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!



Not rocket science

The mojo is now requiring CPR. Or maybe it just needs a personality transplant. I have decided to take the pressure off myself, stop fretting about it, chill. It‘s only card and paper after all.

So today it is back to basics. Make something (hopefully) pretty with dies and stamps. That’s it. No rocket science, no lab coat required.

Tonic lattice header

tonic lattice header detail

Supplies: the Ton Rose Background stamp; Altenew Cotton Candy ink; Tonic dies – Just for You and the header lattice is part of a set called Ornate Elegance; Xcut dies – for the tiny little hearts; vellum from Woodware

Phantom bus stop, but getting there?

Today I set out to catch my bus to work and messed up my timings. I thought I was too late to catch the early bus, and far too early for the later bus. But as I reached the main road I saw the (early) bus stuck in a bit of traffic way down the road. Whoo hoo! I pegged it towards the bus stop, got three quarters of the way there only to realise the stop had disappeared, vanished, gone. But it was there yesterday?! OK brain, snap decision required – do I wait there anyway and hope the bus driver is accommodating? Unfortunately the kindness of bus drivers is not universal. So, the choice was to try and make it to the next stop along the route before being overtaken (a bit of a walk, all uphill and a couple of hairy junctions to dice with), or walk back a stop from my original and now missing bus stop and hope that I still got there in time. I chose the latter. And missed the bus. Then I waited for the next bus, which was, of course, late. But hey, I was on it. We crawled through school run traffic towards the (still) missing bus stop and now up ahead a crowd of about 10-15 people were waiting. All standing where they usually stand. But at a phantom bus stop. Tension. You can see it on the faces. Nobody is sure what is going to happen. The bus draws up, everybody gets on. Nobody says a word. Only in Britain.

Anyway, back to the stripy stamp. I tried all the kind hints that other bloggers offered on my last post, and still haven’t quite achieved the inky depth of colour I am craving. I was pretty sure that using Versamark ink to stamp and heat emboss would work well, and it did.  So for a while I stopped experimenting and just made something!

sparkle card

Only a quick and simple one, but during the week I just don’t have the time for anything much else sadly.  I also had a go at adding Glossy Accents to the word dies. I have seen a few people doing this and think it looks great. Mine was not perfect, but passable?!

sparkle detail

In case you’ve not seen it or are wondering how to do it, just cut your die two or three times from card as thick as it can cope with. The card can be any colour, so use whatever you have and once it is cut, cover it with inks or pens if necessary, making sure you get the colour into every nook and cranny. Then glue them together, using wet glue with a good grab. The card I used for the layers here was from green patterned packaging, so I cut the sentiment again in black just so I knew the top layer would have no flaws or missed patches. Slather on the Glossy Accents (without going over the edges) and wait for the joy to happen. Actually mine pitted a bit on the thinner sections so I had to go over it again, delaying the joy somewhat, but it turned out fine(ish)!

Happy Retirement

My mother is finally retiring, after working more or less constantly for 60 years. At an age past which many people stop working, she started a new job as a Medical Secretary, a highly responsible position which she has held, awesomely, for 15 years. She should be far better rewarded for all her hard work than she has been, but I can do nothing about that. I can though try to help her through a massive life change. Goodness knows she has done it for me enough times.

She doesn’t want any fuss, no party or ‘leaving do’, but it is unknown territory and who on earth can anticipate how they would feel as they leave work for the very last time? So, for her final day I have made her some favours to share. These small offerings are only folded and glued paper containing a few sweets, but sometimes just giving a little something brings levity instead of awkwardness. It can show love, or appreciation of help, of support, of fun, or just old-fashioned comradeship in a sea of adversity.

Paper is my ‘thing’ and I love the fact that a little bit of it, made into something pretty, can bring a smile, some fun, a little happy moment, or tell someone you care about them.

retirement favours

On a practical note: yes, I did check she would like some before going ahead! Sorry the photo is not great but I was in a hurry to get to work myself.

These are easy to make. I used the Tonic Tent Gift Bag die. Just make up the bag, then punch a single hole in the top through all layers. Make a loop from ribbon: a 20cm length gives you enough to trim up neatly afterwards without being wasteful. Stick the loopy bit through the punched hole (I go from back to front) and pull the tails of the ribbon through the loop, tightening it up gently. The little word strips are just computer printed. The (slightly) clever bit is that instead of adding these when you make the ribbon fastening and then trying to get everything going in the right direction, not puckering or tearing or insisting on facing the wrong way, you cheat. Punch a hole again near the top, then cut a small slit from an outside edge to the centre of the punched hole and just hook it over your ribbon. You can see it on the bag on the far left. I thought pretty much everyone knew this trick but apparently not. Happy to share!

Making a list..

No, I haven’t got my seasons wrong. I am a list person. Not in a casual “sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t” way, but a dedicated devotee. In fact, I think I may be a list abuser. Not of shopping lists, they  are still untainted and remain the sensible itemisation of grocery and household requirements carefully listed in the order of the supermarket layout from door to checkout. (If you don’t do this, stop reading now). I mean those lists of domestic tasks you want to achieve over a weekend or holiday break.

These too used to be honest lists of sensible and achievable targets, with a sprinkling of youthful ambition. Things like:

Mow lawn
Clean oven
Steam clean bathroom
Reorganise wardrobe
Paint front door

Then corruption set in. The lists started to change. Gradually, I started adding smaller things that were part of my routine anyway, like ‘do ironing’, to make me feel like I had achieved more. Take control, I thought. So I would set a goal – say if the list had ten tasks, I had to complete five. This worked for a while, but then, I am ashamed to say, I started to cheat my own system and jobs which had already been finished were included, just so I could cross them off and hit target!

But it didn’t stop there. The sheer number or scale of bigger tasks became even more ambitious, and of course to be able to continue with my self-imposed achievement percentage, the smaller tasks had to be something I could and would definitely accomplish. They now look something like this:

Paint front of house
Wash hair
Landscape garden
Eat lunch
Save the world
Stroke the cat

Guess what I have achieved so far?? If only I had put ‘writing a blog post’ on there…

Here’s a notepad I can make use of: