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Friday, 14 November 2014

An Honoured Birthday

It's Fredrick Banting's birthday today. A medical man, who together with Charles Best did experiments to find out more about, and to find a treatment for type 1 diabetes. These men saved the lives of thousands, including two of my children. In 1921 they discovered insulin. Insulin injections or infusions keep people with type 1 diabetes alive. They didn't profit from their discovery, selling the patent for insulin for $1 to the University of Toronto so insulin could be manufactured as quickly as possible to save even more lives.

This is my smile for the Friday Smiles link up on Annie's blog, two happy children who are still alive today. Tonight we will celebrate Fredrick's birthday, as are thousands of other families around the world. This man has left us a legacy of life, for which we are all very thankful and Praise God for.

When I think of Fredrick and Charles, this is the story I remember the most vividly, and I always think of the hope, wonder, and shear relief that must have spread through this room, on that miraculous day, the day they trialled insulin injections on a ward full of children at death's door, who lived. As they injected the last comatose child in the room, the first one woke from a coma that was previously expected to kill. You can read the story here.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Inspired to Use Something Differently.

Hello everyone, thank you for coming to read my blog again today. It's my turn to do one of the example projects for the 2nd CKC challenge of the month. We have been challenged to take inspiration from decorated doorways. Bethany, our inventive leader, has put a Pinterest Board together with examples of decorated doorways for us to be inspired by, but if there's an amazingly creative one in your neighbourhood, do feel free to be inspired by that instead and take a photo to share with us all.

This doorway stood out for me, I found the repeated recessive arches really interesting.

I have some nesting dies for using with my cuttlebug that I make layered shapes for focal images on cards with, I decided to do something a bit different with them, and instead of using the cutout shapes, I used the cutout holes instead.  The arches in the doorway are not central, but share the righthand side, so I layered up my holes with them meeting on the right.

As I've loads of lovely designer papers to play with, I made an envelope to go with my card too.

Be blessed, and have a wonderfully creative week.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Beads and Boxes

Remember that lovely hemp that Daniel found for me, and I added to the paper crafting supplies I wanted to use this month? I just had to play with it, and have made some macramé, beaded bracelets as gifts.

I followed some instructions from a free e-book called 20 Bracelet Patterns, that I downloaded from beading daily at Interweave (membership is free).

In my "re-use it box", there is a small collection of these sweet little boxes, that originally had heart shaped truffles in them. They are the perfect shape and size for those bracelets.

The pink leafy print was a great match for the pink bracelet, so I kept that and just changed the tag. For the blue one I removed the ribbon, tags and acetate, prior to wrapping the box in patterned paper. I re-stuck the acetate in place, put a new tag on and reattached the ribbon.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Hand Carved Leaf Stamp Tutorial

During my hectic month last month, I took some time out to hand carve another rubber stamp. I find it really helps me to relax and wind down.

You don't need to be a world-class artist to make your own stamps and they can be as simple, fancy, clean, or rugged as you wish.

There is special rubber around for making your own stamps with but I find erasers to be a much more affordable more easily obtainable material. They come in various sizes and are plenty big enough for basic simple stamps. You will need to get the "proper" stuff if you want to make a large or intricate stamps.

Linoleum gouge tools are the generally recommended carving equipment. I couldn't source any locally when I was starting out and have a small set for wood carving instead. They cope with the basics and the rubber erasers fine. I've not tried them on the specialist rubber stamp carving material. Gouges come in different shapes. The main ones I use are a V shape for detailed work and a U shape for removing larger areas of rubber. The smaller your gouge the finer your detail will be.

Using a pencil, draw the shape you want onto the rubber.
I've made a leaf stamp. If you want to do something simpler for your first go, I wrote a tutorial for a heart shaped one back in 2012, You can find it here.

Using your V shaped carving tool at an angle of about 30° gently scoop out the outlines of the shape.

Using the U shaped carving tool at the same angle gently remove a layer of rubber from around the shape. Begin at the shape outline and scoop towards the edge of the rubber.

