Sunday, 30 April 2017

Peek Of The Week - Having A Smashing Time With Glass!

Michelle, a very dear friend of mine, bought me a very unusual Christmas present that we put to use just the other day.  She’d bought a glass making group session for five friends and herself at ‘Number8Glass’ ( at their new purpose built studio.  I hadn’t done this kind of thing before so I didn’t know what to expect; in fact we all went along with an open mind, hoping to have a good time.

And we succeeded!

We were met by the lovely Katherine in her home before she took us through to her new all-singing, all-dancing studio in her back garden.  It’s a fantastic building, definitely one crafty space I am very jealous of; it’s large, spacious, glass fronted, stylish and modern but functional at the same time.  I want one!

The six of us settled around a table – Melissa, Elaine, Jo, Gaynor, Michelle and I. We were all given aprons and safety goggles to wear.  Katherine explained all the goodies that were laid out in front of us – glass rods, crushed glass of varying grades, Mica powders and the necessary glues.

It was a world away from making cards and I was definitely out of my comfort zone!

After a few hints and tips from Katherine we were each given a small square of glass, the colour of which we got to choose for ourselves.  We then set about designing our pieces…

My attempt, in its early stages...

I roughly drew my design on a piece of paper; I wanted a simple pink and gold design and I created this using glass rods and a special type of paper designed to withstand great heat in a kiln.  I coated this with Mica powders to co-ordinate with my design and then I sprinkled white and pink crushed glass over the whole design.  A smaller piece of glass was laid over the top, which formed a seal when Katherine put this in the kiln.

We had a choice of shape for our finished piece – we could opt for flat, or a shallow dish, or a deep dish.  I opted for the shallow dish.

...and as a finished piece. 

In this blog I’ve included pictures of some of the other designs – Melissa’s rabbit, Elaine’s beautiful angel wings and Michelle’s exploding star motif.  Jo’s design was inspired by her current crochet project, and Gaynor produced an elegant green and gold design.

Melissa's rabbit

Elaine's angel wings

Michelle's exploding star

Jo's crochet

Gaynor's Green and Gold
It was a fascinating experience and the two hours absolutely flew by.

The glass was placed in the kiln after we’d left – due to the incredible temperatures that step is best left to the expert!  Our ‘masterpieces’ were delivered to Michelle about a week later.

It was a great present.  I love imaginative and out of the ordinary gifts like this one, especially when it involves getting together and having a laugh with friends.

Merry Christmas Michelle, even though it’s late April!    

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Ornamental Vintage Lace Collection

Create and Craft is having its fourteenth birthday at the moment, which is really quite something.  Although I must admit I didn’t really feel in the party mood when my alarm went off at 4.20am yesterday morning!

I had to be ‘up and at ‘em’ to get to the studio in good time to do an early show with the lovely Nigel May, and first up was the Ornamental Vintage Lace Collection.  This is a great collection with a lovely pin dot detail running through them all – but it’s much more intricate than just a normal pin dot pattern.  You can layer them up, or use them as frames, anything that comes to mind really!

The Ornamental Circle Dies are made surprisingly different because of this pattern, and the Heart Dies work on the same principle; there are six of them, covering a wide range of sizes, and they can be used for mats and layers, frames, and even borders… the sky’s the limit.

The Oval Dies, all seven of them, have the same intricate pin dot design so if you wish to use the circles with the hearts and the ovals together, they all go together and match beautifully.

Next up was the Torn Edge Oval dies, Torn Edge Heart dies and the Torn Edge circles.  Nigel hit the nail on the head when he said there is something very rustic and charming and romantic about a torn edge heart… I know what he means.  For me, the great thing about torn edge dies is they make matting and layering so much easier, because you don’t have to worry about being precise.  The design team had rather cleverly used an upside down heart to make the face of a dog, and a torn edge circle die was used to make a tractor tyre on a card! Imaginative stuff…

The antique lace dies are something else. The fine detail is breathtaking; it looks like delicate lace at first glance. And of course, that now familiar pin dot design is ever present. That fine lace theme continues with the ‘Tuck Ins’ and the ‘Scrap’.

There’s a lot more I could say about this die collection but if I went into detail this blog entry would be a yard long!  It’s enough for me to say it’s a very impressive collection. I really enjoyed working with it and when I have time, I'm so looking forward to playing with it!     

