Friday, 29 June 2012

Crafty ThINKer

Soooooo, today I am going on my holidays - a week in Great Yarmouth with my family.  I'm not sure whether I'm looking forward to it, or terrified by the thought of spending so much time with my family!!

Anyway, I'm not sure whether I will have proper internet access while I'm there, and in any event I don't imagine I will be doing much crafting - the children will keep me busy I'm sure.  So, while I'm away, I'm giving you a different crafty blog each day.  I wouldn't want you getting bored now would I.

Sooooo, here's the first one:  http://www.craftythinker.blogspot.co.uk/

Crafty thINKer is a lady I follow on Twitter.  She is a Stampin' Up demonstrator and blogs about her amazing creations.

Enjoy!

Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Exciting Announcement

Sooooo, I am tres tres excited, as I now have a website under development.

As it is my fiancé who is developing it (he is a web designer after all), it may take a while to be perfect (non-paying customers always end up at the bottom of the list), but for now it is up there, and just directs you back to my blog, but I have great plans for my website.

So far, my plans are to have my blog on there, incorporate a little shop on there, as Folksy doesn't seem to be really working out and doesn't do everything I want it to.

I am also planning to offer free digistamps to download, together, which I am designing at the moment, together with a bespoke wedding invitation (or any invitation/card) design service,  as well as links to other blogs I read and find inspiration from.

I'm very excited about it.

Is there anything else you folks would like to see on my website?  I'm currently brainstorming ideas.  I wouldn't want Phil to get bored now would I . . .

Anyway, the address is:  www.fairyelephants.co.uk  Please bookmark/favourite it, so you can always find it.

I'm now going on holiday for a week (Great Yarmouth here we come), but have already set up daily posts to keep you entertained.

Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Dressy Designs Complete

Soooooo, I’ve finally finished my dress, and what a trial it has been making it.

In hindsight, both me and my Grandma have agreed that we should have gone for a simpler pattern to start off with, but never mind.

Since my last post about my dress, I have actually had a couple of sessions at my Grandma’s in a bid to finish it off.  They were both pretty short, as for the first one I was ridiculously tired for some unknown reason and just couldn’t concentrate, and for the second one I was once again late, as I’d been to the opticians that morning and they had held me hostage (or so it felt) for over two hours doing various tests on me.

After all the panic about the top not going to fit, and then actually being fine, the skirt was all wrong.  My Grandma, bless her, had kindly tacked in the zip so I could try it on properly and fit properly, and it was now that we realised the skirt was huge – far too long and fair to poofy in general.  It also seemed to hang wrong for a reason we still haven’t figured out.  Although  most of this we didn’t realise until we had sewn it all together properly.

Anyway, the length was easy to solve – just cut some off the bottom.  To sort the poofiness, we had to unpick it all from the top part of the dress and cut away a fair chunk of the sides of the skirt, then sew it all back together again.  This we did, and it was still too big.  So, we undid it all again and cut some more off.  This time, it seemed ok, but it was still hanging wrong.  The front of the dress just seemed to stick out too much. 

Grandma decided on a cunning way to hide this, and we inserted little pin tucks along the waist line, which looks really pretty, makes the dress a bit more individual and makes it hang a lot better.  Another pretty detail which we added was to sew a single line just above the waist band.

Grandma then sewed in (properly) the zip for me, as I was a bit too nervous to do it myself, as sometimes I still struggle with the whole sewing in a straight line thing.

All this took two sessions to do.  Then, all we had to do was hem the dress and finish off the little bits that needed to be done by hand.  I decided to do this at home, as Grandma was going on holiday, and then I am going on holiday, so it would be nearly a month before we got chance to see each other again. 

Sooo, up I got a couple of Sundays ago and once my fiancé had got his backside out of bed, I made him lift the sewing machine onto the table for me (I would normally do this myself, but I still had a trapped nerve in my back at the time).

Before I had left Grandma’s the previous Sunday, she had marked up my hem for me, so all I needed to do was turn it over, press it and sew a nice straight line on the sewing machine.  The line is pretty much straight.  Only went a bit wobbly a couple of time, but you can’t tell.

Then I had to press the seams so they all sit nice and then hand sew the loose bits of the facings to each other so that they would automatically tuck themselves in when wearing the dress rather than them flopping about.  This I did and I thought that my dress was finished, so I ironed it and hung it up to be worn on the Monday.