Test your stamp with an ink pad and some scrap paper. Personally I like the rugged look of the extra bits showing on the stamped image, if you prefer a cleaner image then gently remove the unwanted portions.

I decided that I wanted the leaf to be "coloured-in" on one side only, so I removed the rubber in-between the leaf veins on one side.

Have fun carving. If you like a rugged style and want to explore stamp carving further then this is a great beginners book: "Rubber Stamp Carving" by Luann Udell.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Making Burlap Shapes

While I was putting a paper crafting kit together from my stash to craft with this month, I found a piece of old sack cloth in my textile scraps box. I had a go at making some "Burlap Shapes" out of it.

It's quite stiff, so my first idea was to put it through some of my larger punches. Bad idea. Very, very bad idea. It took ages to clear all the fibres out of my punch.

Next I tried my cuttle bug with some simple die shapes, and those worked quite nicely. I did need a pair of scissors to hand though, to cut the occasional fibre that the cutting blade missed.

My simple die collection is fairly limited, primarily because I've not had the cuttlebug very long, and have a draw full of punches. So I needed a simpler, more old fashioned approach to some more shapes.

I have a sheet of simple shape clear stamps that came with a kids craft set years ago, and stamped some hearts and leaves onto the sack cloth. I could have drawn them, but stamping gave a more uniform, easily repeatable shape.

After looking at those flower shapes fro a while, I had a go at making a burlap flower by glueing 2 layers together in the centre, and then glueing a button on top.

DO you have any fabric, sack cloth, or canvas scraps lying around waiting to be used up? Please let me know if you have a go at making craft shapes or simple layered establishments with them for your paper crafting.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Catching Leaves, November CKC Blog Hop

How was October? It was total chaos round here, and to cap it all my laptop broke. So I won't be showing you any stuff from my extensive digital scrapbooking stash this month. It's been a bit inaccessible. So, instead, I've pulled together a paper crafting kit to play with.

As you can see below, my paper and cardstock stash did very well for my birthday during the summer. I used to only need the one box to store it all in.

I think it's going to take some time until I'm back down to one box. What do you think?

If you are blog hopping with us at CKC, you will have arrived from Lesley's fabulously inspiring blog, and know that we are taking inspiration from one of Crop and Create's club kits.
Crop and Create Fall 2014 kit.
The colour scheme is fairly similar to the 12 x 12 "The Sweetest Thing" paper pack by Recollections, so I pulled papers from it that are similar to the ones in the inspiration kit; e.g. doily print, stripes, florals, spots, tickets, and ledger. I didn't have very many matching colours in my cardstock piles, but will be able to supplement them with some scraps from some old DCWV boarder punch adhesive strips.

The missing paper prints were found in some of my 6x6 packs.
Feathers from Studio Calico's Sundrifter
Houses from Amy Tangerines's Ready Set Go.

TJ loves ribbons, and happily pulled together ribbons, string and fibres to match the papers I put together. I think she might have over done it a bit, there's little chance of me using all that, but I've plenty of choices if I do want to use any.

And no crafting kit is complete with loads of embellishments, and there are plenty in the inspiration kit.
  • Badges. I don't have any of those, but do have some of these designer clips from Fracheville.
  • The only alpha pack that colour matches my kit is a set of Amy Tangerine Thickers.
  • Luggage tags. When we get milk direct from the farm he puts these brown luggage tags on them, and like a good crafter, I save them for just in case I can use them one day. So they just had to go in the kit.
  • When rummaging for the tags I found some tag sheets, one from Forever in Time, and some lovely EZ Stick ons.
  • The role of washi tape was thrown in as it colour matched.
I have some sack cloth in my scraps textiles box, and had a go at making some of the "burlap shapes" with those. I discovered a major "no no", during my experiments. If you come back tomorrow, I'll have a post up sharing my dos and don't s for making shapes from sack cloth. Update: tutorial post is now here.

