Monday, July 27, 2015

98778 Butterfly Heart

I've been using my Butterfly Heart (98778) die from Memory Box again, it makes such a simple but classy anniversary card I can't resist it! It also cuts extremely well, cleanly and there are no fiddly bits to push out afterwards!

I've used it for silver, pearl (see below) and ruby anniversaries so far but think it would make a lovely wedding or valentine card. Next time I want to have a go at a multi-coloured version which involves a bit of cutting out, but having seen some of the effects via pinterest I am really impressed.

Apparently the Memory Box Cupid Heart Die 98281 works well with it too.

Thank you Helen for buying me this butterfly heart goodness. :)

Friday, July 24, 2015


Hi!  I have a few spare Lego cards this week that I would like to offer up for sale. I am happy to personalise them and they come with a removable Lego character, printed inner and themed envelope.

The Yellow/Space card is already taken but the Ninjago and the Legends of Chima cards are for sale. (The character on the red card is a red snakey looking man.)

Cards will be £3.50 and postage will be free if you live near Bridgnorth/Telford. If we can't organise hand delivery postage will be £1. Discounts available for bulk purchase.

Drop me a message on facebook/blogger/email ( if you are interested.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Craft Fairs Through The Ages - A learning curve with occasional donkeys.

Warning - Going to combine two things with one post! Multi-tasking :)

Recently when I was applying to have a stall at a new Craft Fair they asked for some pictures of my work/stall. I realised I could do with one post/folder I could direct people to so they could get a quick view of my stall and my products.

I also thought it would be nice to collect up some of my stall pictures from the last 6 years and remember what key things I learned from that event, things that have gone on to shape how I feel about, and how I prepare for, future events.

So here goes. I think I had my first stall in 2009 and there aren't any pictures easily accessible of it. If I find one I shall insert it right here. It was my first attempt. What I learned was that I had a lot to learn!

For a while there was a regular craft event at Shifnal Village Hall that we attended. Here is a photo of one of them.(September 2010)

I had a double stall with my cat themed items on one table and my pictures and tiles on the other.
From this event I learnt that people buy random impulse purchases for themselves and presents for other people and there are never going to be many customers who will make a £150 impulse purchase on the day.
I also learnt just because one person thinks £3.50 for a tea cosy is too expensive doesn't mean you have to drop your price. There will be a buyer another day.

This is the stall a year later (April 2011), still in the village hall and I think it was the time I was running two stalls by myself. It was mental!

I learnt on this occasion that you should never sit down behind your stall whilst customers are about. Half way through the day I scanned the hall and realised that every other stall holder was sat down and looking pretty grumpy. You are never going to make sales looking like you don't care and you've given up!

Still in Shifnal but this time in the back hall of the Methodist Church. (October 2012) This is just the one end of my table and the first time I concentrated on pictures to sell.

I'd like to be polite but in all honesty this was an awful fair! There were no decent signs at the front of the church letting people know we were at the back. I think the footfall for the whole day was about 30 people! Learnt that you can never have enough large clear signage.

After the fairs at Shifnal dried up we tried one at the Heart of the Country Shopping Village in Swinfen. We did several fairs at this location but I'm using this picture as a representative offering! (March 2013) There were a number of tables already there, so when there were only a few of us, we spread our stalls out over several tables.

I learnt from all the fairs at Swinfen that outdoor stalls are at the mercy of the weather. That the wind is your worst enemy. That pop-up marquees are not necessarily waterproof and that having a stall next to the Christmas donkeys can be good for business.

My first lone event was at Hodnet Hall Gardens ( Not counting the one in Shifnal which was by accident a lone event) and run by a very professional organiser and there were some lovely stalls selling fantastic products. This is the nicest stall photo I have! (July 2013)

The Hodnet fair was the most expensive I have attended. Although I made a reasonable amount of money, my items are not very expensive, and I had to sell a lot of my products just to make back the price of the stall. Add in the petrol ( Hodnet is a 30 miles away) and the cost of actually making the items that covered my stall fee.... there was not a lot of profit in that event. The adjoining stall sold items made from spoons and they attracted a lot of male shoppers who enjoyed watching the process of them working. So two things learnt -  Male shoppers like a demo and don't pay out more in stall fees than you can make if you sell all your goods!

Sometimes we ignore what we have learnt and plough on regardless. The event at Wolverhampton Civic Hall (Sept 2013) was a similar price to Hodnet but had a massive guaranteed footfall. So I took the risk. It is the biggest event I have attended.