I did wear the dress on the Monday, but I felt uncomfortable in it all day.  I think it was because I had the wrong underwear on – the bra I had been wearing when trying the dress on during making was a different one to the one I wore on Monday, and it seemed to affect the fit of the dress.  For all you blokes out there, this is a common phenomenon.  You have to wear certain undies with certain dresses so they sit right.  The skirt was also still too big, but this was remedied by adding a belt to the equation, and again might be ok with the correct undies, as the top of the dress will sit better, making the skirt fit better.  Finally, the faces were still a bit floppy, but I sewed them correctly, so there was only one solution to this, but please don’t tell my Grandma as she would be disgusted with me – I wonderwebbed them!

Soooo, this is my finished dress:


What do you think?

I have now selected my next pattern (a lot simpler) and will be purchasing some fabric when I get back off my jolly holidays. 

In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Sock Elephants

Sooooo, I have been inspired by a colleague who makes sock monkeys, which seems to be the thing to do these days.  As a fairy elephant, I thought it would be an idea to see if I could make sock elephants.  Not only could I attach wings to them to make fairy elephants, but I could also add a Help for Heroes wristband to them and sell them in support of my friend, who is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in January.

Anyway, I used these instructions, which I found from a spot of googling: http://www.ebygomm.ourownlittleworld.org/2010/12/sock-critters-including-sock-elephant-tutorial/, and this was my first attempt:



I had to use socks that I knew my fiance hadn't worn, because as my niece told me when I was discussing the idea with her (she's very grown up for a 7 year old), 'if you use one of Uncle Philip's socks, someone might die.'  A little overdramatic maybe, but I do get what she means - he has horrible feet.  Anyway, these were a pair of fluffy winter socks that I got a couple of christmases ago and only wear when it snows, over my tights.

The trunk on this one I thought was a bit too short, so I decided to go buy some men's socks and make another with a longer trunk:



This one I think, has a trunk that is too long, so now I just need to find a happy medium.  I'm just going to keep practising.  Once I've perfected the elephants, I am going to add wings to some of them, to make them fairy elephants, and sell others to raise money for Help for Heroes with my friend who will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in January for the cause.

Inspired by making the elephants, I started looking for other things I could make out of socks, and came across some cute owls.  I don't know why but I am loving owls at the moment, and they seem to be everywhere.  This was my first attempt an an owl, made from cute baby socks:



I also decided to adapt the owls into paperweights, fed up of paper flying all over the office when we have our fans on, and this was my first paperweight:



I adapted it from a normal owl to a paperweight by selloptaping ten 1p coins together and inserting this within the stuffing in the owl.

So, this is my little sock critter family so far, and I love it, and plan for it to keep growing:



Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx


Monday, 25 June 2012

Father's Day

Soooooo, I know it has been almost a week since Father's Day, but I've had so many other things to blog about, and although this post has been written for a week, this is the first day that has been free to post it.

We don't do Father's day in a big way on our family, probably because it was only a month ago that it was dad's birthday, but then again neither do we make a big fuss of Mother's day.  It all starts to get far too expensive with all the step-parents involved in our family.  I think my fiance's parents are the only ones that are still together - my parents are no longer together, neither are my brother-in-laws, and we have step-grandparents left, right and centre,.  As a consequence, and to avoid arguments, we try to keep these celebrations pretty small.  Plus, where's Daughter's day, that's what I would like to know??!?!?!?!?!?!  Do our parents not appreciate us going to their houses, eating all their food and 'borrowing' any money they have in their purses/wallets?  We all moved out (and in my case moved back and then back out again), what more do they want?

Anyway, back to the subject at hand - Father's day.

As anyone who knows me well knows, I am very close to my Pops.  We look nothing alike (other than the nose, which unfortunately is a family trait that seems impossible to escape from) - my dad is dark hair, dark skin, dark eyes, tall and up until hitting old age, pretty skinny, I am the total opposite - fair hair, blue eyes, paler than a ghost and short and chubby (basically, my mother (apart from the paleness) but 25 years younger - ooooh, she won't like me saying that hahaha) But we are very much alike personality wise and will both think nothing of spending the afternoon ripping apart historical films, annoying the hell out of the step-mother by watching ghost-hunting things on telly (and not believing a bit of it, but it is funny to watch mother no. 2 getting scared) or watching crime dramas, such as CSI.  I think Pops is also the one I get my creativity from (along with those regular permanent loans of those purple notes when I am poor).  I think he felt sorry for me this time because I'd not really made any money at my craft fair and kept crying from the pain in my back.

