Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Carta Bella Traditions cards

When Echo Park Papers announced it was launching a sister company I was intrigued.  I love Echo Park and the new Carta Bella company promised premium branding with a sophisticated range so I was excited to be able to work with one of their debut collections.  

Sarah sent me the Traditions collection from the S J Crafts shop and true to their word, the papers are wonderful quality and slightly textured.  The colours in this particular kit are great for everyday, Autumn and Christmas if you prefer not to purchase overly themed ranges.   

I had a few cards to make and I think you'll agree that they are all very different even though they come from the same wonderful kit.  

This one was inspired by a home decor project on Pinterest and was inked with Rusty Hinge Distress Ink and embellished with orange gems for an Autumnal feel.

This one features one of the stunning stickers from the 12x12 sheet that comes as part of the collection.  I knew it wouldn't work on a scrapbook page so it was perfect as a focal point on a card raised up with some pop dots. 

And then this last one for my dear Dad which embraces the traditional feel of the collection with the addition of an embossed car (oh how I love to watch embossing powder melt!) and some script ribbon (apologies for the blurring, my camera didn't like being left in the cold car overnight!).

I also made 2 very different scrapbook layouts with this wonderful collection so please check back again soon.

I must just say a quick thank you for all the comments and e-mails etc on my previous post.  It is wonderful to have people thinking of you across the world and sending their love.  The last couple of weeks have been some of the darkest I have known for a good while, the stress of the house is just adding to it!  This weekend I am off to a scrapping retreat to play with paper for hours on end.  This is by far my best therapy.

Much love to you all

Bye for now xx

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Crazy busy

I'm trying not to panic and trying to laugh about these things but, well, you know me, anxiety is my middle name.

I'm about 5 weeks behind on my Open University writing course.  The room where I do my writing is about to have a bit of wall taken out so everything has had to come out.  My craft room, where I like to write too, is awash with Sylvanian Families, Lego and beads that need to be made into Christmas presents.  I can't get to my table and I have several craft deadlines to complete and a retreat to prepare for.

After the leak a few weeks ago, we have had to move most of the stuff out of the utility room / children's art room so the floor can dry out and the cupboards can be replaced at some point.  The downstairs bathroom is being ripped out and replaced, hence the bit of wall being taken out in the spare room (for some reason the bath was recessed into that room!)

I wanted to show you lots of photos of the work going on but now I am having blogger issues because I am over the upload space and I have no idea how to fix it.  Any ideas?

I've been using a new recipe for my Christmas cakes but I burned one of the many I need to make so Management (who has been VERY poorly indeed) cut off all the edges.  I think I shall make a cup of tea and do a taste test on said cake.  Anyone else want a cup?

Bye for now

Friday, 16 November 2012

Frosty Festivities Blog Hop

I absolutely love Christmas!  I love all the preparations and the excitement building and all the rushing around, shopping, baking and wrapping.  I love the sights, the sounds, the smells and yes the tastes too, so when Jennifer asked if I would like to join in with her Frosty Festivities blog hop of course I said yes!  Like Jennifer's previous blog hop, there is a wonderful prize to enter for (details at the end) and there are lots of challenges and giveaways and fun frosty posts throughout the whole weekend.

So how are your Christmas preparations coming along?  Are you one of those who plans all year or are you a leave it all to the last minute kinda person? I'm a planner... I've almost completed all of my Christmas shopping, I've got the wrapping paper and tags, I've got LOTS of beads that need to be made into presents, the house smells amazing with the first of many Christmas cakes in the oven and Management is being sent up into the loft this weekend to retrieve the Advent envelopes which we fill with festive activities as part of our Christmas countdown.  

The other preparations that I normally make (but won't be this year because of my writing course) is for Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas project.  I've done it a couple of times in the past and preparation definitely helps.  I'm still working on last year's album in bits and pieces but I thought I would share some ideas from some of the finished pages from 2011 and a few of the things I did to help me along the way.  

I've used a variety of sizes and shapes in my Christmas albums in the past but this 8.5x11 was my favourite to work with.  I used standard A4 plastic pockets and cardstock which helped to reduce the costs considerably.  I also cut some patterned papers to A4 and varied between a cardstock or a paper background.

