Sunday, 29 January 2017

Peek Of The Week Number Five

It's Sunday so yet another 'Peek Of The Week', and this time I thought I would share with you something I did on my Pick Of The Day shows a couple of weeks ago...

In those shows we launched the first of the Huggables dies which form part of the Tattered Lace 'Love Is In The Air' Collection.

Yet another design success for Stephanie!  I was immediately impressed by these dies.  They are beautiful, so intricate and detailed.  I just love the way the die cuts hug the card blank and gently overlap.  Brilliant!

So today I thought I would share this card - and the accompanying envelope - with you.  If you managed to catch the shows, and can remember them (it was two weeks ago after all!) you will have seen the card, as it was displayed near the dies in the studio.

I was a little bit miffed that I didn't get a chance on the show to demonstrate to you the matching envelope that I made using the die to make a beautiful ornate flap.  Why didn't I get the chance, you might ask?  Well, the truth is, I just don't know where the time goes when we're broadcasting.  On the face of it, a one hour show sounds like a long time and you'd be forgiven for assuming I'd be able to demonstrate anything and everything I want to, but time flies in front of the camera and often, before I know it, it's time to say goodbye and pack up my stuff for another day! 

Anyway, making the matching envelope was where I was able to mix my love of dies with that other favourite of mine, the ScanNCut...

Using the Tattered Lace envelope stencils, I made my envelope base out of white card... but then I cut off the flap.  Putting the card base to one side, I cut the floral die from the 'Love Is In The Air' in black card and stuck it on to a piece of white card before running this through my ScanNCut and saving the image. 

Next I had the ScanNCut to cut just outside the outside line of the image, in red card. This made a perfect matt layer which I stuck behind a new envelope flap, onto which I had die cut the floral die before assembling the envelope. 

Even though I say so myself, I believe this makes for a beautiful envelope, and the card featured fits in it nice and snugly.  

I always feel that, when making an envelope, the pressure is on to some extent to make sure the card that will fit inside it is just as nice, if not nicer. Imagine receiving a beautifully ornate envelope and finding inside something only slightly more exciting than your Council Tax bill!  

As I always write at this point, now it's your turn.  Please go onto my Facebook page and include a photo of your latest make, or a make of which you're particularly proud. I'd be really pleased to see them, and why not include a line or two telling us why that particular make means a lot to you? Don't be shy now!    

Friday, 27 January 2017


It’s not every day I get asked to be involved in something as grand as a World Launch – so of course I said ‘Yes Please!’ and what great fun it was.

Lots of shows were broadcast from Phoenix, Arizona, and shows broadcast from the UK could of course be seen by a whole host of brand new viewers in the States.  
The lovely Rachel Pierman

So with that in mind my partner in crime, the lovely Rachel Pierman, asked me to say a word or two on the show about Tattered Lace for the benefit of our new US viewers.

Obviously I’m biased but I genuinely believe Tattered Lace is a brilliant company. It was all started, as most of us know, by the super-talented Stephanie Weightman who designs everything! About four years ago Stephanie realised she couldn’t buy the detailed intricate dies she wanted to use in her crafting… they simply weren’t out there – so Stephanie set out to put that right, and here we all are!

Stephanie keeps coming up with new concepts and a great one I had the pleasure of demonstrating is the Flectere range. I must admit ‘flectere’ is not a word I’d ever come across before but someone put me right and explained it’s a Latin word meaning to bend or to shape – which will give you a clue as to what the new concept is all about… with these anyone can make delightful curved dimensional projects with ease.

The Flectere Foundation range consists of 3 different styles which are Heart, Oval and Bracket shapes. The detail and delicacy of the cut out pieces produced is very impressive indeed.  The dies come with three layers of interchangeable tabs so they can be played around and experimented with until you are satisfied.  The possibilities really are endless.
And there’s plenty more.  The Fancy Foundation Collection is brilliant.  Each Foundation die comes with a sentiment, ribbon plaque and a range of small dies to complement their decorative frames. This collection allows you to produce superb backdrops with ease.
The Flectere Story Collection has a host of dies to create great scenes that will fill up the foreground of your project – as well as the background if you wish!  A clever 3D cutting system die and a ‘Click Print Go!’ CD-ROM really whets the appetite.  The CD-ROM has on it lots and lots of beautiful background and Charisma story designs that can be placed onto your Butterfly, Faerydae and Majestic Bouquet die cuts to really bring them to life. The Flectere range really does cry out for multi-layering…
The boxes that can be made with the Flectere range will take your breath away! The great thing is with these boxes is that because they are so intricate you might be fooled, as I was, into thinking they are delicate and fragile - but I was really surprised at how sturdy they are.