But once again, I have veered from the subject of this blog - Father's Day.

Soooo, this year I actually made Pops three cards, but he only got one from me . . . the other two my darling big sister stole (meanie), so I had to rethink.

The first card I had actually been planning for a while.  I'd downloaded a digistamp from http://www.digistampboutique.co.uk/catalog/ after seeing it in Cardmaking & Papercraft magazine.  It was of a fisherman, with his catch, and as Pops used to be a keen fisherman and still goes when he has chance now, I thought it was perfect.  Soooo, I spent one evening a couple of weeks ago having a leisurely evening colouring this and other digistamps in my with ProMarkers (http://www.letraset.com/products/8-ProMarkers/) and then got down to making the actual card.

For the background, I used some wellyboots paper from the Wellington paper pack (http://www.docrafts.com/product/12X12-PAPER-PACK-160GSM--WELLINGTON-32PK/p87305)  I bought recently at The Range (http://www.therange.co.uk/).

I then matted the digistamp to some stripey paper from the same Wellington paper pack, adding some faux stitching, and then to the background paper, to the left of the landscape card.  I then finished the card with a 'Dad' sentiment I had in my craft stash to the bottom right hand side of the card, and ta dah!

This card was almost immediately stolen by my sister, along with the back up card I had made in case of this exact circumstance.

The back up card, I actually made into a 'Grandad' card so my nieces could give it to my Dad.

This card was made using the same Wellington paper pack.  I used some dark stripey paper as a background and then cut in a circle a bear motif which came from the paper pack, matting it a square of stone-coloured paper, adding faux stitching to both.  This was then attached to the top of the card, with a 'Grandad' sentiment to the bottom.

I made a few more cards using the same paper pack, and this was my theme for father's day.  Pops eventually got one of the extra ones I made, as did my future father-in-law. I sold a couple at my craft fair and another card I changed the sentiment on to say 'Happy Birthday' and my friend took that one.  It's nice to know I'm useful when friends have forgotten birthdays . . .

Anyway, the cards that weren't used or sold I now think I will use as birthday cards, as I didn't actually put anything mentioning Father's Day on them, or save them for next year.  I also have some Wellington bear motifs left to make some more.

In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx

Friday, 22 June 2012

Jak Heath

This week's Friday blog hop is the blog of a lovely lady from Co Durham called Jak Heath.

I follow her on Twitter and she is always posting some lovely makes.

Her is her website:  http://www.jakheath.com/.

Enjoy.

Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Review: Crafts Beautiful Issue 243 (August 2012)

Soooooooo, I usually get my copy of Crafts Beautiful a day or two before it actually comes out in the shops (Friday), but this week, it had arrived on Monday.  I was sooo excited, and it instantly brightened up what had been an otherwise pretty rubbish day.

Sooo, after doing a couple of jobs and having my tea, I settled myself on the sofa to read the magazine.

This month's issue comes with free stencils, including lettering and number stencils, and one of the first projects in the magazine is ideas on how to use these, including a rose-stencilled jug, a cupcake birthday card, a notebook and a seahorse-stencilled scented sachet.  I really like the scented sachet idea and it has inspired an idea in me.  For the time being though, I'm not going to share, as it will be (hopefully) the subject of a future blog post.

The issue has all the regular features, including Dawn Bibby's column, which this month is about her new craft range, the Diamond Collection.  There is also the baking section, which features an interview with Ruth Celems of The Great British Bake Off fame and some biscuit tags.  Card School shows you how to effectively paper stitch, and I love Corinne Bradd's bird designs, one of which is featured on the magazine cover.   Finally, of course, there are the giveaways, which this month are for:
  • a Sharpies goody bag;
  • a Cuttlebug and embossing dies;
  • Lucky 8 punches;
  • a sewing machine;
  • an Ultimate Pro from Crafters Companion;
  • Tonic Studios punches;
  • an Easy Roller from Heavenly Cake Pops;
  • copies of the new Craft Ribbons CD-Rom; and
  • an i-Rock bundle