What did I learn at this one? There is no such thing as guaranteed footfall. That if you make expensive items it only takes one sale for the day to be worth it. That people will haggle over an item you are only charging a pound for. Omg.

In February  2014 I did a stall at Shifnal Methodist Church with 10% going to charity. I've done these a few times and 10% of sales doesn't make too much of a dent in your takings. You may even feel a little bit charitable!

At this point in time we had set up a craft club and workshop business and the stall was quite a good way to drum up some trade and attendees. Though in hindsight, not everyone who says they are interested actually turns up to the event or answers your emails. And indoor craft events are far, far easier than outdoor ones. 

I had an offer later in the year (March 2014) to do a pop up stall in a canteen of a large business I used to work for. It's a pretty new idea they have had to support local small businesses. It was extremely nice to catch up with some of the people I used to work with. As I was promoting our workshops I set up a small adjoining table with a mini workshop space so people could make and take some earrings.

Yep, photo of me! Unheard of! I learnt lots about the pitfalls of brand new ideas and being the only stall without comrades.

Finally last fair I did at St.Leonard's Church in Bridgnorth. (December 2014) This has become a regular event for me and this is the 5th year I have done it. 

I have a massive stall and I fill it! On the downside it's in the furthest spot from the entrance but on the upside I now have regular customers. I have learnt so much from attending this fair and a lot is specific to this venue but some are applicable to fairs as a whole, mainly - you make better money at Christmas Fairs than any others. Also you can make your biggest sales in the last five minutes of a fair, so don't pack up early. And just because something one year is a sell out doesn't mean it will be the next. Very importantly for me... make double the amount of catnip toys you think will be enough! :)

I hope you have found that interesting? I enjoyed making this post. I would like to create an ebook with some top craft fair tips in later this year. Leave me a comment if you would be interested in a copy as it might motivate me to edit it and get it live :)

I haven't mentioned my friends who came with me to the fairs, or set up their own stalls to keep me company. I'm worried they might not want to be included in something public, but even if they shall remain anonymous, I want to say a big thank you for all their help and support.x

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Custom Greeting Card Now On Etsy!

So glad I have got round to doing this! You can now buy a card from me through Etsy, offering you a secure online way to pay.

I still recommend you email me with your requirements first, or by using the "Request a Custom Order" link on the Etsy Listing.

Here are some of the cards I have used on the listing to showcase my work! (Cut and Paste Madness! :)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Hero Arts Stamps :)

I admit, more evidence of me hoarding stamps and not using them!! This is a lovely stamp from Hero Arts called "Friends" (CG111) and I've had it ages, but never played with it. I tried it several ways and this turned out the nicest, but I think it deserves some more fiddling with. In the background I have used a couple of stamps also from Hero Arts from a set called "Brush Strokes" (AC026) and distress inks.(Seedless Preserves, Shaded Lilac and Worn Lipstick) I was going for a one layer card but ended up decoupaging the flowers and colouring them with copics and then added a bit of bling too. Shhhh,, I just can't help myself ;) 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sorting out Sales.

I've been having a sort out of some of the stash and am keen to part with some via Etsy :) I've relisted some 1970's greetings cards and have fingers crossed for a few sales :) I've got a lot of vintage "supplies" to list, but wonder if this is the best way to sell things.... Need to price up some of the other things I've hoarded.... How much are vintage dominoes worth these days? :)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Mommy's 80th.

But not my Mommy! (Cross posted to Crafty Magic)

 I made this for a friend to give her Mom this week. I love this image by David Parkins, his illustrations are superb and lovely to colour.

This hugging bear picture came free with a magazine several years ago, there was a whole double spread of his illustrations all with a "Mum" theme. I used my polychromo pencils to colour the image, testing out a few techniques and basically learning to use them, still have a lot to learn!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Bloglovin :)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin!

Have you heard about Bloglovin? I hadn't but it seems like a fab idea! One place to manage all of the blogs you like to nosey at, so add mine? :) Any probs let me know, I'm new at it and would appreciate any feedback.

Dandelion Frame

I've had this stamp since Christmas waiting to be used and finally I've got round to it! (Cross posted to Crafty Magic)

Hero Arts stamps are my favourite physical stamps (as opposed to digital.) I'm even still using wooden backed ones from my crafty past! Still trying for a One Layer design which I almost managed on the one and failed on the other. (Managed to stamp the frame upside-down, don't laugh)

So stamps used -
Dandelion Frame CG153 Hero Arts.
Greeting is by Hot Off The Press (rather old stamp, but I like it.)
Butterflies are, I think, a recent docrafts set.

