Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Anyone for Tea?

So this week, as it has still been too hot for me, I have been hiding in my craft room and playing with some more of my Cricut Cartridges.  I had recently purchased the digital version of the Tags Bags Boxes & More 2 cartridge to use with the Cricut Craft Room but not experimented with it as yet so thought I would give that a go.

I bought the scoring tip, recommended for use with this cartridge quite a while ago whilst on a trip to the US, thinking "that will be useful" and then promptly put it away in a drawer, never to see the light of day again ... until now.    There were several moments of utter frustration **not to mention a string of expletives**  as it kept leaving raggedy edges and ripping the paper and I couldn't work out why.  I tried adjusting the pressure and blade depth but the result was still the same.   After several ruined pieces of paper and much searching on t'Interweb I discovered that I had I had in fact ... erm ... fitted it upside down ... ahem.  **In my defence m'Lord ... er ...nope ... I got nothing ..**  Once that was sorted it worked like a dream!

After experimenting with a couple of small basic boxes, I decided to give the tea cup and saucer a whirl. I used some double sided card stock that I have had in my stash for ages (think it may have been from a kit that I bought at Costco several years ago) and added a border from the Elegant Edges cartridge and a doily from the Cricut Alphabet cartridge.  I finished it off with some flowers that I had made previously with some leftover paper from  LOTV's Paper Pad- Always and Forever and a scrap of checked ribbon from American Crafts (also from my 'leftover bits' box).

This was the result.

I thought this would make a nice gift for a friend with perhaps a couple of those individually wrapped specialist tea bags inside, and maybe a cup cake to go with it?  **hmmm.. will have to dig out the Sweet Tooth Boxes cart next and try one of those **.  What do you think?

I also got round to using one of the little deer characters that I shared in last week's blog.  I decided that he needed some woodland friends and so made him a few companions (again using the Create a Critter cartridge) and created another of the pop up box cards which seem to be all the rage at the moment.

Thanks for stopping by and hope you can join me again next time!  (There are lots of ways you can follow my blog ... check out the various options above over in the right hand column).


Bev x


Thursday, 24 July 2014

It Looks Like Rain-deer!

Well, what a week it's been. From some of the most spectacular displays of lightening I think I have ever seen last weekend, to a spectacle of quite a different kind in last night's Opening Ceremony for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. (I shall refrain from further comment on that topic at the risk of upsetting any Scottish readers, however even Jimmy Cranky would have been an improvement on some of the line up!).   It did however remind me of a classic comedy moment, courtesy of youngest, whilst at the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics a couple of years earlier.  He was quickly becoming disenchanted with the amount of time it was taking for the athletes from all the competing countries to get into the Stadium (complaining desperately that they were 'just making up countries now!'), so I was trying to jolly him along a bit.  After Monaco had made their entrance I said, "I wonder what comes next?" to which he replied ...  "hopefully death ...." It still makes me chuckle now.

This week, I have been mostly playing with the Create a Critter Cartridge for my Cricut die cutting machine. I had forgotten just how cute some of the images are and I think I will definitely be doing a lot more with this one in the future.   I completely fell in love with this adorable little reindeer character and wanted to use him on a Christmas project.  I am think I will maybe make a Christmas wall hanging with Santa's 8 reindeer & Rudolph pulling the sleigh.  I therefore cut 9 of these at 3.5"  and once assembled cut an extra nose in red for Rudolph and covered it with Glossy Accents to make it nice and shiny. I am really pleased with how they turned out.  Now, I just need to find a suitable sleigh design (not liking any of the ones I have see so far) and then attach them all together with some red ribbon or cord.   I will share another pic in a later post once it is complete.

There is also another deer on the Create a Critter cartridge, which really reminds me Bambi.  I used to  watch the DVD with youngest when he was a toddler.  It was his favourite film and he would ask for it over and over again without getting tired of it.  **I, on the other hand, began to find it extremely irritating after the first dozen times and could have happily strangled the whiney Thumper!**.  I just need to find a project to use these on now ... hmmmm

Finally, as we have a couple of weddings to attend in the coming months, I made a cute card by cutting two of the sweet little birds and birdhouse. I added some faux stitching to the birdhouse and the large heart with a black marker pen and raised the birds up with 3D glue gel to add some dimension.  Finally I finished it off by adding a ribbon bow and a sparkly crystal butterfly.

Thanks for dropping by and hope you all have a good week.

Bev x

Thursday, 17 July 2014

It's Hot! Hot! Hot! ... must be time for Christmas crafting

Phew! How hot has it been this week?!  Rather inconveniently though, our boiler clearly didn't think it was quite hot enough and decided we needed all the radiators to be scalding hot too ... all day long! Cheers ... thanks a lot.  Thankfully, the engineer is coming with a new part on Monday, so hoping to have dropped two dress sizes by then! Ha! If only ..

So, as it's shaping up to be one of the hottest weeks of the year so far, what have I got to share with you this week? Yes, that's right, a tutorial for a Christmas crafting project....  What? .... We have to start early to get it all done in time!  