Quilling With Claire has some lovely fairies (like the one on the magazine cover), flowers and butterflies, which really make me wish I could quill, but I am afraid that I have resigned myself that this is one craft I just cannot do.  Another quilling project is Into The Blue, which has some lovely sea-inspired designs, featuring dolphins, an octopus and fish.  Crafts Beautiful also has a little teaser in this project with a card that can only be found online (www.crafts-beautiful.co.uk).  I really like this design, and as it doesn't involve too much quilling, I might be able to make an attempt at it.  I suppose it is one way of getting the readers to utilise the website.

Barbara Gray continues the nautical theme in Sea Views, using stamping and brayering techniques.  Brayering is totally new to me, so something I think I need to look into.  These cards would be good ideas for mens' cards, which as we all know are the hardest to design. 

The nautical theme is further continued by Cathie Shuttleworth's paper folding in All At Sea.  I really like the Bon Voyage card, featuring some pretty little yachts.  This also looks really easy to make, and I think I will give it a go.

One of my favourite projects is Treat Yourself by Andrea Willis, which has some lovely free-hand style card designs, similar to this one which featured in last month's issue and I had a go at making myself:



I also like the cute card designed by Joanna Sheen in Sweet Notes, which is unusual, as I generally find her cards a bit fussy, but this one, featuring a cute duck and bear, is simple and clean and would be a perfect new baby card. 

Away from the card making, I like, and once I have an embroidery hoop will have a go at, Baby Bunting, which is not what it says on the tin, but in fact an applique motif.  In fact, I could make the actual motif and get an embroidery hoop later to finish this off.

Another applique design is featured in Birds of a Feather, which has a cute applique owl bag and a cross-stitch owl card.  I'm big on owls at the moment, as a future post will show, so this project has really struck a cord with me.

One project I'm going to get my sister to do is the Folksy Fashion girls' shrug, which I think my nieces would love.  It is a very hippy-style shrug, and there is also a pattern for a matching headband.  I think it helps that the little model looks a bit like my youngest niece, but a bit more angelic.

Another of my favourites is Sunshine Days, which shows how to make a cute baby girls' sun hat.  I'm tempted to attempt this when the twins are born in a month or so, but with the so-called summer we are having I'm not too sure I see the point.  If the sun comes out and inspires me between now and then, I will give it a go.

I love the cute cushion in Cushy Number.  Although similar to a project in a previous issue, it is good to be reminded of techniques and bring the ideas back to the front of your mind.  The previous project had been stored somewhere in my (very bad) memory, but I now want to make the nieces a patchwork cushion each (along with all the other orders for things they want me to make) and the pretty pastel colours in this would be perfect.  My sister has said that she is redecorating their bedrooms though, so I may wait until then and see what the theme is for each.  I might even be able to get the eldest to help me.  Not sure I trust the youngest with a needle yet though . . .

Finally, I like Style Council, which features some lovely vintage fabric made into a bag and purse.

From the best of the rest, Cut Out & Keep has some wedding-themed cards utilising doilies for some unusual, modern designs and Brenda Harvey has some brit pop inspired card designs.  Colette Smith has some great kids' card designs in 7 Ways With Pirate Motifs.  Jane Gill's Petal Pusher cards has some pretty embossed cards with a twist.  Stephanie Weightman shows you how to use silicon moulds on your cards in Pretty as a Picture and Party People by Zoe Pierson features some cute zoo animal designs for cards, gift bags and hats, perfect for kids.  Utterly Buttonly also has bag and card designs, and also a wreath design, utilising paper flowers and shaped buttons.  Best Buds shows you how to make your own 3-D flowers using modelling film, using them, to rejig a photo frame.  I think this would make a great present for any lady out there.  Seaside Flair is another nautical theme, with picnic ideas, as is Shell Suits, which uses shell motifs and actual shells for a photo frame,  a cushion, a card and some candle buckets.

There is also an article on scrapbooking, instructions on how to make a collage pendant, a sports-themed card and jewellery roll, instructions on how to make Kirstie Allsop's ribbon flowers and an interview with Anthea Turner, along with a project showing how to refresh old ornaments with decoupage and home accessories decorated using mosaic. 

