Sunday, 4 December 2016

My New Craft Room – Part 2 of 2

Readers of my previous blog entry will know that at this stage I’d got to the exciting part of getting a new craft room; all the boring sanding, cleaning and painting had been done and it was time to focus on getting in what can best be described as lovely shiny new things! 

I’d decided on having laminate flooring installed because the chair in my old craft room had very quickly worn out the carpet.  Two men came to do the flooring and they were gone in an hour and a half… and all that time they sang so loudly their voices rang throughout the house.  It sounded like they were auditioning for the X Factor!  It’s a ‘no’ from me Simon!

The Ikea delivery arrived.  The men on the lorry worked quickly and within minutes they had unloaded and were gone… leaving me to come to terms with the fact that 90 cardboard boxes had taken over the whole house!  They were everywhere!  
We couldn't move for cardboard boxes...

Thankfully our local joiner, Julian, came back and started putting the whole thing together.  That gave us a completely new problem… instead of full cardboard boxes taking over the house, we now had discarded cardboard boxes taking over the entire back garden!  At one point it was not physically possible to walk by the side of our house due to a cardboard barricade!

Only one thing for it – it was back to the tip, with every spare square inch of space in the car crammed with cardboard – and STILL it took two trips! 

But in the end, I have to say, all the mess and inconvenience and the expense was well worth it.  
I love it!

I love my new craft room and I do realise how very lucky I am to be able to have one.  I now have lots of cupboard space, storage space, and space to just move around if I want to! 

Can you see the wall mounted magnetic knife storage strips. Fantastic for putting the dies on that you're currently working with so they don't get lost on your work surface - many thanks Carley Duff for the excellent idea.

Thanks again Mel!

Another great tip that I must pass on to you is how to store your reels of ribbon.  This idea was given to me by Mel Heaton one day in the Green Room – thanks Mel!  Julian the joiner was a bit confused at first but after I’d explained the idea in more detail he came up with this lovely arrangement, using, would you believe it, 2 sizes of PVC guttering for ribbon storage.  It’s brilliant!

The finished article

I also got the electrician to come back and install a major light in the centre of the room and daylight strip lighting under the cupboards.  I find you can’t have enough light to work by, especially when doing the fiddly jobs. 

Last but not least, is the final touch – and I realise this is sheer indulgence on my part – I had a small television wall mounted so I can watch the Tattered Lace shows while I craft! 

Here’s what I learned while making my new craft room; hopefully you may find this helpful if you decide to go down the same route:

1.        Work to a budget but be aware that in all probability, unless you have more self control than I have, you will go over budget to some extent. Unplanned for jobs always arise;
2.         Be prepared to have total upheaval in your home for a couple of weeks at least, maybe longer;
3.         Choose local tradesman you can trust and be a Bossy Boots – tell them exactly what you want and when you want it. It has been suggested that I am a tad controlling?;
4.         Don’t forget to install a TV so you won’t miss a single Tattered Lace show!  

Friday, 2 December 2016

My New Craft Room – Part 1 of 2

All of us crafters know one thing only too well – that this fascinating hobby of ours takes up space.  And the more crafting we do, the more materials and gadgets we acquire, so more and more space is taken up.  When I first started crafting I had everything in boxes which I would empty out on to the kitchen table, and I put it all away again at the end of the session – looking back, I really don’t know how I managed!

When my three kids grew up and left the nest I took the opportunity of turning our smallest bedroom into a craft room.  Big mistake!  Very quickly, as I bought more materials and more products, I outgrew the tiny room, and it reached the point where I had cardboard boxes of crafting stuff permanently on the kitchen table and all along the landing.  Finally, when upstairs began to resemble an obstacle course, I decided it was time for action!

I moved out of my cramped box room and converted the second largest bedroom into my new craft room.  I explained to my husband what the plan of action was.  Together, I told him, we would rip out an ancient built in wardrobe and break it up into small pieces so we could transport it to the local tip, do the same with the bed, pull up the carpet, underlay and ‘grippa’ rods, take those to the tip, and paint the ceiling. I divided up the jobs fairly, I thought  – I was in charge of making the tea, and he was in charge of doing everything else…
Things looked grim at the start!