The Flectere system obviously captured the imagination of the viewers because in almost no time at all 25% of the total stock held had gone!
So there you have it, a whole new concept for our card making and lots more things to try out!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

I Love My ScanNCut!

I've been demonstrating the Brother ScanNCut CM300 recently, something I always enjoy doing. It's a fantastic machine and a brilliant concept.  There's a dedicated army of ScanNCut converts out there, growing by the day!

It's not hard to see why.  I've never heard anyone say they have managed to exhaust the potential of this machine and that's because I believe the potential is really only limited by one's own imagination. This guarantees the user will be able to continue to create new things using the machine for years to come.  No wonder so many people are so passionate about it! 

The capabilities of the ScanNCut continue to increase, thanks to the free updates provided by Brother. 

Not only can we scan, cut, draw and emboss using the machine, but from about the end of next month there will be another free update available which will allow us to work with foil. Something to keep an eye out for!

One thing that appeals to my frugal side is that it is possible to use small scraps of card, meaning that waste is reduced to the absolute bare minimum. It saves time too - it's possible to load up the machine with various small pieces of card, place multiple elements on the mat and cut them out, all at the same time. 

Another great thing about the ScanNCut is that it won't allow me to make foolish mistakes. 

For instance, if I load up the machine to cut but then my concentration drifts and I mistakenly ask the machine to draw, it simply won't - instead it displays a message telling me to attach the appropriate holder.  

Although it comes with 600 pre-loaded images there are some really exciting developments that come as accessories in the form of USBs. For instance, the 'Best of 2016' Tattered Lace USB gives me 203 elements, and the 'Glitz and Glam' USB gives 127 elements.  (Think of an element as a die, but a die that you can reshape up to 200 different ways). So, getting out my calculator, those two USBs give me 330 elements.  330 elements that can be resized up to 200 different ways gives me up to 66,000 options - mind blowing stuff!

In fact I may never come out of my craft room again! 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Peek Of The Week Number Four

If it’s Sunday it must be ‘Peek Of The Week’ day!  Hello and welcome to Peek Of The Week Number Four – and thanks very much for taking the time out to read this.

I don’t know about you, but personally one of the joys of making cards is the anticipation, imagining how the recipient will feel when it’s delivered and they open the envelope. Everything these days is geared up for speed and convenience because we all lead such busy lives, and greetings cards are no exception.  Anyone can pop into a shop, put some coins on the counter, and walk out with a mass produced bland card that they can send to their loved one. There are online companies that exist that will make the card and even post it for you!

While all this is very convenient, handy, useful, call it what you will, it’s also very impersonal. No greetings card demonstrates love and affection more than a card you have spent time and great care making yourself, and that’s why shop-bought and internet-ordered cards will never compete with handmade ones, even those we make that have imperfections and wobbly bits. In a World of uniformity and mass production we should love our imperfections and wobbly bits!

The card I want to share with you this Sunday has a very special place in my heart because it was made for a very special lady – my Mum. It was her birthday yesterday. I find I’m very busy these days (not that I’m complaining – I love my job!) and I don’t have much, if any, spare time in which to make many cards for my own use – but there are occasions when we just have to find the time, and my Mum’s birthday definitely fitted the bill.  Mum moved to France a few years ago, I miss her very much and I wanted to make a card that would hopefully show her how much I love her.  And this is the result.

After cutting an aperture into a card blank I cut the Botanical Bouquet, butterfly frame into a piece of pink mirri card. I put a purple frame on top of this using foam tape for added dimension. By keeping to just three basic colours and making the butterflies in those same colours I’d hoped to tie everything in and keep everything co-ordinated and understated, and I feel I’ve succeeded in doing that.  

The sentiment was printed on to acetate and then stuck between the card base and mirri layer. After cutting out a few additional butterflies and dotting them around, the card was finished. I’m really chuffed with the results but far more importantly I had a phone call from France that told me my Mum was really pleased with it – and I hope you like it too.  

Now it’s your turn!  Please please (pretty please!) take time out to photograph your makes and put them on my Facebook page.  Don’t be shy, no one will judge you and I love to see what’s being created out there!