Finally, something new to Crafts Beautiful is a feature on flower arranging and gardening by Natalie Osborn, something I am interested in, having completed a short course a couple of years ago, and when I have the time (and money) I want to take up again.

Overall, I have got lots of ideas and inspiration from this issue, despite the slight nautical overkill, but I suppose that it is supposed to be summer, and we are an island nation, but the magazine is bright and summery and many of the projects can be easily adapted for other seasons.  As always with Crafts Beautiful, I still think that my subscription is one of the best little treats I ever bought myself, and I hope they keep up the great standard.

Now, to get trying out some of the projects and wait (im)patiently for the next issue.

Happy Crafting

Holly
xx



Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Family Fun Day

Soooooo, to celebrate the Olympic torch being in Leeds, and more importantly to raise money for Help for Heroes, the pub I work at, the Fox and Hounds in Cookridge is holding a Family Fun Day on Sunday (24th June) from 1pm.

There will be:
  • a BBQ
  • Face Painting  (by me, apparently)
  • Wii Tournament
  • a Magician
  • Balloon Modelling.
Last, but not least, there will also be a Balloon Race.  Balloons are £2 each, and all proceeds will be going towards our nominated charity, Help for Heroes.

This is a kind of an unofficial launch of our fundraising for the next few months, as our manager, the lovely and ever more crazy, Rebecca Greenwood, who has only recently completed a husky trek across Lapland, will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in January.  She has already got me to get my crafty head on to make things to raise money . . . more on that to follow in a couple of weeks though.

In the meantime, I hope you will be able to make it to the Fun Day.

Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Review: Sew Magazine Issue 37 (July 2012)

Soooo, after getting my sister to helop me put my socks and shoes on for me on Friday (the curse of the trapped nerve), she helpfully took me into Guiseley to buy the latest issue of Sew Magazine.  I was already excited about it because I wanted the free pattern that came with it - a Project Runway, customisable dress.

As usual, the first feature in the magazine is how to use the free pattern.  The dress is amazing.  Not only can you make the one featured on the cover of the magazine, but it is (apparently) easily adaptable - the neckline can be changed (pleated/tabbed, v-neck or straight), sleeves (capped or long) added or the dress can be adapted to a bodycon style dress, with lots of different ideas for making it unique.

The magazine cover has some amazing-looking prjects, including a cut kids' dress, a handbag and a log cabin quilt.

The magazine has little sections on how to make your own bias binding (a big trend right now)

Machine Spotlight this issue features the Singer 160 as the model of the month.  I would luuuuurve this sewing machine.  It is so pretty in shiny black with gold pattern details.  It also has an array of features.  I do not, unfortunately, have a spare £400, so it will just have to remain a dream.

This issue has a huge giveaway for it's third birthday celebrations, which includes:
  • a dress form
  • ribbon bundles
  • a magnifying lamp
  • a sewing machine
  • books;
  • a huge sewing box, just like I need;
  • vouchers
  • fabric
and lots lots more.

Dressmaking SOS focuses on corsetry.  I don't understand half of what it says, but learning how to make a corset is something I would love to do in the future.  I believe you can do a weekend course, so this is something I might look into next summer.  I seem to have so much going on at the moment that my next free weekend might actually be next summer.

The pretty summer dress on the cover is designed by Louise Nicholls (http://www.loula-bells.com/) and actually looks pretty easy to make, with the pattern provided in the back of the magazine.  I think, when I have a spare afternoon/day/weekend, I intend to attempt this dress for my youngest niece.  I already have some cute pink floral fabric that would be perfect.

New in this issue, but intended to be a regular feature, is 'Sew Vintage': a section about all things vintage.  This issue it is pretty much wedding-themed, and makes me think slightly that I had read this before starting to plan my wedding - I would have probably gone down a totally different route.  It also has some great DIY ideas, and features three brides that took the DIY wedding route:  Lottie Lane, Momtaz Begum-Hussain and Clare, who actually hand-embroidered her own wedding dress.

This section also has a feature on the upcoming Vintage Festival (13-15 July), which I would love to go to, but it is the same weekend as my first craft club workshop.  Maybe next year . . . and I will do the whole camping thing for the weekend too.

