I know I have been a bit quiet lately as far as posting here goes, but I have definitely not been idle. I have posted a lot more recently on my Facebook page (see link under ‘useful‘).
A few months ago I came across an advert for some classes to make a series of long-stitch leather notebooks. I did do some bookbinding classes a few years ago, but it was mostly hard-back binding. I have always loved the look of the decorative stitched spines & wanted to learn more about how to do them. The classes were away across town & a bit awkward to get to after work so I almost didn’t go. In the end I did & I’m so glad I went as I learned a lot of new skills & also met a bunch of people who were just as passionate as me about making books. The books were made using scraps of leather which could easily be folded to make a wrap around cover. I knew I had a stash of leather scraps which I could use, & was delighted to find a huge faux leather tablecloth in a charity shop for a couple of pounds. This worked well, as did some astroturf which I rescued from a neighbour who was throwing it in the bin. The class tutor said that she had even used leather from an old charity shop handbag & also even an old leather sofa. So if you see me in a charity shop eyeing up leather trousers, don’t worry as I am probably wondering if I could use them to make books.
I love plastic bottles. They come in such a wonderful array of colours & are so easy to cut. They are light, bright, & unlike aluminium cans, don’t have sharp edges. They are therefore perfect for making unique, colourful, & easy to wear jewellery.
Old cardboard boxes make the perfect recycled tags
The first thing I do when I get junk mail (before putting it in the bin) is look inside the envelope to see what the pattern is. In the UK there are a few regular patterns that keep cropping up, but occasionally you find a new pattern or a slightly different shade. If the envelope is from abroad it is even more exciting as they have completely different patterns & colours from UK envelopes. And the best thing about it is that it is free patterned paper.
I originally bought the small Quickutz whale die with the intention of making cards with the caption “have a whale of a time” or “make a splash” on your birthday, but this bigger Quickutz die is even better. I was looking through my stash of junk mail envelopes as I had applied to have a stall at a recycled / upcycled fair, when the phrase “Junk Mail Whale” came into my head. I cut out & assembled a few & they look quite good. I think I might try some birds next.
I have been scouring charity shops for packs of playing cards to make my ’52 Things I Love About You’ notebooks. I am always fascinated by the subtle differences in the patterns on the back & the expressions on the faces of the royals, & even the font of the numbers. I came across this pack which was actually a game called ‘Hearts’. It contained all the normal 52 cards but also a couple of extras like this queen, which was perfect for a ‘Thank You’ card.
When I am asked to make a card for a special occasion, I must admit that I don’t always know exactly what I am going to do from the start. Most of the time the card evolves as I go along. For this wedding card I decided to use the Quickutz funky cake die. This is a versatile die which, in bright colours, can be a birthday cake or, as in this occasion, in silver & white for a wedding cake. I was itching to use my newly-acquired alphabet dies (Quickutz Calvin, recently purchased from Ebay) & was pleased to see that the words ‘Wedding Day’ just fitted along the top of the card. Fortunately the bride’s & groom’s names weren’t too long, so I also cut them in this font. For the date at the bottom I used the smaller Quickutz Olivia alphabet. This was the first die cut alphabet I bought, many moons ago. It has had a couple of re-applications of ejection foam, but is still going strong. The bride & groom on the top of the cake are also old Quickutz dies I have had for ages. I didn’t intend to make this card using only Quickutz dies, but that’s the way it turned out.
When I first saw this Sizzix ‘mummy with movable limbs’ die I thought it would be great for quirky mothers day cards. When I cut out my first mummy I realised it was a lot bigger than I thought & far too big for my normal size cards, so it was stashed away. This year I remembered I had bought some 5 x 7 kraft cards to use for a particular project. I had a go at cutting the mummy again & found it fitted perfectly. I stamped random small flowers all over the card & then coloured in the centres with glitter pens. I cut the mummy from glitter card I assembled it with brads in the holes provided. A flower on its head makes it less fierce-looking. It is only attached to the card by the body & head so the arms & legs can be moved into different positions.
This simple cat sillhouette with its bead collar is cut from vivelle, so it is very tactile. I love matching papers & I’m sure I spent just as long, if not longer, choosing just the right backing paper, just the right colour of beads & just the right combination of flowers & centres to match than I did actually making up the card – but that’s half the fun. I made a selection in variious colours (see ‘other occasions’ card gallery for the others)