofa and chairs were upturned (in case he had worked his way into the base, somehow). Cupboard doors and chest-of-drawers were opened, repeatedly. Tiny spaces were invaded. “Riley” was called a bajillion times, by four different people. Nothing. Zip.

By now I was freaking out inside, but trying to stay calm and not scream at well-meant suggestions. It seemed we had some sort of Sherlock Holmes thing going on. A locked room, a missing cat. But we also had a really old building to take into account. Riley can get into pretty small spaces and, as he could not be found by four people searching a room, the only other option would seem that he had got out. But surely that was impossible. As the panic took a further grip I was envisioning some horrible incident with plaster and lath walls and a freaked out cat pushing a hole and ending up falling through into a wall cavity and down two storeys. Nuts, I know, but explanations were scarce. Or, had he somehow got out of the building completely and was running around the town, with no idea where he was?

I went to throw some clothes on, intending to look further afield. And then a shout from my sister. Riley had been found. He had, quite amazingly, hidden himself behind the bureau. Amazingly because it is almost the exact same width as the alcove it fits into, so no room to get around the side: he had to go over the top. Amazingly because the cat-savvy people who knew he was coming filled (almost) all the space behind the bureau with boxes and plastic crates. Amazingly because the whole top of the bureau was covered with several large photos in frames, a piece of framed needlework, a lamp and pc monitor, and a random organza ribbon bow, leaving barely an inch or two between each object. And not one thing had been disturbed. It had not seemed credible that a large cat would have been able to negotiate these obstacles cleanly and find the tiny space behind. Never underestimate the ninja….

Relief was huge. But now we had to get him out. He was behind about 50 inches of solid furniture which had been nudged into an alcove barely wider than the object itself. And Riley was making himself flatter, and flatter with every grasp or grab. My sister gamely tried perching on one leg, on a chair, whilst her beloved held her bum so she didn’t fall backwards. Or forwards, to join the cat. No luck, as we are simply too darn short. My BIL volunteered for round 2. Positions were reversed. Contact was made and Riley was dragged, unwillingly, from his hiding place, making like a rag doll. To stop him bolting straight back there I bundled him into the cat bag again and sat him on my knee, relieved, only for him to return the sentiment and relieve himself on me. A dousing of cat pee on my pyjamas. Nice. Thanks mate.

To think we (ok, I) had delusions of providing help and support, some quiet time and company for my mum who is not supposed to weight bear on her leg, and who within a few hours of our arrival was trying to upturn her sofa until we stopped her….

So, I have no card or paper craft to share today. But I have to do something with my hands, so made a trip to a local haberdashery store, bought a couple of balls of this yummy King Cole Riot yarn and have started knitting a scarf.

 

scarf2

 

scarf5

 

The slide show and tiled or mosaic picture options do not seem to be working for me today. Again. Grrrrr! I will just offer up this shot of a half-finished scarf looking a bit like a T-Rex.

Apologies for missing posts and comments. Hopefully now you know I have had my hands full!!

 

 

 

 

A free file for Paperpuff blogs I follow

Don’t you love it when something nice happens unexpectedly? A fellow blogger has made cutting files for the tea bag holder I posted. They ARE clever people!! Go visit the blog.

not so clever people

I love this little tea bag pouch and I was determined to make it for my friend. Then I was thinking why not have it as a free file for everyone who liked it on Paperpuffs site?

All the directions to make it are on the site, I am just going to give you the free files in studio3 format,SVG and PDF format. This will give you the basic shape and you can add your own embellishments to the front. My embellishment was made with images from DesignBundles.net

My finished teabag holder is here:

Paperpuff’s Teabag holder Studio3

Paperpuff’s Teabag holder SVG

Paperpuff’s Teabag holder PDF

Embellishment Studio3

Thank you Paperpuff for posting this project

Carolyn

On Behalf of Not So Clever People (NSCP)

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3D Thursday: calorie free cake!

Well maybe that is not true. Perhaps paper, glue, batteries and plastic do contain calories, but not the tasty, moreish kind. And my alternative title of ‘inedible cake’ sounds rather less enticing.

I like giving ‘alternative’ or unexpected birthday cards and that box is certainly ticked here. Pinterest is to blame again. I decided to make one of the cute little battery tea lights turned into a birthday cake. I had seen a few, with varying degrees of decoration. Mine are, of course, on the less decorated side. Partly from personal preference and partly because I don’t have much time for anything more.

There are no doubt plenty of tutorials out there, but I chose to ignore them and just go for my own version. Sometimes a quick ten minutes in Pinterest can morph into several lost hours! I took a favourite pad of papers (Craftwork Cards Heritage Rose) so I knew everything would go together, something always worth doing when time is short or a deadline looms. For the first tea light cake I simply covered the sides with spotty paper and die cut two scallop circles for the top and bottom. Then I punched a hole roughly in the centre of one and made some small snips outwards from the hole. This allows you to ease the circle over the light bulb, but obviously looks a bit messy so needs covering up again afterwards. Some punched flowers did the trick. I wanted the same scallop circle for the cake base, but you also have to be able to switch the bulb on, so I used a small oval die to cut a neat aperture. Perhaps those tutorials might have given me a better solution for this, but hey, it works! A simple box from the same paper range helps to present it nicely. If I had more time this box would have been a bit fancier for sure.

tea-light-cake-pink-and-box

tea-light-cake-pink

I also cooked up a second ‘cake’, even more quickly. This one was made with a Christmas purchase for the bargain price of £1 for 4 tea lights! They are already covered in a smoky quartz shade of glitter – yum! Basically I did the same thing but used a fancier and slightly larger scallop circle die for the base. Also because this light has little ‘feet’ I just stood it on the base scallop die cut. It would certainly be possible to fix it permanently to the ‘cake’, in the same way as the top layer really, but I think it is fine as it is.

tea-light-cake-glittered

So there we have it. Two cakes, no calories. I did think about naming them “shark infested” cakes actually. It’s the shape of the bulbs…..