The vintage section also has instructions on how to make the gorgeous handbag featured on the cover of the magazine.  Having discussed it with my sister, I think we are going to attempt to make a version of this, in navy and extra sparkly for my wedding in December.  Not too sure about the fascinator though.  Maybe I would appreciate it more in different colours.

The final article in the vintage section is Mary Jane Baxter's column, offering homemade wedding style tips, including a gorgeous brooch bouquet.

The magazine also has a feature by Rianna Fry on how to turn 'stitches into salaries', with tips and advice on how to sell your makes online and the legal implications.

The 'Sew Home' section had the lovely log cabin patchwork quilt featured on the cover.  I really want to make this and shall now be collecting pretty fabric scraps to make a big quilt for my spare room - which is soon to actually be my craft room.  It will still however have a sofa bed and need to look pretty.  This quilt is taken from Nikki Trench's A Passion for Quilting book and this issue has a special reader offer on the book. 

Also in the magazine is a French-style luggage set, a travel set, an embroidered beach bag, a parisian chic feature, with some lovely ideas, cross-stitched wedding gifts, an embellished lamp and cushion, and appliuque pencil case, using sissix dies and Anthea Turner's column.

All in all, I enjoyed this issue, and now I have lots of projects to keep me busy.  Still, I'm looking forward to the next one too . . .

Happy Crafting.

Holly

xx


Monday, 18 June 2012

Craft Fair Debrief

Soooooo, it was my first ever craft fair on Saturday at Swinnow Community Centre, and what a horrible rainy day it was.

I was concerned when I got up on Saturday morning that I wouldn't make it through the day thanks to a horrible trapped nerve in my back, which means sitting/standing/moving is extremely painful.  In fact, I'm laid on the living room floor writing this as it is the only place remotely comfortable.

Anyway, with the help of my wonderful fiance, who had had to help me put my tights on, I managed to pack up all my things and get them in the car, along with a very comfy chair I borrowed from my Dad and Step-mum. 



I had made a load of cards, including fathers day, which was Sunday after all, some pin cushions and some needle cases.  My amazing sister, Kay, had helped me with last minute preparations on sewing, card making and helping me put my socks and shoes on!

Soooo, we set off and got all the way to the cash machine in Horsforth so I could get some money out to pay for my stall and realised that Phil had left my bank card at home.  So around we turned back to Rawdon to pick up my bank card and try again.  Cue tears from me, as I was so nervous, stressed and in pain from my back.

Eventually, we got there.  Only about half an hour late, but still, we were there and in plenty of time to set up.

I finally got to meet some of my fiance's family.  After all, we've only been together 4 years and get married in December, but I have met hardly any of his family - only his mum and dad, and brother, who I already knew anyway, really.  They all seemed lovely and were really friendly.  His cousin, Helen, had actually organised the craft fair to raise money for BramleyCavies (http://www.bramleycaviesrescue.com/), an animal rescue charity she runs.  I don't think I can remember every single one of their names, as I did meet quite a few in a short space of time, but it would be nice to be a bit moire involved with his family - I am so close to mine, and have never really understood why his family aren't close.



Anyway, back to the fair.  I was sooo scared and nervous, I barely left my stall once I had set it up.  From my little corner though I noticed the other stalls were:

  • A jewellery stall next to me,
  • Cat's Protection League
  • A stall with some lovely hair grips with butterflies on and some jewellery,  I intend to get this lady's details and see if she would like to demonstrate at my craft club workshops;
  • Pudsey Pickles (www.pudseypickles.co.uk); and
  • A lady who sold little ornaments.
There was also the most important thing of all - a cake stall!!!!!!

Anyway, I sold a few cards and a needle case, and whilst it wasn't much, I did break even on what I had had to pay for my stall, so for my first fair I would call that a success.  It's not put me off craft fairs anyway.  I have a craft fair at St Gemma's Hospice, Leeds on 8th July, which fingers crossed I will actually make some money at.



I will definitely take someone to keep me company at that one, as I did start to feel a bit lonely, and I was too shy to go talk to the other stall holders myself.  My Step-mother, my sister and my boss at proper work have offered to help out, so I should be ok.

I also intend to be back at Bramleycavies Christmas fair in November, for which I have lots of making ideas, and I have been thinking about ideas for next summer too.  Details of all these will follow.