In the run up to December I pre-made all my date / number tags in a sort of production line affair.  I used a selection of different papers from a My Mind's Eye Collection and layered up a star shaped nesting die, then an E K Success label punch, a flower nesting die which was embossed with swiss dots, a Martha Stewart pinked circle punch and then smaller punches in a Christmas tree, snow flake and heart shape.  I ended up not putting the number on many of them because I found I wanted to move them around to fit my own story better.  Each tag was slightly different with the different papers used and then a button or a gem added to finish them off.

The date tags help the album to flow and give a sense of cohesion, as does using only a select few products for the whole project.  I kept to the same collection for the papers and chose one border punch to use throughout.  I pre-made some pockets and tags and I embellished them using that border punch, even using the punch waste for minimal effort and  to really stretch my stash.

I also prepared a few pages that I knew would be coming up such as using vellum on this page to make a pocket for a couple of important cards.  Its nice to see vellum becoming "on trend" again (although I have always loved it and used it!)

Here is another tag that I made prior to December by layering a snowflake punch over the negative.  The cardstock in this layout is actually the reverse side of some photographic paper from the pound shop!  It makes a great base and saves those all important pennies again.

As well as the papers and the preprepared tags and embellishments, I picked out a handful of alphabets in coordinating colours in several different sizes so that I didn't have to go through my entire stash every time.  I have this particular alphabet in the red and the green and it is very pretty but there are no "W"s!

Working with A4 can mean that it is tricky to use more than one 6x4 photo so I made a flap for this layout.  I always keep  the tear off bits from the calendars to use on my layouts and I love the effect it gives for important dates.

The 2 slightly hidden photos are not great but they are still part of the story so they need to be in the album.  This is an ideal placement for including a concertina book for 3 or more photos.

So are you doing any kind of December project this year?  How about some yummy new stash to help you on your way?  If you comment on all the blogs in the hop, finishing at Jennifer to let her know that you've been all the way around, then you'll be in with a chance to win a spectacular seasonal prize of Basic Grey Aspen Frost and Carta Bella Winter Fun items, worth over £25! All entries must be received by Monday the 19th of November at 10.59pm GMT. Your next stop along the hop is Lizzie.

Here's a list of all the blogs in the hop, in the correct order in case you get lost.  

Lisa-Jane <====== That's me!

I hope you have fun with all your preparations and taking part in the blog hop.  I can smell burning so I think I'd better go and check my cake!

Bye for now

S J Crafts Challenge - Christmas

There is just so much Christmas activity around here at the moment and I love it!  

There is new challenge on over at S J Crafts and the current theme is Christmas.  What with that and Jennifer's Frosty Festivities starting later today it has been a very merry week here.  I have had Christmas music on and festive smelling candles burning to really get into the spirit and I can tell you that my craft room is literally bursting with presents to wrap and things to make.  

This layout was influenced by Shimelle's Scrapbook Remix class with the layering effects.  Its all about Louis as a baby and trying to get a decent shot of him in his cloth nappy and Santa hat before we had a digital camera. 

I used lots of sparkle and shine to spruce up (geddit?) the black and white photo and I added fuzzy heart shaped brads, festive ribbon and lots of old bauble due cuts on pop dots.  I also inked the edges with one of the new seasonal Distress Inks.

The optional extra for this project is to mix up the alphas so I sprayed a chipboard "Joy" with Mister Huey and added some glitter glue and then finished off with some tiny alpha stickers.

Closing date for entries is: 19 December at 1pm

One random winner will win a Mystery Christmas themed prize! Don't forget to check back to see if you are our lucky winner or you are chosen for our favourite 3 entries!!!

Now go, make something festive!  

Bye for now

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Howdy Boy!

I had fun last week with another card, this time something very different for me.  This one was for a very special little boy who recently joined his new family and celebrated his first birthday last weekend.

I found a little pack of cowboy toppers in a sale and thought they would be great for 2 little boy birthdays coming up.  I used a precious but unused Jenni Bowlin star and edged it with self adhesive gems.  All the edges were inked with Faded Jeans Distress ink.

Although the blog has been very quiet recently, there are a few posts ready to go over the weekend including a challenge and a blog hop with prizes so please do check back in the next few days.

