When the caffeine is taken away…

Yesterday I had zero caffeine. By choice, not some horrible deprivation torture inflicted by a heartless monger of alternative hot drinks. I don’t drink much – usually just one or two mugs in the morning and that is it. Rarely past noon (that is 12PM lunchtime in the afternoon to some TV presenters) as I am a serial rubbish sleeper so why throw another obstacle into the mix? But last night despite being a caffeine free zone I just couldn’t nod off and eventually got up and made a card. And, well, as you can see, I was perhaps a little preoccupied…

Coffee cardcoffee card detail

I wonder what was on my mind?!

I wanted to use some coffee beans in the photo but there are none in the house. A pile of instant coffee is not too appealing. Galaxy Counters are as close as I could get! It’s OK, they have already gone to a good home…

Supplies: Clearly Besotted Warm Wishes stamps and dies; Altenew Coffee Talk stamps; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable spotty and striped card; The Works stitched rectangle nesting dies

 

Ombre stamping

Just a post to share a card. No ranting today! This set of stamps is called ‘Adore You’. The feeling is mutual. There are so many differently sized flowers and leaves, and they are kind of retro, I think.

Last night I had an inkling to make a sort of ombre stamped effect, and also to have the flowers roughly decreasing in size as I stamped from bottom to top of the card. I found it easier to work this way to make sure I had the space to use the larger blooms. Knowing me, if I had stamped from top to bottom I would have run out of card before I got to the feature flowers. A bit like telling a joke but starting at the punch line…

Rather than using lots of small ink pads, which would have been a faff, I had a ‘I think I may have something in the back’ kind of moment. Like in an old shoe shop, not like a Brutus and Caesar showdown. And guess what? I found a very ancient Kaleidacolor Rainbow ink pad in shades from orange through to red, which was exactly what I wanted. And even though it is at least 14 years old, it still is totally fine and juicy with ink. Now that is a good product!! The various ink pads are separate when closed (to stop them mixing or contaminating each other) but you can slide them together to make one continuous ombre ink pad. Genius!

I used a dark grey mat as a contrast for all the red and orange. And although I know nobody in the industry reads this, could I still put out a plea for a decent multipack of grey card? Pretty please? It is so difficult to find, especially a really nice charcoal. Also, patterned, and self-patterned greys too, please, whilst you are not here anyway! If any other crafters know where I can get some please let me know in the comments?!

I used Altenew Lava Rock ink to stamp the sentiment (from Dahlia Blossoms stamp set) and a stitched rectangle popped up on 3D foam. Now I could well have finished here. It was a nice enough card, but I decided to take the sentiment rather literally. So, a bit more stamping and fussy cutting and I had some extra blooms. Then I decided I wanted one full-on coloured flower, but once that was on there I needed some balance, hence the green leaves. Initially they were just stamped outlines in pale green, but something jarred so they became full-on leafy. Luckily bed time came along to stop me from further fiddling!

adore you ombreadore you ombre detail

Supplies: Altenew Adore you and Dahlia Blossoms stamp sets; Kaleidacolor Rainbow ink pad in Desert Heat; Altenew inks in Lava Rock, Frayed Leaf and Forest Glades; The Works stitched rectangle dies

 

A problem with time

Early warning, this is a post with a tiny little rant. And a card, of course, so you can just skip to the pictures if you want! Well obviously you can do that anyway….!

So, the rant. Let’s start it with a question, in case I am completely out of order here and should be told to button it. Have the rules about telling the time changed? Has there been a vote in Parliament that didn’t make it onto the TV news, or wormed its way into any conversation I have had recently? I ask the question because there is precedent here. Usually ‘Pacific’ is the name of an ocean, we know that. But some people got ‘Pacific’ and ‘specific’ confused, often. Then somehow, over time, all those muddles became one big puddle (no, wait, that’s a different ocean) and now it seems more generally accepted that swapping the two happens, at least colloquially. Interesting that a word indicating the vastness of the seas is used as an alternative for a word meant to drill something down, to identify the particular. Go figure.