In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting

Holly
xx

Friday, 15 June 2012

Skin-E Genes

Sooo, this blogpost isn't actually about me, and really isn't that much about crafting, but it is about something I care about . . . my friend, Amy.

Recently, for an unknown reason, Amy has become allergic to light -not just sunlight or UV light, but all light.  This is a bit of a problem for anyone who isn't a vampire, and as far as we know Amy is not a a vampire. 

Exposure to light makes her come out in a rash and makes her quite ill in general.  This has only started to happen over the last couple of years and the doctors don't know what has caused it.  As a result, she is having to undergo some pretty horrific treatment several times a week, which she documents on her blog - http://skinegenes.wordpress.com

As you can imagine, Amy is a great supporter of the British Skin Foundation (http://www.britishskinfoundation.org.uk/) and tries to raise awareness of her condition as much as possible.  I imagine it can't be fun having to explain constantly why you have to keep as much skin as possible covered.

One of the ways she is trying to raise awareness (and money for the British Skin Foundation) is by organising a fashion show.  The fashion show will feature skin-friendly (i.e. cover-up) but fashionable clothing, something Amy has discovered is difficult to find. 

So, if you know any budding fashion designers or fashion students (or even models) who would like to get involved, please email me fairy-elephants@hotmail.co.uk.  I'm hoping I can help Amy make this a success and hope you can help too.,

I will keep you updated on our progress with the fashion show, and please check out Amy's blog to stay updated on her treatment.

In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting.

Holly xx

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Strawberry Fields

Soooo, not only do I now have a little strawberry patch in my garden courtesy of my sister, Kay, for supplying the plants and my well fit fiancé, Phil, who did the actual gardening, I now also have a strawberry patch in my house, courtesy of my crafting.

The ones in my house aren’t real strawberries though, they are pin cushions.  I found inspiration from a picture I found whilst browsing Tilly Vanilla’s blog (www.tillyandthebuttons.com) and then spent the rest of that day thinking about how cute they were and how I could make them.  After thinking about it a bit more, I finally attempted one and this is the result:


They are actually really easy to make and I will make them the subject of a ‘How To’ in the future.  They are also great for using up scraps of fabric, as all they need are a small triangle of fabric, enough fabric to make the top and some stuffing.

My first one I gave to my sister for her sewing kit (which I bought he for her birthday, and which hasn’t been used yet), and my second I gave to my friend, Sue, although it will never be used as a pin cushion.  In fact, it currently sits on her desk as a decoration.


Anyway, over the last week or so, I have been making loads for sale at my craft fairs.  I am hoping they will be a big seller, as I love them.  I’m making them in various colours, so admittedly they don’t all resemble strawberries in the strictest sense, but the intention is there.

In addition to the ones I have made for the craft fairs, I have also listed some for sale in my Folksy shop – www.folksy.com/shops/fairyelephants - for the bargain price of £1.50.  I think they would make great little gifts for crafty friends, or as a little treat to yourself. 

I’m thinking of developing the design into larger cushions, but this may take some experimentation.

In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

I Win!

Sooooooo, I win!

Yes, I have been having lessons off the little kid in Big Daddy (and I Win is my favourite game), but I have actually won something.

Crafts Beautiful magazine kindly named me a winner of some tickets to the Summer Crafting Show at Doncaster Racecourse on 14th and 15th July.  All I had to do was retweet one of their tweets.

Information on the show can be found at www.summercrafting.co.uk.  Tickets (and I believe there are still some left) can also be purchased on the same website.

Now, fingers crossed I make lots of pennies at my craft fair the weekend before so I have lots and lots of pennies to spend at the show.  Hmmmm, maybe I will finally buy my die-cutter.

Anyway, as always, I will keep you updated and will no doubt blog about the show when I get back.

In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Review: Let's Make Cards (Issue 52)



Sooooo, after what feels like a very long wait, I finally have in my hands the latest issue of Let’s Make Cards (LMC).  The question is, was it worth the wait?  Let’s see shall we . . .

The outer packaging is pretty and summery, advertising cards made using folded effects, ‘easy’ apertures and ribbon detail, as well as stitching effects, textured cards (using fabric) and a haberdashery themed card kit designed by Sally Moret worth £19.99.