When those jobs were out of the way and husband had stopped grumbling, it was time to make an appointment with an expert at Ikea, who, once I told him what I was trying to achieve, came up with a design for the room that I really liked.  Then I had to get the electrician in, to explain to him exactly where I needed new power points; you can never have enough power points!

I was really excited by the whole thing, and by the time the electrician had worked his magic and the re-plastering had been done, it was time for husband to go to work again, sanding down and painting the walls.  The bedroom had been my youngest daughter’s who, when a young teen, had chosen a ‘delightful’ colour for one wall of what could best be described as ‘Deep Plum’ and this took three coats of white paint to cover over, much to my husband’s bemusement!
Gradually things began to look a little better...

When at last all those jobs were finished, the plaster dust had been cleaned up and the smell of fresh paint had subsided a little, it was time to move on to the exciting part, which I’ll tell you about in my next post…       

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Christmas Flowers

If you've seen any of my TV shows you'll know how much I love to use this die set.  It's so much fun because they are really versatile, and you can let your imagination run riot...

 The way I like to approach this die set is to cut out lots and lots of the flowers and foliage all at the same time.  Then I can add pearl drops, in white or in red, which I find really lifts them and gives them an added dimension... beautiful!

Once they have been left to dry - and I would always recommend you leave them overnight so you can be totally confident they've all dried thoroughly - putting a beautiful card together with them is simplicity itself.

Here I made an eye catching festive wreath.  I alternated the two colours of mistletoe die cuts around a circular frame before adding a gold bow and I stuck all this on top of four squares using number 5 from the Torn Edge Squares die set from the Tattered Lace Essentials range. A final little flourish was to add a few gold pearl drops, and the card was done.

 This second card really showcases the Poinsettia die.  After cutting the three layers from green and red card stock I shaped them before layering them up using silicone glue. Adding three gold pearl drops to the centre of each flower catches the eye and really accentuates the beauty of each blossom.  

The flowers are placed around an oval die cut which I embossed with a Yuletide sentiment.  The whole thing was topped off with a beautifully ornate handmade bow.

I love these cards but they are just two examples of the potential of this lovely die set. The only limit is the limit of our own imagination!  

I 'only' have another thirty Christmas cards to make but it puts me in the festive mood even though it's still a little early.  I wonder if it's too early to break open the Christmas chocolates?

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Christmas Is Coming!

I don’t know where the time goes, but suddenly it’s that time of the year again!

I want to share with you a Christmas card about which I’ve had a lot of very positive feedback.  I should apologise for the length of this blog entry right now - but I want to include detailed instructions for you, in case you want to make the card yourself.

I have great fun making this card because it lets me combine two passions of mine – die cutting and the marvellous Scan N Cut.

The finished card

The base of the card is a piece of A4 card simply folded in half, which means the dimensions are 21cm X 14.8cm.  The matts and layers are simple, and of course you can use any Christmas papers you happen to have lying around.  The largest two layers in my version, the red and the patterned layers, are assembled using double sided tape.  The craft card, which measures 18.5cm X 10.5cm, is attached using foam tape to add dimension with the white layer 'flat' on top of it.

At this stage the fun begins! Using my Brother Scan N Cut machine I made the 'NOEL' sentiment.  

I used font A002 as it seems to me to be the best fit...

Then I added each letter separately...


Why did I do it this way, you might be wondering?  Well, it was because I wanted to make the letter 'O' in NOEL larger than the 'N', 'E' and 'L'.

The dimensions in the picture show how large the letters are...

If I'd typed the whole word in at the same time, then all the letters would increase or decrease at the same rate.  Obviously this is an incredibly useful feature to have most of the time... but not on this occasion!

When I was certain I had all the letter bases level I grouped them together, like this:

The shape for the base is 'BA-A025':

Re-sized to fit the letters:

Again, you can see the dimensions in the picture

...and then this is all welded together like this:

... and then cut out of red card:

The Christmas Pudding shown in the picture below was made using the Tattered Lace Essentials Christmas Pudding Dies.  It was die cut four times from card stock; two in craft and one each in green and in white. 