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Peek Of The Week - Olly Owl

I made this whimsical card live on air a couple of weeks ago, but sadly I didn’t have enough time on the show to finish the card off completely; so I thought I’d show the end result for this Peek Of The Week.

The Tattered Lace Olly Owl is a lovely die set.  It not only features Olly himself, but some detailed and delicate floral and foliage dies – and of course, every self respecting Owl needs a sturdy branch on which to perch!

I cut Olly out of Funky Foam which I attached to a stamping block using my tape pen.  So in no time at all I had a handy stamp that perfectly matched the die.

After making a yellow card base and adding a black mat layer I cut my white card stock slightly smaller to fit, and that gave me a very fine black border showing.  I then stamped Olly on the white card in yellow ink six times, making sure each stamped image ran off the edge of the card stock, as I think this adds a little interest. 

Olly was then die cut in four colours – cream, pale green, black and yellow.  I snipped into these to create a single image by paper piecing the different elements.  By the way, if you decide to do this, don’t throw away the leftovers as you’ll be able to use these to create more owls in the various colour combinations.

I like the flowers – I think they’re really pretty – so I cut these out in yellow and greens to create the finished floral elements. 

At this stage it was just a case of putting the card together using a frame on which to sit Olly, to provide a focal point. 

The ribbon I used is a very dark grey; I thought this would be more interesting than plain black.  I picked up the ribbon in my nearest massive Swedish shop (think flatpack furniture and meatballs!) last Christmas.  At the time I didn’t know what I could use it for but I just had a feeling that one day it would come in useful… we crafters often pick up our supplies in the most unexpected places and sometimes use quite odd things… I don’t think I’ll be sticking a meatball onto a card any time soon though!     

Friday, 21 April 2017

Happy Birthday To Me!

I’m very sorry that there was no blog post on Wednesday – regular readers will know my blog is always updated every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday – but I’m afraid on Wednesday I was still celebrating my birthday which happened on Tuesday!   

My son Kern spared a couple of days from his busy schedule to travel up from London to stay with us, which was a lovely added bonus.  He’ll be 22 years old next month, and is a student.  Like most students he is allergic to ironing, so as usual I made sure I nagged him about that while he was here – not that he listens to his Mum of course!

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for my birthday I wanted to pay a visit to Chatsworth.  It’s a fantastic place.  I’ve been quite a few times now.  It’s especially brilliant at Christmas as the whole place is decked out with amazing festive baubles and decorations. Hubby was able to have a couple of days off work, so he came along with Kern and I.  The sun was shining, it was a lovely day, and I pretended not to hear my menfolk groan loudly when they heard Chatsworth was hosting an exhibition of five centuries of fashion...     

Before arriving at the house itself we had a slight detour to Chatsworth Farm Shop.  It’s a great place but all too easy to spend a lot of money on all kinds of treats! Hubby’s mood brightened when he was able to buy a couple of bottles of unusual beer!  We wanted to eat our lunch there but there was no chance, it was so busy that people were lining up to wait for a table to become vacant and by the time we thought about eating there was already a massive queue!

So it was on to Chatsworth House and the fashion exhibition.  Many of the costumes on show were absolutely breathtaking and I hope these pictures do them justice…

Hubby's imagination was taken by a vase which is at least twice as tall as I am.  He wanted to know, if you accidentally dropped a tennis ball into this vase, how on earth would you get it out again?  I have no idea how his mind works sometimes! 

We had lunch at Chatsworth before embarking on a walk around the extensive gardens, which are lovely.  It made us smile to see a gardener hard at work weeding while the fattest pheasant I’ve ever seen sat and watched him just a few yards away, as tame and as unworried as you like. 

Eventually, hours later, it seemed like we’d seen everything that was on offer, so, reluctantly, it was time to leave.  Once home we ditched the car and walked to our local for a lovely meal and a couple of glasses of Shiraz. As I’m not a night owl, within minutes of getting home again I was fast asleep!

The following day the menfolk dutifully put together my birthday present – two garden chairs and a table for the decking.  I’m hoping we’ll have a great Summer this year, and I’m also hoping that I’ll have plenty of time to sit outside and enjoy it - and I hope you will too!