Friday, 20 January 2017

A Card, A Caravan and a Gift Box

Before Christmas our two friends Shirley Ramm and Paula Woollett kindly took the time to post photos of their makes as a result of my request following the regular Sunday 'Peek Of The Week' blog entry.

Many thanks for doing this ladies, your work is fantastic and I'm sure it will inspire others to have a go!

By Shirley Ramm
This fun, triple-aspect card is absolutely perfect for any little boy's first birthday.  By keeping to the three colours of blue, light blue and white, Shirley has tied all the elements together using a whole host of dies.  And of course personalising this card makes it unique - one of a kind.  Well done Shirley! 

By Paula Woollett
These two beautiful makes are made using the Cutting Craftorium Decorative Dimensions USB.  They demonstrate how the Scan N Cut can take a flat piece of paper and bring it to life using three dimensions.  I just love the pretty papers Paula has used to decorate the caravan, and the delicate detail of the pretty pink box is absolutely delightful. Take a bow Paula!

Thanks again ladies for showing us your makes and hopefully more people will follow your lead.  I'd like everyone to think about popping over to my Facebook page and post a picture of their makes … and at the same time, tell me why you like it.  Did you manage to overcome a crafting difficulty to make it?  Did you make it specifically for a loved one or a special occasion? We can then talk about them in a little more detail on my blog. 

I’m looking forward to hearing from you...


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A Night Shift...

This time round I thought I’d mention an overnight shoot I was lucky enough to be able to do, with Nancy Watt, editor of Tattered Lace magazine.  The reason for the shoot was to make instructional videos for Issue 38 of Tattered Lace magazine, which has just been released.   

Together we recorded thirty one videos of various projects.  The videos varied in length, from under four minutes to one of Nancy’s that ran to approximately eight minutes.

Nancy Watt, Tattered Lace magazine Editor
Overnight shooting is necessary because that’s the only time when the studio is free.  We began filming at ten o’clock at night, and finished round about quarter to three in the morning.

Luke was the cameraman and the producer was Emily.  Nancy Luke and Emily are fantastic to work with, and I should give a special mention to Luke who was a star, constantly fetching Nancy and I glasses of water so we could work right through the session.

Doing this work gives a strange combination of feelings… on the one hand it’s intense because there are no breaks and it can be difficult to keep up that level of concentration all the time; but on the other hand it is also great fun, because I am doing things I really enjoy.

The most difficult aspect of the work is that it’s done overnight.  I am not a night owl by any stretch of the imagination and my body clock tells me I should be in bed at ten o’clock… which was exactly when the shoot began!

The journey home was strange.  As you might expect, the roads were very quiet… at first.  But suddenly flashing blue lights appeared from all directions and everything ground to a halt.  The only traffic on the road seemed to be a convoy of lorries and me in my little car. I found myself stuck in a traffic jam… at three o’clock in the morning!?!

When I finally did get home I slept like a log… safe in the knowledge of a job well done (hopefully!)   


Sunday, 1 January 2017

Peek Of The Week Number Three

Wow! My last blog entry was on New Year's Eve!  I've just been so busy, 2017 has started at a blistering pace.  I must try harder to write more blog entries...

Here we are then, the third edition of ‘Peek Of The Week’.  I must say I’m really enjoying this part of my blog because I love to see the things you’ve created – I wish I’d come up with the idea a long time ago!

Today I’d like to show you ‘Cocktail Glasses’ – cheers!

A lot of the cards we’ve made using these dies have an Art Deco theme to them.  I really like Art Deco – a pub just a couple of miles from my house is a genuine Art Deco building and it’s really quite something – but I set out to try to make something away from that theme with these dies, and here is what I came up with.

I created the simple matts and layers from red and pink card before cutting out the three cocktail glasses from a single square of card, cutting at a jaunty angle for a tiny bit of added interest.

I stuck the white square onto the card using foam tape to give added height.

Part of the attraction of any cocktail is the bright vivid colour of the drink, so the cocktail glass die cuts were then coloured using those same bold cocktail-themed hues. They were then added back to the card through the apertures created by the die cuts.

Having said I wanted to move away from the theme, I have to say the sentiment is from the Art Deco range (told you I really like Art Deco!)

The addition of a simple but pretty floral arrangement was all that was needed to finish it off.

So now it’s over to you; please click on my Facebook page and post a picture of whatever it is that you’ve been making, and say a few words about it. I’m really looking forward to seeing your pictures!  And by the way, I'm also looking forward to writing lots more blog entries in 2017!