For no particular reason other than I didn't want to waste card, I decided to colour the holly berries using a red pen.  

I pushed all the waste parts out of three of the die cuts but put tape behind one of the craft card puddings to hold in the bits before I coloured in the fruity bits in the pudding a darker brown. 

This picture shows how I assembled all of the die cuts before adding some festive glitter...

The pudding fits snugly over the letter 'O' in 'NOEL' and goes on to the card base using either some gems or pearl drops in the corners.

And there you have it - a fab, fun card which I love making.  If you had a go I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!  

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Peterborough Crafting Live

On Friday 11th and Saturday 12th November the Crafting Live show went to Peterborough – and a great time was had by all. 

A Make & Take

Instead of charging people an entrance fee people were asked to make a charitable donation to commemorate Armistice Day and support the Royal British Legion.  All of the proceeds from these donations went to the Royal British Legion to help them in the fantastic work they do providing support for the Armed Forces community – a really nice touch.

Crafting Live had never been to Peterborough before so we didn’t know what sort of response we would get – but we weren’t disappointed and it was a joy to see so many smiling crafters come through the doors! As well as being able to visit a vast range of exhibitors people had the opportunity to take part in ‘Makes & Takes’, and I was delighted to have been asked to run some of these fun events. 
Make a simple project for free...

For those of you who don’t know, a ‘Make & Take’ is an opportunity for you to come along and make a simple project for free.  It’s a chance for you to try new techniques and products; some people told me the experience had been really useful because they already had certain products at home but until the Make & Take they hadn’t known how to use them, so they were put in a cupboard, gathering dust. I was glad to be of service!

It was also a chance for me to catch up with people I usually only see in passing in the Green Room, such as Dan, Clare, and Carol and Hayley from The Dreamees.  It was lovely to be able to chat with them.  And of course viewers of Create and Craft had the chance to meet presenters and demonstrators they’ve seen on the small screen. 
Dan, me, Clare, Carol & Hayley
It was hard work – I ran eight workshops each day with ten crafters on each workshop, which meant my card was made no less than 160 times!  I am now confident that I can make that card in my sleep, but having said that, I will never tire of seeing the surprised and amazed expression on crafters’ faces when they peel off the Midas Touch foil to reveal the beautiful dragonfly!  

The beautiful dragonfly...
...looks more beautiful!

It was lovely to see the many interpretations on the theme as people brought their own individuality and crafting style to the project. 

I had a brilliant time.  Thank you to everyone who signed up for the Make & Takes for bringing their enthusiasm, skills and smiling faces; the smiles were no more noticeable than when everyone on the Make & Take had a major episode with Sticky Dots and got extremely sticky, and extremely giggly, as a result!

And the icing on the cake was the moment Stephanie confirmed that we’ll do it all again in Peterborough next year – maybe I’ll see you on a Make & Take…

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Fun In The Wee Small Hours…

On Monday 8th November I was absolutely thrilled to be invited to take part in recording some videos to accompany the projects in issue 36 of the Tattered Lace magazine. I must admit I quickly became slightly less thrilled when it was explained to me that filming would take place late in the evening and would go on until the early hours of the morning when all sensible people everywhere should be tucked up snug and warm in their beds! I am definitely not a night owl – when ten o’clock strikes my eyelids automatically become heavy – and I thought I might end up falling asleep in front of the cameras.  Filming is done overnight as it is the only time the studio is available. As it happens I had nothing to worry about, as the adrenalin and concentration is so great that thoughts of a snooze never entered my head – honest!

This was to be the second time I’d done this kind of filming and I was really excited to be going back to do some more.  

So many cameras!
The lovely Lou Collins and I recorded 30 videos between us for the magazine projects.  The aim was to keep the videos short and snappy, under five minutes long, but some necessarily had to be longer than that.  Potentially this could have taken a very long time, especially as everyone involved was naturally determined to make them as perfect as possible.  All of Lou’s videos were shot in one take and I had to re-shoot just one of mine, due to a technical fault with my microphone. That’s what I call professional! 