Anyway, back to the time telling problem. Recently I have become aware of a new way of doing it. On TV, in conversation and out there on the internet. Sorry if the language offends you as much as it does me, but I have to repeat it so you know what I mean. Brace yourself, here goes. Last week a TV presenter said, three times within a few sentences “2.30AM in the morning”! I know. I will was my mouth out with soap later. Or maybe just give my keyboard a rinse?

He was not the first, and of course since then I have seen and heard it so many more times. But why? Why the “AM” and the “in the morning”? We all know either one is fine and we don’t need them both, but apparently now we cannot be trusted, or are considered too lazy to understand on our own and have to have it double-defined!

So, before I write to the Queen, I just thought I would ask if the rules of time have been changed?

And here is the card I mentioned. A sneeze of embellishments in a pile. Hope you like it.

embellished rosetteembellished rosette detail

Supplies: Spellbinders heart die (from a nesting set); Dreamees small dotty background stamp; Tattered Lace sentiment stamp; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable card in Pashmina; Fabric ribbon from The Works; Adhesive pearls from Poundland

Scrapbusting circles

Remember Venn Diagrams?

I am away for the weekend, so have attempted to be a grown-up and scheduled a post. Wahoo! We will see. Hopefully I won’t bring the universe to a sticky end. I might though not visit everyone or comment much, but will do my best to catch up a bit when I am back.

This is a very quick effort, made from scraps of cards in similar tones. I just die cut circles in four different sizes and arranged them in a pastiche of a Venn diagram onto a panel of stripe-embossed card. The embossing is not showing up great in the photo, sorry, but it is too late for me to take another picture.

hunkydory circles

The banner sentiment is on 3D foam and I added a couple of dots made with Nuvo Drops and some sequins. Because they are my new favourite thing.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and I’ll be back next week.

Supplies: coloured cardstock from Hunkydory Adorable Scorable; Tonic Nuvo Drops; Teresa Collins Modern Stripe embossing folder

 

Best of three…

Well, ‘best’ three times over really!

Banners, pennants, bunting, anything flag-y really, just floats my boat. Always has. Even that rather sad, dusty bunting that is brought out for shows and sales in musty church halls, still makes me smile. I guess the phrase ‘put out the flags’ is close to my happy place. Pull out a pennant, finagle a flag, bang out some bunting and you get my vote.

So, three cards, made with the same stamp and die set. Again, clean and simple in design, but I think the product suits the style. Hopefully!

One general thank you:

best of three 1

Another a bit more girlie:

best of three 2

The final one was meant to be more gender neutral. But I couldn’t resist a few sequins! Tsk!

best of three 3

Supplies: Concord & 9th Best Banners stamps and dies; Crafter’s Companion Elegant Snowfall embossing folder; Altenew Coral Berry ink; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable card in Pashmina (the pink); Create and Craft gold linen effect card

 

 

Fully loaded!

Why time spent watching YouTube is never wasted….

Without even trying, I somehow came across a video of a loaded pocket (I think they are also called loaded envelopes). I had never heard of these before so obviously had to check it out. Whoa! Why has the universe kept these from me up until now?! I watched a second video, then I got stuck in. If anyone else has been similarly unaware, they are basically made with either a gift bag, or a US style lunch bag. You add extra pockets and then load them up with goodies.

loaded pocket 1loaded pocket 2

This one is for my sister and contains bits and pieces I either know she needs, or can use, plus a bit of fun too. I chose a paper pad that I have had for years but will be to her taste, and added in a bit of Anna Griffin. I made a few quick note cards and then the envelopes from patterned paper, plus some circular seals. Also some slim gift tags as she often makes jewellery for her friends. The mini pegs were easy to cover with scraps of paper, and the fridge magnets are punched circles of more paper scraps glued into bottle caps and then a dome sticker over the top. I put a double layer of magnetic tape on the back as the grab was a bit feeble! I think they are still more decorative than useful but what the heck.

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I made the rosette thingie (sorry, I have no clue what it is actually called) with an embossing board that came free with a magazine recently. Its purpose is purely decorative and I think it was a bit of a waste of time to be honest. I had no instructions, so winged it to make the support stick. A straw was the right thickness but too weak, so I strengthened it by gluing a kebab stick inside before covering it with paper and fastening to the header piece. All a bit of a faff, really.

Also going in are some craft items, but there is no need to take pictures of them, and a big bar of chocolate. Just because.