The wood paper is from a brilliant pad by Joy Crafts called Wood Texture Paper Block. Thought it would be super useful for boy cards too.

Marvel Age of Ultron Nail Card

Hi, back again! :) (Cross posted to Crafty Magic)

When my friends bf asked for a "nails themed" card I was somewhat challenged! But never say I won't tackle anything, because I will. :) (Please see earlier card involving Helicopter and Orang-u-tan lol.)

This is an Age of Ultron themed set of finger nails card. The nails were painted onto card "nails" and then shaped to try and recreate a fingernail effect. The are supposed to be ( I tried my best!) Hawkeye, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and The Hulk - green version.

I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did making it. :)

I suppose you could use this as template to do any kind of nails, but I suspect it might be a bit of a niche market? What do you think?


Grabbed any Mirabelle bargains? (Cross posted to Crafty Magic)

It's pretty obvious from the sale sections of crafty shops and stands at the NEC that the Santoro range called "Mirabelle" wasn't as successful as the Gorjuss range. My own thought is that the images were just too inflexible. If you don't colour the stamps in exactly the same way as the original image they look awkward, it's sombre pastels or nothing! We picked a lot of Mirabelle stamps, cards, toppers for £1 each at the NEC earlier this year and I hadn't felt very inspired to use them. After a good hunt on Pinterest and Google images, it seems hardly anyone has posted any cards using the range, well cards that I like ;)

Here are the two I made using the decoupaged ready coloured kits. I still haven't tackled the stamps, apart from using them to customise the envelopes for these cards.

Please note that none of my Mirabelle Cards are available on-line and can only be purchased from me personally at Fairs, for example. This is due to the Santoro Angel Policy which I think will be the same for Mirabelle cards as for Gorjuss Girl cards. I ain't risking it! ;)

The Otter

Annabel here! (Cross posted to Crafty Magic)

This year an Otter and family have decided to inhabit the River Severn in Bridgnorth and everyone has seen it but me!

My friend's partner has seen it numerous times when crossing the bridge so she ordered an otter themed card for his 50th birthday!

Allegedly the otter seems to wave as he drifts passed you..(He is rather tame.) this Otter waves with his left paw when you move his tail.

I painted the otter pieces using acrylic paints as it seemed the fastest option to get what I wanted. The background is a scanned marbled background that Helen and I made on one of our "mess and make background" days. And I wish I could remember where I got the bubble embellishments from... they were the last ones I had and they are perfect for watery images!

One layer black silhouette cards!

Bonjour! (Cross posted to Crafty Magic)

I've been really inspired by the "Keep-it-simple" and "One Layer Only" trends in card making at the moment. It's been very evident on Pinterest in the last few months. I wanted to have a go at a masked distress ink background directly onto the card and then black silhouette stamping on top of it. This is my first effort using distress inks blended in the background square (using a 12cm x 12cm mask) and then stamping on top with Versafine Onyx Black.

Stamps: Woodware JGS300 Going to Seed and Crafty Individuals Cl - 231 (Butterflies)

So as I was finishing off this set I remembered I had a rather nice unused set of Sheena Douglass " A Little Bit Scenic - Underwater Angels" I could use, and wouldn't this be ace with some water droplets or splashes on the distress ink background?? So... I carried on to this set.

I'm really happy with these, especially the two guppies on the left. ( The other fish on white are the envelopes for the cards.)

You might have spotted that the one fish card is not on one layer, but two. I found it super hard to keep the card clean! No blodges, marks, scuffs or... mess! To save a couple of the cards I remounted them onto a new card blank. And since they were no longer "One Layer" it meant I could justify adding some sequins -  I find it really hard to not use any embellishments. Although the seed head cards were more successful (at being one layer) I added some sequins to them too. I know... I think I have an addiction. lol!

Every stamp has a silver lining...

Hi! (Cross posted to Crafty Magic) 

I came across the following image on the Paper Parrot Blog (Via Pinterest) and was really impressed with it! (Click the picture to view the relevant blog post.)

It seemed a really simple way of tackling flower stamps and making something with a completely different feel to it. I didn't have this set of stamps so I used a set of Joanna Sheen stamps from the Little Bit Sketchy collection called "Flower Power." As I  haven't got many pale inks, I stamped them using second generation stamping and Weathered Wood distress ink. It's not as beautifully coloured as my initial inspiration but I tried to do something similar using distress inks as watercolours - blobbing them onto an acrylic block, adding some water and then using them with a paintbrush onto the card. Once coloured I went over the stamped edges with a silver pen. A bit later it occurred to me that I could have just stamped them in silver to begin with??!??  But you live and learn! :)

Distress Inks - Weathered Wood, Peeled Paint, Fired Brick. Font - East Coast Stationery.