The format of the videos is lovely and simple. There‘s a ‘sting’ at the start of the video, then a single take of the presenter demonstrating the techniques used in that project, followed by another ‘sting’ at the end.  (A sting is simply some brief graphics and music). If you are already a subscriber all this months videos will be available in the Subscribers’ Exclusive Content on the Create and Craft website from the 16th November for you to watch. The lovely thing about them is that we can go into much finer detail about the techniques used than we ever have time for on the live shows.

Preparing for the next project
 I really enjoy filming these even though they are vastly different to the live TV I usually do.  One challenge for me is to get used to ‘talkback’; that’s an earpiece through which I can hear the Producer and the Director. They frequently talk to me while I am talking to the camera and working on the project, all at the same time.  It’s a bit like trying to rub your stomach with one hand while patting your head with the other!  I find it really tempting to talk back to the Producer and Director – but that wouldn’t make any sense to the viewer!

I’m not complaining though - Emily the Producer and Stuart the Director give me marvellous support through talkback.  They give me additional information I can pass on to the viewer, they tell me how and where to hold up various parts of the project to get the best camera angles, and generally work wonders in a calm and professional matter to get the very best out of me and my presentation. 

For me my biggest triumph of the whole exercise was successfully managing to do the folding project in a single take after a lot of practice beforehand – I’ve never been very good at Origami!

And when filming was all done and dusted and I could relax, the tiredness hit me like a wave.  I arrived home at 4am – not even the milkman was around at that time of day – and I went straight to bed.  But I’d had a great few hours in front of the cameras and I hope I’m invited back to do another set very soon. 

Oh, and while I’m typing I’d just like to mention that the annual launch of the Tattered Lace magazine subscription starts on 14th November.  Stephanie and Nancy are doing the initial shows introducing the next subscription, showcasing the magazine and the free dies, and I’m doing subscription shows too, on the 18th and 20th November.

Whether you're already a subscriber to the Tattered Lace magazine and would like to renew your subscription, or you want to become a first time subscriber, I hope you can join us!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Hobbycraft Show, NEC Birmingham, Part 2 of 2

Well, I’ve finally got round to unpacking after my trip to Birmingham NEC but I couldn’t let the occasion slip by without mentioning some of the lovely people I met who made my time there so enjoyable…
Eyes down, look in....

I’m always struck by the energy and enthusiasm of the crafters I meet, and none more so than the four lovely ladies who decided to attend my workshops on no less than three of the four days of the event!  Ten out of ten for commitment ladies – your smiles were very infectious! And you made me smile when you told me how glamorous I looked in my sunglasses. This was because I'd left my normal glasses in the car, which resulted in a mad dash back to said car to get them or the Workshop on Saturday may not have been very productive!

There was no danger of crafters finding themselves doing the same thing twice by attending workshops on consecutive days as the subject changed daily.  Each day we took different projects from various editions of the monthly Tattered Lace magazine using the die that accompanied that magazine.  At the end of the workshop each crafter was given that magazine and die as a gift to take home. This also meant they could complete any unfinished projects at home. I truly love how crafters don't waste anything and so many of you took home your (used) piece of Cut Tidy and Glue applicators so that they could be reused at home.

Kara hard at it! (with John and Masie in the background)
I also got to meet Josh and his Mum, who came all the way from Devon.  Josh is an avid Create & Craft viewer who contacts the shows regularly, and it was great to actually meet him in person. Thanks for coming all that way to see us Josh!

It was fantastic to meet twelve year old Sophie, who just so happens to be the ‘Inspirational Crafter’ in the current edition of the Create & Craft magazine.  Sophie really is inspirational; she set up ‘Sophie’s Charity Crafts’ which raises money for several charities that are dear to her.  Her website is at and it’s a great venture which truly deserves our support. Well done Sophie, you are an example to us all.

A big ‘hello’ to Kara too, who attended Sunday’s workshop.  It was delightful to meet you Kara, and all the very best for your first teenage market, coming up in the next few days.  Good luck with that – or should I say, ‘break a leg’?!
The two cards we made during the final two days of the event

I had a blast and thanks to everyone I met at the event.  Look forward to seeing you again soon. I hope you'll be at Crafting Live in Peterborough on Friday and/or Saturday?

Corrine XX