The inspiration kit had a leaf stamp pack, and leaf embelishments, so I routed around in my tool draws for leaf themed items.
Fiskars Leafy Boarder Punch
Fiskars Maple Leaf Mini Punch
Balzer Bits Feather mask
Balzer Bits Leaf Masks
Home made Foam Leaf Punch (Tutorial Here).

I find rubber stamp carving quite relaxing after a stressful week, and made myself a leaf one from a large eraser, I'll have a tutorial on how to do that posted up on my blog in the next few days.

Update: Rubber stamp carving tutorial is now posted, and can be found here.

I was thinking about making some stick pins using some sewing pins and wooden beads, but the bead holes are far too big for my pins. Here's a small selection of the beads I have, and check out that gorgeous hemp Daniel found a few weeks ago in TK Maxx. Wow!

I think I might be doing some macramé beading this month.

Happy crafting everyone, and please do pop along and see what Lynnette has found to create with this month.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Aspergers Classic

My children took part in a recycling activity-exhibit at a science museum this afternoon. They had to sort plastic bottles, and toy food etc. into the different recycling shoots, and there was one for composting, and another for non-recyclables.

My two girls, and the other children taking part, all put the toy food in composting as expected. But not my son. After the onion went down the plastics shoot, I stepped closer to check that he had understood the activity instructions correctly. He proceeded to put the banana in the plastic recycling hole, and I suggested that perhaps it should have gone into composting instead.

"No mummy, not that one. That's not a real banana, it's made of plastic."

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Acrylic Painting, and Homemade Foam Stamps.

Hello everyone, sorry I've not been around for a while, but life comes first.

It's the 1/2 term holidays this week, and as usual the youngest is constantly trying to get me to let her paint, or craft at all the most inconvenient times for me to supervise her, like when I'm cooking the dinner etc.

Here's my happy little artist at work using one of my homemade foam stamps for the background. I used it for the background of my mixed media sunflower painting. Actually, this particular stamp has had a lot of use.

 It's one of a number of foam stamps I made during the summer, they are really simple.

What you need:

  • Craft Foam (often found in the kids crafts section).
  • scraps of wood, or lids from jars or pots.
  • a die cutting machine & dies.
  • pva glue
Simply cutout your shapes from the craft foam, and stick them to your wood, or to the top of the pot lid.


Have a blessed week.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Looking at Secondary Schools

Hello everyone. I'm a bit quiet on-line at the moment, as real life is very full. TJ is due to start Secondary School next September, and the process of school open evenings, visits, interviews with SENCOs (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators) or school nurses, selecting and applying for her school place has begun.

Friday, 12 September 2014


So what's all this fuss about Selfies I ask? Personally I'm not overly fond of the craze, although I do have a lot of cute "selfies" that we've found on our cameras over the years. You know what happens when a young child gets hold of your camera. It gets filled with photos of unusual photography objects from strange angles, peoples legs, and, of course, the selfies. What inspires them to turn the camera and take a photo of themselves?

I was assigned to the 2nd challenge at CKC this month, and it's all about Selfies. Before I get to my challenge layout, here's an extra that I couldn't resist scrapping, and yes she really did take that one upside down. I wonder if she was actually bent over, peering at the camera, rather than pointing it towards herself in that one.

Back to the challenge. The challenge is to take a selfie and scrapbook it. Now, we have absolutely thousands, and thousands, of unscrapped photos, and I have a little rule, not to take photos just to scrap them for a challenge, unless they tell a story I wanted to scrap anyway. With 4 photographers in the house, I don't need to take any of myself, they take plenty of me already. There is, however, a type of photo we are short on in our collection, and we try to get several a year whenever we manage it. Family photos are the ones I'm talking about, and so we come to the Group Selfie.

My camera has a timer that takes multiple shots, and Dainel's attaches to a little thing called a gorillapod. It's rather a useful little gadget, a bit like a tripod, except the legs are bendable and can be made to grip on tree branches, pushchair handles, and fences etc.

Supplies used:
  • Revelling by Kristen Rise (K Studio)
  • Plentiful from Shabby Princess
  • Vicki Robinsons's Music in Me
  • Claudi's 365 kit
  • Kristin Aagard's Woodland Autumn elements pack

Monday, 1 September 2014

Weekends, with the September CKC Blog.