You can get a LOT of stuff into one of these and making it and the various elements was fun. It could easily be used to give different small gifts – maybe pampering goodies, flower or vegetable seeds, stationery, herbs and spices or cake decorating supplies. Anything really. And again, the best bit is the feel of the stuffed pocket and the rustling noise. Heaven!

 

 

Countdown to Easter: Eggsbox, but no games

Making a mountain out of mini eggs

Easter eggs are not just for kids, or at least not as far as I am concerned. I like to gift a few mini eggs to friends and family too. But handing over a rather dull net of chocolate is, well, a bit humdrum, so usually I try to gussie them up a bit.

In previous years I have made little ‘shopping bags’ and folded pouches but I thought it was time to try something different. This presentation is not 100% successful. It is a bit wobbly and needs to go into a flat bottom cello bag for transportation (as in to the recipient, not to a penal colony). Also I am not wild about the foil wrapping on the eggs. It is a bit busy for my tastes but that is how they come. The hard candy shell eggs would have been better visually, but obviously hygiene prohibits the use of unwrapped items. I don’t think anyone would like a mouthful of glitter along with their chocolate. Or indeed a little bit of Riley now that we are in moulting season!

Still, the idea is ok, I think. I just made a quick box base from double sided gingham card and added a layer of with shredded paper. Shakespeare, in case the recipient should also fancy a jigsaw puzzle and some light reading. The outside is covered with multiple cuts of a picket fence die that was free with issue 144 of Papercraft Essentials magazine. Good free stuff!! Then I filled the box with some polystyrene eggs (from The Works) that had been covered in Martha Stewart glitter, one of my sadly deformed chicks and as many mini eggs as seemed feasible. Think of loading to the max a salad bowl, or a skip, whichever you can best identify with.

The final touch is a banner made with Clearly Besotted Mini Banners stamps and die. I cut the shape twice – once around the stamped image and once from plain gingham cardstock. I used red liner tape to fix an couple of cocktail sticks to the back of the stamped image and then 3D foam to cover the workings with the second die cut. A couple of Lawn Fawn Hoppy Easter eggs were hanging around so they got used too.

eggsbox1eggsbox3eggsbox2eggsbox4

Having stared at chocolate so much I am now off to eat some!

 

 

The kindness and genius of Cobs

Some of you may remember that I mentioned a while ago that my mother had broken her ankle. Cobs, from The Cobweborium Emporium made her a get well card. You might have already seen the card on Cobs’ blog, but if not, or if you are not familiar with Cobs, go see her as she is amazingly creative but also interesting and very funny! Now I wanted to share the card here too (and I did check with Cobs that it was ok), but unfortunately the photos I took at the time were rubbish, so I had to wait until I could take some better ones.

This card has everything you could wish for. It uses gorgeous papers, it is feminine and pretty, it has humour and wit but most of all it is beautifully made and made by someone with a beautiful heart.

Prepare to admire, and to snigger!

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Isn’t it genius? We all had a good laugh, as well as drooling over the fabulous handiwork. So thanks Cobs, for your kindness and your creativity, and for being so bloomin’ lovely!

 

Still Stencilling….

Well, it was just sitting there, winking at me…

Another card made with my Altenew Halftone stencil. This time I have opted for a softer look, so just used two shades of grey ink (Evening Gray and Morning Frost) in a fuzzy edged (technical term!) vague circle. I then stamped my flowers and leaves in a darker grey (Moon Rock), fussy cut them and spent a small eternity faffing about with their placement. Ho hum. Some of the elements were popped up on 3D foam. Oh and UK shoppers, I found a great bargain pack of large foam squares and a big roll of foam in Poundland last week. Please forgive my ignorance but I honestly did not know that everything in that shop costs £1.00!! I kept looking for prices….But anyway, it seems like a good deal to me so thought I would mention it.

Once I had the card assembled I decided I wanted to add the tiny text greeting. I wasn’t brave enough to stamp directly onto the more-or-less finished project so chickened out. Stupid, really, because if it had gone wrong I could still have covered it over and ended up with the same card as I have here. Duh!