Gorjuss Tszujing?

 Who can resist Gorjuss Girls? (Cross posted to Crafty Magic)

Did anyone else sucumb to the offer at The Range for three new Gorjuss Girl stamps for ten pounds?

I couldn't resist! Plus my friend Grace bought me the "The Hatter" for my birthday and it just made me want more! This stamp is called "Sweet Tea" and was very simple to colour, so-much-so that I think I might do something completely different with it next time and perhaps some paper piecing might tszuj it up! ( No, I'm not sure how you spell it, but I'm not letting that stop me!)

This is a 5 inch square Easel Card. Image coloured with Copics. Santoro Gorjuss Stamp and Santoro Mirabelle Papers. Flowers from Hobby Crafts and Wild Orchid Crafts. Font is "Little Lord Fontleroy".

Please note that none of my Gorjuss Girl Cards are available online and can only be purchased from me personally at Fairs, for example. This is due to the Gorjuss Angel Policy.

Sarah Kay and Holly Hobbie.

Hi Again! (Cross posted from Crafty Magic)

I had in an order for a 65th birthday card featuring Holly Hobbie.

I then set off to look for digistamps to download and use for the card but stumbled across a problem. I'd always thought that Sarah Kay illustrated a girl in a bonnet and patchwork skirt called "Holly Hobbie". Did you think that too? Turns out they are separate illustrators!

Holly Hobbie (born Denise Holly Ulinskas) is an American writer and illustrator, and the name of a fictional character she created. Sarah Kay is a character designed by the Australian artist Vivien Kubbos. Not the same! I chose some on line digital images that were freely available and attributed to Sarah Kay but the girls in bonnets could easily be Holly Hobbie.

I printed out the images and used Copics to colour them. I tried to restrict the colour palette and the images were quite small and detailed, so also opted for less is more. (Even though it seems like a lot of pens, this is a lot less than normal!)

Here is a list of the Copics I used for future reference - I am still not settled with my "go to" sets of pens for various effects....

Green - YG63, YG03
Yellow - Y38, YR31, Y11
Pink - R85, RV34, RV23, RV21, R20
Flesh - YR61, E00
Shadow outline - B60
Beige/Brown - W5, W3, W1, E31, E35
Blue/Denim - B95, B32, BV04

I made two cards in the end, mainly because they were such good fun to colour and they have now been safely delivered to the customer!

Paintfusion to PastelFusion

Here is a recipe for creating a one layer card (mostly) using paint fusion stamps (Or any flower stamp) on kraft card coloured with chalk pastels.

Here is what I did, I hope it inspires you and I would love to see what you make with it! :)

So I started with the Poppies Stamp Set and a 15cmx15cm kraft card blank and envelope.

Using white pigment ink I stamped the flowers and leaves on to the card blank not caring much about over lapping but trying to make sure everything would be covered up when I started to fill in the images.

Once the images were stamped it was all looking a bit complicated so I carefully traced around my flowers in red pastel so they were picked out from the line mess. Then I was able to work out which bits remaining were leaves. I added in any stalks that were missing at this point too. It was now clear what was what! :)

Poppies are darker coloured at the centre of the flower and lighter as they fan out - this picture shows the stages I went through. The bottom left flower shows the outline and dark centre part. Bottom right flower is 
blending in the red with a more orangey hue. Then to the central flower I added dark areas with burgundy/brown and at the edges white for highlights.  It is easy to blend colours using your white pastel, your finger, or a blending tool. It might be worth practicing a bit of blending first on scrap card.

At this stage everything had a base colour and basic shading but no detail at all. You can still see tiny bits of the original stamping but most of it is completely hidden. 
Some of the leaves needed more details picked out using darker green and white for highlights. I darkened the centre of my flowers with dark brown and added some wisps around the area where the seed head part would go.

Paintfusion isn't very detailed by nature ( part of its charm!) but with the pencil pastels I could more easily create more definition. I found some nice images online to use as reference material and then added black and green to form the centre of each flower.
I also added hairs to the stems of the flowers using fine strokes of  white pastel.

Once the image was coloured in I used a normal pencil eraser to clean off any smudges or marks I'd made. 

I also used a cheap can of hairspray to set the pastel so it would stay put!

After printing a greeting on the computer and adding a few gems - Finished Card!

I thought I would include the Sweet Pea version I also tried using the same techniques. 

I hope you fancy a go now too? :) Let me know how you get on, and ask any questions you might have along the way.