The kit in this issue includes:
·         Card blanks and envelopes
·         Backing papers
·         Fabric
·         Needle
·         Die-cut chipboards
·         Die-cut motifs
·         Ribbon
·         Borders
·         Die-cut sentiments
·         Buttons
·         Gems

The actual magazine cover advertises a pretty sewing/dress-making themed card made from the kit, the announcement of the 2012 cardmaker of the year and 27 wedding ideas (we are in the middle of wedding season after all).

We’ll start off with the regular features shall we?  Probably high on the importance scale is the giveaways, which this issue are:
·         A Nigel May CD-Rom
·         A wedding-themed goody bag from MeiFlower
·         Letraset Promarkers
·         Tickets for the Chilterns Craft Show, to be held August bank holiday weekend (24-27 August)
·         Iris folding kits for DeeCrafts
·         An Alison McNicol book: Start A Cake Business From Home
·         Kids creation boxes from toucanBox.  If you haven’t seen these before, you should check out their website.  They are boxes posted to you monthly with everything you need for several crafting projects for your kids – a brilliant idea I wish I’d thought of.
Also amongst the regular features are the letters page, which features this card I made and posted on twitter:


I think I will make some more of these cards to sell at my upcoming craft fairs (if I find time) – a sort of ‘as featured in . . .’

Finally, in the regular features are Corinne Brad’s column and the How Tos, which this issue include how to:
·         Make a fabric heart
·         Sew in a bead insert
·         Make an envelope
·         Make a ribbon flower
·         Make a box card
·         Make a decoupage card
·         Sew buttons onto a card
·         Weave card.

My favourite cards in this issue are not from the projects featured, but from the ‘Ask the Experts’ page, which shows you how to make a lovely fabric owl card and an art-deco decoupage card.  Also in my list of top projects are soap cupcakes (yes, that is soap and not cards) in the 10-minute masterclass, as a nice break from the norm, and the fabric heart card in the Strawberry kisses feature.

Issue 52 has the usual how to use your kit article featuring 16 cards, of which my favourites are the bird song and homemade greeting cards.  There are some also some cards which are made using the backing board that comes with the kit.  My favourite here is heart aperture, which also features on the outer packaging.  I am tempted to adapt this card, substituting the flowers for bells and thus making a great, and unusual wedding card.  That will have to wait though as I have a craft fair this weekend, so all new ideas are on hold until after that.  From this project I also like the homemade flowers card.

From ‘Haberdashery Motifs’ I like the thank you and get well soon cards, and ‘Card School’ shows you how to make a pinwheel spinner card, an idea I saw in another magazine a couple of months back and have been intending to try ever since.  I WILL make one before the end of the year (maybe).

Other projects include ‘6 Greetings with Folding Effects’, of which the best is the heart stepper card; ‘Top Makes with Buttons and Ribbons’, from which I like the ribbon loops card and the pierced zigzag card; and ‘4 Cards with Happy Hippo Wooden Motifs’, of which my favourite is the cupcake feast card.

Other features in the magazine include the results of Cardmaker of the Year 2012, the result of which I actually disagree with.  Sorry Victoria Norris, you did make a lovely and unusual card, but my personal opinion is that Michelle Thornton’s card is nicer.  But then again, I always did like a bit of controversy.

There is also a feature on Sally Moret, who designed the free kit.  Ms Moret strikes me as slightly strange, as she gave up what could possibly be my dream job – shoe designer.  I mean, why would you want to give up designing shoes?  That is just insanity!

You could win a year’s subscription of LMC, or one of it’s sister magazines by voting in the Craft Awards, and there is a subscription gift which might finally see my subscribe – a Fiskars punch set.

Finally, there is the Crafter’s Guide to Using Paper & Card in Projects, and ‘Maid in Love’, which is a wedding feature with a few different ideas, including a How To make your own tiara, something which is a future project, one I have my craft fairs and wedding, and this year in general out of the way.  This feature has a great book advertised – Handmade Weddings by Eunice and Sabrina Moyle, which I really want, and may be a little treat for myself in the near future.

So, was it worth the wait?  Well, I don’t think it is the best issue, as I don’t feel as inspired as I have in previous magazines, but I do have some ideas from the magazine, admittedly they will no doubt be slightly adapted.  I’ll keep you updated on my makes when I get round to making them.  In the meantime . . .

Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx


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