You could of course, make this in pretty summery colours and hang as a summer flower wreath, if the thought of the 'C' word is just too much to bear in July!

This was an idea I saw on The Charmed Home and immediately knew I wanted to give it a try.  For the flowers, I followed the method described over on Pink Paislee, using some Anna Griffin 12" x 12" Christmas papers I had in my stash and I cut the flowers on my Cricut machine rather than hand cutting, but you could equally use any flower template and simply draw around and cut out.  I cut these at 4.5" and got 4 on a page.  You will need 24 of these in total - I used two sheets each of three different designs.

Once you have your 24 flower shapes, gently scrunch them up to give a slightly vintage look.  This will also to help soften to paper which will make it more pliable and much easier to shape in the following steps.  Then, on the back of each flower, secure a large brad in the centre with a glue dot.  I already had the large brads in my stash from an old HOTP kit but if you can't find any I suppose you could get away with buttons at a pinch.

The next part is the trickiest bit as you need to take care not to rip the paper as you form and manipulate the flower.  It is obvious that I am speaking from experience here?  (You will also now see the point of the scrunching beforehand!).

Gather the flower around the brad and secure with a small elastic band.  The kind used for kids hair are great but I used a packet of Loom bands which are all the rage at the moment with the kids and were only £1 in Hobbeycraft and just the right size. Don't worry about the colour as you won't see these when finished.  Then, carefully open out the flower and straighten out the legs of the brads to hold in place (if you are using buttons you obviously won't be able to do this so you would need to make sure the elastic band is tight enough to secure without tearing the paper), turn over, and gently work and shape as desired.   If you do happen to tear the paper, (this did happen to me on a few of them), don't worry - it just adds to the vintage look!

Repeat with all the others until you have 24 completed flowers.  Now you can either leave them just as they are, or decorate/ bling them up to your hearts content!  I added some glitter glue to the edges of mine and also gave them a couple of coats of Spray & Shine to give them a slightly glossy finish and also make them a little more robust. 

Next, take a medium sized polystyrene wreath (I got mine at Hobbeycraft, £3) and wrap with ribbon, securing the ends with hot glue.

Finally, arrange and glue on all your flowers, again using a hot glue gun and they are not called HOT for nothing so take care not to burn fingers ... not that I have ever done that ... walks away whistling), leaving space at the top to add a large ribbon bow.   Secure some more ribbon to the back in a loop for hanging, or you could use florist wire.

et Voila! 

* Given our wet and windy winter weather in the UK, I would obviously only hang this on an internal door. 

Thanks for stopping by and hope you all manage to keep cool in the heat ... If you need me, I'll be sitting in the fridge until Monday!


Bev x

Friday, 11 July 2014

It's been a while ... But I'm back!

Hello Bloggers .... I'm baaaaaack!

Well, what can I say? I have seriously neglected my blog over the last 18 months or so with hardly a crafty project in site!  In my defence, I did rather have my hands full with a project of a different kind, having returned to the workplace to fulfil a full time Project Management contract.  Add in the usual juggling of home & family commitments in between  ... supervising homework, music practice etc., whipping up imaginative culinary delights* for dinner (*ahem .. read bag of pasta and a pot of ready made sauce); shoving washing in machine;  hunting down one lost football sock and missing tracksuit bottoms (which you know will both appear the minute you have purchased replacements!) plus a 2.5 hr round trip to visit elderly parent at the weekends ... I'm sure you get the picture (and I am sure I am not alone!).

Still, I am pleased to report that having fulfilled contract obligations I am now happily back in the full time 'home management' business (phew!) and now that harmony and tranquility is restored to the Crafty Cow household (well, ok, that might be stretching it a bit...) I have been able to claim back some 'me' time and spend a few happy hours indulging in the things I love ... reading, baking and even creating a crafty project or two.  I have even made a start on a few... *WARNING! 'C' word coming up ...Christmas ... yes, Christmas ... projects (sorry).  But more about those in future blog posts.

The first thing I wanted to have a go at, having a bit more time on my hands now, was one of the pop up/box cards that I seemed to be seeing everywhere.  Now, I am by no means an expert crafter and largely just make for my own enjoyment (apart from the odd card request from friends), but I love to learn something new and these days you can teach yourself how to do pretty much anything between Pinterest and You Tube!  After a few clicks, I found this excellent tutorial from Clare Charvill at  Link here and used inspiration from Tina at as I wanted to use the lovely Kitsch papers from Craftwork Cards Link here. Thanks Ladies!

I was really pleased with how it turned out - not bad for a first attempt!

The possibilities for these are endless and I will definitely be making a few more as have loads of ideas already ... maybe a cupcake themed one for a friend who loves to bake ... Musical instruments for another friend who plays in an orchestra, ... etc. etc. ... you get the picture.  Why don't you have a go?  All it takes is a bit of patience and some paper/card.  Go on ... you might surprise yourself!

So, if you're still there, thanks for sticking with me and look forward to sharing a cuppa and a chat in what I hope to be more regular posts (or maybe that should be 'ramblings'!) going forward.


Bev x