Bye for now

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Another card!

I've been making a few cards lately, some for my DT work, but I've been inspired by Jaki who hasn't bought a card in years.  I have all this stash here, much of which would look better on a card than a scrapbook page, and I realised I had no excuse not to embrace card making in the full.  Of course I chose the wrong time for this epiphany because it is a time of many birthdays and a lot of thanks to be given that should have been given ages ago.  But I shall start with this one as I know the recipient has opened it.  

My youngest niece was 21 last week so I wanted to make something really special for her.

I used some much adored papers from Henbury Lane by Papermania and lots of purple bling.  I'm enjoying making quadrant cards and I have learned a lot in the last couple of weeks or having a go at them.  The most important thing is that you have to measure the precise bit of the card that you are working on... ahem...  Don't think that a 6 inch square card is what it says it is.  The top and the bottom are different sizes (ever so slightly) and they are not square.  They also fold in different directions.  I may have said a rude word or three making this card!

I fussy cut the butterflies from the rose printed paper to use as the stopper and added some felt die cut butterflies from the same range.

21... seems such a long time ago...

Bye for now

Sunday, 4 November 2012

It was a dark and stormy night...

This post is brought to you by Story Telling Sunday at High In the Sky.

This month, Sian gave us the prompt of "It was a dark and stormy night" which got me thinking about how much I love a good storm.  We're lucky that we live in a part of the world where they are not that frequent, dramatic or devastating but it does mean a lack of available material!

I wondered, should I tell you about my first big storm, the Great Storm of October 1987 that everyone remembers because of poor old Michael Fish, but actually not much happened to us.  Or the January storm 2 years later where my old moped couldn't cope and I had to push it home against the wind, but that all happened in the daytime.  How about that fabulous night 20 years ago on the balcony in Gibraltar with Management, with lightning illuminating the entire sea in front of us?  Er.. no, its not THAT sort of blog.

In the end I asked Management "Can you think of a dark and stormy night?"  His eyes glazed over and a smile twitched at his lips "Gibraltar."  "No, not that one, its for my blog."  "Ah, I see, no not that one then. Erm... the Outback?"  "YES!"

As part of our Round The World Trip, we had to coincide several parts of the world in the 'wrong' season.  One of those parts was Australia, particularly the outback and Northern Territory.  They have a wet season there which runs from December to May but it is also incredibly hot so the climate when we were travelling there was humid, so humid in fact that it melted my nail varnish off!  We travelled around Alice Springs on a tour bus visiting Uluru and Kata Juta and most of the time we slept under the stars in swag bags.  At least some people did, I don't think I slept at all.

Desperately trying to sleep on the first night of our trip to Uluru.
We headed north from Alice Springs to Darwin making stops in various sparsely populated, widely spaced places heading for Katherine Gorge so we could do some kayaking.  We saw many amazing things along the way including this termite mound.  This is the last photo we took with our old 35mm camera which finally died after a rather fun bus journey but that's another story.

That night was the first night that retreated inside the tents which were really just canvas huts with 4 racks for sleeping on.  There is such a lack of civilisation in that part of Australia that at night it really is pitch black because there is no haze of light from local towns and obviously no street lights etc.  It really is rather surreal.  There was a terrific lightning storm that night but it was far enough away that we could just sit and watch like fireworks.  One guy played guitar and another played the didgeridoo and we sat on little stools with a stubby beer watching the storm circling around us and literally feeling like it was lighting up the world.  It was one of those nights that you don't want to end yet it wasn't full of expense or crazy partying.  I often wonder if the other people on the trip think back to that night and how beautiful it was in its natural wildness.  We didn't escape the rain that night and it came down so hard that it flooded the ground within seconds and came in through the sides of the tent which was not so beautiful.

Obviously this is not my picture, see the credits below, and we were not anywhere near Uluru when we saw our storm but this fantastic shot gives you an idea of the sort of stunning show we were treated to.

I don't expect to ever again experience a storm like I did that night.  Now its back to my usual storms which normally involve heavy rain on the school run!

If you've got a scary or stormy story, or any story really, please do link up and share it with others, we love to read.

Bye for now