A new month has arrived, and today is a busy one in our household getting ready for school term to start tomorrow. I'm going to miss having the children at home with me all day, after having them around me constantly for the past 6 weeks.

Today is also blog hop day, with the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog, the challenge where we take inspiration from a kit club kit (usually sold out) and route around in our existing scrapbooking stash to create a kit of our own. As a digital scrapbooker, my stash never runs out, so I always have plenty to scrap with. Mixing and matching my stash means I never get bored with what I have either.

If you are hopping with us, you will have arrived from Lynnette's blog, and mine is the last stop this month. If you want to start at the beginning, you will find the full list on the CKC blog, here.

So what inspiration have I got from Scrapbook Circle's Island Paradise Kit? My theme of "weekends" comes from the word sticker about Saturday and Sunday. I'm also liking the turquoise and yellow with a splash of red.

Details close up from Island Paradise Kit by Scrapbook Circle  (sold out)
So for my stash shopping list:
  • Saturday & Sunday  - Claudi's 365 kit.
  • Alpha rectangles with different letter colours - Plentiful from Shabby Princess
  • Journal prompts for who, when, where etc. - Revelling by Kristen Rise (K Studio)
  • Turquoise & Yellow papers with a splash of red - Revelling by Kristen Rise and a plaid one from Plentiful from Shabby Princess
  • Music paper - note paper from Vicki Robinsons's Music in Me kit.
  • Extra bits, like frames and buttons, to help me scrap taken from Kristen's Revelling kit.
  • Fox - Kristin Aagard's Woodland Autumn elements pack.

I really liked the stuff in Kristen's Revelling kit, which is why I got it, but I've never succeeded in scrapping anything with it, as it was too bright and bold. I rather like the way it works mixed with those other pieces, and am looking forward to creating a few, family weekend pages this month. Who knows, you might see some more stuff from that kit mixed and matched later in the year.

Be blessed everyone, and have a happy creative September.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Tisha's Mixed Media Art - Red with Butterflies

I'm not getting many opportunities to paint or craft myself at the moment, but the children are keeping the creativity area busy between them.

Tisha wanted to paint a picture for her Aunt's birthday. We saw Aunty Debora yesterday, and she said she's going to put the painting in her bedroom.

And here's how it's done.

Collect together:

  • 4x6 canvas board
  • paint pallet
  • red, blue, and white paint
  • paint brushes
  • chipboard butterflies, flowers and dragonflies
  • blue feather
  • blue mini craft straws
  • PVA glue
  • Black marker pen
Mix the blue and white paint to make a lighter blue
Mix some of the light blue with red to make a purple

Paint the canvas red.
Blend a little of the purple and blue paint onto parts of the board using the same brush as used for the red paint.
Paint the chipboard shapes

Using various items from the recycling bin, make marks in blue and purple paint on the red board.
Paint details onto the chipboard shapes.

Using the PVA glue, stick the straws, feather and painted shapes to the board.
Once the glue is dry outline the shapes with the black marker pen.

Add a signature, and be proud of your masterpiece.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Sid, the Spider Monkey.

We went to Dudley Zoo a few weeks ago, and Roo was so happy, he saw lots of monkeys, lemas, chimps and orangutans. He was especially fond of the spider monkeys, and was inspired to make himself a toy one.

Photo taken by TJ.
He used the No Sock, Sock Monkey downloadable pattern from Funky Friends Factory. His sensory processing disorder meant that he needed a little help, but he did really well, considering that he can't feel the needle properly. I went over the main construction seams to ensure the stuffing didn't come out.


Tuesday, 19 August 2014


This is Tisha with her new soft toy, called Honey.

She traced the pattern, hand stitched, and stuffed this all by herself, except for closing the hole at the end. The pattern used is the Kawaii Kuties - Easy BUNNY from Funky Friends Factory. It's a pdf downloadable pattern, and as you can see, easy to do.