A few little blobs of Nuvo Jewel drops and we are good to go. I like the sentiment because it can cover a lot of occasions, either happy or not so much.

adore you cardadore you card detail

Supplies: Altenew Halftone Stencil, Adore You stamps and Warm Gray mini ink cubes set; Tonic Nuvo Jewel Drops in Pale Periwinkle; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable card (the pinkish lilac)

Smugglers, baking and boot camp

TiVo, get your act together!

I have to get this one off my chest. Has anyone else ever felt insulted by the ‘suggested recordings’ choices of their TiVo box? The TiVo has only been installed for a couple of years, and the instruction manual was never read because the gizmo worked and there are many more fun things to do with an afternoon. So the fact that there were suggested recordings at all, was something of a surprise. At first I thought it rather sweet that the blinking box in the corner would think of you throughout the day, get to know you a little and consider what TV treats you might like to enjoy later. Even going ‘off piste’ a bit and perhaps selecting something you may not have considered for yourself, but you end up loving. Similar to being given olives to try again, because although you claim not to like them, you like salty things, for example.

In the ‘getting to know you’ stage the suggested programmes were baffling. But early on in a relationship you can easily get the wrong signals, or send mixed messages. So, it proffered the local news programmes, and the BBC News, and the ITV News…. Well, news is fine, but watching it back at a later date is generally not so interesting. Really I have no idea how these things work but figured it would take time to somehow recognise what was watched and build a kind of profile. But then the random selections started to kick in. I can‘t remember specifically what, but they were not impressive.

Why wasn’t it trying harder? Why was it recording shows about border control and smugglers when such programmes were never actually watched, and should surely never be part of the viewing profile?

Then the ‘thumbs’ were discovered. Yes, perhaps this should have happened earlier. For anyone who doesn’t know, you have a green ‘thumbs up’ to say you like a programme, and a red ‘thumbs down’ to show your displeasure. You can hit the button up to three times, presumably to indicate your strength of feeling either way. Now, I get why up to three thumbs-worth of happy viewing might be useful information: I hope that if there was a recording clash between a one-thumb and a three-thumb the lovely considerate box would prioritise. This is an optimistic theory, not yet tested.

But why bother giving any more than one thumb of disapproval? Surely the TiVo is not going to think ‘Hmmn, well, there is very little of interest at the moment, so I’ll just record a single-thumbs-down programme. Can’t sit here doing nothing can I?’ Well, yes actually, you can. If you can’t record something good, don’t bother recording anything at all…

In an effort to train the beast, every time the TiVo is caught red handed i.e. recording something undesirable, the red thumb is pushed three times, still with little idea of why three is necessary but we are sending a clear message here. Same if it does good, although sadly this is less often. So now the on-screen TV guide has more up and down thumbs than a busy day at the Colosseum.

Today, late morning, the box pinged up a message to say it wanted to switch from the current programme (you know, the one you have actually chosen to watch) and record Mary Berry doing some cooking instead. Interesting. Not the choice of programme – for once it was a good choice – but that meant it was sneakily off recording another couple of shows, because it can only record three things if you are watching one of them. On further investigation these turned out to be Police Interceptors (or something like that) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Excuse me?? I honestly don’t think ANY of the viewing history would suggest these as likely to meet with approval. Knowledge of the Ninjas is sketchy, but a programme about the real Donatello or Raphael would stand a better chance!

I have just deleted more suggestions of yet more border control programmes, ones about sheriffs and debt collectors, gadget reviews, and a marriage boot camp, all of which would never have been watched. This feels more like a marriage of convenience, or of one where apathy has taken over. Like those who shop for their spouse’s or partner’s gift in the last hour on Christmas Eve. Just get something, no matter what. Who cares if it is the wrong size and wrong colour? It’s the thought that counts right?

Wrong, Mr TiVo, wrong.

Neither of these cards are for you. We are not friends and you are not awesome.

halftone and super scripthalftone super script 2

I have used current stash from Altenew plus a guilty purchase of a stencil. It cost under a fiver so I don’t feel too bad. Sometimes you just need something new to freshen things up a bit. These cards are very similar to one of the marketing shots, but it is kind of an obvious thing to do and I was just itching to use it! I blended three different colours of Altenew inks onto my base card, then stamped and die cut the Super Script words and cut out the Label Love sentiment. I love the look of the spotty symmetry!